Browsing all articles tagged with landlord responsibilities Archives - LettingLinks - Connecting Landlords & Tenants
Nov
13

Landlord Law – Lesser known Regulations you should be aware of!

As you may already know, the two most important and vital regulations that a landlord needs be in compliance with are The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993.

However there are several lesser known regulations, laws and acts that as a landlord you must have up-to-date information in order to be compliant. The following are a few of those regulations:

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 was introduced in order for the electrical equipment that is to be supplied by the landlord to be in good working order and safe to use. Although there is no mandatory equipment testing requirement, unlike the Gas Safety regulation, the responsibility of the landlord is no different. The best practice for landlords is to include the testing of all electronic appliances and electrics (wires, plugs and sockets) at the beginning of each tenancy, and annually thereafter, to ensure everything is in working order. If you are in the habit of having these items checked regularly you would not have any trouble proving due diligence in the event of a fire or any other problem or mishap.

As part of this regulation there is also the Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulation 1994 that states any plug, socket or adaptor that the landlord is supplying within a residential letting must comply with the appropriate current standard and that the plugs are prewired and insulated enough so that there would be no shock when removing plugs from the socket.

There are several other subsections of this regulation, so you would be wise to check out the entire document.

The other document you would be advised to have on hand for reference is the Landlord and Tenant Act. Unfortunately it’s an ever changing and expanding document that can be difficult to keep up with. The following are but a few examples that might be of interest to you:

Section 47, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 is regarding the need for landlords to have an address in England or Wales, even if they reside outside of England or Wales. There must be an address in England or Wales for the rent to be sent as well as any notifications, this address could be that of an office rather than their home.

Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords to keep both the interior and exterior of the property, including drains, ducts, gutters and pipes, in good working order. They must also keep the installations for supplying water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and water heating in good repair and working order. This would also imply that the landlord has the right to view all of the above in order to assess the conditions of his property, provided they give a 24 hour written notice to the tenant.

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977, states that neither the landlord nor the agent has a right to reclaim possession of a property if the tenant refuses to leave without first obtaining a court order. It would be considered a criminal offense to harass, change the locks, cut off services or remove the tenant’s possessions.  

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975; the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; the Race Relations Act 1976. All of these Acts make it illegal to discriminate an application for tenancy on the grounds of sex, marital status, disability or race (including colour, nationality, creed, ethnicity or national origin).

So as you can see there is definitely more to becoming a landlord than just finding a tenant for a property you want to let. As many of these regulations, laws and acts carry the possibility of penalties and sometimes even imprisonment; you can see just how important it is to be aware, up-to-date and diligent about the condition of your property in order to protect your possessions.

 

 

Nov
8

Landlord Law – Essential Legislation Landlords Need To be Aware Of

Landlords are required to remain current as to their understanding and compliance with the many laws, regulations and acts that have been developed for the letting industry. It is an ever changing world and the laws that we live by therefore are constantly changing as well.

The following is just a sampling of such regulations that landlords and letting agents would be wise to study and ensure their properties are in compliance.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 puts the responsibility of ensuring all gas appliances and fixtures, such as pipes and flues are maintained in good condition directly on the landlords of residential properties. Most importantly is to makes sure that the escape of Carbon Monoxide poison, which is odourless, silent and deadly, is avoided at all costs.

The regulation states that all properties need to have a valid Gas Safety Record at all times. This would also include pipework that has been capped and appliances removed. A CORGI registered engineer must inspect all gas appliances prior to the tenant moving into the property, who will issue the Gas Safety Record for which a copy must be given to the tenant. After the initial check an annual Gas Safety Check must be performed and again a copy goes to the tenant within 28 days of the check. The landlord is expected to keep a copy of the Gas Safety Check for a period of two years.

Both landlords and letting agents are liable for the compliance of this regulation and should be aware that non-compliance is a serious criminal offense and could carry with it monetary penalties and/or imprisonment. If a death were to occur due to a breach in the safety regulations, the charge could be manslaughter and both landlord and agent would be equally liable.

