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Landlord obligations when letting to students

As a student landlord, you are obliged by law to adhere to rules and regulations that ensure your student accommodation is safe and the service you provide to tenants is fair.

In this article, we look at some of the key rules and regulations surrounding student accommodation and student letting.

What is a student house?

Most students spend their first year at university living in halls of residence, which are often found on the university campus.

Afterwards, many students move on to cheaper off-campus student accommodation.

While there are several different types of private student accommodation to choose from, the most common type is student houses owned by private landlords.

Most landlords letting a house to students are required to apply for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence.

This is required if the student house is going to be shared by three or more tenants from different households.

What responsibilities are imposed by law on a student landlord?

Listed below are what we believe to be some of the most important responsibilities of student landlords.

Ensure the property is fire safe

It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their student accommodation is safe and free from hazards. This includes ensuring the property meets all relevant fire safety regulations. Student houses should be fitted with smoke alarms on every floor and all furniture and furnishings should be fire safe. Larger HMOs should also be equipped with a fire extinguisher.

Arrange regular safety checks for gas appliances and electrical equipment

It is the landlord’s responsibility to arrange for gas appliances and boilers to be serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The property’s electrical system should also be checked for safety by a professional once every five years. Landlords should provide their tenants with a copy of the valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Gas Safety certificate when they first move into the property.

Use a government-approved deposit scheme

Most landlords take a deposit at the start of a tenancy to give them some financial protection if the tenant causes damage to the property or misses rent payments. The Housing Act 2004 states that landlords must place tenant deposits into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it. The landlord is also obliged to provide the tenant with the details of the scheme that their deposit is in.

Register with the ICO

Landlords are required to obtain their tenant’s personal details and keep them on file. This requirement classes them as a ‘data controller’ which means they must ensure that they are following the principles of GDPR (general data protection regulation) and register with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Perform right-to-rent checks

All landlords, regardless of whether they let to students or not, must carry out a right-to-rent check on all new tenancies. This involves asking to see the relevant identity documents that prove the tenant’s right to rent. Student landlords should also ask to see a letter from the tenant’s university confirming their registration with the university and place on a course. Landlords should make a copy of the documentation that they see to keep on file.

Carry out property repairs and maintenance

It is the landlord’s responsibility to carry out any repairs to the property’s structure, pipes, wiring, heating, hot water, and bathroom fixtures. Repairs and maintenance should be carried out as soon as possible, particularly if they pose a threat to the tenant’s health, security, or well-being.

Provide tenants with notice before visiting

Landlords are obliged to always provide student tenants with at least 24 hours’ notice if they plan to visit the property for any reason and should not show up unannounced.

How can Student Haus help with student tenancies?

Student lets can be lucrative, but they are also subject to more complex rules and regulations than regular buy-to-lets.

If you require any help or advice getting set up as a student landlord or running your student let, particularly if you have never been a landlord before, you could benefit from the student landlord services that we offer here at Student Haus.

We offer a let-only or a fully managed service, allowing landlords to choose a level of support that suits their requirements and budget.

We have already helped numerous student landlords throughout North West towns and cities including Liverpool, Salford, and Bolton to get the best returns from their investments.

For further information about any of our services or advice about landlord regulations, give our team a call on 0161 694 6427.