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Buying property to let? Make sure you know your legal responsibilities

Electricity and gas
As a landlord you are responsible for the safety of your electricity and gas supplies. The gas supply and any gas appliances must be checked annually by a Registered Gas Engineer and you must give a copy of the reports to new and existing tenants. Failure to have checks carried out can bring serious penalties, which can include imprisonment and/or fine of up to £25,000. An electrical safety check must also be carried out by a qualified electrician before the tenancy begins.Fire safety
You must ensure that all of your soft furnishings comply with fire safety regulations. This includes all furniture, beds, mattresses, pillows, cushions, and so on. You must not have any soft furnishings in the house that do not meet these regulations. (Some antique furniture may be exempt)Deposits
Since 2007, landlords have been required to keep their tenants’ deposits in the government’s Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This protects tenants from landlords who might otherwise keep some or all of the deposit without good reason. Within 30 days two weeks of starting their tenancy, you will need to provide your tenants with details of the scheme you have chosen, and what to do in the event of a dispute.Insurance
You, rather than your tenants, must insure the property (though they should have insurance for their own possessions). A standard homeowner’s policy may not be enough and you should consider obtaining landlord’s insurance. It is worth consulting with your insurer if you already have a standard policy, because taking on tenants may invalidate it.Tenancy agreement
You should have a written agreement with your tenants. This is not strictly necessary if the tenancy period is less than three years, but it is strongly advised.
Are you thinking of buying a property to let? Talk to us. We offer a range of landlord services and can give you the expert guidance you need. Call 01302 320621 or email landlordprotect@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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