The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord):
GAS - HEALTH & SAFETY
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 it is a statutory requirement that all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation are checked for safety within 12 months of installation and thereafter every 12 months by a competent engineer (i.e. Gas Safe registered 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 7 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found a remedial action taken.
COPIES TO TENANTS
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.
OIL FIRED CENTRAL HEATING
Prior to the commencement of a tenancy a copy of the current service report for the oil fired central heating boiler must be arranged be provided to ourselves.
ELECTRICAL - HEALTH & SAFETY
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and certain other regulations, electrical appliances and equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. It is therefore advised to have an electrical safety check carried out to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads are completely safe and undamaged and to remove or replace any faulty items.
CONSUMER PROTECTION - FIRE
The Fire 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, headboard 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, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.
Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed from the property before a tenancy commences.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care'; means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
From 6th April 2012 Landlords will need a valid EPC certificate which needs to be ordered before marketing the property for rent. The EPC should be available to prospective tenants within seven days of marketing and a copy of the front page should be attached to all marketing particulars. Prospective tenants are entitled to see a full copy of the EPC when viewing a property. The EPC, which is valid for 10 years will rate a property's energy performance and make recommendations about how to improve the energy efficiency.
The EPC provides a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emission of a building from A to G, similar to the labels provided with white goods such as refrigerators and washing machines.
Its purpose is to record how energy efficient a property is. EPC's are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage. The graphs produced allow us to easily compare buildings of the same type and consider energy efficiency and fuel costs.
An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures to improve the energy rating of the building.
Although landlords are under no obligation to carry out any recommendations made, prospective tenants could use the EPC as one of the factors to determine which property they choose to rent.
WHEN ARE ASSESSMENTS REQUIRED?
When buildings are to be rented out, the landlord is responsible for ensuring a valid certificate is made available to all prospective tenants. The EPC and recommendation report must be made available free of charge by the landlord to a prospective tenant.
This is to be done within seven days of marketing the property. Failing to comply with this regulation could mean you are fined up to £200.00.
Landlords are responsible for the insurance of the building and of your own contents included as part of the rental. Your insurers must be informed of your intention to let.
As an additional service, Inspire Estate Agents has selected Endsleigh Insurance as our preferred insurance partner to offer you specialist landlord insurance. This will protect and safeguard your needs as a Landlord. You can contact Endsleigh on 0800783256 for immediate cover stating you are a client of Inspire Estate Agents. Full details of the cover available are detailed at the end of this document.
Income Tax for UK & Non Resident Landlords
UK BASED LANDLORDS
Landlords are required to inform the HM Revenue & Customs of any income received from rental property. Tax deductions can be made for maintenance and other costs, your tax consultant can advise fully. On request from the HM Revenue & Customs, Inspire Estates Agents will need to report income and expenditure of all landlords we are appointed to act on behalf of.
NON RESIDENT LANDLORDS
Income tax is payable on income received from rental property until such time that we are provided with an approval for exemption. An application can be made to the HM Customs & Revenue for an exemption certificate; this would exempt your Managing /Letting Agent from deducting tax. If a certificate is not obtained the statutory requirement to deduct tax remains.
Please note that for Non Resident Landlords who arrange a power of attorney to sign Tenancy Agreements on their behalf, a copy of this document is required for our files. If you require Inspire Estates Agents to perform this service for you an agreement will be drawn up for signature.
MORTGAGES & LEASEHOLDS
The mortgage lender of your property must be advised that the property is to be let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.
If your property is leasehold you will require consent before letting. In both cases, the lender and/or the head lessor may require Tenant references and a copy of the Tenancy Agreement. The landlord will remain responsible for payment of ground rent and service charges which may apply.
We also require a copy of all covenants relating to the property to attach to the tenancy agreement.
