Accidental landlords run regulatory risks, says Paragon

Would-be sellers turned landlords run the risk of letting out their properties without understanding rental regulations, claims Paragon Mortgages.

Dubbed ‘accidental landlords,’ investors who let out their property to avoid selling at a loss risk fines or even prison if they don’t comply with legislation, Paragon has warned.

Inadequate deposit protection or no gas safety or energy performance certificate are just some of the areas where an unwitting landlord can face action.

John Heron, managing director of Paragon, says: “‘The onus is on the landlord to make sure they comply with all regulations as they are liable if something goes wrong, even if they employ the services of a letting or managing agent.

“Ignorance of legislation is not a defence.”

He adds: “Owner occupiers could contravene their mortgage conditions if their lender does not know they are letting their property, which could have a knock-on impact on tenants if the property was repossessed.”

Heron suggests that whatever the landlord’s experience, the answer lies in understanding what the legal requirements are.

He advises membership of an organisation like the National Landlords Association as well as using the services of a professional letting agent, ideally one that is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents.