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Landlord Legal Requirements

Understanding the legal requirements of being a landlord: the rules and regulations that must be adhered to by buy-to-let investors

The legal requirements of being a landlord

The legal requirements of being a landlord may differ slightly depending on the country that the rental property is located in, but there are a number of responsibilities that are common to all geographic locations.

Property maintenance and repair for buy-to-let investments

The laws regarding maintenance and repair generally refer to anything that affects the structure and exterior condition of a property. A landlord is responsible for ensuring that all major repairs are undertaken in a timely fashion, and to a specific standard. Maintaining a property by implementing a schedule of assessment and appropriate remedial action is therefore vital as, by ensuring that regular checks are made, any maintenance issue can be addressed before it reaches a stage that will impact the rentability of the property or, of course, legal intervention.

Utilities and furnishings in rental properties

Maintenance and repair laws also cover the landlord’s responsibility for the utilities in the property: the electrical infrastructure, heating, hot water provision, gas – if applicable – and sanitary conditions. All require adherence to safety regulations, as well as annual certification to confirm compliance. For furnished properties, there are a number of regulations pertaining to small electricals – such as lamps, cooking equipment and anything else with a power cord – as well as specific instructions as to the construction and fabrics used in the furnishings. Again, these may require annual checks and certification to ensure proof of compliance.

Accessibility and consideration for tenants with disabilities

There are rules concerning rental properties which can accommodate certain numbers of tenant – in the long-term residential market these are referred to as Houses in Multiple Occupation – whilst reasonable accommodation must also be made for those with disabilities. For the latter, the law states that ‘reasonable adjustments’ must be made. This might mean ramps being built to allow ease of access, or handrails being fitted to permit use of the bathroom facilities. Again, these are covered by specific laws that dictate implementation or construction in order to guarantee safety and safe use.

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