Another regulation that has become just as important is the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993, which states that the following furniture and furnishings that are supplied by the landlord must meet fire safety regulations.

These items include: Beds, headboards and mattresses; sofas, sofa-beds and futons; nursery furniture; garden furniture that is suitable to be used indoors; furniture used in new caravans; window seat, seat pads, scatter cushions and bean bags; padded stools and chests (ottomans); put-u-up beds and garden loungers/seats; and loose and stretch covers for furniture.

Most furniture that has been manufactured after 1989 will likely comply and will have a label showing their compliance. The items that are not covered by this regulation are: sleeping bags, bed clothes (including duvets) and pillowcases; loose covers for mattresses, curtains and carpets; furniture or furnishing manufactured prior to 1950, as the material used prior to this period was not flammable.

The consequences for non-compliance of this regulation are also a criminal offense and could lead to a fine of £5000 and/or 6 months in prison. The charge of manslaughter would also be imposed should a death occur due to negligence on the part of the landlord and/or letting agent.

There are several other regulations that landlords must adhere to, however these two are the most important and hold the strictest penalties for non-compliance. Landlords are required to be up-to-date on all of the literature that goes along with the regulations and laws for letting properties.

Nov
3

Letting a House – A Landlord’s Guide

Letting a House

So you’ve decided to enter into the world of property letting? Before you rush off to advertise for that first tenant there are several things you should consider and do prior to that step. As with anything worthwhile it’s worth doing well, so you’ll want to remember that first impressions are everything. Take a close look at your property and see if there’s anything you could do to make your property more appealing, both internally and externally.

Haul away some garbage or tidy up the gardens, maybe throw a little paint on some unsightly walls so that the property looks its best. The same principles apply to letting a property as it does to someone who is trying to sell a property, so you’ll need to maintain this condition throughout the letting process.

There are also several safety standards you’ll most definitely need to follow and make sure that you comply with before letting the property. Some of these safety standards are; Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended 1993 and Smoke Detectors Act 1991 Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

As the landlord you are expected to be able to produce certificates for all of these to show compliance, where applicable. You should also look into obtaining a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for any electrical appliance that you plan on including in your rental unit. If you happen to have furniture that was made prior to 1988, you should seriously consider replacing it as the furniture will not meet the necessary standards. You should include any item that has upholstery or material such as beds, mattresses, cushions, headboards or sofa beds.

The following are items that are exempt from this legislation:

Sleeping bags, duvets, blankets, carpets and curtains and any furniture made before 1950.

There are severe consequences – from heavy fines to prison sentences – for non-compliance if an accident were to happen, so it is in your best interest to be aware of the standards and how to check that your possessions are up to par.

This goes hand in hand with making sure you are also in compliance with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that has been required since October 2008. Energy efficiency is not only required by law these days but as our earth is in need of our help, it is the duty of each citizen to do our best to improve the carbon emissions and the way in which we leave our foot prints behind.

Landlords should contact their local authorities if the property you are about to let is within the House in Multiple  Occupation (HMO) leasing, as there are specific standards for this type of housing that you will need to comply with.

Other items you will need to make sure you have are; an agreed inventory which will be included in the tenancy agreement; permission from your lender (if you have a mortgage); advise your insurance company what items you intend to include in your insurance policy and what items will be the responsibility of the tenant.

Ever since April 6 2007, landlords who accept a deposit on the property must ensure that the deposit is held by an authorised deposit scheme. This protects the deposit and helps deal with disputes quickly. As landlord you must inform the tenant within 14 days of receiving the deposit which scheme you are using and giving the tenant all of the pertinent information.

At this point you’ll want to decide whether to manage the property yourself or hire a letting agent to manage the day to day operations of the building, including finding the right tenant(s), handling the viewings and paperwork, and assist in working out the appropriate rent to charge for your specific location. Having an agent certainly lessens the worry and allows you to pursue other interests. The letting agent will also handle the marketing of your property since he will likely be experienced in this area. You will need to sign an agreement with this agent so make sure you read your contract carefully and don’t go into a lengthy term. Here at Letting Links we can help find that suitable letting agent or for that matter, an appropriate tenant.

