Specialists in Lettings and Property Management
GENERAL MARKET ADVICE FOR LANDLORDS
It is important when letting your property to be aware of the rights and responsibilities that are created by this kind of agreement. As well as the legal responsibilities of becoming a landlord, there are several other areas that must be considered when letting your property.
THE GAS SAFETY (INSTALLATION & USE) REGULATIONS 1998 Under the above regulations, it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances and the fixed installation are maintained in good order and checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
THE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1994 The landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that the electrical installation and all appliances within the property are maintained in good order and regularly checked for safety by an appropriate registered engineer.
THE SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2015 The Landlord is legally responsible for installing and maintaining working smoke alarms on every floor of the property as well as carbon monoxide alarms in any room with a solid fuel combustion appliance. The Landlord is also responsible for ensuring that each alarm is in proper working order at the start of the tenancy and that all checks are documented.
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS (FIRE) (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1988 AND (AMENDMENT) 1993 All furniture in the property to be let must comply in all respects with the above Regulations.
MORTGAGE If your property is mortgaged or you have a loan secured on the property, then you should obtain written consent from your lender prior to commencing with the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us and they will often charge a fee for giving their consent for the letting to take place. In regard to mortgage payments, we recommend that these are always paid directly by you via standing order.
LEASEHOLD PROPERTY If you are a leaseholder you should check the terms of your lease and obtain the necessary written consent from the Freeholder or the Management Company for the building before letting your property.
INSURANCE You must ensure that you are suitably covered for letting your property under both your buildings and contents insurance by informing your insurance company of any proposed letting. It is also wise to inform them that you will be instructing a letting agent to manage the property if that is the case. Remember that failure to inform your insurers of such information may invalidate any policy that you hold. You will also need to make sure that your insurance policy covers you for public or third party liability. This covers claims against you arising from accidents due to defects at your property. There are several specialist insurance products available for landlords that cover, for example, any legal expenses incurred from taking legal action against a tenant.
RENTAL GUARANTEE SCHEME When you sign up to our full management service you automatically qualify for this excellent scheme that offers you the landlord total peace of mind in relation to the receipt of rents from your tenant. This service is free for the first 6 or 12 month term. Please advise us if you wish to extend this cover for a small one off fee.
COUNCIL TAX Every property in the UK has a yearly council tax rate that is calculated using the value of the property, the number of occupants and the financial status of those occupants. It is the responsibility of the tenant or tenants to pay council tax due on a property. There are exemptions and reductions available to single occupants and students upon application to the local council. As part of our service, we arrange for the transfer of council tax to the tenant and between successive tenants.
UTILITIES Under our tenancy agreements it is usually the responsibility of the tenant to arrange and pay for utility services such as gas, electricity, telephone and television licence. Unless you specify otherwise the tenant will also be responsible for paying for the supply of water to the premises. We will arrange for the transfer of utility accounts to the tenant and between tenants if your property is let again. Meter readings will be taken at the start and end of each tenancy allowing for closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. We will handle all these matters for you, but it is usual for telecommunication providers to require instructions direct from both the landlord and tenant. As landlord you are also responsible for all standing charges whilst the property is not subject to a tenancy agreement.
INCOME TAX If you reside in the UK then it is your responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of any rental income received and to pay any tax due on it. Before taking the decision to let your property, it is advisable to consult an accountant who can offer professional advice on tax matters. This will usually save you money in the long term. It is also useful to remember that income tax on rental incomes is charged on the profit received after the deduction of allowable expenses. If you are not residing in the UK during the tenancy then we, as your agents, are required to deduct basic rate tax from any rent we collect on your behalf. You can apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate depending on your current tax situation.
TENANCY AGREEMENT This is the legal document that specifies the terms and conditions that bind both landlord and tenant as parties to the agreement. It is effectively a contract between the landlord as owner of the rental property and the tenant for possession and use of the property in exchange for the payment of rent. We mostly produce Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements for our landlords and these usually begin with a fixed initial period of 6-12 months. We provide a comprehensive drafting service to make sure that your tenancy agreement covers every eventuality that may occur during the tenancy.
