It’s important to remember when buying a property, subject to a tenant (an assured shorthold tenant (AST)) that the Right to Rent Regulations have been complied with. These regulations require certain checks to be carried out by a landlord, before granting a tenancy. These include supplying an energy performance certificate, a gas safety certificate and a ‘How to Rent’ guide produced by the Government, together with information on the protection of the tenancy deposit. In addition, immigration checks must be carried out. Failing to comply may mean a landlord has to return the deposit to the tenant, along with a penalty of between 1 and 3 times the value of the deposit. It is therefore essential that the above documentation is supplied to a tenant and of course an enquiry made of the seller / landlord when buying a property with a tenant.
Licence requirements may also be necessary for multiple occupation (HMOs), such properties as homes which:
- Have three or more storeys;
- Are occupied by five or more people; and
- Are occupied by people living in more than one household.
Again, when buying you must ensure that all necessary licences are available, a new application being required by a new owner.
Legislation has introduced a new form of licencing for residential properties enabling local authorities to designate areas as subject to selective licences (called Private Rented Property Licences). These licences are used in central London mainly and it is not uncommon for a purchaser to acquire a buy to let property without appreciating the administrative and financial burden of obtaining such a licence.