- Legal Matters
The relationship between Landlord and Tenant can sometimes have its “ups” and “downs” It is paramount to try for a enjoyable property experience for all parties concerned, whether you are a Landlord or Tenant , buyer or seller you are best advised to conclude your property transaction as fair as possible and be negotiable with each other. Tenancy law is now far better regulated than ever before with balanced rights for all parties, tenants holding deposit held in Approved Scheme and are returned at the end of the tenancy subject to the property being returned in the manner it was taken and subject to there being no outstanding bills relating to utilities etc. The lettings market has grown immensely due to the increasing Buy to let market and with an increase to new build added to the marketplace the level of quality has improved greatly.
- Most tenancies are drawn up for a period of six months or twelve months, some have break clauses. A break clause allows either party to terminate the agreement with two months notice after an initial period of four months the notice may be served.
- Most tenancies are classed as Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Under the Housing Act 1998 (as amended 1996) landlords have more rights to possession than with tenancies commencing prior to the Acts and procedures for possession are now quicker and simpler (provided the process is carried out correctly).
- The tenant will be responsible for the payment of gas, electricity, water, telephone, council tax and television licence. (Unless otherwise agreed and stated) As the landlord you are still responsible for the payment of service charges and ground rent in leasehold properties and buildings insurance on Freehold properties.
- Consent to let
- If the landlord has a mortgage, it is normal for mortgagees to require notification of any proposed lettings and the landlord should seek their initial consent. In the case of leasehold premises the consent of the Head Lessee of Freeholder will be required. The landlord should also advise his insurance company of the proposal to let the property as this could either invalidate the insurance altogether or increase the premiums. You should obtain written documentation of these consents prior to letting.
- We strongly advise our Landlords to carry out a full inventory for each separate tenancy. The purpose of checking an inventory is to establish damages which can only be done if descriptions and conditioning remarks are sufficiently detailed at the commencement of the tenancy and then at the end of the term. Under the terms of the tenancy agreement, the tenant is required to return the property and contents at the end of the tenancy in the same condition as they were at the commencement, fair wear and tear accepted. It is almost impossible to ascertain whether damage was caused during a tenancy without a proper inventory signed by all relevant parties. If instructed we will arrange a professional inventory and check in on your behalf, the cost of which is borne by the landlord. The tenants are responsible for paying for the check out.
- Furniture & Furnishings
- Furniture & Furnishings supplied in let accommodation must comply with The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire & Safety) Regulations 1988. Some materials used to fill or cover furniture may be a fire risk, highly flammable and may produce poisonous gases on burning e.g. carbon monoxide. The regulation set to phase out potential dangerous furniture & furnishings and ensure that those left or newly provided can pass tests for fire safety.
- Find out who owns the property
- Landlord and tenant responsibilities for health and safety
- Electrical Certificate
Although it is not yet a legal requirement, for peace of mind, it is recommended getting a NICEIC electrical inspection carried out, and will cover all the electrical issues. This certificate can be valid up to 5 years. It is the landlords responsibility to make sure all electrical socket, switches & appliances are safe to use.
- Gas Safety Certificates
Landlords have duties to ensure that the gas appliances and flues they provide for tenants' use are maintained in a safe condition at all times and checked for safety each year by a CORGI registered installer, and a copy of the certificate provided to the tenant. These Regulation aim to prevent injury to consumers and the public from either carbon monoxide(CO) poisoning or fire and explosions.
- What is a EPC ( Energy Performance Certificate)?
EPCs are having been introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings. From October 2008 EPCs will be enquired whenever a building is rented. The certificate provides ‘A' to ‘G' ratings for the building, with ‘A' being the most efficient and ‘G' being the least, with the average up to now being a ‘D'. This is a compulsory requirement.
- Taxes on rental property
Under the Taxation of income from Land (non residents) Regulations 1995, the rent receiving agent (or where there is no agent, the tenant) will be required to deduct an amount equivalent to Basic Rate Tax from the rent (after taking deductible expenses paid by the agent into account) and pay the balance to the Inland Revenue each quarter. However, the overseas landlord can apply to the Inland Revenue for exemption from this requirement. Provided the landlords tax history is good and tax affairs are up to date, the overseas landlord will be issued with a certificate that will be sent to his rent receiving agent. This will authorise the agent to pay the rent to you with no tax deducted. A NRL1 form which you must complete and send to the Inland Revenue. Neither your rent receiving agent nor your tax advisor can file this application for you - it must be done by you. Failure to return this form in time may result in the exemption certificate not being issued before the payments become due. We would have no alternative but to make the required tax deduction before paying the rents to you. If you are unsure as to how the above will affect you, you would be advised to speak to an accountant or professional tax advisor. Any Non resident Landlord Tax payments deducted by us, in the first quarter can be refunded, if the exemption certificate is in our possession before the first quarter has ended. Any deductions after the first quarter can only be reclaimed after the first year has ended. Any refunds due after the first quarter are made by the Inland Revenue.
- Buying or selling a property
- Letting out a property