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Thinking of becoming a landlord? It’s perhaps not as straight forward to you as first thought. Do you know just how much you’d be responsible for?
Deciding whether or not to take the plunge into becoming a landlord isn’t a decision you should take lightly. With this in mind, we’ve created this blog post on legislation so you know exactly what’s expected of you.
The Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 introduced the Landlord Registration Scheme and since 30 April 2005 most private landlords in Scotland have needed to be registered with the local authority in which the property they let is located.
The aim of registration is to ensure all private landlords in Scotland are fit and proper to be letting residential property. There are a few exceptions, for example if a landlord lets two rooms or less in his or her own home and is a resident landlord, if the property is let as holiday accommodation or if the landlord has an HMO (house of multiple occupancy) Licence. As part of the HMO licence process the local authority should have registered the property automatically. If a landlord lets any non-HMO properties then these need to registered separately.
Landlords can register online at landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk If you have properties in different area’s they must be registered separately in each local authority.
As a landlord you have an obligation to ensure that any property let is in, and is kept in, a reasonable state of repair as defined in The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. As the owner of the property, you would have to adhere to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
These regulations ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition avoiding the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It would also be your responsibility to ensure ALL gas appliances and gas installation pipe work are checked for safety at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
In addition accurate records of safety inspections and any work carried out must be kept. Also the current safety record must be available for any tenant prior to them moving in.
Landlords are also responsible for adhering to the Smoke Alarms – Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 requires adequate provision for the detection of fire. A mains powered interlinked smoke detector system must be fitted and comply with BS5839 Part 6. It must also be checked for safety at least once a year.
You must also ensure that furniture and finishings you provide must meet minimum fire resistant standards – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996).
The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture including the likes of beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles. Also included are nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows, and non-original covers for furniture.
They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.
All relevant items must be checked and non-compliant items removed from the premises.
The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 made it compulsory for a landlord to give a tenant a copy of a valid energy performance certificate for the leased property. From January 2012 landlords require to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) available to the tenant and the agent whilst the property is marketed.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring an EPC is available for the accommodation being let, even if they have an agent acting on their behalf. The EPC will last for 10 years and is valid through subsequent lets.
Moreover under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 and some other regulations, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be safe. These must be checked for safety at least once a year and a safety certificate produced. A qualified electrician must be engaged for this purpose.
If you reside outside the UK you must apply for tax exemption. As an agent Cairn are legally obliged to deduct tax from a rental income at a base rate until an exemption certificate has been received. (If the property is jointly owned, all parties will need to apply). For more information on this, visit the HMRC website.
The required NRL1 form and guidance notes to apply for tax exemption can be found here.
Finally the Scottish Executive has set up a Private Rented Housing Committee where tenants will be able to contact the Committee if they feel their landlord has failed to respond to their requests for a repair.
Before your tenant can submit an application to the Committee he or she must have notified you that the work needs to be carried out and you must be given a reasonable time to carry out such repairs.
How much time is ‘reasonable’ will depend upon the nature of the work needing done and all the circumstances of the case. If you fail to carry out a repair the Private Rented Housing Committee has the power to make an order requiring you to carry out the work. You can learn more about how this works here.
As you can see there’s a lot that you’re responsible for if you’re landlord. However we can help.
At Cairn, we share this responsibility with you, we want our tenants and our landlords to be protected and as part of our agent fees are happy to ensure all necessary legislation is met. Taking this approach to managing your property(s) means deadlines will never be missed and all regulations will be fully adhered to.