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Know your responsibilities as a landlord before selling on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 18:23

It may have crossed your mind to sell your rental house to a property cash buyer like Dream House Buyer after persistent trouble with tenants. However, are you familiar with your own obligations towards your tenant? Although the exact rules and procedures depend on the type of tenancy, certain basic rules always apply. Abide by these, and you should have a much better relationship with your tenant.


First of all, you have a responsibility to protect your tenant's deposit by paying it into a UK Government-approved deposit protection scheme. This will then need to be returned at the tenancy's conclusion, unless the tenant is in arrears or has damaged your property.


Nor can you disturb or harass your tenants. If you need to access the property to inspect it or do repairs, you should give reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time to visit. Otherwise, you need to allow your tenant to live in the home without unnecessary interference. You should not enter the tenant's home without permission, or stop them from using the water, electricity or any of the rooms. Persisting with such behaviour can lead to a fine or imprisonment for harassment.


Most repairs to your property's exterior or structure are also your responsibility as a landlord. This covers the roof, chimneys, walls, drains and guttering of a property. You are also required to ensure that the house's equipment for water, gas and electricity supply remain in safe working order. Minor repairs and maintenance, however - such as furniture and equipment, gardens or internal decorations - may be the tenant's responsibility. You can set the exact terms for repairs in the tenancy agreement.


You are also legally obliged to ensure your tenants' safety, including by getting a gas safety certificate for all of the property's appliances, ensuring that the furniture meets fire safety standards and ensuring the safety of the electrical equipment that you provide. If your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you will have further legal obligations to provide adequate fire precautions and means of escape from fire.


As a landlord, you must also follow the rules on rent. These include letting your tenants know when and how they need to pay the rent. They also include only increasing the rent at certain times during the tenancy and in certain circumstances, depending on the exact tenancy type and what may be stated in your agreement about when you can up the rent.


If you wish to evict a tenant, you will need to follow the appropriate legal procedure, which again differs depending on the type of tenancy and why you are looking to evict. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence, and could land you with a fine or prison sentence. The potential difficulties with troublesome tenants are one more reason why, if you are looking to sell a rental house, you may consider a quick and hassle-free sale to Dream House Buyer instead of advertising through an estate agent. 

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