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. We provide summarised Information below. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Preparing the Property
We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship 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. It follows therefore that a well presented and maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
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 Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
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, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants’ responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. 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. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
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 any necessary written consent before letting.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before he can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.
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, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.
What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), provided the rent is under £100,000 a year and the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 to 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order.
Health and Safety and other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.
Booklet “How To Rent: The Checklist For Renting” The Property
Update: 25/09/2015. New regulations come into force on the 1st of October 2015. They introduce new obligations on landlords to provide specific information to their tenants, and restrictions on the use of the Section 21 Notice.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) new regulations introduce new obligations on landlords to provide specific information to their tenants, and restrictions on the use of the section 21 Notice no fault possession procedure if they fail to do so.
The new regulations will only apply to new tenancies from 1st October 2015, and then to all tenancies from October 1st 2018.
From 01/10/2015 landlords will become responsible for giving tenants a booklet called “How to rent: the checklist for renting”.
For more information please contact one of our representatives.
Annual safety check
Annual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must be maintained in a safe condition at all times, records kept for at least 2 years, and a copy of the safety certificate given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences.
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
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 legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs) 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’, is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, 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, and certain other items. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties (except HMOs), it is generally considered that the common law ‘duty of care’ means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 come into force on 1st October 2015. Landlords and managing agents may be liable to a £5000 fine if they fail to comply. The new legislation requires that all landlords must install a working smoke alarm on every floor of a property as well as carbon monoxide detectors in rooms where solid fuel appliances are present.
For more information please speak to one of our representatives.
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules will apply.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities.
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
All deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.
Tenancy deposit protection – prescribed information
Legislation requires that certain information must be given to the tenant within 28 days of a deposit being taken. Whether you use the DPS, or the TDSL scheme, only some of the information is provided to the tenants by the scheme administration. The remainder must be provided by the landlord.
A special ‘Tenancy Deposit – Prescribed Information’ form has been designed for this purpose, and a copy is available from this agency.
It is very important that the form is completed fully and accurately, and that you attach to it a printed version of the relevant scheme’s Terms and Conditions. These can be downloaded from their respective websites on the following links, depending on which scheme you use:
It is also important that under Paragraph 7 of the form you include the exact terms in the tenancy agreement that permit deductions from the deposit.
It is recommended that a signed copy of the form is given to each tenant individually. You should also retain a single copy signed by every tenant, in order to prove that the information has been given. So where there are say 4 tenants, you need 5 copies.
Be sure to comply with the above requirements fully and accurately, because penalties to the landlord for non-compliance can be heavy.
Where we are providing our Full Letting & Management Service will handle all of this for you as part of our service.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
From October 2010, the Equality Act replaced much of the Disability Discrimination Act of 2005. However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply. These Acts define disabled people’s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let. Landlords and managers of let/to let premises are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (EPC’s)
Since 1st October 2008 landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent are required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. In Scotland EPCs for rental properties have been required since January 2009. The certificates must be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted. An EPCs is valid for 10 years. We can arrange an EPC inspection for our landlord clients upon request.
Please note that we cannot market your property to let until we have in our possession a valid EPC for the property.
The above is a brief summary of landlords’ responsibilities and of the laws surrounding tenanted property. We hope that you find it useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property. If you wish you can print this page by using your browser Print option.
Our aim is to find you the perfect property to suit your requirements with the minimum of hassle.
Finding a property
The first step is to contact us to provide brief details about yourself and about the accommodation you require. We then search our database for suitable properties for you to view. If not urgent, we log your details so that we can contact you as suitable properties become available. It is wise to start looking about a month before you wish to move, as the nicer properties are viewed and reserved quickly. Our tenancies are granted for a minimum term of 6 months, which may be renewed if all parties are in agreement.
- To view our selection of available properties to let please use the Property Search boxes on the right
- To register your requirements please click on the Register tab above.
Please note that for your safety and peace of mind –
- All of our managed properties are Gas Safe certificated, and inspected for electrical safety, and furniture fire safety
- All Tenancy Deposits (bonds) are held in accordance with the Deposit Protection Regulations.
Viewings will be arranged at times to suit you, including evenings and weekends, and you will invariably be accompanied by a member of staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have.
Fees to tenants
Upon reserving a property, applicants will be required to pay our annual agency fee. Two bedroom properties (and under) the fee is 50% of the monthly rental. These charges cover our administration costs. These charges are non-refundable.
As a minimum we will require satisfactory references from your employer (or college), a previous or current landlord, and a credit reference report.
We also require a guarantor, we may use the services of an independent referencing company to obtain and evaluate these references.
Rents are normally quoted calendar monthly, and payable monthly in advance. The tenant is responsible for Council Tax, Water Rates, Gas, Electricity, TV Licence, Broadband and Telephone costs. All rents are payable by bank standing order to our company bank account or your landlord’s bank account.
A security deposit of a minimum of one month’s rental will normally be required. This deposit will be treated in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Protection regulations, and you will be provided with the appropriate prescribed information and receive details regarding the scheme used. The deposit is held to cover damage, breakages, and any other liabilities under the terms of your tenancy agreement. Please note that under no circumstances can the deposit be used by the tenant to cover rent.