If you are a leaseholder you should check the terms of your lease documentation and obtain the necessary written consent from the Freeholder or the Management Company for the building before letting your property.
If your property is mortgaged or you have a loan secured on the property then you must obtain written consent from your lender prior to the tenancy commencing. Your lender may also require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us and they will often charge a fee for giving their consent for the letting to take place.
As regard to mortgage payments, we recommend that these are always paid directly by you via standing order.
If you reside in the UK then it is your responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of any rental income received and to pay any tax due on it. Before taking the decision to let your property, it is advisable to consult an accountant who can offer professional advice on tax matters. This will usually save you money in the long term. It is also useful to remember that income tax on rental incomes is charged on the profit received after the deduction of allowable expenses.
If you are not residing in England and Wales during the tenancy then we, as your agents, are required to deduct basic rate tax from any rent that we collect on your behalf. You can apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate depending on your current tax situation.
Building and Structural Condition
A well-maintained property in good decorative order will help towards a smooth running tenancy. This will also have a positive impact in the form of a potentially higher rental figure. Moreover, we have found that tenants are more inclined to treat a nicely presented property with greater respect.
As landlord you are legally responsible to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property and keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation and for space and water heating. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established. Also, interior decorations should be in good clean condition and preferably plain, light and neutral in presentation.
Furnished or unfurnished
The majority of properties on the letting market are ‘unfurnished’. A good working definition of this term is that it will usually include carpeting or flooring, curtains/blinds and a cooker. A ‘partly furnished’ property will usually contain the usual ‘white good’ kitchen appliances such as washing machine and fridge.
We recommend that you leave only minimum furnishings and that these should be of reasonable quality. Any items to be left should be in the property during viewings. Personal possessions such as ornaments, pictures and books should definitely be removed from the premises, especially those of financial 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 the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, if you have very high standards for your garden or if it is particularly large then you may wish for us to arrange visits by a regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition and at the end of each tenancy it is the responsibility of the tenant to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at the tenant’s expense.
Information for the tenant
It is helpful to the tenant if you leave a ‘useful information’ folder at the property containing copies of manuals and documentation for operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and any alarm system. It is also good to include details of when the refuse is collected.
Provision of keys
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant. Where we are managing your property we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
Landlord Guide to Gas Safety
This guide provides a more detailed explanation of the Gas Safety legislation and the responsibilities that it imposes on you as landlord.
The health risks of poorly fitted or maintained gas appliances and flues cannot be underestimated and failure to fulfil your duties as landlord could result in fines of up to £5000 for each offence. If a case is referred to the Crown Court then there is the possibility of receiving an unlimited fine and even a custodial sentence. Worst of all, failure to maintain appliances correctly could result in a tragic and unnecessary loss of life.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
These deal specifically with the installation, maintenance and recommended use of gas appliances, flues and associated pipework in domestic and some commercial premises. The Regulations require that such items, whether fixed or portable, that are provided for the tenant must be safe to use. This includes appliances and flues serving ‘relevant premises’, such as a central heating boiler that although not installed in a property is used to heat it.
Items not covered under the Regulations’ safety check and maintenance requirements include appliances owned by the tenant, flues or chimneys that are connected solely to an appliance owned by the tenant and gas appliances used exclusively in an area of the premises designated and occupied for non-residential purposes.
The duties under the Regulations in relation to the appliances, flues and associated pipework provided for the tenant’s use apply to what is termed ‘relevant premises’. This means those that are occupied for residential purposes either under a licence, fixed term tenancy or a lease as defined by the Regulations. In practice it covers any lease for a term of less than seven years.
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 arrange a qualified electrician to carry out a comprehensive check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads are completely safe and undamaged and to remove or replace any faulty items.
If you reside outside England and Wales during the tenancy then you will still remain subject to income tax on rents received.
The Non-Resident Landlord Scheme requires us as your agent to deduct basic rate tax from any rent we collect on your behalf. However, you can apply to the Inland Revenue for approval to receive your rental income without tax deductions. This is submitted on a NRL1 form that we can supply you with, which requires you to disclose your current tax situation and obligations
If this application is successful we will be able to collect your rent and pay it to you gross. Although the rent may be paid with no tax deducted it will still remain liable to tax, so if you are a non-resident landlord then you must include it in any tax return that the Inland Revenue provides you with.