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Landlord obligations

What are your obligations as a landlord?

Although being a landlord is relatively simple, it's not as easy as simply letting out a property and collecting the rent at the beginning of each month.

The private rented sector (PRS) is sometimes described as the "most regulated unregulated business"

Although there is no over-arching Goverment regulation, such as nationwide mandatory landlord licencing, landlords have to adhere to over 100 Government statutes and regulations in order to be compliant!

Whilst there is a lot of media hype about "rogue" landlords, it is our belief that the majority of landlords are decent, honest, hard-working people and simply do not understand their legal obligations. However, ignorance is certainly not an excuse, and this blog aims to help educate landlords as to what is required of them.

Providing a safe and compliant home for your tenant should be your main priority. There are harsh penalties for non-compliance.

If, as a landlord, you are not sure of your obligations, then the most sensible thing to do is either go for a "fully managed" service with a reputable lettings agent, or educate yourself via on-line research and joining a landlords association, which provide support and resources. There are several associations to choose from including the Residential Landlords Association, the National Landlords Association, and the Guild of Landlords.

There are also landlord forums run by the Housing Department within local councils, and they meet regularly to discuss the local area and up-date landlords on legislation changes.

For the self-managing landlord, here are a few of the most important compliance obligations:

The Government's comprehensive Guide to landlord obligations is another useful resource.

As a landlord, you must also declare your rental income to HMRC and pay tax on the income minus any expenses. A reputable property-specialist accountant will help you prepare your accounts - although there are plans to change the way self-assessment tax is reported to HMRC - so landlords again need to keep aware of changes.

While there are a number of risks and pitfalls, if you buy the right property in the right location and put the right tenant in the property, making sure that you are fully compliant, then you minimise the chances of stress, problems, and financial loss. A contented tenant is also likely to stay longer, minimising void periods. A well maintained property also maintains its value, lets more quickly and achieves a higher rent, so it is a false economy not to make regular inspections and undertake a maintenance schedule.

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