BEFORE YOU LET YOUR PROPERTY
Before letting, there are several issues that you’ll need to address to ensure a smooth tenancy and that you’re complying with the law. These issues are listed below. If you would like to discuss concerns regarding these before letting your property with us, please do not hesitate.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain written consent to the letting from your mortgage provider. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement, which you must inform us of.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease and obtain the necessary written consent from your freeholder before letting your property.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner. When unoccupied but furnished, the charge is 50% of the normal rate. When unoccupied and ‘substantially’ unfurnished, there is no charge for the first six months, and thereafter a charge of 50% of the normal rate. This can vary depending on area and your Council.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies.
EPC (ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE)
When buildings are to be rented out, the landlord is responsible for ensuring a valid certificate and is made available to all prospective tenants. From October 2008, all buildings whenever sold, built, or rented will need a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The certificate provides energy efficiency A-G ratings and recommendations for improvement. The ratings — similar to those found on products such as fridges — are standard so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type.
IMPORTANT SAFETY REGULATIONS
The following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (the landlord), and as we manage the property, they are also ours as agents. Therefore, to protect all interests we ensure full compliance with the appropriate regulations at the owner’s expense.
GAS APPLIANCES & EQUIPMENT
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1996) and some other regulations, all gas appliances in tenanted premises must be checked for safety every 12 months, by a Gas Safe registered gas engineer, and a safety certificate issued. Records must be kept of the dates of inspections, of defects identified, and of any remedial action taken.
CARBON MONOXIDE AND SMOKE DETECTORS REQUIREMENTS
From the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. Changes are also made to the licence requirements in relation to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsits which require a licence and also in relation to properties which are subject to selective licensing. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats.
ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES & EQUIPMENT
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 and some other regulations, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be safe. Although (unlike gas) no safety certificate is legally required, and therefore it may be adequate to perform a visual check of electrical equipment, fittings, and leads. It is recommended that a qualified electrician be engaged for this purpose and we can arrange this for you if required.
FURNITURE & FURNISHINGS
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) 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, futons 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 linens; duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Therefore, all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance and then non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1/3/1990 from a reputable supplier are also likely to comply.
GENERAL PRODUCT SAFETY
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 specify that any product supplied in the course of a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of letting, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. Recommended action is to check for obvious danger signs — leaning walls, broken glass, sharp edges etc, and also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items such as hot surfaces, electric lawnmowers etc, for the tenant.