Horizon Lets top 10 tips for landlords.
Tip 1 : Get a basic understanding of landlord and tenant law
You can get all sorts of problems if you don’t understand the legal side of letting. You may have difficulties claiming against your tenants if they damage your property, or you may find you have used the wrong paperwork and therefore cant evict your tenants, you could even be prosecuted by the authorities for failing to comply with regulations.
Tip 2 : Check where your property is classed as a HMO (House Of Multiple Occupancy)
If you let to more than three people shared, who are not related or in a relationship then your property is more than likely a HMO.
If your property is a HMO then you will need to comply with the special HMO Management Regulations and the amenity standards which can vary through the different local authorities. You may also need to get a license depending on the rules of your local authority. If you are not sure whether your property is a HMO or whether you need a license then you can speak to a Housing Office at your local authority and they will advise you.
Tip 3 : Chose your tenants very carefully
These people will have control over a very valuable investment – your property! Once they have been let in, it could take many months to get them out again. Ensure you take references, check their ID and get them check by a tenant referencing company which specialises in checking tenants for landlords.
This is something Horizon Lets can do for you if you would prefer, just contact us at Horizon Lets to get started!!
Tip 4 : Make sure the property is in good repair
There are a lot of rules regarding the condition of the property. If it is in poor condition then your tenants can sue you for an injunction ordering you to do the work and potentially claim compensation. They also potentially have the legal right to get the repair work done themselves and deduct the cost from your rent. Your local authority may serve an improvement notice on you if they carry out an inspection and your property fails basic standards.
It is a lot easier to get repairs done before they go in than afterwards!
Tip 5 : Gas your gas appliances inspected
Gas safety is REALLY Important. Under the Gas Regulations you must have all appliances inspection by a gas installer registered with the Gas Safe Register before the tenants go in and then annually after that. You must give the certificate the installer gives you to the tenants before they go in and after any inspections moving forward. Make sure all necessary repairs are done promptly.
It is your responsibility to ensure that this is done and you can be prosecuted by the HSE if you don’t.
Tip 6 : Chose your letting agent carefully
A good letting agent can be a blessing to a landlord but sadly many fall short of acceptable standards. The things you need to check for are:
Are they regulated by one of the agents’ professional bodies such as ARLA, RICS, NAEA or NALS?
Have they signed up to a scheme such as the Ombudsman?
Are they registered with SafeAgent?
Are their terms and conditions clear and easy to understand?
Are their staff pleasant, helpful and have industry qualifications?
What are their charges? Make sure you understand them properly!
Remember that YOU are liable, legally, for everything your agent does on your behalf. Make sure you chose a firm which will do things properly!
All staff at Horizon Lets have a plentiful amount of experience and would be happy to act as your agent for your existing and future rental properties!
Tip 7 : Make sure you have a tenancy agreement
This is essential as it sets out all the terms of the agreement reached between you and the tenants. A good agreement will contact clauses to protect your position. It is essential when you take a deposit that is has clauses setting out what deductions will be made at the end of the tenancy. IF you don’t have one you cant use the quicker and cheaper “accelerated” eviction procedure.
Tip 8 : Your deposit MUST be protected
You must protect the deposit with one of three tenancy deposit schemes, TDS / Deposit Guard, My Deposits or the Deposit Protection Scheme. If your deposit is not protected and the prescribed information is not served on our tenant (and the person who paid the money if this was not the tenant) within 30 days of payment you will have no defence to a court claim against your tenant for the penalty of between one and three times the deposit sum.
You will also not be able to use the no fault section 21 procedure for eviction unless you either pay the deposit money back or have had a claim made against you for penalty which was resolved.
Tip 9 : If the tenants fall into arrears – deal with it immediately
Landlords have lost thousands of pounds through not dealing with rent arrears promptly enough. When arrears get higher it is almost impossible for tenants to ever pay them off. The best time to del with arrears is right at the beginning. That is when you have the best chance of getting the tenant to pay. If they don’t pay, make sure you get possession notices served promptly and then go to course for a possession order if needed.
Tip 10 : If the tenants seem to have gone – be careful!
It has been known for landlords to enter properties in the understanding that a tenant has left and then had it cause issues. They could be in hospital, on holiday, or simply not staying there for some reason. You are not entitled to change the locks unless you have confirmation they have left and not surrendered keys. If you know the have left and have left their keys then you are generally safe to repossess, otherwise it is better to get a court order for possession.
If you repossess illegally, your tenants could sue you for compensation.
If you need further help or would like an agent to act on your behalf please contact our landlord lettings management team at Horizon.
- Landlord’s Guide to Letting Property
- Are You a New Landlord?
- Our Top Tips for Landlord Cashflow Management
- Lawful and Unlawful Discrimination – Tenants & Landlords
- Data Protection – Our Guidance for Landlords