There are a number of things you must consider before deciding to become a landlord. There can be a lot of initial expenditure and you will need to be able to dedicate a certain amount of time to your new business.
As the property owner, you should make sure that you keep accurate records for all your rented properties. This should include information on your property's amenities as well as any safety certificates associated with the property. As a landlord, you are running a business and should give the same level of importance to record keeping as you would in any other business venture. You must also comply with the Data Protection Act and may have to notify the Information Commissioner's Office of your business.
You may need to get a certificate to show that your property is fit for habitation. Certain properties don't need to get the certificate, but it is an offence to fail to apply for one if your property isn't exempt.
There are some essential documents that you must have in order to rent out a property. These include a Fitness Certificate (in some cases), Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate if there is gas heating or there are any gas appliances in the property.
Efficient record keeping and filing systems can really help you manage your properties and tenancies effectively. There are certain pieces of paperwork which you should provide to your tenants but you should also ensure that you have kept copies of all of these for yourself.
Your tenancy agreement can give you additional rights, beyond those afforded to you in legislation. When drawing up a tenancy agreement, remember that any terms which are seen to be unfair are unenforceable.
You must supply all tenants with certain information relating to their tenancy. Failure to supply these documents, in the correct format, within a specified period of time can result in a conviction and fine.
Find out as early as possible who will be responsible for managing the property. You will usually be expected to report repairs and problems to the property manager, who can be the landlord or an appointed agent. Even though the property has been marketed by an agent, the landlord may not have contracted the agent to manage the property.