Advice for Landlords - County lettings

01275 540 830
Professional Residential Property Management and Letting Services
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Preparing your Property for Letting
We appreciate that if you are letting your property for the first time, it may appear a daunting prospect but with our procedures and safeguards in place, we feel sure that we can arrange trouble free letting of your property.
We have found that a good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy.  As Property Managers, this relationship part is our job.  It is also very important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they feel that they are receiving value for their money, and as a landlord, this is your job.  Our policy of offering a service of quality and care therefore extends to our tenants too, and we only recommend properties to rent which conform to certain minimum standards.  Quality properties attract quality tenants.
General Condition
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order.  Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established
Interior decorations should be in good condition, and preferably plain, light and neutral
Furnishings  for unfurnished properties
It is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings, and these should be of reasonable quality.  It is preferable that items to be left are in the property during viewing.  The minimum requirements are: carpets, curtains light shades and a cooker.
Personal Items, Ornaments etc.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value, and put in storage.  Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk, and under lock and key.  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, few tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange maintenance visits by a reliable gardener.
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the tenant's responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition except for wear and tear.  Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.  Where dogs or cats have been allowed, it is our practice to insist that the tenants have the carpets cleaned/treated, at their expense, before the end of the tenancy and this condition is written into the Tenancy Agreement.
Mail Forwarding
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office redirection service.  Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal.  It is not the tenant's responsibility to forward mail.
Information for the Tenant
It is advisable to leave information for the tenant regarding the operation of the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and advise the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant.  Where we are managing, we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required, at your expense.
What else Should a Landlord be Aware of ?
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, of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain the necessary written consent from the landlord before letting.
If you are a tenant yourself, you will require your landlord's written consent.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and your contents insurance.  Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies.  We can advise on Legal Protection,
Guaranteed Rent insurance and Landlord's Contents insurance if required.  We also insist that tenants have adequate home contents insurance
Bills and Regular Outgoings
It is advisable to arrange for regular outgoings, e.g. mortgage, service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit.  However, where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office
Council Tax.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier.  If you occupy the property at present, you should inform your local collection office that you are leaving it.  During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner who will have to pay the full amount of Council Tax, which would be the same amount as if the property was occupied.
Inventory of Contents and Schedule of Condition.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared.  This must be agreed and signed by the tenant, in order to avoid any 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 and efficient service to the landlord we can arrange for a member of our staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, as detailed in our Landlord/Agency Agreement.
When the Landlord is resident in the U.K. it is entirely his responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due.  However, where the landlord is resident outside the U.K. during a tenancy, under new rules effective from the 6th April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as landlord's agents 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.  An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
Statutory Safety Regulations
NOTE:  The Following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (the Landlord).  Where you have signed our full Management Agency Agreement, we must notify you of these requirements.  Therefore where we are Managing we will ensure compliance, at your expense.
Health and Safety - Gas
Where there are any gas appliances in the property provided by the landlord, the landlord must ensure that annual gas safety checks are carried out. These checks must be carried out by a gas fitter/engineer who is registered on the Gas Safety Register (which has replaced Corgi). A copy must be given to the tenant before the tenant moves in and the check must have been carried out within the 12 months before the new tenant takes up occupation. Checks must be done annually at no more than 12 month intervals and copies of all certificates for checks must be handed over to the tenant. If landlords fail to do this they may lose their Section 21 rights in England as of 1st October 2015. We can of course arrange this for you if we manage your property.
Health and Safety - Electrical
Under the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 1994 and other regulations, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be safe.  You should therefore make a visual check to ensure that no electrical fittings, equipment and leads appear unsafe and damaged, and arrange for a qualified electrician to deal with any faults which are found.. The landlord also must make  sure that the property has adequate RCD protection
This of course also applies should a tenant complain of an electrical fault which should be dealt with as quickly as possible.  There are new laws with regard to Health and Safety which will be introduced in 2019.
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 resistant standards.  The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, and beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, 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, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.  In practice, items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached.
Energy Performance Checks  .
All properties   will need to have a current Energy Performance Certificate                                                                                                                                                                                                             
In addition, further changes took effect as from 1st October 2015 for new tenancies starting on or after that date whereby if a landlord does not supply the tenants with  a current EPC before they move in  a Section 21 notice cannot be served in England. Also from April 1st 2018, new private properties for rent are generally required to have a minimum of an E on the Energy Performance Certificate rating scale. This will come into effect for existing tenancies from April 1 2020, and it will make breaches of this rule – renting properties with F or G ratings – unlawful.   This will mean that  landlords of properties with an EPC rating of F or G may not be able to rent out their properties.
Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors
Landlords should ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning source. Best practice would be to also  fit a co alarm close to any gas boiler.  Smoke alarms must have been fitted on every floor. They will have been checked and are in working order at the outset of the tenancy.  The tenant/s  is/are made aware that it is not the landlord’s responsibility for maintaining them during  the tenancy.         
We hope this information provides answers to any queries you may have.  If not, please feel free to contact us for further advice at any time.

For Residential Property management services in Clevedon and surrounding areas choose County Lettings and management services.
Call us on 01275 540 830
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