Guide for Landlords South Buckinghamshire.


A step-by-step guide to help you understand all the latest regulations.

Being a Landlord is challenging enough without having additional Agency costs so we made our proposal to clients really straight forward: The fee structure you are offered covers all associated Agency costs. This means no administration charges, set up costs, referencing and charges for same day transfers (we are in 2021 after all).

If you are an experienced Landlord or this is your first time, we are here to guide you through the process and advise you on what is required in both best practice and legal requirements.

Ahead of looking to rent your property here are a few points to consider



  • If leasehold, do you have consent to rent from the freeholder?

  • Do you have consent from your mortgage lender

  • If leasehold, please provide a copy of the headlease- this is required to form part of a tenancy to ensure the Tenant is aware of any relevant clauses. Without issuing this prior to a tenancy commencing a Landlord cannot hold a Tenant accountable for any breach of the headlease.

  • Make sure you have spoken with your insurer on renting your property and have made arrangements for adequate cover.

  • Make sure your property is in a safe, habitable condition and there are no obvious hazards. Your property must comply with basic lettings regulations and we would advise all Landlords to refer to the HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) guidelines as a framework for a full risk assessment.

  • From 20th March 2019 the law requires Landlords to ensure homes are fit to live in at the start of the tenancy and remain in good condition throughout the term of the tenancy. Should the standard drop, Tenants can take Landlords to court for breach of contract. Further information about the legislation can be found here- Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 

    https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2062

  • Landlords are required to carry out periodical fire risk assessments under Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This assessment should identify the level of risk and include confirmation that all furniture must be fire safe.

  • We would always advise a Landlord go over and above. For example, whilst fire extinguishers are not obligatory (unless it is a House of Multiple Occupancy) we would advise it is best practice to provide one on every floor.

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made


There a number of private organisations who will be licensed to undertake the assessment on a Landlords behalf.


Certification


Energy Performance Certificate


 
Prior to marketing your property you will legally require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is valid for 10 years from when the assessment took place.
From April 2018 any privately let property legally requires a minimum rating of E or above. Should your rating be lower than an "E" remedial steps must be taken to increase the rating. From April 2020, any none compliant ratings under an E are subject to a fine of £4000.

More information on the rating system for Landlords can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance


Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) & The Portable Appliance Test


From the 1st July 2020 all new tenancies (including renewals) will require an Electrical Installation Condition Report. The report will cover consumer units, protective bonding, lighting, sockets and switches. The legislation states the report must be satisfactory and the report is required every 5 years.

All existing tenancies and renewals prior to 1st July 2020 are required to have a satisfactory EICR by the 1st April 2021.

https://www.arla.co.uk/news/january-2019/government-announce-mandatory-electrical-safety-checks.aspx


Gas Safety Certificate


The Gas Safety Regulations of 1998 require all Landlords to maintain all gas appliances, pipe work and flues in safe condition. An annual gas safety inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer who will issue a Gas Safety Certificate as proof of the inspection.


A copy must be issued to the Tenant prior to the tenancy commencing and for every inspection during their tenancy. We would advise all our clients to have all appliances serviced during these checks.


We would also advise to cross check the engineer on the Gas Safe website to ensure they are certified to carry out works on the appliances in your home.


Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations


From 1st October 2015 Landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their rental property. Smoke alarms are also required for any half landings and vaulted ceilings in specific rooms. In addition, a carbon monoxide alarm must be in all rooms with a solid fuel source (including gas/open fires/log burnets, boilers and gas hobs). 


Legionanaire’s assessment


Landlords are responsible for carrying out a risk assessment for Legionaire’s disease. It is a Landlord’s responsibility to identify and evaluate any potential sources of the disease and then take steps to prevent or minimize any risk. The level of risk assessment required depends on the type of property. Failure to carry out a risk assessment can result in a fine.


https://www.hse.gov.uk/Legionnaires/faqs.htm#Landlord


Right to Rent checks


Under section 22 of the immigration Act 2014 a Landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or EEA or Swiss National, or has a “right to rent” in the UK.


The requirement to check whether a tenant has a “right to rent” came into effect on 1st February 2016 and Landlords or Agents who breach section 22 may be liable for a civil penalty.


Under our Letting service we will carry out the initial checks at the start of the tenancy as part of our service.


Deposits & Tenant Fee Ban


From the 1st June 2019 Landlords and Lettings Agents in England were banned from charging lettings fees to Tenants. Tenants are now only required to pay their deposit and rent when signing a new lease. This also relates to the shared cost of an inventory check in and check out as the Landlord must now pay the full cost of both reports. It is important to factor this in when reviewing your associated costs ahead of a tenancy.


Deposits also fall under this legislation change where deposits are capped to a maximum of five weeks rent. Should the rent exceed over £50,000 per annum, deposits are now capped at six week’s rent.


Registration of Deposits


From 2007 all Landlords are required by law to protect tenancy deposits in a government approved protection scheme. At Bovingdons, we will register the deposit on your behalf with the Tenancy Deposit Custodial Scheme (TDS).


Please see below for further detail www.tenancydepositscheme.com


How to rent guide


Whilst Bovingdons will always send this on your behalf it is worth noting all Tenants must be provided with the most up-to-date copy of the government’s “how to rent guide”.


This is usually sent with a full copy of the Energy Performance Certificate, draft lease, offer letter and information relating to how the deposit is registered.


Repairs & Maintenance


Under Repairs and Maintenance Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Landlords are responsible for repairs to the exterior and structure of a property including issues with the roof, chimney, walls, guttering and drains.


Landlords must also maintain equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity and ensure this is safe and in working order.


The Tenancy Agreement we provide will have legislative clauses relating to your obligations as a Landlord. We would advise reviewing this lease in detail and referring to the Government website to give you full colour on making repairs/access and maintenance. Should repairs not be carried out within a reasonable timeframe or completed properly a Tenant may carry out repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent. 


https://www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property/making-repairs


Should you use our managed service, arranging all of these duties and responsibilities will be taken off your desk.