Being a landlord requires you to have certain legal responsibilities. Your tenants must be assured that their right to live in your property is protected by a legally binding tenancy agreement/contract and that their deposit is correctly secured.
The most popular is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). This agreement gives the tenants of your property the legal right to live in the property for a fixed duration or rolling term (normally 6-12 months). It will also detail how much rent is required by the tenant during that time, confirm who is responsible for repairs, if and/or when rent can be increased, how long the tenancy lasts, eviction clauses and the tenant's right to have their deposit protected.
Deposit protection schemes are a legal requirement in the UK. If either yourself or your letting agent doesn’t provide one, it is likely you will be fined. There are 2 types of government-backed deposit schemes, insurance and custodial.
Insurance scheme: the landlord or agent holds the deposit and pays interest to the insurer. These are available through the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Custodial option: where the rental deposit is paid directly into the deposit protection scheme, which is free-of-charge. Each scheme comes with an independent resolution service to iron out problems between landlords and tenants should they arise.
Other landlord responsibilities include:
Ensuring a safe property for tenants to live in
Dealing with property structure and exterior repairs
Making sure that the gas and electrics are certified safe
Maintaining the heating and water systems
Making sure fire safety regulations in any furniture or fittings are correct
Providing certain paperwork required by law