Becoming a landlord is something many of us aspire to, although all too often people make the mistake of neglecting to do some simple research into the laws and statutes both tenants and landlords are bound by. It can be easy to think “Somebody is living in my property in exchange for paying me rent. What could be simpler?”
In actual fact, statements like this are at best misleading, and at worst couldn’t be further from the truth. With that in mind, I contacted a good friend of mine (Terry from Carnabys) and decided to compile a list of common legal issues overlooked by landlords.
Gas safety certificates
It’s a common misconception that a new gas safety check must be performed every time a new tenant moves in, which is simply not the case – good news for landlords who lease properties on short-term contracts, as the price of all those checks could get costly. After speaking to Terry at I ascertained that landlords must arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out every twelve months on every gas appliance (fires, cookers, boilers) and flue. Gas safety checks ensure that all appliances and gas fittings are safe and suitable for use.
Further information can be found here
New tenants should be provided with a record of the current gas safety check (in the form of a certificate) before moving in to the property. Current tenants should be provided with a record within 28 days of completion of the check.
Door locks – can my tenant change them?
Most landlords are surprised when they find out that, yes, a tenant may legally change the locks on your property – and they don’t even need to provide you with a key. They must, however, continue to allow the landlord reasonable access, in the event of needing to carry out repairs for example. If a tenant withholds access unreasonably, the landlord may apply to the county court to seek an injunction.
Should a tenant change any locks, they should preserve any fixtures and fittings. Any damages caused as a result of locks being changed may be recovered from the tenant’s security deposit.
White goods – do I need to supply them?
In short, there’s no legal obligation to do so, although many tenants find that it is good practice for the landlord to do so, and in a competitive rental market tenants are likely to opt for a fully furnished property. Should you provide white goods, you may also be responsible for their repair and maintenance – your Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will state who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of white goods.