INVENTORY 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 you to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or its contents. In order to provide a complete service, we will arrange for the preparation of an inventory and schedule of condition.
PREPARING YOUR PROPERTY
thepropertyshop manage your property, and it is important that your tenant feels comfortable in their new home and feels that they are receiving value for their money. A well-maintained property in good decorative order will help towards a smooth-running tenancy. This will also have a positive impact in the form of a potentially higher rental figure. Moreover, we have found that tenants are more inclined to treat a nicely presented property with greater respect.
BUILDING AND STRUCTURAL CONDITION As landlord you are legally responsible to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property and keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation and for space and water heating. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established. Also, interior decorations should be in good clean condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED The majority of properties on the letting market are 'unfurnished'. A good working definition of this term is that it will usually include carpeting or flooring, curtains / blinds and a cooker. A 'partly furnished' property will usually contain the usual 'white good' kitchen appliances such as washing machine and fridge. We recommend that you leave only minimum furnishings and that these should be of reasonable quality. Any items to be left should be in the property during viewings. Personal possessions such as ornaments, pictures and books should definitely be removed from the premises, especially those of financial 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, if you have very high standards for your garden or if it is particularly large then you may wish for us to arrange visits by a regular gardener.
CLEANING 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 responsibility of the tenant to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at the tenant's expense.
INFORMATION FOR TENANT It is helpful to the Tenant if you leave a 'useful information' folder for them containing manuals and documentation for operating the central heating, hot water system, washing machine and any alarm system. It is also good to include details of when the refuse is collected.
KEYS You should provide one set of keys for each tenant, thepropertyshop will arrange to have duplicates cut as required and charge you accordingly, this can be taken from the first months rent.
We pride ourselves on customer service and taking that extra step to make you feel that your asset is being managed 100% stress free for you the Landlord, we are here to help and if you have any problems or concerns, then please contact us on 01262 228283 or Ring Ryan on 07968 366364, or pop into the shop/office 136 Quay Road, Bridlington.
An important part of thepropertyshop service is to provide as much information as possible to landlords that we work for. The info below covers some of the key areas.
Like every business, being a landlord requires paperwork, we handle as much of this for you as we legally can. The private rental sector can seem daunting at first but we try to make every part of it as easy as possible for you.
We ask landlords to complete and sign a thepropertyshop Agency Agreement when we receive an instruction to advertise and market their rental property (EPC and Landlord Registration also required prior to advertising).
Consent from mortgage provider
Should you have a mortgage on the property you intend to let then your mortgage provider must be made aware of this.
Tenants and landlords are required to sign a contract known as a Tenancy Agreement. If we manage the rental property for the landlord(s) then someone from thepropertyshop will sign the agreement on their behalf. The Agency Agreement signed by the landlord allows thepropertyshop to sign the Tenancy Agreement on their behalf.
we provide landlords with a monthly or quarterly statement (as per your requirements) that includes full financial details of their account. Landlords will receive this either by email or post depending on their stated preferences.
Tenants must inform the landlord/ letting agent of any change in circumstances that affect the original tenancy agreement. This could, for example, include a tenant swap or a new pet.
Prior to the end of a tenancy, and if a landlord wishes to continue to let the property, a tenancy extension letter must be sent to the current tenants who can then inform the landlord, or the letting agent, of their wish to renew their tenancy.
Tenants must be made aware of any rent increases in plenty time to allow them to make the decision of whether to renew the tenancy or not. thepropertyshop review rental valuations regularly to ensure landlords are achieving maximum rental income for their property.
An inventory records the contents and general condition of the accommodation and is agreed between the parties on or before the date of commencement of the tenancy. On signing the inventory the tenant agrees to replace or repair (or to pay the cost thereof) any of the contents and/or fabric listed which are destroyed, damaged, removed or lost during the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted.
A detailed inventory has always been a basic requirement when renting a property. However, with changes in legislation with regards to tenancy deposits the need for a thorough inventory is essential.
