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The accidental landlord

What are the requirements and obligations of a landlord?

Britain is a nation of accidental landlords. Life changes, you need to move and for various reasons the only way to do it is to rent out your flat. It happens all the time. Thousands of us are landlords without ever meaning to be. And once we’ve found a tenant, signed the contract and gulped at the percentage the estate agent is charging, we pretty much hope the whole thing will manage itself.

But once you’re a landlord, the government essentially believes you to be running a company. You have a number of legal obligations – are your gas and electricity reports in date, do you know when they need renewing? What are the rules on providing carbon monoxide detectors? Do you know the implications of the data protection act on landlords? Does it affect you? Are you compliant?

You might know all this. But if you’ve fallen into being a landlord, you quite probably don’t. Renting your previous home is not your main source of income, it’s not your job and you just want to rent your flat out and get on with your life. This is not something you want to spend a lot of time researching.

And while a lot of these regulations are a bit boring and administrative, if you neglect to complete some requirements you could be legally and financially liable. It’s not made easy for landlords either – the rules change quite a lot as both EU and UK legislation pushes to raise living standards and safety for tenants.

This means that putting aside a little time to educate yourself on your obligations as a landlord is essential. Alternatively you can ask a company like Vertical Village to take you through your obligations (we have a free checklist you can download) and make sure you’re compliant.


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