The Lettings market can be a complex one, with changes in legislation and compliance, it’s our job to advise you and make sure you are getting the maximum yield for your investment.
We want to get you the best available tenant and Clarets reference ALL prospective tenants with HOMELET Optimum reference which includes a free eviction service if they fail to pay their rent for the initial term of their tenancy
- Complete credit check, including adverse history such as CCJs and bankruptcy
- Background search on previous names, addresses and aliases
- Financial sanctions check
- Assurance that their bank account is genuine
- Cross referencing against HomeLet’s Default Database
- Contacting current landlord or managing agent for a reference, ensuring that the tenant paid on time and looked after the property
- Employment check to establish your tenant’s salary (and that their employment isn’t likely to be terminated)
- Homelet’s guarantee to remove your tenant if they fail to pay their rent
We also recommend you take advantage of our Rent Guarantee Insurance which will..
- Cover for the total monthly rent, no matter how many tenants are on the tenancy agreement
- 100% of the monthly rent paid for up to a maximum of six months from the date of the first arrears
- Legal expenses up to £50,000 to cover eviction costs if the tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement
- Covers breaches of the tenancy agreement by the tenant, including non-payment of rent and expired section 21 notices
- 50% of the rent paid for up to two months after vacant possession has been obtained, whilst new tenants are found
- Six or 12 month cover to suit the tenancy
- This policy covers the whole property meaning the policy continues even when/if the tenants change
The following is a summary of the main points to be considered and the important activities to be set in motion.
CLEAN your property – including carpets, curtains and the oven – should be professionally cleaned before the start of the let. You should then expect the property to be returned to you in the same condition at the end of the let, making allowances for reasonable wear and tear.
CLEAR your property should be clear, in as much as only essential items of furniture should remain. This is because there is currently more demand for unfurnished properties, and any furniture that you do leave must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, amended 1989 and 1993.
COMPLIANT all gas appliances must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994, as amended 1996, their being serviced and checked annually and the paperwork lodged with us. All electrical equipment must comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and General Product Safety Regulations 1994. Smoke detectors must be installed in rental properties. Energy Performance Certificates are now mandatory for all rental properties. We recommend that Maintenance Contracts are in place for all appropriate items. All relevant instruction manuals should be left at the property for the tenant’s use.
Below is a concise checklist outlining what is required from you as a Landlord.
We will require proof of ownership of the property you intend to rent, this can be in the form of your Land registry or the original letter from your solicitor confirming ownership.
Where the property is subject to a mortgage, we will require confirmation from you in writing that permission has been granted from the lender before the tenancy agreement is drawn up.
Freeholder approval & sub letting
If you are a leaseholder, rather than a freeholder we will require that renting your property out is permitted in your lease and falls within the period set out in the lease. You will need to provide us with a copy of your lease for us to ensure that your tenants are made aware of any clauses which fall outside our Tenancy agreement. Written permission from your landlord will need to be obtained prior to the property being let out.
From the 1st October 2015 The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 No. 1646 came into force which meant that at the start of a new tenancy a landlord or agent acting on their behalf must furnish tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, an up to date Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the government’s How To Rent guide.
The Section 21 notice can no longer be issued with the tenancy agreement and cannot be issued within the first 4 months of the tenancy. Once issued this is valid for 6 months. A copy of the regulations can be found here.
Failure to provide these will unable the agent or landlord to serve a section 21 eviction notice.
The Home Office has announced that from 1 February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme will be extended across England. The legislation comes under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014. What this means for all private landlords in England, is that you will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. So from the 1 February 2016, any person who rents out private property in England will need to see and make a copy of proof that any new adult tenant has the right to rent in the UK, whether coming from outside the UK or not. We will carry out these checks on your behalf, prior to referencing starting, unless you wish to carry out your own checks. Failure to comply means you could have a civil penalty of up to £3,000.