And lastly, here are a few items that you should consider as your checklist: Get permission from your lending source; if you plan on making structural changes to the property, get approval from the council’s planning office; get in touch with the Environmental Health Department (if you have a HMO); get all of your safety certificates in order and include having the wiring checked out by a licensed electrician; inform Council Tax department and utility suppliers that you plan on letting the property.

Although it sounds extensive, it will prove to be worthwhile in the end. Now that all of the hard work has been done you can sit back and enjoy the experience of being a landlord. And welcome to the world of property letting! Contact us at Letting Links if you need any assistance along your journey!

Lettinglinks.com is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are looking to rent out your property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered tenants NOW!

 

 

Sep
30

Tenancy Deposit Schemes – Basic Guidelines

Ever since the Government introduced The Housing Act 2004 to protect the tenancy deposits under the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, there have been 3 companies awarded the rights to run two types of Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes.  Both of these schemes apply to residential property being rented in England or Wales, no matter whether the landlord and/or managing agent operates overseas.  Theses schemes do not apply to commercial property, when rent would be greater than £25,000 or if the landlord is also a resident of the property.

Both types of Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes are generally supported by some sort of call centre and some would have a way of performing on-line registration or paying for the deposit.  A deposit has been set out as any amount of money paid in addition to rent as security and would include fees for cleaning and amount added to the rent monthly as long as the tenancy deposit is not used for making repairs or paying expenses.

The Custodial Tenancy Deposit Scheme is a deposit held by the scheme in a separate account where the fees were funded by the accruing interest of the Tenancy Deposit or by the government if the interest rate was too low to generate enough interest.   Within this scheme there are two ways in which the deposit is handled.
Several tenants could each give a deposit and it would be designated as Room A, Room B, etc, or there can be one deposit representing all of the tenants.  A main tenant would be chosen for correspondence purposes, however if tenants chose to vacate at separate intervals, this plan would be extremely difficult to control as the deposit must be repaid in full.

The Insurance Based Tenancy Deposit Scheme is differentiated by the deposit being held by the landlord and/or managing agent and is secured by the landlord paying fees and an insurance premium to a Scheme administrator.  It would be the administrator’s duty to ensure enough insurance was in place in order to assure full repayment of the Tenancy Deposit.  Within this type of schemes there are two approved – one being “The Tenancy Deposit Scheme” which can be used by all landlords, however, since April 6, 2009 this scheme can only be used by regulated agents.  The second scheme is the “MyDeposits” (previously known as Tenancy Deposit
Solutions Ltd.) and is aimed more for the landlords.  It consists of a onetime fee plus additional fee for each tenancy deposit, as well as an annual renewal fee.

The penalties can be quite severe for landlords who don’t comply with the Housing Act, so understanding the necessary information is vital to all parties.   At the end of the tenancy agreement both parties will need to come to an agreement as to the amount of the tenancy deposit due as a return to the
tenant.  If both parties are in agreement, the tenancy deposit is required to be returned within 10 days.

If however there is a disagreement over the amount, the desired course
of action would be to go through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), rather than having to resort to the courts.

 

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes have been put into place to protect all parties, and it is the responsibility of both parties to understand what is required of them prior to entering into any sort of tenancy agreement.    As with any legal document you should always try to obtain legal advice prior to making a decision on which Tenancy Deposit Scheme you wish to venture into, as well as the tenancy agreement.

Sep
19

Tenancy Agreements — Know Your Rights

When first moving into a new flat or rental unit, the excitement can be over-whelming. While this is always a good sign, it is always important to know and remember your rights as a tenant, should you need to exercise them in the event of a problem during the letting period. Likewise, as a landlord it is equally important to know and understand what the rights of both you and your tenants, should there be an issue down the road.

Insurance is the first right both the tenant and the landlord share equally. On the landlord side, maintaining adequate insurance on the rental property is the utmost important way to secure your investment, in the event of an accident. This means, while the tenant is living there, should a fire, flood arson etc. happen, your physical home is covered. Always check with an insurance agent about proper coverage for your unit. A tenant should always secure insurance on a rental property prior to moving in, for the same reasons. Should there be an accident or incident in the home, many times a landlords insurance will not cover your own private property (think you bed,television, computer or kitchen appliances.)

