If you don’t hold these, you (and your property) could be at risk
Paperwork. You can’t live without it. Especially as a buy-to-let landlord. Now, you may think that you only need paperwork when it comes to completing your buy-to-let tax return, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. No matter the size of your property portfolio, you must have documentation for all your properties.
In this article, we highlight the nine documents you must keep in your records.
1. Right to Rent documentation
The Right to Rent laws is found within the Immigration Act 2014. As a buy-to-let landlord, you must check the immigration status of an applicant tenant, and anyone over 18 who will be staying at your property. You’ll need to see originals and keep copies of passports and ID papers, British citizenship documentation, and immigrant status documentation.
If questioned about the right to rent status of a tenant, you will want to show that you took every precaution necessary to ensure that the tenant has the right to rent. If you can’t do so, you could be hit with a hefty fine.
2. The tenancy agreement
Never allow a tenant to move in without first signing the tenancy agreement. This details their responsibilities, and yours. In an eviction case, you may need to prove to a court that the tenant has reneged on their obligations or breached any of the tenancy agreement’s terms and conditions. The tenancy agreement is essential. Get it signed, and keep it safe.
3. Tenancy deposit documentation
The tenancy deposit must be deposited in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. You must provide the tenant with the scheme details, and you will also need to keep the repayment details safe for when they are needed at the end of the tenancy.
4. Gas safety certificate
A least once per year, and when you get a new tenant, you must have all gas appliances certified as safe by a registered gas engineer. You must keep the gas safety certificate issued for at least two years, and should give a copy to the tenant.
5. Energy performance certificate
This year, new minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) are coming into force. Your property must pass these and have a valid Energy Performance Certificate. You should keep the original and give a copy to the tenant.
6. Electrical installation certificates
If you are the landlord of an HMO, you must have the electrics checked at least every five years. It’s likely that this requirement will be extended to single let properties in the future. Even so, we recommend that you should have appliances PAT tested annually. We would also recommend that full electrical inspections are carried out every five years, or upon a change of tenancy. Keep all paperwork safe, in case there are any issues in the future.
7. Risk assessment
As a buy-to-let landlord, you are legally obliged to assess risks to tenants and visitors to your property. The best way to do this is to conduct a risk assessment. It’s best to have this done by an independent fire safety professional. Keep the assessment safe, and update at least every five years, or every time your tenant changes. Provide a copy to the tenant.
8. Property inventory and inspection summaries
You should compose a comprehensive property inventory when a tenant first moves in, and have them sign off on it. It will detail all the contents, white goods, furniture, fixture and fittings, and their condition, as well as the decorative condition of the property.
Each time a property inspection is made, it should reference the property inventory. This way, any loss of or damage to property can be addressed at the time, rather than waiting until the end of the tenancy.
Keep all property inventories and inspection reports safe, so that if there is any challenge to them, it can be dealt with efficiently.
9. Landlord insurance documents
Landlord insurance is essential. It covers damage to property, loss of property, buildings and contents, and even non-payment of rent. Keep your insurance paperwork safe and easy to find. You never know when you may need it (hopefully never).
Where do you keep your landlord documentation?
Now you know all the landlord documentation that you must keep. The next question is where to keep it? In a safe place, goes without saying. All the above are important pieces of paperwork that you can’t afford to lose. Lock them away. The best place to do so is in a fire-proof safe. They will be secure, and if you do suffer a fire in your home or office, you won’t have to spend days trying to track down copies of documents.
Of course, if you employ an investment property manager like Ezytrac to manage your properties for you, they should also keep originals and copies of documents for you. It’s a double failsafe, and another benefit of using property managers to do the day-to-day work of being a landlord. To find out more about the documentation and paperwork all landlords must retain, and how long for, contact one of the Ezytrac team today on +44 01522 503 717. We look forward to your call.