If you want to rent out a property to tenants, it is tempting to just get on and do it.
Many landlords do just that – advertise the property to let and use a tenancy agreement they have downloaded for free on the internet.
However, this is not a good idea.
Renting property is heavily regulated and amateur landlords can easily break the law and find themselves in hot water – without being aware of this until too late.
The very worst story I know is that of the landlord whose tenant re-connected a condemned gas boiler – with tragic consequences. This would never have happened if the gas appliances had been inspected annually as should have been done under the Gas Regulations – but she did not know about them.
Other problems can rebound on you – for example being unable to evict your tenant because you have not dealt with the tenancy deposit properly or being prosecuted because you have not obtained an HMO licence.
So how can landlords educate themselves about the very stringent legal duties and obligations they will need to comply with once they start renting properties to tenants? Here are some suggestions
1 Read a book
This is probably the best place to start. One of the very best books is David Lawrenson’s book Successful Property Letting: How to Make Money in Buy-to-Let
I also have a book published by Lawpack The Complete Guide to Residential Letting: The Smart Landlord’s Guide to Renting Out Property now in about its 11th Edition
There is also my Short Guide for Landlords
A search on Amazon will find other books you can read.
2. Join or follow an online landlords community
There are quite a few, for example
- This blog has posts most days on landlord law and practice
- Property Tribes is a highly respected landlords forum run by property investors Nick Tadd and Vanessa Warwick
- Landlord Referencing has a lively forum area, as does
- Property 118 is another place where you will find a lot of help, and finally
3. Join a Landlords Association
You will also learn a lot by attending the meetings and talking to other landlords – the NLA for example often holds local branch meetings.
Depending on where you are, you may also find there is a local Landlords Association, for example in East Anglia there is the Eastern Landlords Association, and in the south, there is the Southern Landlords Association.
4 Attend some training courses
As mentioned above, most of the landlord associations provide training courses for their members.
5. Join my Landlord Law service.
This has online resources such as tenancy agreements and forms, articles and FAQ on law and practice and you can ask me questions in the members’ discussion forum. You can find out about the service for landlords here.
Having done a bit of training, you need to keep it up. Things change. New laws come into force. The perfectly proper advice given in that training course in 2012 may be wholly inaccurate in 2015.
For example, the law and accepted advice on tenancy deposits seems to change every time a case gets to the Court of Appeal.
So make sure you take steps to keep up to date with what is happening. Signing up to get the Landlord Law Blog posts emailed to you is one way to do this.
But make sure you do something!