PREPARING THE PROPERTY
It is the landlords statutory responsibility to ensure that the rented property is structurally sound and is habitable. We have found that a good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As property managers this relationship is our job. It is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
It is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings and these should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items which are to be left, are in the property during viewings. If you are unsure about any particular items we will be happy to advise.
PERSONAL ITEMS, ORNAMENTS ETC
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant's own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain gardens to a reasonable standard provided that they are left the necessary tools. However few tenants are experienced gardeners and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
At commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, this to include the oven, hob, extractor hood and any white goods. We strongly recommend that this be carried out by a professional cleaning company and a copy of the invoice passed to us for our records. At the end of each tenancy it is the tenant's responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense, but we cannot insist on a professional clean unless you had this done yourself.. A schedule of cleaning can be drawn up along side the inventory in order that the tenant has guidelines for cleaning at the end of the tenancy. Cleaning is the biggest reason for disputes at the end of a tenancy so having it professionally cleaned at the start avoids such issues.
INFORMATION FOR THE TENANT
It is helpful, and in some cases now a requirement, to leave information for the tenant on such things as how to operate the heating and hot water systems, washing machine and alarm system if appropriate, along with general information on the day the rubbish is collected and recycling arrangements.
If you are the current occupier of the property we recommend mail redirection is put in place to commence prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
A minimum of three sets of keys to your property are required. One set will be retained by Inspire Estate Agents in case of emergency. In the case of more than two tenants, such as sharers, additional sets will be required.
It is the tenants responsibility to pay for services to the property during the rental period, these include:
Gas/oil Electricity Water & drainage Telephone Satellite/cable TV
The tenant is also responsible for payment of the Local Authority Council tax. During void periods this responsibility reverts to the landlord.
It is the tenant's responsibility to report any fault which may breach safety regulations and to report failure of appliances which will require repair or replacement. Tenants will also be required to report structural damage i.e. from adverse weather conditions and internal faults, such as burst pipes. Tenants will report to Inspire Estates in all cases where we are appointed managing agents.
Inspire Estate Agents provide an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for rentals up to £100,000 per year to give you protection under the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) to ensure your rights to possession at the end of the tenancy are protected. This applies to properties where the landlord is not resident. Suitable agreements are prepared for properties falling outside of the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996).
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy lasts for a determined period, for example 6 months or 12 months and is a fixed term tenancy. It can also run indefinitely from one rental period to the next which is termed as a contractual period tenancy. We recommend for a new tenancy only a minimum rental period of six months, or a 12 month tenancy with a two month break clause inserted. If you are happy with these tenants at the end of a tenancy it can be renewed in the form of either a fixed term or a periodic tenancy. At each renewal a new security deposit registration fee will be incurred as the deposit protection expires and a renewal fee will be payable.
In addition we will prepare Notice Requiring Possession and Memorandum Agreement to renew the tenancy as required.
Inspire Estate Agents is registered with one of the available schemes as required by the protection of deposits Housing Act 2004.
Deposits are registered with Tenancy Deposit Solutions Limited, details available from www.mydeposits.co.uk.
Inventories and Property VisitsINVENTORIES
An inventory is a schedule of the property showing its conditions and contents prior to letting. Your inventory will include the condition of paintwork, wall coverings and floors/carpeting as well as any furniture and appliances to be left in the property during the rental period. The inventory will also include the condition of the garden if applicable.
Lofts, attics and cellars are not included. The condition of the exterior of the property and outbuildings/garages are not included as standard.
The tenant will be given a copy of the Inventory and Schedule of Condition. At the end of the tenancy the inventory clerk will perform a check-out to ensure there are no variations to the agreed inventory. We use the inventory company for the check out as they are completely independent to landlord and tenant.
Visits to fully managed properties are carried out after the first six weeks and thereafter either at three or six monthly intervals. The first visit will enable us to determine quickly if the upkeep of the property is being managed adequately by the tenant. If there are initial problems they can be rectified and in doing so will offer the tenant and you peace of mind.
Lofts, attics and cellars are not included in property visits.