Rental upkeep is yet another common right both landlords and tenants share equally. In the event of repairs being needed on the rental unit, it is the landlords responsibility to make sure they are made in an orderly and prompt fashion. In order to notify the owner of such needed repairs, they are expected to provide accurate and current contact information to the tenant.

As a property owner, you have the right to ensure your property is being treated properly (not damaged or used for malicious purposes) and as such, you are entitled to enter the property after giving the tenant 24 hours notice.

In regards to monetary amounts, a landlord must put the rental deposit in trust immediately after approving the lease (see rental deposits for more information) and ensure the amount is returned promptly within 30 days of the lease being terminated. In the event of needed repairs, property owners need to justify withholding any monies from the tenant. Likewise, a landlord also has the right to collect any past due rent or arrears from the tenant. A landlord may visit their tenant at any time to request the amounts in full.

Subject to not receiving any compensation, a landlord also has the right to remove any tenant from their property (only following proper legal actions.)

Knowing and respecting tenancy rights is both a landlord and tenants responsibility meant to be shared equally. Knowing these rights can save hours of frustration down the road, should a problem arise.

Sep
13

How to take Photos That Sell Your Property

Taking pictures of your property rental in preparation for letting out your property may seem like a no brainer. However, the truth of the matter is, unless your photos are done in such a manner that highlights the attributes and focuses on the positives, you may actually cause your property some “damage” in terms of the tenant’s opinion on the property.

Before you begin taking photographs of the rental unit, it is important to consider the type of family or tenants that would probably want to let the unit. The type of property rental will obviously influence the type of tenant but keep in mind the general surroundings and the location of the property too. If your property rental for instance were in a more mature area, with plenty of activities for the elderly population, your ideal tenant would be a senior citizen.
Likewise, a property rental near a school district would probably consider having a family let out the home.

Once your family has been determined, it is important to zone in on areas of the home they would probably spend the most time. A photograph of the outside of the home is one of the easiest ways to sell or hinder the appearance of the property rental.

Aim for a day that is sunny (ideally in springtime with new buds and flowers)
when the sky is clear. Pictures with dreary appearances, often give off an
unsettling image to tenants despite it only being the weather. Make sure the
garbage is clear, the lawn is tidy and the drive is free of dirt or weeds.

Photograph the rental home centrally, making sure to get a clear shot of any detailing or unique benefits the property has (for instance, bay window projections you may wish to photograph the property rental just off centre to show depth) As you make your way through the rental home, focus on areas the tenant will spend the most time. Places like front foyers, living spaces, bathrooms and kitchens are sure-fire ways to capture attention. Again, make sure the rooms are tidy, well kept, and if furnished, organised. A messy room gives a bad impression. Note any imperfections in the room that you may want to angle away from (for instance a scuff in the floor) that a tenant could live with, but may not want to see in a photo.

Try to keep your photographs lit with the room lighting, ideally taking shots from the entrance to the room. This angle will generally give potential tenants a better idea of the room layout, and a more honest perspective as to the sizing of the rooms too.

After you’ve taken your pictures, ask a friend or two to look at them. Generally, having another perspective of your “showing material” will give you a more honest outlook on the rental property or point out any flaw you may have overseen – saving you the frustration of tenants passing over your rental
property
, instead of asking to see it.

Sep
4

Getting The Right Rental Value for your Rental property

property house rental pricing

Understanding the proper pricing is the most important way to ensure your property lets quickly.

In order to price your rental property competitively, without selling yourself short, it is important to understand the key components to pricing your rental property prior to listing your home for rent. Looking into the various types of homes currently on the market is an easy starting point and will most likely give you a better understanding as to what type of competition you have, as well as the current pricing schedule set out by the various competition.

Different factors can allow for a higher rental price, all of which should be considered.

