Do you rent out property to tenants?

Posted: 31st January 2017


By: Tessa Shepperson

Do you rent out property to tenants?

If so – are you SURE you are complying with all the rules?  It sounds like an easy way to make money, and if you do it properly it is, but you have to be awfully careful.  There are many legal traps for the unwary.

Here are five things you need to watch out for:

1) Have you carefully checked and referenced your tenants?

The most important thing in renting property is to have a good tenant.  When I did eviction work, most of the evictions were due to rent arrears and many of these were down to the landlord not checking the tenant property before they were let into the property.

Click here for some more guidance.  

2) Have you checked whether your tenants have a right to rent?

This is under the new rules which came in (in England) on 1 February 2016 when landlords effectively became border control inspectors.  You need to check, not only the tenants but ALL occupiers to see if they have a right to rent in the UK.  

It can be expensive if the Home Office find you have rented to illegals, plus since December you can be prosecuted and imprisoned.  So best to get things right.

Click here for some more guidance (and a free download).

3) Have you given your tenants a tenancy agreement?

This is really important.  The tenancy agreement is the document which regulates how your tenancy works and should include clauses for your protection.  

For example if you have no tenancy agreement your tenants’ rent will automatically be payable in arrears (as that is the default position) and you won’t be entitled to make any deductions from your tenants deposit (as it’s the tenants money and you can only make deductions if these are authorised by you tenancy agreement).

Click here for some more guidance.

4) Have you carried out a gas safety inspection?

Gas can be incredibly dangerous.  Defective gas appliances can emit deadly fumes which you can’t smell but which can kill you.

Because of that, all landlords whose properties have gas appliances must have a gas safety check done every year by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register and provide a copy of their certificate to your tenants.

Failure to do this can result in prosecution and can also (for tenancies which started or were renewed on or after 1 October 2015) prevent you serving a valid section 21 notice.

Click here to find out more.

5).. Have you protected the tenants’ deposit in a scheme?

The deposit regulations have been in force since 2007 yet STILL landlords fail to register tenants deposits properly.  

If you forget though, this is seriously bad news  – it means your tenants can bring a claim against you for a penalty of up to 3x the deposit sum at any time during the next six years  AND you won’t be able to serve a valid section 21 notice until you have paid back the deposit money to the tenants.

Click here to find out more.

And finally

These are just five of the problems that can arise.  They are all issues that can be avoided easily by taking a bit of care and finding out what your legal obligations are.  But if you don’t the consequences can be serious.

It is to help landlords that I developed my Landlord Law service.This has extensive guidance for landlords along with forms, tenancy agreements and a forum where I answer members questions.

Why not start by taking a look at my tenancy timeline?  This is a list of all the things you need to do with links to help.  

Or, if you want to attend an event, why not try our annual Landlord Law Conference – a great way to get up to date and network with other landlords.  Find out all about this at

You will also find a huge amount of information on my Landlord Law Blog.  So there is no exclude for getting things wrong!