The must-do list prior to letting your property
If you are considering letting a property you may well benefit from noting the following guidance. This will ensure that all the boxes are ticked and will result in a less stressful journey.
Register as a landlord
Landlord Registration Scotland must be completed every three years. All landlords in Scotland must register themselves with Landlord Registration Scotland. Once you are registered, you must ensure that all your rented properties are linked to your relevant landlord registration account(s). This is a legal requirement and can be done online at: www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk
Non-Resident Landlords (NRL)
Landlords who reside outside the UK will need to check with the Inland Revenue & Customs (HMRC) whether or not they are classified as a Non-Resident Landlord (NRL). HMRC regards Non-Resident Landlords as a person(s) whose usual home is outside the UK and who has a rental property in the UK. If you are a Non-Resident Landlord, it is very important that you contact HMRC, to discuss your circumstances and follow their advice. They may grant approval for no tax to be deducted from your rental income.
We would strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant or tax advisor about the implications of receiving an income from your rental property(ies).
Contents and buildings insurance
It is your responsibility to ensure that your rental property has the appropriate landlord’s building and contents insurance. If your property is within a factored development that has a block insurance policy, you will need to contact your factors and advise them that this particular property is rented. They will then update the block insurance policy.
You will need to ensure that you have the appropriate authorisation to let from your mortgage company. If you do not have a buy-to-let mortgage, this is effectively permission to rent out the property on a temporary basis. It could be, say, two or three years. When this ‘grace period’ expires, you’ll need to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage.
Safety certification and compliance
Energy Performance Certificate (every ten years)
Energy Performance Certificate to be conducted for your property. This is a legal requirement and must be displayed whilst advertising your property.
Gas Safety Certificate (annually)
Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate to be carried out. This is a legal requirement.
Electrical Installation Condition Report (at least every five years)
As of 1st December 2015, under sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, private landlords in Scotland are required by law to ensure that their properties are electrically safe. An Electrical Installation Condition Report is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the National Standard, BS 7671, for the safety of electrical installations. i. if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded ii. any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation iii. any defective DIY electrical work iv. any lack of earthing or bonding, the person who conducts these checks must be employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a body recognised by the Scottish Government – this will usually mean that they are registered with NICEIC or a member firm of the Electrical contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT).
Portable Appliance Testing (annually)
Portable Appliance Testing is an assessment of the condition of electrical appliances in your property. The Portable Appliance Test uses a machine to test the electrical plugs through a range of safety checks. It also includes a visual check on electrical appliances and their plugs and cables. A record will be made of the goods supplied as part of the tenancy agreement and checks made on those goods. The record will indicate who carried out the check and the date. Pass/fail labels must be visible on each appliance and will correspond to the certificate provided. Please also bear in mind the potential for remedial works being required. The person who conducts these checks must be employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a body recognised by the Scottish Government – this will usually mean that they are registered with NICEIC or a member firm of the Electrical contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT).
Legionella Risk Assessment
Landlords of residential accommodation have a responsibility to carry out risk assessments for Legionella bacteria and maintain control measures to minimise the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. This is a legal requirement.
Ensuring your home is safe in the event of a fire should be a priority for everyone, whether you live in your property or if you are letting out to tenants. Scots law requires all HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) properties to adhere to fire regulations. If you would like more information on what fire safety regulations may be applicable to your property give us a call at 0131 662 8035 and speak to an ARLA qualified property manager that specialize in HMOs.
Smoke and heat alarms
There is a requirement to have mains smoke and heat alarm(s) in line with legislative guidance unless they have already been installed.
Carbon monoxide detectors
As of 1st December 2015, new regulations came into force in Scotland regarding the provision of long-life carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in privately rented housing. The legislation dictates that a carbon monoxide detector should be located in every room containing a fixed combustion appliance and in any bedrooms or living rooms through which a vent from a combustion appliance passes.
Although it is not required by law, it is recommended a Fire Blanket be placed in the property.
Anyone letting property must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, to make sure that furniture is reasonably fire-resistant. All furniture with upholstery covering or filling should have a label showing that it meets the regulations. Any furniture not meeting these regulations should be removed. For further information, please see:
http://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/Your tenant must have access to the Safety certification. Good practice would suggest that a copy should be prepared for handover following the signing of your tenancy agreement.