What do I need to know before renting out my property?

04 December 2012

People having difficulties selling their premises are opting to rent them out instead. Huw Worthington alerts new Landlords to their responsibilities

Residential tenancies can be a minefield for Landlords.

There is plethora of legislation in place to protect tenants. The Rent Book Regulations (NI) 2007 is the most recent legislation, which imposes obligations on landlords to furnish tenants with a rent book containing very specific information about the property and the tenancy. The rent book should also detail the rental payments made by the tenant, which are usually monthly payments, even if these are made by direct debit. A good example of a rent book can be found at the links section below.  

The rent book must be held by the tenant, who should make it available for the landlord to update. The landlord must also provide the tenant with a Statement of Tenancy Terms and there are provisions allowing district Councils to prosecute landlords who do not provide these documents to their tenants.

As a landlord you are also legally required to provide the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate in respect of the property, and to ensure that gas, electricity and furniture safety requirements are met. Appliances for the supply of water and for heating must also be kept in good repair by the Landlord. In particular, gas appliances must be kept in good order and an annual safety check must be carried out on the appliances by an engineer registered on the Gas Safe Register. A copy of the safety check must be provided to the tenant.

If the property was built before 1st January 1945, you must have a fitness inspection carried out on the property, unless it falls within one of the exemptions.

You should seek legal advice as to whether your property is exempt, and the Council will charge a fee for the inspection.

Huw Worthington is a Senior Partner at Worthingtons Solicitors.  Huw is head of the private client department and the residential conveyancing department.





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