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articles > Things Every Landlord Should Know
Article > Things Every Landlord Should Know


Article kindly provided by Graham Phelps

Things every landlord should know
Whilst you know might be aware of many of these points, here is just a reminder of some key facts, based on the questions we get asked most frequently by landlords.

Mortgage
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement.

Leaseholds
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.

Insurance
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can advise on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.

Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for your or the tenant to make regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. Where they are paid annually, you should budgeted monthly for these costs.

Council tax and utility accounts
Whilst it is the tenant’s responsibility, you may need to arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. If nothing else it always best to check this has been done, with a few days of the tenant moving. Otherwise you will have to prove you were not living there. Meter readings should be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. Do not forget telephone, TV and Internet services.

Income tax
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord's Agent 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. Further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.

The inventory
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 contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will, if required, arrange for a professional to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition. There are shocking new figures showing that poor inventories are costing landlords £12 million a year. The Video Inventory Agency conducted this research.

Important Safety Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.


Health and Safety - Gas

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 competent engineer (i.e. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).

Maintenance
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.


 

Records
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.

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.

Health and Safety - Electrical
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 necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and remove or replace any faulty items.

Consumer Protection - Fire
The Furniture 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, 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, 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 before a tenancy commences.

Smoke Alarms
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).


 

   
 


 

 

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