A professionally drawn up inventory protects landlords from any unwarranted disputes at the end of the tenancy. If there is no inventory or indeed an insufficient and outdated one, then the landlord will have no evidence of the condition of the property prior to the tenants moving in.
If you are unable to provide documented evidence of any damage caused this means you will not be in a strong enough position to make a claim, should the tenant dispute the matter.
thepropertyshop offer landlords this provision of a property inventory; we will video eveidence and paperevidence the contents and state of repair of the property before commencement of the tenancy begins which will all be digitally recorded and saved for future evidence.
Periodic Tenancy Visit
Property visits are carried out once every 6 months and involve a thepropertyshop arranging a visit to ensure the tenants are looking after the property. Landlords can also request more frequent visits at an additional charge. If, in the opinion of the agent, the occupants are not taking proper care of the property the agent will inform the tenant, copying such information to the landlord, and thepropertyshop will enforce the tenancy.
Repairs & Maintenance
As always, there is a chance that your property will be affected by maintenance issues during a tenancy.
thepropertyshop has close working relationships with a number of local contractors and we ensure that competitive prices are achieved for all repairs and maintenance work. thepropertyshop operate a fully transparent price policy with no hidden costs.
We also understand that different landlords will have different preferences with regarding consent to repairs. You can read more about repairs and maintenance in our Landlord information Pack - it's free to download and you get some free information on how to rent your property!
Tenancy Deposit scheme
All your deposits are put in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme so
Property Redress Scheme
The Property Redress Scheme adds value to the services we provide, it gives you the landlord peace of mind, that if you do have a complaint, it can be resolved by an independent third party who have experience in dealing with consumer complaints.
LEGAL AND SAFETY COMPLIANCE
A number of legal obligations extend to residential property letting. Landlords who choose thepropertyshop, Full Property Management Service benefit from on-going compliance services where relevant safety and compliance records are retained by thepropertyshop on their behalf.
Landlords who do not choose our Full Management Service are required to warrant that they accept full responsibility for legal and safety compliance at all times.
Legal and safety compliance requirements are fully detailed in our Free Landlord information Pack and are also provided below:
If there is a mortgage on the rental property you are required to inform your mortgage provider of the intention to let.
Where properties are fitted with any form of gas appliance or gas heating system, the landlord must, by law, hold a current Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate for the property in question. This certificate must be renewed on an annual basis.
Landlords must obtain Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Test (PAT) electrical safety certificates if not already obtained or renew certificates if they have expired. An EICR is required every 3 years - or after 7 years if the property is a new build and supported with the relevant certificates relating to new property. A PAT is required every year.
Energy performance certificate
From 4th January 2009 landlords are now required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when letting a property. This only applies to new tenancies – landlords do not need to hold an EPC for properties which were already let prior to 4th January 2009 until the tenancy changes. EPC renewals are required once every 10 years.
Furniture and fire safety regulations
All furniture and furnishings must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993). Relevant furniture and furnishings should include a label to indicate compliance.
Where not already fitted, landlords must provide hard-wired smoke detection. There is a minimum requirement of 1 detector per floor of accommodation. Multiple detectors must also be interconnected. Smoke alarms must be checked on an annual basis.
Additional gas safety
A Carbon Monoxide detector may be required if the property is fitted with any gas appliances. CO detectors must be checked on an annual basis.
Additional fire safety
Landlords must provide a Fire Blanket where there is not one already present.
As your letting agent thepropertyshop will be happy to talk you though every aspect of legal and safety compliance that applies to landlords . Please visit our contact page if you have any questions.
TAX AND INSURANCE
Landlords living within the UK must declare all rental income received on their annual tax return.
Landlords living out-with the UK and receiving rental income must register with the Inland Revenue as a Non-Resident Landlord. If you plan on becoming a Non-Resident Landlord you can visit the HMRC website for more information.
Some insurance companies do not provide cover for rented properties. Landlords must therefore make sure that their insurance company is aware that the property is let.