If you are new to the buy to let business, there are a number of rules and regulations that come with your role as a landlord.
These are not especially unsurprising, unreasonable or complicated, but their potential impact on your landlord insurance provisions makes it important that they are understood and followed. Here are some of the main points to watch:
Right to rent
- even before your first tenant moves in, the law may soon require that you confirm the prospective tenant’s immigration status gives them the right to live and rent accommodation in the UK;
- the law is already being trialled in parts of the Midlands and is expected to be rolled out across the rest of the country in due course;
Your duty of care
- enshrined in English common law is the general principle of a duty of care towards other individuals – it is sometimes known as the “good neighbour” principle – and involves you taking every reasonable care in preventing injury or property loss or damage to another through your actions or failure to act;
- the principle extends to the particular duty of care a landlord owes his or her tenants – a general responsibility for ensuring the let premises and the landlord’s actions or failure to act result in no injury to or loss or damage to the property of the tenants;
- because of the potentially high cost of any claim arising from your negligence of such a duty of care, landlord insurance typically includes indemnity of at least £1 million – typically a feature of every landlord policy we arrange here at GSI Insurance;
Gas and electricity
- in addition to your general duty of care, the law also demands particular attention to the safety of gas and electrical supplies and appliances you provide;
- the gas regulations in particular, for example, demand that all installations and appliances are checked annually by a registered engineer and a certificate of compliance issued, with a copy also being made to your tenants;
- checking of the electrical systems is not formally required by law, but it is clearly a prudent precaution in order to protect yourself against claims of negligence on your part;
- the website Landlord Law points out that in the case of lettings to students, the relevant students’ union is likely to insist on such a check being made and a certificate issued by a member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors (NICEIC);
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- if you are letting property that is in multiple occupation (where three or more tenants share kitchen and or bathroom facilities) special provisions apply;
- regulations on HMOs affect everything from the building itself to management regulations, any rules applied by your local authority, fire safety checks, and both gas and wiring and electrical inspections.
If you are a first time landlord – or even a seasoned hand with several years already under your belt – it is important to stay abreast of the existing law, rules and regulations, together with new ones being introduced. All of these may impact on the way you run your buy to let business and may affect the landlord insurance upon which you rely to protect your enterprise.