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Landlord Guide: Letting Your Property

December 3, 2012 | Landlord News  

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Before you let your property, you need to know the ins and outs of the process as well as the legal requirements in order to reduce complications and potential headaches down the road.

Firstly, you need to be aware of the health and safety requirements for your property and its contents because you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The following safety regulations must be complied with:

  • Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use)
  • Electrical Equipment Regulations (Safety)
  • Furniture and Furnishings, Fire Safety Regulations 1993
  • Smoke Detectors Act 1991

As a landlord, you are required to produce certificates meeting these regulations where appropriate.

It is recommended that you should ensure that Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for all electrical appliances in the property is undertaken.

The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for the tenant are safe. Your responsibility is for the maintenance and repair of flues, appliances and pipe work that you own and provide for your tenants use by a gas safety registered engineer. In the case of residential properties, landlords (or their agents) have a statutory duty to arrange an annual Gas Safety Check. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate must be given to the tenant on entry and within 28 days of the annual check. The landlord must retain their copy for 2 years.

Another legal requirement is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Government legislation requires all residential properties being leased to make available an EPC to prospective tenants to enable them to make more informed decisions relating to the energy efficiency of a property and the ongoing costs of fuel. The EPC lasts for 10 years and must be carried out by an accredited energy assessor.

The certificate provides a rating of the energy efficiency and the carbon emissions of a building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.

What else needs to be considered before letting your property?

  • If you have a mortgage on your property, you must obtain permission from your mortgage lender and/or tell your freeholder.
  • You must also advise your insurers and let them know which items within the property you will be insuring and which will fall to the tenant to ensure.
  • You need to make sure you have an agreed Inventory of all items you leave in the property and a property condition report. When a tenancy comes to an end, this will be very useful in avoiding or resolving disputes over the repayment of the deposit.

According to the Housing Act 1996, a new tenancy will automatically be a shorthold tenancy unless the landlord gives a written notice it will not be a shorthold tenancy. A shorthold tenancy usually lasts for 6 to 12 months, unless a different fixed term is agreed with the tenant in advance. Once the fixed term has expired, the landlord has the right to possession with 2 months notice, or if the tenant has not paid rent for 2 months. The services of a solicitor are advisable at this point to ensure the process is followed in full accordance with the law.

Do you need a Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) License?

HMO licensing was introduced in England in 2006 to raise the standard of accommodation in HMOs. A landlord has to register their HMO with the council if the property has three or more habitable storeys and is occupied by five or more people in two or more households. A household is defined as members of the same family living together and couples living together, whether or not they are married. A group of friends living together does not constitute a single household.

The council will assess the property to determine whether there is sufficient space for all occupants and whether the property is well managed before granting the license.

What are your responsibilities as a landlord?

  • Remove personal items from the property
  • Furnishings should be of reasonable quality
  • If the property has a garden, it should be tidy and rubbish free
  • Maintaining and repairing the property
  • Gas, plumbing, electrical, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe

What are the tenant’s responsibilities?

  • Maintain the property to a reasonable standard.
  • Adhere to the terms of the tenancy agreement
  • Return the property to the landlord at the end of the tenancy in the same condition as it was at the start, allowing fair wear and tear
  • Pay the deposit and pay the rent on time every month

Deposit Options?

In 2007 a change in legislation meant that every new tenancy had to be protected in one of the three government authorised schemes. This was done to ensure that tenants get all or part of their deposit back at the correct time, to make dispute resolution between landlord and tenant easier, and to encourage tenants to take care of the properties they rent.

The authorised schemes protect the deposit during the tenancy, dealing quickly and independently with any dispute over its return at the end of the tenancy. You must inform the tenant within 14 days of handing over the deposit which of the three schemes you have chosen and provide details of the scheme.

The three schemes are the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL), and the Deposit Protection Services (DPS).

Is it worth using letting agents?

A reputable letting agent is certainly an advantage for landlords who manage many properties and for landlords with little experience of lettings. Letting a property for the first time can be a daunting experience and it is for this reason that letting agents can lift the weight off your shoulders. Good letting agents should be enthusiastic, pro-active, and offer a personal service to their landlords, which is exactly what you get at Let-Leeds.

Read more about Our Services.

At Let-Leeds we always let your property on a no tenant – no fee basis.

 

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