Given the state of the property market over the last year many clients of Fridaysmove have considered that their only financial option is to rent out their property in the event that they cannot sell. In the last 12 months the rental market has seen an increased number of new landlords who for the first time, are exposed to what can be a legal minefield. In the majority of cases the relationship between landlord and tenant goes smoothly but if it goes wrong, it could go seriously wrong. Having a disagreement between you and your tenant could become a drain on your time and resources. The best way to avoid issues with your tenants would be to take legal advice at the outset.
Fridaysmove are happy to deal with most areas of landlord and tenant work, and whilst we do not deal with the litigious side of disagreements, we firmly believe that prevention is the best cure. Before you even look for a tenant please contact us for legal advice to help you determine the terms of the tenancy which would be built in to your “tenancy agreement”. This agreement needs to be tailored for your needs.
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant. Although in England and Wales there is technically no law to say that landlords have to provide a written tenancy agreement it is certainly a good idea to do so. In the absence of a written agreement if you have a dispute with your tenant it is simply a matter of your words against the tenant’s as to what was agreed.
The main advantage of having a written tenancy agreement is that it clearly sets out your rights and responsibilities as landlord in a way that is enforceable in a Court of law. This keeps disagreements to a minimum because both sides are sure where they stand at the beginning. There are some essential tips that new landlords need to be made aware of. The list below is not comprehensive and we would invite you to speak to us before you let out your property.
Check with your Mortgage Provider
If you have a mortgage on your property that you wish to let you must contact your mortgage provider and obtain permission in writing before letting out the property. In the absence of this your lender could accuse you of being in breach of your mortgage conditions. If your property is leasehold you will need the consent of your freeholder or managing agent. The terms as to extent of the permission required will be set out in your lease which we will happily look at for you, especially as it is within your Home Information Pack that we hold.
- Appliance Care
It is your legal requirement to ensure that all electrical appliances such as cookers and central heating systems and boilers have been checked and meet with health and safety standards. Gas safety checks must be carried out every 12 months by a CORGI registered engineer and a record of checks kept for two years. If you are renting through an agent please give your agent a copy of the record as they must issue it to any new tenants before they move in. It is also a good idea to check the smoke alarms at the property.
- Tax Matters
Do not forget that the rental income on the property may be subject to tax, details of which must be submitted on a self-assessment tax return to the Revenue. Please check with your accountant as to the particular tax issues.
- Insurance Issues
You must inform your building insurance provider that the property is a let and update the contents insurance policy accordingly.
- Landlord Inventory
This is one of the single most important documents in the letting process. This document details the contents of the property you will be leaving for the tenants to use and the condition that they are in on the day the tenant moves in. You should also include any existing cosmetic blemishes such as flaking paint or stains on the carpets, etc. . You should be extremely thorough and give this your full attention. On the move in date for the tenant both the tenant and the agent (or you if you are letting privately) should agree the exact condition and contents of the property and this should be recorded in the inventory. It is usual for all parties to initial each page of the inventory and sign it.