The private rental sector has over 150 regulations and pieces of legislation to follow, but to keep your property compliant it’s important you understand your basic responsibilities. If you’re a new landlord in Wokingham, or have just got behind with all of the changes, at Quarters Residential we want to give you a quick reminder to get you back on the right track as quickly as possible.
1. Don’t forget the E
We are going to start with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your rental property, as recent changes seem to have passed some local landlords by. As of April 2018 your property is required to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), this means that before it can be tenanted it must achieve an EPC rating of E or above.
We suspect that the minimum will rise above E in due course, therefore we are advising our Wokingham landlords to future-proof their properties when they undertake any work.
2. Be thorough but fair
There is always excitement at the start of a tenancy, which can mean things get rushed in a bid to get the tenant in as soon as possible. If you’re managing the property yourself, we cannot stress enough that one area you should work through thoroughly is your inventory. This document is a list of the contents of your rental together with its condition, and any existing blemishes.
You don’t want your tenancy to end on an unnecessarily sour note, so it’s important you agree on the condition of the property at the start to give you a basis for when they leave. It is only natural that there will be some wear and tear during their tenancy, so be fair upon their departure.
3. Gas registered
When it comes to safety you should never skip any corners and always use a professional within their field. It is a legal requirement that you have any gas-related equipment serviced every 12 months by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. The gas certificate must be given to your tenants, and don’t forget to keep a record for yourself of all your safety checks. If your property is managed by us at Quarters Residential, we will keep you updated of when your checks are due.
4. Fire safety
The Grenfell disaster made us all sit up and triple check our systems when it comes to fire. There should never be any compromise where fire safety is concerned, as the consequences are too frightening to imagine. Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted on each storey of your property and all escape routes are clear and, if applicable, working.
If your property has a wood burner or a solid fuel burning appliance, you are required to position a carbon monoxide alarm in the room. We would advise you go one step further and place one in your home regardless, they are not an expensive item and could prevent tragedy from the silent killer.
5. Electrical safety
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you must ensure everything electrical is in safe working order. Again, use an approved electrician and ensure any wiring over 15 years old is inspected annually. Document any faults and repairs so you have a complete trail of what works have been undertaken on your property.
6. An eye on interiors
You may decide to let your property furnished, should this be the case you need to ensure anything you purchase has a permanent label stating that it’s compliant with Fire Safety Regulations for furniture. Many large-scale interior stores provide specific packages for rental properties, which will meet compliance conditions.
Should you be purchasing from the internet or a small, unbranded store, double check if the items are compliant and, if in doubt, shop elsewhere.
7. Continue to maintain
When your property is rented on a long-term basis it is easy to only undertake repairs as and when issues occur. The problem with neglecting the maintenance of your property is that, slowly but surely, things can start to deteriorate that may not be obvious to your tenants and could lead to big and costly issues down the line. We would suggest that you put together a maintenance schedule to keep your property in the best of condition and prevent it becoming a drain on your resources.
We know that the legislation in the private rental sector can be confusing, especially due to the number of changes over the last couple of years. Should you want reassurance that you’re abiding by the regulations, then please call Nick or Teresa at Quarters Residential in Wokingham on 0118 466 0292. You may also find our Landlords Guide helpful which you can download here.