How to protect yourself as a landlord - Estate & Lettings Agents - Worthing & Sussex

How to protect yourself as a landlord

The non-negotiables

As a UK landlord, you are liable for maintaining a safe standard for the property or risk facing hefty fines. There are a number of responsibilities landlords take on to meet the appropriate standard and protect themselves as well as their tenants:

  • keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
  • ensure all gas equipment and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
  • provide tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a valid Gas Safety certificate (CP12). These must be given to tenants on the day they move in.
  • protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
  • check your tenant has the right to rent your property in England
  • give your tenant a copy of the ‘How to rent’ checklist when they start renting from you (email is acceptable)

Landlords must pay the following tax and National Insurance:

  • Income Tax on your rental income, minus your day-to-day running expenses
  • Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do renting out property counts as running a business
  • If you only occasionally rent out your property or part of your home (for example through short-term rental apps), check if you need to tell HMRC about this income.

If you have a mortgage on the property you want to rent out, you must get permission from your mortgage lender.

Fire safety – another landlord responsibility – includes fitting and testing of all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. There needs to be at least one smoke alarm on every floor of the property, and a carbon monoxide detector in every room that has a solid fuel-burning appliance.

Smart suggestions

If you implement the following recommendations, you’ll protect yourself as a UK landlord and continue to benefit from the many advantages privately renting out a property can offer.

Invest in marketing

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so get it right first time.

  • Invest in your marketing strategy with your time as well as money. 
  • Research your market and get online!
  • Use a specialist lettings agent if necessary; utilise their connections and provide your property with significant exposure.
  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so when you’re photographing your property, make sure you get professional shots to elevate the appeal and drive enquiries.

Referencing & Right to Rent

It’s not a legal requirement, but from experience we recommend that before a tenancy begins, you request references from your proposed tenants so you can determine their suitability for your property and make an informed decision. In addition to this, the Right to Rent scheme requires landlords to determine people’s immigration status by checking ID (and their right to rent in the UK).

Get licensed

Check with your local council, before you let out a property, if you require a landlord license as rules can vary depending on location. If you don’t hold the correct license, you risk invalidating your buildings insurance policy.

Building & contents insurance

Get insured! Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home as well as any fixtures and fittings including fitted kitchens and bathroom suites. Contents insurance covers the items within your home, from furniture and electrical items to jewellery and clothing. An inventory is one of the most important documents you will have as a landlord and should always be carried out at the beginning and end of every tenancy as a means to safeguard your investment.


There is a legal obligation imposed on landlords in England and Wales to keep tenants’ deposits exclusively in one of the following government-approved deposit protection schemes: the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), MyDeposits and the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, there are a significant number of Acts of Parliament surrounding landlords in the private renting world but focus on the non-negotiables to ensure you start out fully compliant and then build your knowledge from there.

Jacobs Steel is an experienced, well-established estate and letting agency covering Littlehampton to Brighton. If you are considering transferring your portfolio to a new letting agent, or for free landlord advice, please get in touch.

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