You should notify your Building Society or Bank if the property is mortgaged that you are thinking of letting the property. It is usually one of the conditions of your mortgage that you apply for permission to sub let the property.
We also recommend that your buildings and content Insurers are advised of your plans as they too may need altering to cover a third party residing at the property (we can assist in recommending specialist insurance companies dealing with insurance’s for rented properties. Please speak to a member of staff).
It is also wise to check that if the property is leasehold that you confirm with the freeholder that there are no restrictions or covenants which prevent you from letting the property and which the Tenants must adhere to during the Tenancy period.
Non UK Resident Landlord
If you are going to reside outside the UK we are bound under the Taxes Management Act 1970, Section 78 and 83 to assess you at the basic rate of income tax (variable) due from rents we collect on your behalf if you are not “self assessing” your own tax.
We should receive a letter of confirmation from your Accountant and Tax Office confirming that they accept liability for payment of your tax. (Please see your Accountant for self-assessment advice).
It is important to have several keys cut for the property, enough for each adult tenant due to move into your property plus a set for our management department (if applicable). We need this for security and maintenance access if required.
Should there be at any time any need to take legal action against the tenant for whatever reason the landlord will be responsible for this action plus any necessary costs incurred. For managed property assistance will be given to the landlord with regards to documentation and administration regarding the tenancy.
Transfer of Services
If you have employed us as your managing agent the only service that we are not able to transfer for you is the telephone. BT or cable will only deal with the subscriber and not with a third party. Please, therefore, arrange transfer on the day the tenant(s) take occupation if this is possible.
If we are not managing the property, you will need to arrange the following: –
Gas and Electricity
Inform the utilities of the date of transfer to the new tenant(s) plus their name(s), the meter readings and your forwarding address in order that they can send you a closing account.
Water Rates will become the tenant’s responsibility in most cases, but please advise them of your new forwarding address. If your water charges are on meter the tenant is responsible and a meter reading and date of transfer needs to be supplied to the authority together with your forwarding address.
Once again this is payable by the tenant(s) during the tenancy. Please advise the local authority the date of transfer to the new tenant(s) and of your forwarding address in order that they can send you a closing account.
It is best to arrange the transfer for the actual day that your tenant(s) will be moving in. If there is a break between subscribers, there can be a charge depending on the length of time that the service has been disconnected.
The Post Office offers a service to redirect your mail which we recommend you arrange prior to vacating the property for the term of the tenancy.
You should also inform your bank, employers, friends and family who are likely to write to you and inform them of your new address.
Whether requiring a let only service, rent collection or management service, landlords have the responsibility for the safety of both the tenant and their own property during the tenancy.
The following regulations must be adhered to without fail by the landlord and as agents must ensure that they are carried out.
Fire and Furnishings (Safety) Regulations 1988 (1993)
All soft furnishings such as settees, sofas, beds, padded chairs, pillows, cushions and so on must comply with the Fire Resistance requirements contained within the regulations.
Items of furniture made prior to 1950 are termed as antiques and as such are excluded from the regulations.
Usually a label is attached to the item of furniture to confirm it is acceptable. We will at all times check your furniture and advise you accordingly to the best of our ability.
Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1994 (1996)
A qualified Engineer (Gas Safe Register) must also check all gas appliances and installations within the accommodation, on an annual basis for its safe use.
This includes such items as Gas Fires, Central Heating boilers, Gas cookers and other gas appliances. It also insists that flues and chimneys are clear of obstructions and in the correct place.
The engineer must issue a certificate and a copy presented to the Tenant at the start of any tenancy.
Any items that fail to comply with the regulations must be fixed or removed immediately.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
These regulations require that all Electrical equipment left at the property be “safe and of no risk or injury to human or animal“.
They should be checked that flexes, fuses and electrical output are safe and correct. Items that must comply are all portable electrical items such as electric cooker, fridges, washing machines, kettles, toasters etc.
As agents we can not guarantee which items are safe or not and will recommend that a qualified electrician checks these items (a charge will be made). This can be carried out by your own electrician.
Energy Performance Certificates
From October 2008 you are required by law to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to market the property for rent. If you do not have a valid EPC we can arrange for one to be completed. Once completed they be valid for 10 years.
Child Safety Regulations
As I’m sure you are aware, regulations are constantly changing to safeguard tenants and vulnerable people. The latest of which is Child Safety Requirements in relation to window blinds. Please ensure that your blinds comply with the new regulation or ask a contractor to make the blinds safe/compliant. More information can be found at: http://www.makeitsafe.org.uk
Again a new legislation has been set in place. As the person controlling the premises you need to decide what water installations or systems on the premises may give rise to a risk of legionella. You can carry out a risk assessment yourself if you are competent or employ somebody who is. The larger premises and the presence of air conditioning, whirlpool spas, pools, fountains etc. increase the likelihood of legionella bacteria being present. Detailed guidance is provided in HSE Guidance referred to above.
A simple risk assessment may show that there are no real risks from legionella and no further action may be required. However, it is important to review the risk assessment regularly in case anything changes. More information can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires