GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. You should inform your local collection office that you are leaving the property. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner.
It is most important that an Inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or its contents. In order to provide a complete service to the landlord, we will, if requested, arrange for a third party to prepare an Inventory and Schedule of Condition, at a cost to be quoted depending on the size of the property.
When the landlord is resident in the UK, it is entirely his responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of Rental Income received, and to pay any tax due. However, where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under new rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as landlord's agents, are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
The following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (the landlord), and where we are to manage the property, they are also ours as agents. Therefore to protect all interests we ensure full compliance with the appropriate regulations, at the owner's expense.
APPLIANCES AND EQUIPMENT
GAS ANNUAL SAFETY CHECK
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a registered Gas Safe registered engineer.
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
The smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations are coming into force as from 1st October 2015 in England. The purpose of the regulations is to reduce the number of injuries or deaths from smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning in the residential rented sector.
Duty to install alarms:
· A smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the premises that are wholly or partly used as living accommodation.
· A carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel combustion appliance including boilers, gas fires, wood burners, open fires.
· The smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in proper working order at the start of any new tenancy.
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
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.
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are 'supplying in the course of business'. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation - 'Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with a tenanted property there is currently no specific legal requirement for a qualified electrician to carry out an inspection and issue a safety certificate (as exists in the case of gas appliances), it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care', or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, and beds, headboards 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, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Therefore all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1.3.90 from a reputable supplier are also likely to comply.
GENERAL PRODUCT SAFETY
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 specify that any product supplied in the course of a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of letting, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. Recommended action is to check for obvious danger signs - leaning walls, broken glass, sharp edges etc., and also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items, such as hot surfaces, electric lawnmowers, etc. for the tenant.
PREPARING THE PROPERTY FOR LETTING
We have found from experience that a good relationship with tenants is
the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers the
relationship part is our job, but it is important that the tenants should feel
comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for
their money. This is your job. Our policy of offering a service of quality and care therefore extends to our tenant applicants too, and we are pleased to recommend properties to rent which conform to certain minimum standards. Quality properties attract quality tenants.
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a clean condition, and 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, we will engage the service of a Cleaning Company and deduct the Invoice from the holding deposit.
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office redirection service. Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal. It is not the tenant's responsibility to forward mail.
INFORMATION FOR THE TENANT
It is helpful if you leave information for the tenant on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant and where the property is Managed our office will also require a set of keys for property inspections and access for tradesmen when required.