GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS
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 also that he/she complies with the law. If you require further advice or assistance, please feel free to contact us.
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.
If you are a tenant yourself, you will require your landlords consent.
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.
BILLS AND REGULAR OUTGOINGS
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. mortgage, service charges, maintenance, contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However, where we are managing the property, by prior written consent we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. You should inform your local collection office that you are leaving the property. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner. When unoccupied but furnished, the charge is 50% of the normal rate. When unoccupied and ‘substantially’ unfurnished, there is no charge for the first six months, and thereafter a charge of 50% of the normal rate.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or 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 its contents. In order to provide a complete service to the landlord, we will if requested arrange for an inventory to be prepared at a cost to be quoted.
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. We as landlords agents are 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. Further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
IMPORTANT SAFETY REGULATIONS
The following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (landlord) and where we are to manage the property, they are also ours as agents. Therefore, to protect all interests we ensure full compliance with the appropriate regulations, at the owners expense.
GAS APPLIANCES & EQUIPMENT
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1996) and some other regulations, all gas appliances in tenanted premises must be checked for safety at intervals of not more that 12 months, by a CORGI registered gas engineer, and a safety certificate issued. Records must be kept of the dates of inspections, of defects identified, and of any remedial action taken.
ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES & EQUIPMENT
Under the Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989,1993 & 1996) and some other regulations, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be safe. Although (unlike gas) no safety certificate is legally required, and therefore it may be adequate to perform a visual check of electrical equipment, fittings and leads, it is recommended that a qualified Electrician be engaged for this purpose.
FURNITURE & FURNISHINGS
The Furniture and Furnishings (fire safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989,1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting a 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, cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets and sleeping bags. Therefore all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1.3.90 from a reputable supplier are also likely to comply.
GENERAL PRODUCT SAFETY
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 specify that any product supplied in the course of 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 also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items for the tenant.
Preparing the property for letting
We have found that the key to a smooth running tenancy is a good relationship with the tenants. As property managers this is part of our job, but it is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for 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 minimum standards. Quality properties always attract quality tenants.
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.
Similarly, appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlords expense unless misuse can be established.
Interior decorations should be in good condition, 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.
Personal items, ornaments pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed, and stored in the loft at the owners risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenants use.
Gardens should be left neat and 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 you may wish to arrange maintenance visits by our regular gardener.
At the start of a tenancy the property must be in thoroughly clean condition. At the end it is the tenants responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will arranged at their expense.
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office redirection service.
INFORMATION FOR TENANTS
It is helpful to leave operation instructions for central heating and hot water systems, washing machine and alarm and refuse collection day
You should provide one set of keys per tenant. Where we are managing we will arrange for duplicates to be cut.