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Landlord Checklist: Paperwork & Documents

June 22, 2020

If you’re about to rent out the first property you bought as a buy-to-let investment, make sure you’re aware of all your legal obligations as a landlord, particularly the documents you must provide to your tenants. Forget any notion that you can just hand over the keys once your new tenant has given you their deposit and signed a basic agreement. You need a landlord checklist in place!

Landlord checklist: Paperwork

This is a shortlist of the paperwork you will need to deal with:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • Right to rent documentation
  • How to rent checklist
  • Tenant references
  • Confirmation of deposit protection
  • Property inventory
  • Your contact details
  • Privacy notice
  • Energy performance certificate
  • Gas safety certificate
  • Electrical inspection certificate
  • Smoke alarm certificate
  • Carbon monoxide alarm certificate
Tenancy agreement
Right to rent documentation
How to rent checklist

Although a tenancy agreement is not a legal requirement, it is an important document that can eliminate any risk of misunderstanding between you and your tenants. It should set out what you and the tenants are responsible for in terms of maintenance as well as your rights as a landlord. You should state the amount of deposit required, the rent amount and its due date, and the conditions relating to the return of the deposit. You should also make clear the consequences of rent arrears or non-payment.

You must check your tenants’ documents to make sure they have the right to rent a property in England, make copies of their documents and keep them until they leave the property. You’ll find a list of acceptable documents on the government website.

You must give the government’s ‘How To Rent’ guide to your tenants to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. The guide includes a checklist and detailed information on each stage of renting. It includes guidance on what to look out for before renting, rights when living in a rented home, what happens at the end of a tenancy and what to do if things go wrong.

Tenant references

To protect your own interests, make thorough checks on your tenants’ finances to ensure they can continue paying rent. You can do this for just £20 per tenant using our tenant credit check and referencing service. The checks might indicate that they are in debt, have defaulted on any credit arrangements or have County Court Judgements.

Confirmation of deposit protection

The government has introduced a Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which means you must hold your tenants’ deposit in one of three recognised schemes and give your tenants written confirmation within 30 days. 

Property inventory

It’s important to compile a comprehensive inventory of property and its condition and give your tenants a copy. If a dispute arises at the end of the tenancy, you will need the inventory as evidence to determine the amount of deposit you have to return.

Your contact details

It’s a legal requirement to provide your tenants with your full contact details, including name address, phone and emergency number. Related: The Complete Guide For Buy-To-Let Landlords

Privacy notice

As you hold data on your tenants, including personal and financial details, you must provide them with a privacy notice, explaining how you will protect their data.

Energy and safety certificates

To meet current energy standards and comply with Health & Safety legislation, you need to carry out a number of regular checks and provide tenants with relevant certificates.

Energy performance certificate

This document provides your tenants with an energy rating for the property together with estimated energy costs. Your energy suppliers can provide the ratings, which range from A to G. You can only let your property if it achieves a minimum energy rating of E or above.

Gas safety certificate

You will need this if your property is fitted with a gas fire, boiler or cooker. A registered gas engineer must inspect any appliances every 12 months and provide a certificate to give to your tenants.

Electrical inspection certificate

Although it is not compulsory, an electrical inspection certificate, known as a PAT certificate, is confirmation that electrical equipment has been regularly tested and is safe to use.

Smoke alarm certificate

You must fit smoke alarms on every floor of the property, have them regularly tested and provide tenants with a certificate of testing.

Carbon monoxide alarm certificate

Carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in any room where gas is used, or there are appliances using solid fuels. The alarms should be regularly tested.

You don't need to be an existing customer to use our maintenance services. Call us on 020 7099 4000 if you need a gas, electrical or appliance test.

Make documentation easier

Completing the amount of documentation required can be very time-consuming. If you don’t want to take on the work yourself, you can use the services of a letting agent such as Portico, who will help make the process easy and ensure you're complying with the latest legislation. 

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