To become Landlord for the first time is always a daunting experience. To help you prepare for Tenants letting your property here are some practice things you have got to know.
As an overview UK Landlords have a number of responsibilities, to include:
repairs to the structure and exterior of the asset
repairs to heating and hot water installations
repairs to sinks, baths and other sanitary installations
safety of air and electrical appliances that you supply
fire safety of furniture and furnishings that you supply
provision of an Electrical power Performance Certificate for the property
protection of your Tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme
Consent to Lease
It may be an objective buy-to-let investment property or it may be your own home. Either way as the owner of this property if your current mortgage is a commercial contract you will need to contact your lender and ask permission for the lender to "consent to lease". Most lenders might happily agree to this, but some may ask for conditions to be attached. Failure to do this is a breach of your mortgage fine print and could lead to the lender terminating your agreement.
Type of Property
Your Landlord obligations can vary depending on the type of property you will be letting. In particular if you are letting rooms or flats within a single property this may be considered a House in Multiple Career (HMO). This being the case you may need to apply for a licence. Regardless of the type of property as a Landlord you must keep your rented buildings safe and free from health hazards and comply with all relevant health and safety requirements.
Health and Safety
Gas Safety Certificates are required for legal reasons and must be annually re-certified. All gas appliances within the property must be tested and approved by a gas protection registered engineer - formerly Corgi. This is to ensure that no appliances or heaters are leaking carbon monoxide, that's undetectable in the environment of the home. This is critically important as tragic results can occur and you as a Landlord would be in charge. You should keep inspection records for at least two years and give copies of the reports to your existing Tenants within 29 days of each check. You should also give copies to new Tenants before they move in. Failure to obtain a Gas Protection Certificate at its extreme may result in loss of life, prosecution, an unlimited fine and imprisonment.
Landlords are responsible for the safety of electrical appliances. A qualified electrician can provide the required tests. At the beginning of each new tenancy, it's best to ensure that electrical installations are safe and well maintained. Any electrical appliances you supply to Tenants (cookers, toasters, kettles etc) should be safe for them to use. As a Landlord you should carry out regular inspections of fixed electro-mechanical installations every five years. You should also arrange, at least once a year, for a qualified electrician to carry out portable appliance testing (PAT); a safety test on all portable electrical equipment you provide for Tenants, such as kettles. The PAT tester will give you a dated certificate and put stickers on the plugs of appliances to show that they are safe.
Energy Effectiveness Certificates (EPCs) are required by law when any residential or commercial property is either sold or rented. A great EPC provides information on a building's energy efficiency shown on a sliding scale from 'A' (very efficient) to help 'G' (least efficient). The EPC also contains a recommendations report showing how you could improve the rating and get the property more attractive to Tenants. The EPC is valid for ten years and can be used for all new Tenants in the period.
Depending on the age and type of your The Avenir it may be a legal requirement to have smoke alarms fitted. In the case of Several Occupation (HMOs) for example , there is a requirement for Landlords to supply a mains operated interlinked smoke alarm system. In the case of older sole family rental properties, technically there is no legal requirement for Landlords to provide a smoke alarm. However , it is strongly encouraged that Landlords do provide at least a battery operated smoke alarm or alarms in their rented properties. The place Landlords do provide battery operated smoke alarms they should have a clause in the agreement making it clear that it is that Tenant's responsibility to check their operation and replace the batteries as and when necessary.
Some companies can provide each of those EPC's and Gas Certificates.
Marketing your property to find Tenants
Deciding on the rental income you think the property can achieve can be carried out by looking at similar properties for rent in your area or looking on-line at property listing sites. You may prefer to engage a traditional letting agent who will value and market the property for you. More Landlords these days are turning to on line letting agents to find Tenants for them, because they offer tremendous value for money in comparison to traditional agents. Of course the Landlord must take on a bit more work, but all services from managing a property to inventory check-ins can be arranged through on the internet agents at very competitive rates.
Viewings can be done by an agent or by the Landlord. The advantage of this is that you really get to meet the Tenants in person and this can provide re-assurance and peace of mind. Some agents offer a virtual viewing service the place they will attend your property, make a short video of the key features and post the video in a YouTube trend format on their site. Tenants can then view your property at any time from the comfort of their own computer.
It can be now much easier to deal with all the legal aspects of letting with a lot of good free advice for Landlords on the Internet, get hold of direct. gov. uk. A tenancy agreement is a property rental agreement, which is a legal agreement in writing that packages out the rights and responsibilities of both Landlord and Tenant in a contract. Landlords can either find the money for a solicitor, estate or letting agent to draft a tenancy agreement, although it is possible to obtain free tenancy agreements and do them yourself. A tenancy agreement as a minimum should include:
the names of all people included
the rental price
the deposit amount and how it will be protected
the property address
the start and end day of the tenancy
any Tenant or Landlord obligations
which bills the Tenant is responsible for
how to pay the purchase
whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
who is responsible for minor repairs
whether the property may be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers
Tenant Deposit Scheme
Deposits by law have to be registered with an correct holding scheme or indemnity scheme within 14 days of the tenancy commencing. This is a legal responsibility for the Landlord. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is free to use and offers very comprehensive dispute mediation if this should occur.
Tenant Credit Test
As a Landlord you will want to make sure that Tenants can pay their bills. The best indicator to find out if Tenants are financially capable to pay their rent is to obtain an assessment of their credit rating. Agents can do this as well as facilitating bank recommendations, employment references and personnel references, although the best assessment will be a credit check report.
It is strongly suggested that Inventory check-ins and check-outs are done. Another top tip is to have the property professionally cleaned prior to the Tenant moves in and they can pay to also have it professionally cleaned when they move out. This tends to avoid any sort of disagreement over how clean the property is expected to be.
Full Property Management
You may want to manage the property yourself, people may wish for this to be done by a third party. Full property management services can be responsible for monthly rent collections together with any maintenance or repairs that may be required during the tenancy. This is especially helpful if the Landlord lives a long travel time from the property or is abroad.
Ending a tenancy
Landlords can end an assured shorthold tenancy everytime usually after six months, but so as long as any agreed fixed term has ended. There is usually a a few months' written notice period for the Tenant of the date you want the tenancy to end.
If a tenant refuses to give, you cannot evict them yourself, but you can apply to the county court for an order to get your property back. For those who have a written tenancy agreement and you have given the tenant notice in writing that you are seeking possession, you can use a great accelerated possession procedure, which avoids the need for a court hearing.
Access to your property
Remember that if at any time you need to see your property then the usual requirement is to give the Tenant at least 24 hours notice. Landlords have no legal right to immediate connection unless there is an urgent necessity to do so, for example a flood or a fire. The key here for positive Landlord and Tenant relations is good, clear communication between the two parties. This will often prevent misunderstandings and trigger a successful rental of your home.