10 Top Tips for Landlords
Letting a property is far from straightforward and landlords are required to keep on-top of a wide range of practical and legal requirements during any tenancy. Being unaware of your responsibilities is not an excuse in the eyes of the law, so to keep you in the loop, here are 10 top tips for landlords.
1. Be sure that you can let the property
Depending on the type of mortgage you have, there may be restrictions on whether or not you can rent out the property. You don’t want to break the terms of the mortgage agreement so be sure to check with the lender before putting it on the market.
2. Check if you need a licence
Different London Boroughs have difference licencing requirements. You may be required to have a licence from the local council in order to let your property. For example, in Brent many of the wards require landlords to have a selective licence to let their property. If you are letting to a number of unrelated individuals, you may require an additional licence.
3. Carry out tenant checks
As the landlord it is your responsibility to check the legal status of your prospective tenants. Not only does this mean checking that they can live and rent in the UK, but also carrying out credit checks to ensure they are financially stable and collecting references from previous landlords.
4. Deposit protection
Within 30 days of receiving a tenant’s deposit it must be placed in a government approved scheme. You must provide the tenant with a certificate and full details of the scheme and unless rental costs exceed £50,000 a year, you can only charge a maximum of 5 weeks rent for the deposit.
5. Make the property EPC compliant
Every rental property must have an energy efficiency rating of at least “E” in relation to the Energy Performance Certificate given to the tenant before moving in. Failure to do so could lead to you receiving a large fine.
6. Keep the property safe
Every year you are legally obliged to arrange for a Gas Safe-registered engineer to check the gas appliances. A Gas Safety Certificate must then be supplied to the tenant within 28 days. Wired smoke alarms need to be fitted, along with carbon monoxide detectors. It’s all part of making sure the property is fit for human habitation – if these safety requirements are not in place, you could be liable for prosecution.
7. Supply a tenancy agreement
Tenants are still protected by the law without a tenancy agreement but providing an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement gives the tenants some assurances. On your part, it offers protection against rent arrears, should this ever occur in the future.
8. Prepare the property
From tidying up front and back gardens, to decluttering the property and repairing cracks and structural issues, it’s important to make sure the property looks presentable for habitation. The more you do the better calibre of tenants you’ll attract and the better protected your investment becomes.
9. Organise property insurance
It’s important to arrange a landlord insurance policy that will offer compensation in the event of a fire, flooding or weather damage, as well as rent arrears. This is not typically included in standard building insurance so getting a specialist policy is more than worth it.
10. Keep an eye on the property
To ensure the property remains in good condition during the tenancy it makes sense to organise occasional inspections. Allow the tenants between 24 to 48 hours’ notice before arriving and include this in the tenancy agreement so both parties are aware of the requirement.
At Regal Estates, we have a variety of letting services available for Landlords within the North West London area ranging from let only to full property management services. Call our expert letting agent team today on 020 8459 2530 for more information.
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