1)     Rental Property Type

Is your home a simple one bedroom flat, or is it an elaborate 5 bedroom home backed onto a ravine? Is the garden fenced in or was it open for all to see? The type of home is important when establishing your base point in rent for many reasons. If you have maintained or upgraded many different parts of the lot, you would be able to charge a higher price tag than those who have no gardens to offer. If your rental property has also been fixed with outdoor lighting, pool, hot tub or the like, although it may not increase the rental price substantially, it can increase it a small increment. Take a good look around your neighborhood at other rentals to see what they offer in comparison and gauge your rental property accordingly.

2)     Upgrades

Is your home fit with skylights or dishwashers? How about an extra seating area for house guests? These additional features aside from the basic list of household basics are the perfect areas to increase your rental price—with just cause. One of the main reasons people are willing to pay a little extra is for the extras included in the price. If you have upgraded your kitchen to a state-of-the-art masterpiece, you may be able
to increase the rent. Likewise, if your bathroom is fit with a claw-foot tub and floor warmer tiles, you can expect potential tenants to understand an increase in price.

3)     Services included

Are you offering full garden care with the price of your rental? Do you take care of additional expenses like garbage removal or offer security thro

ughout the building? These wonderful additions can help you increase the value of your rental easily, as people are willing to pay for the rewards of living somewhere with great service.

Taking the time to consider how your rental property differs from the standard rental unit, in both good and negative ways can help you truly understand what a fair market rental price should be. Overall, you should always price similarly to those in your current area (for the same sized unit of course) without under pricing. People have a tendency to avoid high-priced units and likewise, many people believe—if it sounds too good to be true, it normally is—don’t be this rental property or you may find yourself stuck for trying to get it let out.

Aug
30

What Can Tenants Renting a Flat Do About Unfit Properties?

 

Tenants renting unfit properties leaking pipe
A water leak can cause rife between landlord and tenant — landlords are responsible.

When a tenant renting a flat moves in to a rental property they expect staying in and making it their home, it is in their best interest that the flat or house be in good working order. Checking the inventory such as; appliances, furniture and fixtures before moving in is the best procedure to note and have noted in the let agreement. Making sure the décor is how the tenant renting a flat likes it and knowing what changes can be made by the tenant renting a flat is also advised. There are at times unforeseen circumstances that may arise will letting the unit and knowing who is responsible for any repairs or damages should also be noted in the agreement before moving into the flat.

It is typical that the landlord is responsible for the structure of the flat while it is being let to a tenant. Items such as; electrical, structural, plumbing, fixtures should be maintained and repaired by the landlord during any time of the rental period. If a rental property should sustain such a repair where it can be hazardous to the tenant renting a flat or a health issue, the landlord should be notified immediately. Most landlords will respond to such repairs and unfit properties immediately so that the tenant renting a flat does not suffer both physically and or emotionally. A tenant renting a flat needs to state the unfit portion of the unit in writing to
the landlord when the issue is observed or noted. The landlord inspects the area and gives 24 hours notice to enter the premises to repair and resolve the issue. If there was an emergency the landlord may enter the flat immediately.

There are times when the landlord will not oblige to these unfit rental property conditions when the tenant renting a flat takes appropriate action to rectify the situation.

If a tenant renting a flat has given notice to the landlord and has not had a response, the tenant renting a flat has a few options. If it is stated in the let agreement, the tenant renting a flat may fix and repair the flat and the cost of
the repairs are to be reimbursed by the landlord. A tenant renting a flat may not withhold rent for the cost of the repairs and is required to continue paying the full let amount or they can face eviction. If the landlord does not reimburse the tenant renting a flat for the repairs the tenant renting a flat brings the landlord to court and has costs awarded through the court.

When the unfit rental property falls under the health and safety issues, the tenant renting a flat can contact the local council who will investigate the unfit rental property. It is the local council that takes further action against the landlord to
ensure the flat or house is in good working condition for a tenant renting a flat.

 

Categories

Archives

Calendar

June 2024
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Recent Posts

Quick Search

RSS More from Letting Links

Facebook Fan Page