Under the Energy Performance of Buildings 2007 (amended in 2011) all rental properties in England and Wales are required to provide an Energy Performance certificate is a report which tells you how energy efficient a building is and give it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They let the person who will use the building know how costly it will be to heat and light, and what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be. The EPC will also state what the energy efficiency rating could be if improvements are made, and highlights cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating. Once produced, EPCs are valid for ten years.
This also forms part of your agreement with the tenant, and in so doing allows you to issue a Section 21 notice.
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 provide information on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required. We also stipulate in our Tenancy agreement that the tenants must ensure they have sufficient means to cover their liability for accidental damage to the landlord property, furniture, fixtures, and fittings.
Non Residents Landlord Scheme
The NRL scheme operates for rental income paid on or after 6 April 1996 and replaces the old rules under Taxes Management Act 1970. If you rent your property through an agent they will deduct tax from your rental income (currently at a rate of 20%), unless written notification to the contrary is received from the Inland Revenue in the form of an Approval Certificate.
An approval certificate will allow you to receive all rental income due without deductions to cover tax liabilities and you can apply for this by completing an NRL1 form which Clarets can provide for you. Alternatively the forms are available from The Inland Revenue.
In the event that you are not accepted for the Non Resident Landlord Scheme, or choose not to obtain approval, Clarets shall make an administration charge of £235.00 incl. VAT per annum for forwarding monies to the Inland Revenue on your behalf.
Since 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting 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 is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.
The Landlord is responsible for ensuring:
That the Tenant’s Security Deposit is forwarded to or insured by an approved scheme to be held for the term of the Tenancy that the Tenant or the person paying the deposit (ie. Parent or guarantor) receives the relevant Prescribed Scheme Information.
If you, the landlord, decide to hold the deposit yourself we will transfer it to you within 5 days of receiving it. You must then register it with a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme within 30 days of its initial receipt by the Agent, if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If you fail to do so the tenant can take legal action against you, the landlord, in the County Court. The Court will make an order stating that you must pay the deposit back to the tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme, which is known as the Deposit Protection Scheme. In addition a further order will be made requiring you pay compensation to the tenant of an amount equal to between one and three times the deposit. You will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on your tenant until compliant with the above conditions, and the Court will not grant you a possession order. We have no liability for any loss suffered if you fail to comply.
At the present time this legislation does NOT apply to Non-Housing Act Tenancies, which are:
- Tenancies with an annual pure rent of over £100,000 or less than £1,000
- Tenancies with a resident landlord
- Tenancies where the property is a 2nd home and not the tenants main residence
The Inventory and Schedule of Condition
We strongly advise that all Rental properties have an unbiased professional inventory of contents and schedule in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, you may be unable to prove your case to the Independent Case Examiner appointed by the Deposit Scheme you have chosen to use, and therefore will be unable to withhold money from the tenant’s deposit.
Please note that the cost of the inventory is borne by the Landlord and the Tenant will need to sign this at the ‘check in’ at the beginning of the tenancy. The Tenant is liable for the cost of the ‘check out’ at the end of the tenancy.
Please talk to us about instructing one of Professional inventory companies to carry this out on your behalf.
Health and Safety and other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing, we will need to ensure compliance.
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 (e.g. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
A copy of the safety certificate 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.
This also forms part of your agreement to provide your tenants with an annual certificate, and in so doing allows you to issue a Section 21 notice.
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, which affect landlords and their agents in that, they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter, is to arrange electrical inspections and the issue of safety certificates. There are 2 types of electrical inspection, one of the actual installation, and another of any portable electrical appliances (P.A.T. – portable appliances test).
Please talk to us about instructing one of our certified engineers to carry these out on your behalf.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property 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, unless they have been reupholstered after 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items that comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
From the 1st October 2015 all rented properties must be fitted with a smoke alarm on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation; in addition to this, carbon monoxide alarms also need to be equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; (i.e., gas fire, log burner, gas hob/oven etc., boiler etc) Checks must be carried out at to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.
Failure to do this can result in heavy fines of up to £5000.
Clarets are happy to recommend contractors to have these installed on your behalf.