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 complies with the law.
1. Energy Performance Certificate
From 1 October 2008, landlords have a legal obligation to provide prospective tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Energy Performances Certificates tell owners, potential buyers and tenants about the energy efficiency of a home and how it can be improved. We at Seven Estates can help get your EPC sorted out quickly and at a competitive price.
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 can advise on Landlord’s Legal Protection and Landlord’s Contents insurance if required.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, 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. Seven Estates provide an Inventory Report as part of our full management service.
6. Income Tax
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.
7. Gas Appliances and Equipment
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 (GAS SAFE registered installer). We at Seven Estates can help get your GAS SAFE certificate sorted out quickly and at a competitive price.
8. Electrical Appliances and Equipment
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying during 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. Now with tenanted property, an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) is required which is a mandatory certificate that details the inspection of all electrical installations in a property.
"There is a legal duty for landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria, but Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce or obtain, a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate". http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/
10. Immigration Act 2014
Private landlords and agents are legally required to check the immigration status of all tenants, lodgers and any other adults who will be living in the property. The right to rent check must take place before the tenancy starts.
11. Furniture and Furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied while letting property must meet minimum fire-resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, and 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-origin covers for furniture. Therefore, all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises.
12. General Product Safety
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 specify that any product supplied during a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of letting, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. Recommended action is to check for obvious danger signs – leaning walls, broken glass, sharp edges etc., and to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high-risk items, such as hot surfaces, electric lawnmowers, etc. for the tenant.
13. 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 temporary 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.
14. 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 landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established.
Similarly, appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc. should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless 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, and a cooker.
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 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. Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.
20. Mail Forwarding
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.
21. Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information 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. Where we are Managing, we will also require a set of keys to hold on file.