Letting Guide for Landlords

As a landlord you have a number of legal responsibilities as well as many other things to consider. We have outlined below the main things you need to consider.

If you want to discuss any of these items then please contact a member of the team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Legal Responsibilities

It is your legal responsibility to provide the following documentation to tenants:

1) Gas Safety Certificate (GSC). Every rental property must have an annual gas safety certificate. Any issues identified on the certificate must be rectified immediately. Failure to have a gas safety certificate and to provide a copy to the tenant is an offence. Active Letting UK will arrange a gas safety certificate for you and ensure that this is carried out every year (unless you supply a certificate yourself). Active Letting UK can arrange a GSC for you for £75.

2) Tenancy Contract – All tenants must be given an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy contract). ASTs replaced regulated tenancy agreements on 15/1/89. This contract outlines the terms and obligations for the landlord and tenant regarding a particular tenancy. Active Letting prepare the tenancy contract and will supply a copy to you for your records if requested.

3) Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – An EPC is required for all rental property let from 1st October, 2008. An EPC has to be provided before a property is marketed to let. Active Letting UK can arrange an EPC for you for £75.

4) Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations – all furnishings must comply with ‘The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988’. This law makes sure that any furniture and furnishings supplied in a property that is rented out are fire resistant and that they won’t produce fume-filled smoke if there is a fire in the property. All furnishings and furniture has to be clearly marked with a label showing that they meet all of the necessary standards.

5) Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) – Any portable electrical appliance should be checked annually (there isn’t a specific time guide however best practise is an annual check). If you need us to arrange it we can provide a quote (depends on location/number of appliances to test).

6) Duty of care for tenants – Section 11 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act requires that landlords maintain the structure of the building. This act isn’t very specific but does stipulate this duty of care and we believe that any property that we let must be fit for purpose. A good way to determine this is whether you would live in that property yourself, if you wouldn’t then there is an issue with the property that needs rectifying.

7) Declaration of rental income. The Inland Revenue require all landlords to declare any rental income you receive. This can either be done yourself or via an Accountant. If you would like an Accountant recommendation then please let us know. We work with a panel of Accountants who are used to dealing with letting income and other types of personal and company returns.

There are also a number of optional responsibilities that we consider are good practise for landlords.

Optional/Recommended Guidelines

1) There is no minimum standard for properties (although some councils are introducing standards). We recommend that all property is ‘Fit for Purpose’. By this we mean:

a. Dry – no leaks from the roof or rising damp

b. Centrally heated – property heated via a central heating system such as gas central heating or electrical storage heaters

c. Double Glazing – where appropriate double glazing is fitted and the property is free from draughts

d. Kitchens and Bathrooms – nice and neat kitchens and bathrooms. Bathrooms should have a shower. Minor repairs not attended to in these areas put prospective tenants off quickly.

e. Decor – decoration should be neutral and well maintained to give the best impression.

f. Furnishings – should be attractive and undamaged.
If you need a furniture package or need your furnishings changed then we can arrange this for you. Contact us.

2) Electrical – at present there isn’t a mandatory electrical testing requirement (unless a portable electrical appliance – see above). Electrical safety would come under the duty of care act but it isn’t directly stated. We recommend that all property has an electrical report and that all repairs/improvements are undertaken. We can instruct an NICEIC electrical engineer to carry out an electrical test. We can provide a price for an electrical certificate on request.

3) Insurance – we cannot give insurance advice but please make sure that you are adequately covered for all eventualities that a landlord might encounter. We do have a preferred insurance provider who can give you this advise. Please contact us for more details. Please also note that in the eventuality that you need to make an insurance claim we work with a Insurance Claims Company that can manage this claim process for you and there is typically no charge to the landlord for this service. Please contact us for more details.