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Guidance for Landlords

Further to the legal requirements of a Landlord, we have listed some other useful information to assist Landlords in the letting of property and some of their obligations.

Failure to adhere to current regulations can open Landlords to a failure to evict a tenant through the issuing of a Section 21 notice to criminal proceedings against the Landlord. It is therefore important to

As a professional Landlord, it is important to ensure you keep up to date with any changes in legislation.

Protect your property against Fraud.

There are many things that you can do to prevent property fraud and these include;

- Keep your contact details up to date with the Land Registry.
- Ensure that your property or land is registered with the Land Registry
- Put a restriction on your title.

It is always important to ensure you take legal advice before signing any documentation relating to your property. Please speak to your solicitor if you have any questions relating to this subejct as Jones Estate Agents are not qualified to give legal advice.

Obtain consent to let.

In order to let your property, you are required to obtain permission from ;

- Your mortgage lender,
- Head Landlord(if leasehold),
- Any housing association which has regulations applying to the property,
- Any adult with occupancy rights
- Your Buildings Insurance Company.

In the case of the lender and insurance company, you may find that you can simply change providers if consent is not given. This may lead to financial penalties by doing so, so it in important to take professional advice before taking any action. At Jones Estate Agents, we can assist in both of these areas. Please call our office on 01642885511 and we will be more than happy to assist.

Tenancy Deposits.

As a Landlord you may ask the tenant for a deposit to protect you against loss of rent, damage to your property or the tenants not paying bills. As such, the deposit must be clearly noted in your tenancy agreement and as such reasons that the deposit may be partly or fully withheld.

Property Inventory

Before the tenant moves in you should carry out a detailed inventory and schedule of the property and you should include a list of furniture, kitchen equipment and any other items left in the property. You should also take great care to detail the current condition of these items in order that any dispute that may arise later can then be referred to the original inventory. It is also important that the inventory be signed and dated by all parties associated with the tenancy agreement. Jones Estate Agents provide this service free-of-charge if requested by our Landlords under our full management scheme. We also advise that photographs and/or video is used to support the written inventory, but not in place of.

Approved Schemes

The tenant's deposit must be registered with an approved scheme. Failure to do so can lead to many problems for the Landlord including the issuing of 21 notices as they are then invalid.

In addition, the Landlord can be fined up to 4 times the bond by the courts for not doing so. In our experience, we have also seen many Landlords try to disguise a bond in many different forms including administration fees, deposit for utilities and many other reasons, but all of these are not likely to be seen as anything other than a bond in a court of law and as such the bond would be expected to be secured in an approved scheme.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Landlords and sellers of property are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate. These certificates give a building a rating based on the energy efficiency of a property and also a recommendation of how this can be improved and also lessen the CO2 output of the property. These certificates provide an energy rating A to G similar to those seen on many other household goods bought today. These are carried out by a qualified energy assessor. Typical costs are around £70 - £100 but last for 10 years unless major renovation work has been done to the property.

Rent Guarantee Insurance

It is important to note that if this option is required, then it is important that we know before we find a tenant as the underwriting of the tenant is carried out by the insurers and not by Jones Estate Agents.

If you are a Landlord who lets a property then you run the risk of rent default by your tenant. Even the best checks and references cannot predict a tenant falling on hard times and not being able to pay their rent. Could you cover your expenditure if this happened?

In the current economic climate, many landlords are finding their default rates soar as tenants struggle with rising unemployment and increased bills. Recovering arrears can be difficult and costly for landlords, without any guarantee of success.

At Jones Estate Agents, our Rent Guarantee Insurance will cover you against your tenant defaulting or failing to pay the rent.

Cost: Please call us on 01642 885511 for a quote.

Landlord's Insurance

At Jones Estate Agents, we are able to provide you with a range of insurance products that may suit your requirements.

The types of insurance offered by Jones Estate Agents include;

- Buildings Insurance
- Buildings & Contents Insurance
- Rent Guarantee

Smoke Alarms and CO detectors - (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

From the 1st Of October, 2015, it is a legal requirement to have at least one smoke installed on every storey of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (eg a coal fire, wood burning stove).

After that, the Landlord must ensure the alarms are in a working order at the start of each new tenancy. We also ask that tenants report any faults with the alarms and it is the responsibility of the Landlord to attend to the repair or replacement of these alarms.

Landlords moving home..

As a Landlord, when you move home, it is important to update the companies connected to all of your rental properties. Although our list is not exhaustive, it is therefore important to update the following:

- Your Mortgage Lenders(s)
- The Land Registry (to receive anti-fraud updates)
- The Local Authorities to pay council tax (when properties are empty). Some offer a limited time exemption although generally not for furnished properties.
- The Utility Providers.(Gas, Water, Electricity, Landline Phone, Mobile Phone, Digital TV & Broadband
- The Managing Leaseholder Agent
- Your bankers - you may have a separate client account
- The Deposit Scheme Provider (DPS/TDS/MyDeposits)
- Your Insurance Companies (eg. Buildings Insurance)
- The Police. Update them as to a local keyholder just in case the alarms sounds.
- HMRC/Inland Revenue
- Electoral Register
- Child Benefit
- Child Maintenance

If you have resided in the property you have let at any point, we would advise having all mail redirected by the Royal Mail and it is also important to update the following

- Bank, Credit card, Hire Purchase, Student Loan & Mortgage providers
- Savings, Shares, Premium Bonds & Pension Providers
- Insurance - Travel, Car, Vehicle Breakdown Cover & Property (For your property insurance, you may have to switch to a different type of insurance as the property is let and not occupied by the owner)
- Family & Friends
- The DVLA regarding your vehicles and Driving License
- TV Licensing
- HMRC/Inland Revenue
- Your children's School
- Doctor
- Vet
- Dentist

Gas Safety (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998)

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The Gas Safety Regulations deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.

Appliances, fittings and flues in a communal area but which may be used by tenants are also included. You are responsible for the maintenance and repair of flues,appliances and pipework provided for your tenants use ;by a Gas Safe registered link to external website engineer . Although there is no prescribed timeframe for these duties, good practice would be the demonstration of regular, annual maintenance checks and subsequent repairs.

You are also responsible for ensuring an annual gas safety check is carried out within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance or flue which you provide and annually thereafter by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. You must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

Right to Rent (Section 32(6)(a) of the Immigration Act 2014)

You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England. Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:

-They are not named on the tenancy agreement
-There is no tenancy agreement
-The tenancy agreement is not in writing

If you need any further information, then please call our office on 01642 885511 and we will be more than happy to assist further.