Landlord’s Guide

How to become a landlord

Lettings can be a minefield to navigate, with regulations existing around every corner.  It can be hard to keep track. At Complete Estate Agents, we’ve been helping landlords and tenants for many years, so feel free to ask us anytime if you need help. Read on for our landlords guide and what you need to consider if you would like to rent out a property.

These are the main things you need to know:

Landlord’s responsibility

Repairs and maintenance are usually a landlord’s expense unless it can be established that a tenant has misused a property.

Preparing your property

Present and hand over your property to new tenant’s as you would expect it to be returned to you. Tenant’s like neutral décor and features and will expect a property to be thoroughly cleaned and free from any maintenance issues.

Right-to-Rent checks

We will carry out the legally required Right-to-Rent checks which ensure tenants renting a property in the UK have a legal right to be here.


You must keep the exterior and structure of the property in good repair. This includes heating, drains, gutters, external pipes, and installations for gas, electricity, water and sanitation.


You must ensure all furniture and soft furnishings comply with current fire regulations. You need to remove items from the property which do not comply or where you can’t find evidence of compliance. We can advise you of the exclusions to this legislation.

Housing, health and safety rating system (HHSRS)

The HHSRS allows local authorities to assess the condition of a property and any potential hazards. The aim is to maintain good standards in the private rented sector. We can help you understand how this legislation may apply to your property.

Gas safety certificates

Any gas appliances, including boilers, hobs and fires, must have an annual inspection and Gas Safety Certificate provided by a registered GAS SAFE engineer. This inspection and certificate must be completed before any tenancy starts and renewed annually on or before the previous certificate’s renewal date.

Electrical safety testing

As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring that all the electrical equipment in your property is safe. It is now law for all rental properties to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in place before any tenancy starts. This certificate is renewable every five years unless specified to be sooner within the report.

Portable appliance testing (PAT)

If you leave any appliances (that are not hard-wired) at the property, these will need to be PAT tested annually and before any tenancy starts.

Appliances and furnishings

If you supply appliances and furnishings with the property, you must ensure that these meet current regulations. Any appliances that are not hardwired into the property must be PAT tested annually and on each change of tenancy. If you are supplying soft furnishings, you must ensure that they comply with fire regulations by providing visible safety labels.

You must ensure that all instruction manuals and operating instructions for appliances are left at the property for the tenants’ use. This is especially important for central heating and hot water systems, but also for cookers, washing machines, fridge-freezers, gas fires and other appliances.

Water supply and Legionella

Landlords are obliged to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled. As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining a low-risk water supply to the property. Therefore, it is advised to have a legionnaires risk assessment carried out.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide alarms

It is a legal requirement for one smoke alarm to be fitted to each storey of your property. These smoke alarms must be tested (and deemed working) at the start of the tenancy.

Any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance, e.g. log burner, must contain a carbon monoxide alarm within 5 meters of the appliance. A carbon monoxide alarm is also advised where there is any gas appliance, e.g. boiler/gas hob, and the legislation is due to change in 2022 to reflect this, whereby carbon monoxide alarms will also become mandatory.

Fire regulations

Just like employers, landlords have specific legal obligations regarding fire safety, the protection of their properties and the safety of people who reside in their premises. However, it is not as simple as ensuring that there is a fire extinguisher to hand – fire safety largely depends on the potential risks and the layout of the building.

Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all areas of their properties. This process will identify fire hazards, who is at risk, and decide if anything needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.

Energy performance certificate (EPC)

Your property will need a valid EPC which is a report that details the property’s energy efficiency, which must have a rating of E or above. An EPC must be in place when marketing commences.

There are some exemptions, including listed properties; however, if you believe your property is exempt, please speak to a member of our team who will advise you on how to apply for an exemption. It is your responsibility as the landlord to register your property as exempt with proof of the exemption with your local authority.

The government is due to announce a further progression to this law whereby all properties must reach a Rating of C or above. This legislation is expected to be introduced for all new tenancies in 2026 and all tenancies from 2028.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

A HMO is an entire flat or house that is let to 3 tenants or more who live as two households or more and share a kitchen, a bathroom and/or a toilet. HMO standards and obligations differ in all locations. Information should be sought from the local council which will advise if your property requires a license or not and what obligations you have to ensure your property meets regulations.

read more (Teignbridge BC)


We will register your tenants’ deposits with a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which we must do by law. This:

  • prevents landlords from unfairly holding onto tenants’ deposits
  • Provides an independent resolution should a dispute arise between tenant and landlord
  • Gives all parties confidence that deposits are protected by a licensed organisation, safeguarding deposits against rogue landlords, tenants, and agents.

We will compare the property at the end of a tenancy with the ‘Inventory & Schedule of Condition’. Any dilapidations allowing for ‘fair wear and tear’ can be claimed against the tenant’s deposit.

Most often, any discrepancy is settled amicably, with help from Complete. However, should a dispute arise that cannot be settled amicably, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has a process laid out to adjudicated. We can explain more about this process, should the need arise.


Your responsibility as a landlord is to ensure that your property and any of your contents are fully insured against fire, flood, theft and damage. As a minimum every landlord should take out Buildings Insurance for their property. There are also specialist rent and legal protection policies available.


Mortgages can vary and if you have not got a specialist buy to let mortgage you will be required to have consent to let from your mortgage lender before any tenancy commences.

Income tax

The income you gain from your rental property is subject to income tax, just like your normal earnings. This applies whether you live in the UK or abroad. HMRC require each individual landlord to declare their rental income using a self-assessment tax return. There are also some landlord expenses that you can offset and we suggest speaking to an experienced accountant regarding your property income.

Non-UK-resident landlords

If you live for more than six months outside of the UK, we are required by law to deduct basis rate tax from the rent that we receive on your behalf, and we pay this directly to HMRC.

However, you can apply to have rent paid to you without tax being deducted under the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme. You will need to log onto the HMRC website to complete this application and you will need to quote our reference number: 904/NA054320 

We advise that you complete this as soon as possible as we will be required to deduct tax from your rental income until we receive your NRL1 form back from HMRC.

Client Money Protection

Complete Property are protected by UKALA Total Loss Client Money Protection Scheme (CMP).

We hope our landlords guide has covered any questions you might have, but please feel free to give your local branch a call if you’d like to know any more.

Click to see our Tenant and landlord’s fees, or to visit the .GOV website for more information about renting out a property.

How much is your home worth?

Get your free instant online property valuation.