Guide for Landlords
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.
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. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner.
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 Safery 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.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
It is a criminal offence to let Premises with upholstered furniture or soft furnishings containing foams that cannot be proven to comply with the above Regulations. You must remove any furniture that does not have a fire label attached to it. The Regulations require that specified items must be must be match resistant, cigarette resistant and carry a permanent label.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations
You are responsible for providing instruction books for all items of electrical equipment and for ensuring that all electrical appliances within the Premises comply with the above Regulations. You are required to supply an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) this needs to be carried out every five years. Smoke detectors need to be fitted to each floor of the property.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
It is a criminal offence to let Premises with gas appliances, installations and pipe-work that have not been checked by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. You will need to provide us with a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) carried out no more than twelve months previously. The GSC will need to be renewed at twelve monthly intervals. If we are managing the Premises we will arrange for a new GSC automatically at your expense if you do not provide us with a new one at least 5 working days before the existing one expires. If we are not managing the Premises it is the legal responsibility of the Landlord to arrange for the gas safety check and for a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate to be given to the Tenant annually. We have no liability if the Landlord fails to comply with the Regulations. Gas Safe now recommends that a carbon monoxide detector is installed in all properties.
Part “P” Building Regulations (Electrical Safety In Dwellings)
From January 1 2005 the above Regulations came into force requiring qualified personnel to carry out certain electrical work at premises. To ensure compliance with the Regulations we will only use a competent person to carry out any electrical work at the Premises. If the Landlord wishes to use his own contractor we will need written proof that he is currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme before issuing instructions. In the absence of such proof we will instruct our own contractor if managing the Premises.
Smoke Alarms And Carbon Monoxide Alarns
Under current legislation being the Building Regulations 1991 it is the law that all newly built premises from June 1992 must have mains fitted smoke alarms with battery back-up. Other properties also require smoke alarms by law. However if battery operated smoke alarms are fitted to the Premises the Landlord must ensure that the alarms are in working order at the start of a Tenancy. It is not the law that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted to premises unless the property has a solid fuel appliance. However we advise all landlords to consider the installation of alarms to protect the Occupier and help prevent any legal action being taken against a landlord.
Energy Performance Certificare (“EPC”)
All properties going on the market for letting must have an EPC. A copy must be given to the Tenant with written details or prior to the first viewing. We will arrange for an EPC to be carried out once we are instructed to market the property. The Premises cannot be marketed without an EPC as the first page must be provided to the applicant with written instructions.
In order to comply with the Health and Safety Executive's Code of Practice landlords are required to carry out a risk assessment at their premises prior to letting, providing they are competent to do so. Especially if there are open water tanks, cooling systems or a swimming pool. We request that a copy of any written risk assessment is provided upon instruction. We are also happy to arrange for a Legionnaires Risk Assessment to be carried out at your expense if requested.
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 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.
Appliances such as a washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc. should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless they are specifically excluded in the tenancy agreement or if 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, light fittings 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. 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.
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.
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