Renting out your property is a great way to earn an income, but there are rules that landlords need to abide by.
Right to Rent checks
Since 2016, its been a legal requirement for all landlords to check whether their tenants have the right to live in the UK this applies to both live-out landlords and those living in and renting to lodgers. For more information, see our right to rent checks guide.
Gas safety checks
By law, you have to carry out a gas safety check every year on each property you rent out this should be done by someone on the Gas Safe Register.
Electrical safety standards
In June 2020, new government regulations came into force requiring landlords to have all electrical installations in their property inspected and tested by a qualified person, at least every five years. Youll need to obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test, which outlines the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test. This report must be supplied to your existing tenant(s) within 28 days of it being carried out.
You can find more information about the requirements for Electrical Safety Regulations on gov.uk.
As a landlord, your tenants are allowed to benefit from the quiet enjoyment of the property - so dont harass or inconvenience them unfairly. You should give your tenants 48 hours' notice if you want to inspect the property unless its an emergency.
If you share your property with a lodger, they dont have exclusive rights to any part of your property including the bedroom theyre staying in. This means they cant install a lock or exclude you from any part of the property, but you should still respect their privacy.
Providing suitable living conditions
It goes without saying, but your tenants must be living in a property thats fit for human habitation if its in an unhealthy state, the property is illegal under the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act.
Its illegal to evict a tenant without proper notice. If a tenant refuses to leave you cant force them to so check the law before you rent it out so you know where you stand.
If youre a live-in landlord, you dont have to serve a specific notice period youre only required to give reasonable notice if you want your lodger to leave. This is usually 28 days, but can be shorter.
Landlords should make sure any repairs are carried out properly and within a reasonable amount of time you cant expect tenants to live for weeks without hot water while you get the boiler fixed. Its their home and they have to live in it.
Live-in landlords are not required to use a scheme to protect deposit money but you can choose to if you wish.
Registering as a landlord in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
If youre a landlord renting a property out in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you need to register.
In Scotland: this requires registering with your local authority. Some will do this automatically, but its always worth checking. You can register in about 20 minutes using this online registration process.
In Wales: if youre letting a property on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy agreement, you need to register with RentSmart (for a £33.50 fee). Youll also need a licence if you self-manage your property. Landlords in Wales need to complete a training course to get this licence, which can be done online.
In Northern Ireland: all landlords renting out properties with a private tenancy agreement need to register. Live-in landlords with lodgers, however, dont. You can register online, by phone, email or complete a registration form. The cost is either £70 (or £80 if youre using the paper form).
For more information on your responsibilities as a landlord visit Shelter online.