Q&A What do I need to know about Landlord legislation?

Q:        I am considering buying my daughter’s house as a rental property as she is getting married and bought a house with her fiancé. I know a lot of people are saying this is a bad time to be a landlord, but I don’t see it that way as I will be a cash buyer and rents are going up because landlords with buy-to-let mortgages are having to cover the hugely inflated interest rates. So, what kinds of things should I be aware of from a legal point of view?

A:        The short answer to your question is ‘quite a lot’! It is estimated that there are more than 168 individual rules and regulations that apply to the private rental sector, and these are often amended and updated, sometimes at relatively short notice. The key is to seek professional in-depth advice before doing anything, and then adopt a reliable way of keeping up to date with everything - for example by joining a landlord group, as not keeping within the law can be very costly.

Here are just a few things that could get you into trouble: You may have to repay your tenants up to three times the deposit amount if you do not protect their deposit; you could be fined up to £30,000 for breaching electrical safety regulations, or fined thousands of pounds for not having an up-to-date gas safety certificate; and not carrying out the correct procedures when taking on a new tenant could prevent you from later evicting them. Some landlord offences even come with a potential jail sentence.

Having said all of that, provided you take the necessary legal advice and precautions to ensure you are continually compliant with all the legislation, there is no reason why you shouldn’t execute your plan successfully and purchase your daughter’s house for a buy-to-let income.

This question has been answered by Sophie Bebbington, a Legal Executive with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194