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Landlords' Information

If you currently own residential property that you are interested in renting out, please do consider giving us a call. You'll find us to be professional and reliable, in addition to being cost-effective. We specialise solely in lettings & property management and after many years experience, we know how to manage a property to get the best from it. Smooth running tenancies are our main focus as is compliance at all times with the varied landlord/tenant regulations. Maximise the return on your investment - contact us now.

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Useful Info. for Landlords

Before a property can be let, there are several matters the owner needs to deal with to ensure they are both fully compliant with current law and giving the tenancy the very best chance of running smoothly. Please have a look at the summary of information below and if you require further advice or assistance with any of the points noted please do not hesitate to contact us:

Preparing the Property

We have found time and again that a good relationship with the Tenant is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As property managers this relationship is our biggest job, but it is important too that the Tenants feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and well maintained property in good decorative order will be the basis of this, whilst also achieving a fair rental amount. Tenants are also more inclined to treat a well managed and well cared for property with a much greater respect.

General Condition

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, clean condition and preferably neutral colours.

Furnishings

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 as well as any items and appliances provided.

Personal Items

Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. All cupboards, shelf space and storage areas should be left clear for the Tenant's own use.

Gardens

Gardens should be left neat and tidy and any grass 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 place particular value on your garden, please consider retaining the services of a regular gardener. This is a service that we can arrange for you should you require it.

Cleaning

At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition. 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, general cleaning would then be arranged at their expense.

Keys

You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing the property we will also require one full set.

Other Considerations

Mortgage

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.

Leaseholds

If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.

Insurance

You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance as failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies.

Council Tax Liability and Utility Services

We will arrange for the transfer of council tax and all 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 with the exception of British Telecom as this will require direct instruction from both the Landlord and the Tenant.

Income Tax

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 please contact HMRC for latest advice.

The Inventory

It is vital that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared before a new tenancy begins in order to avoid misunderstandings or any dispute at the end of the 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 arrange for an Inventory to be completed by ATD as part of our service,.

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST), provided the rent is under 25,000 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.

Health and Safety, and other Legal Requirements

The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are managing the property they also then become jointly our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing a property we must do everything possible to ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the Landlord. In addition to the items detailed below recent concerns regarding Legionnaires Disease have prompted more care to be taken regarding the safety of water systems and as such we will require a Legionnaires risk assessment to be undertaken before taking on the management of a property.

Gas

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 within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a Gas Safe registered gas installer).

Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework 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.

Electrical

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', or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.

Fire

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, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.

Energy Performance Certificates

Landlords offering property for rent are required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for their property.

The EPC once obtained remains valid for 10 years and does not have to be reviewed with each new let. In order to comply with current legislation you are required to obtain an EPC for your property before it is marketed as none compliance can result in a fine.

For further information visit: communities.gov.uk

Smoke Alarms

All properties built since June 1992 are 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, 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 ensure the Landlord fits at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas) and a CO detector if recommended by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

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. For further information visit the HHSRS.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

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. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents are be able to choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. Learn more here: TDS.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005

The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people's rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and commonhold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises. Learn more here: DDA Factsheet

Buildings Insurance

Generally covers the following items:- rebuilding of your property following loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons (including tenants), accidental damage to bathroom fixtures; fittings and glass, lightning, explosion, collision or impact, falling trees and earthquake, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage and loss of rent up to 20% of the sum insured following damage. Specific policies for Landlords will also usually include property owner's liability.

Contents Insurance / Limited Contents Cover

Where a property is let unfurnished or part furnished cover can be on a new for old basis for loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons, lightning, explosion, impact, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage, breakage of mirrors or glass in furniture. Carpets, Curtains, Light fittings and kitchen appliances. Replacement of locks following theft of keys, and loss of rent up to a given percentage of the sum insured following damage. Specific policies for Landlords will also include Landlord's liability cover.

We hope that you will find the above information useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please just ask! We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.