If you have a mortgage on the property you should obtain written consent from your mortgage lender. They may require additional clauses within the tenancy agreement which we must be made aware of.
If you are a leaseholder, you may need to obtain written consent from your freeholder or head leaseholder prior to letting. In addition there may be clauses within a sub-lease which may need to be added to the Tenancy Agreement.
You'll need to make sure both the property and its contents are fully insured. You must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let, check that the conditions of the policy are complied with and that there are no restrictions on letting. We can give you details of companies who specialise in Buildings and Contents Insurance for Landlords.
COUNCIL TAX AND UTILITIES BILLS
We will arrange for the transfer of council tax and utility accounts to the tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be dealt with. With regards to British Telecom it will be necessary for both parties to contact them directly to change the account over.
BILLS AND OUTGOINGS
If you are a leaseholder we recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings such as maintenance or service charges, to be paid by standing order or direct debit, however where we are managing the property, we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided that such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
It is entirely the Landlords responsibility if they are living in the UK, to inform the Revenue and Customs of Rental Income received and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is non- resident during a tenancy, they will require an exemption certificate from HMRC before they can receive rental payments without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property, we will provide advice and assistance on these matters.
It is most important that an Inventory of the Contents and Schedule of Condition be prepared, prior to the occupancy of the property, in order to avoid misunderstanding or disputes at the end of the tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss or damage or significant deterioration of the property or contents. Although we do not carry out this service ourselves, we will arrange for an Independent Inventory Company to compile the Inventory and Check the tenant in. We use a specialist firm of Inventory clerks and we cannot accept any liability for their omissions or errors.
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS (INCLUDING HEALTH AND SAFETY)
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner i.e. the Landlord. When we are managing the property they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the Landlord.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be check for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (i.e. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).
Full records must be kept of the inspections of each appliance and flue, stating any defects found and of any remedial action taken. Under the amended regulations (2018) rather than keeping a gas safety record for two years, the last 2 records must be retained by the landlord as a minimum (although we would recommend keeping gas safety records for much longer).
A copy of the Safety Certificates issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
To comply with EU and UK law, all properties being let in England and Wales from the 1st October 2008, will require an Energy Performance Certificate. An EPC is used to clarify the energy efficiency of buildings and is compulsory for all properties on the rental market. The certificate provides rating for the building being advertised for let. It uses ratings; “A” to “G”, with “A” being the most energy efficient and “G” being the least energy efficient. As of 1st April 2018 landlords are unable to rent properties to tenants with an F or below rating (unless exemption has been granted).
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) regulations 1988(amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting properties must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, 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-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillow cases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached.
Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
There are many regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect Landlords and their Agents. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the cases of HMOs and portable appliances) it is widely accepted in the lettings industry that the only safe way to ensure safety and fulfil your duty of care is to arrange an electrical inspection by a competent electrician. A guide on electrical safety, produced by ARLA, can be found at http://www.arla.co.uk/media/60323/ESC-landlordsGuide.pdf
From 1st October 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires private sector landlords to have:
• At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties – even where only a bathroom is located
• A carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a wood burning stove, a coal fire, an open fire place or where biomass is used as fuel)
The landlord needs to test the alarms to ensure they are working on the start date of each new tenancy. After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with either their landlord or Groves Residential.
TENANTS DEPOSIT PROTECTIONS SCHEMES
From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and lettings agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. Landlords and Letting Agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR).
Once we have a prospective tenant, a holding deposit is taken in order to establish a level of commitment. We engage an independent licensed credit reference agency, to take references on the prospective tenant. These cover employment, computerised credit checks, bank reference, and previous Landlord or character references. We are happy to show you these references if you would like to see them.