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A Landlord’s Guide to Residential Lettings
Here at Stella Lange we know that letting your property can seem complex and demanding. By giving you helpful tips and information and outlining your legal obligations, we aim to make the rental process less of a minefield. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to telephone our office on +44 (0)20 7794 4821 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before You Start
Set yourself a realistic, achievable rental income figure, from which you will need to deduct the associated costs of letting. These will include preparing the property to rent, securing a tenant, management and repairs during the let, on-going maintenance costs and reletting.
Prior to letting, you will also need to ensure you have all the appropriate consents:
If your property is subject to a mortgage or bank loan, written permission will be required to sub-let. Allow yourself enough time to acquire this before beginning the rental process.
If your property is leasehold, you may need to obtain written permission from the superior landlord or freeholder to sub-let. There may be a charge for this. You must also confirm if there are any conditions governing the sub-letting of you property.
In some areas, a licence to let is required for privately owned rental property. Your local council department will provide you with the details of how to apply and the costs.
You must inform your insurers that you intend to rent your property and ensure the building and contents are adequately covered.
You have a legal responsibility to let a home that tenants can live in safely. Before renting your property, you must comply with the following safety regulations and obtain the safety certificates.
The following safety measures are mandatory:
If you have gas in your property, i.e. boiler, gas oven, hob or gas fire; then you will need to ensure that the appliance is maintained in a safe condition and checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer and a safety certificate issued every 12 months.
Every floor in your property must have a working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm in each room where there is a solid fuel based appliance.
You must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate in order to market your property.
If you are intending on renting your property with any items of furniture, you must ensure that that everything conforms to the regulations. These apply to all upholstery and upholstered furnishings, loose fittings, permanent or loose covers, fillings, etc. All items must be suitably labelled with ignition resistance levels. If they are not, proof of purchase must be supplied or must be removed from the property.
We strongly recommend you obtain these remaining safety measures, as by signing a Tenancy Agreement, you are committing to supply a safe property:
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
All electrics, including cabling, fuses, and plugs are required to be safe. All hard wired appliances and installations should also be inspected and certificated by a registered engineer regularly.
PAT Test (Portable Appliance Test)
All electrical appliances and portable equipment left in the property will need a series of visual inspections and electronic tests, i.e. any appliance that has a plug that is intended to be connected to a wall socket.
Health and Safety
You have a legal responsibility for general health and safety within your property and to ensure it is safe for the tenants and visitors. This includes making sure all water supplies are free from legionnaires disease, all blinds with cords are fitted with cleats, and no trip hazards, i.e. from loosely fitted carpets.
You’ve found a tenant, what’s next?
Once you have found a suitable tenant and a rental offer has been agreed, a reservation fee of two weeks rent will be requested, references will start to be taken and negotiation of the terms of the Tenancy Agreement will begin.
Right to Rent is part of The Immigration Act 2014 and came into force on 1st February 2014. The Immigration Act 2014 places restrictions on illegal immigrants accessing rented accommodation. It is a requirement for all landlords/agents of private rental accommodation in England & Wales to determine whether occupiers have the right to live in the UK. This means that all prospective occupants aged 18 and over (including all live-in staff) must prove their immigration status and have it confirmed by the landlord/agent before a tenancy is granted. None compliance can incur penalties, which include unlimited fines and/or up to 5 years imprisonment.
The Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document between yourself and the tenant and states the property address, commencement and terminations dates, length of term, amount of rental and rights and responsibilities of both parties.
The tenant will pay a security deposit, usually equal to six weeks rent, which will be held for the duration of the tenancy either by you or the agent, against damages, dilapidations, missing items, etc. If there are any pets included in the tenancy, an additional two weeks deposit may be requested. As of April 2007, all Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement deposits are protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which offers an independent means of dispute resolution.
We advise you to professionally clean your property prior to the commencement of the tenancy. If you do not wish to do so, your tenant has no obligation to do the same when they leave.
We recommend the services of an independent inventory clerk to produce the inventory report. This report will list, in fine detail, all the fixtures, fittings, furniture, schedule of condition and include meter readings. This report will be used at the end of the tenancy to determine any damages. If there is no inventory report, it is unlikely that you will be awarded damages against the deposit.
You must inform and arrange to settle all utility accounts prior to the commencement of the Tenancy. These include gas, electricity, water, council tax, TV licensing, satellite and telephone companies. All utilities will then need to be put into the tenants’ name.
Stella Lange LLP is obliged to notify HMRC of all tenancies. Please make yourself aware of the tax implications when planning to let your property. If you reside abroad for 6 months or more per year, you are classed as a non resident landlord and need to apply with HMRC to have UK rental income without deduction of tax. If you do not apply for this and/or do not get the correct permission, your letting agent will need to deduct the tax.
Appliances and Instruction Manuals
All appliances and machinery must be in good working order and serviced appropriately. We advise you to have a folder of all instructions and user manuals of all the appliances and electrical equipment left in your property.