Thursday, 2 February 2017

Ask Andy – “What documents do I need for my Warrington property in order to move a tenant in?”

Landlord’s Question:
‘’Dear Andy,
I have just bought my first buy-to-let property in Warrington – a three bed semi detached in Great Sankey. I’ve done my research and know what tenants I can attract and what price I can expect per month for my property, but I’m confused as to what documents I need to rent my property out.
What documents and checks do I need to do before I move a tenant in?

Andy’s Answer
You’ve taken the first big leap of buying a property to let, but there are still more legal hurdles to jump when it comes to renting your house and making sure it is safe for a tenant to live in.
Some of the ones I’ve listed are legally required and help to ensure your tenant’s safety. Others are recommended as best practice.
Gas Safety Certificate
As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to instruct a Gas Safety registered engineer to carry out the checks and produce a certificate. You need to give this certificate to the tenant when they move in. You also need to make sure that you have a gas safety check done once a year thereafter.
Legionella Risk Assessment
Landlords are responsible for keeping properties safe and free from health hazards – including legionella. Legionella is a bacterium found in water which causes Legionnaires Disease (a pneumonia type of disease).
As a landlord, your responsibility is to have a competent person carry out a risk assessment to assess the risk of exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of your tenants. You can carry out the assessment yourself, but you must ensure you know what you are doing. It may be safest to use a contractor to carry this out if you are unsure, for the time being.
Energy Performance Certificate
This certificate is to check the energy efficiency of your property. They last for ten years and grade your property on their efficiency. You should have one from the sale of the property.
As of 1st April 2016, tenants can request consent from their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements to their properties if they follow a set process. Should this happen, you can’t reasonably refuse the request; however, the request should have no cost to the landlord (unless you agreed to pay towards the works).
From April 2018, your property will need to have a minimum rating of E, which means a lot of older and poorly insulated properties may struggle.
Electrical Certificates or PAT Tests
Electrical Certificates are not currently legally required of a landlord yet, but it is legally required that your electrical installations are safe when the tenancy begins and are in proper working order throughout the tenancy. It’s recommended that you have a professional carry out the electrical certificate every five years, or upon changing of tenants.
In single let residential property, there is no legal obligation to carry out a PAT test, but it may be something you wish to do if you have provided portable appliances. If you don’t have a PAT test or an electrical cert carried out, you should check that all your electrical installations are visually adequate (no cracks to sockets or burn marks, etc.).
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
At least one smoke alarm is required per floor of a property and you must carry out a check to ensure that the alarms installed are in proper working order on the day a new tenancy begins. Other than that, it is recommended that you follow manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to placement of the alarms.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms are only legally required where there is a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a log burner). As gas is not a solid fuel, there is no requirement, but they are recommended in close proximity to a gas boiler as best practice.

These are the legal (or recommended) documents which are required when letting your house as a single dwelling. As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when preparing your Warrington Property!
If you are looking for an agent with experience that can help you prepare your property and find the best tenants for it, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.
Email me on or give me a call on 01925 235 338. Pop in for a chat – we are based on 6 Bankside, Crosfield St, WA1 1UP. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.


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