9 Tips For New Landlords In Edinburgh
As a landlord you are responsible for complying with the law and ensuring that your tenants are safe. If you are new to letting your property, the requirements can seem daunting but once you understand what you need to do, and why, it should be reasonably straightforward.
This checklist covers nine things that you, as a landlord, should ensure you have in place if you are letting your property in Scotland.
1. Landlord Registration
Both you and any other owners on the title deed should ensure you are registered with the local authority in your area before you can let a property. If you're looking at this as a potential new landlord it's a vital part of your journey and something you need to apply for before you go any further. If you operate as a landlord without registering, you can be fined up to £50,000. In Edinburgh, you can find more information on Edinburgh City Council’s website.
2. Landlord Insurance
Insurance is a vital element of owning a property and letting it to a tenant. You should ensure that both the buildings and your contents, such as furniture, have adequate insurance. On the policy, you should check that it includes public liability cover to protect you from costs arising from compensation claims if a tenant or visitor is injured in the property.
Since December 2017, the only lease that can be used for residential property in Scotland is known as a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). This supersedes previous leases, and any new lease should be operating on a PRT type lease. There are no other leases that you can use if you are letting private property to private tenants in Scotland. Your letting agent will draw up the lease for you and we would strongly recommend taking professional advice as the lease is a legal document which outlines the rights of your tenants.
4. Deposit Scheme
If your tenant has ever paid you a deposit for the property, you should ensure that you have placed that money into one of the three government-backed tenancy deposit schemes which are available. These schemes protect the tenant's money and ensure that it is either returned safely and properly at the end of the deposit to the tenant or, if you are looking to retain it, it is retained fairly due to something that the tenant was responsible for. Once you have paid your tenant's deposit into one of the three tenancy deposit schemes available, you must also issue a certificate to prove to the tenant that you have actually moved the funds into one of the schemes. The three schemes are:
5. Smoke Alarms
As we all know, fire safety is hugely important. As a landlord, you must ensure that your property is safe for your tenant to live in by installing smoke alarms and heat alarms in the living room, the hallway, the kitchen and any other high-traffic areas. They should be interlinked so that they speak to each other if one goes off. They also need to be checked regularly to ensure they are working at all times.
6. Gas Safety Certificate
A gas safety certificate is the result of an annual inspection which you should arrange to be undertaken. As its name suggests, it confirms that all gas appliances in your property are safe, and compliant with the law, and it often includes a boiler service to check that the tenant is going to be safe using those appliances in your property.
An EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report is the result of an inspection of all the electrical installations and fixtures and fittings such as fuse boards in your property and takes place, as a minimum, every five years. It checks that everything is safe and compliant with latest rules and regulations to confirm that your tenants are safe in your property.
The Portable Appliance Test is one which most people know about, often referred to as a PAT test. As its name suggests, it's an annual certificate which confirms that everything that you have supplied as a landlord and forms part of the inventory, which has a plug, is safe to use, there are no bare wires and the tenant is not at risk of electrocution by using those appliances.
An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC as it is commonly known, is a certificate which gives a rating for the efficiency of usage of power in the property. So it indicates what it might cost to run gas and electric to power and heat that home. It is something which you must show when you are first advertising a property to potential tenants to say whether it's A, B, C, D, E etc.
If you'd like to talk to Cullen Property and the team about how we can help you look after your property so that you can enjoy stress-free ownership, then we'd love to hear from you.