Before a property can be let, there are several matters which the owner will need to deal with to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that he/she complies with the law. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us:
IMPORTANT NOTE: The new Tenancy Deposit Scheme will commence on the 6th of April. Please see our News tab for further details.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We are happy to assist with this if required.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. You should inform your local collection office that you are leaving the property. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner. When unoccupied but furnished, the charge is 50% of the normal rate. When unoccupied and ‘substantially’ unfurnished, there is no charge for the first six months, and thereafter a charge of 50% of the normal rate.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete service to the landlord, we will arrange for an inventory clerk to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, the cost of which is deducted from the first months rent.
When the landlord is resident in the UK, it is entirely his responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. However, where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under new rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as landlord’s agents are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
IMPORTANT SAFETY REGULATIONS
The following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (the landlord), and where we are to manage the property, they are also ours as agents. Therefore to protect all interests we ensure full compliance with the appropriate regulations, at the owner’s expense.
Gas Appliances & Equipment
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1996) and some other regulations, all gas appliances in tenanted premises must be checked for safety at intervals of not more than 12 months, by a CORGI registered gas engineer, and a safety certificate issued. Records must be kept of the dates of inspections, of defects identified, and of any remedial action taken.
Electrical Appliances & Equipment
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P’, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no specific legal requirement for a qualified electrician to carry out an inspection and issue a safety certificate (as exists in the case of gas appliances), it is the landlords responsibility to ensure that all electrical appliances supplied with let accommodation are safe. This applies to new and second hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the Tenant. It is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
Furniture & Furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, and beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows, and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Therefore all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1.3.90 from a reputable supplier are also likely to comply.
PREPARING THE PROPERTY FOR LETTING
We have found from experience that a good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers the relationship part is our job, but it is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. This is your job. Our policy of offering a service of quality and care therefore extends to our tenant applicants too, and we are pleased to recommend properties to rent which conform to certain minimum standards. Quality properties attract quality tenants.
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established.
Similarly, appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc. should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established.
Interior decorations should be in good condition, and preferably plain, light and neutral.
It is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings, and these should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items to be left are in the property during viewings. If you are letting unfurnished, we recommend that the property contains carpets, curtains, and a cooker.
Personal items, ornaments etc
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant’s own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish-free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard. However, few tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange maintenance visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the tenant’s responsibility to leave the property in similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office redirection service. Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal. It is not the tenant’s responsibility to forward mail.
Information for the tenant
Information should be left for the tenant on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant and one for ourselves as Managing Agents when a property is serviced under Full Management. We do not require keys for our Rent Collection or Tenant Find services other than to facilitate viewings until the property is let.