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Tessa's Ten Top Tips for Landlords

London Block of flats
  1. Make sure you have at least a basic knowledge of the relevant law and the legal requirements imposed on residential landlords, before you start letting any property, even if you intend using a letting agent. It is your property and your investment, plus you will be responsible to the tenant for your agents mistakes if they get things wrong.
  2. Check to see whether your property can be classed as an HMO. If so you will need to comply with the HMO Management Regulations and may need to get a license from your Local Authority.  You may also need planning permission.
  3. Chose your tenants very, very, carefully. Once they are in possession of the property it will take time and possibly a court action to get them out again, if they prove unsatisfactory. Remember you also need now to do a right to rent check (in England)
  4. Before letting, make sure that the property is in good repair and that the furniture and other contents comply with the various product safety legislation
  5. If there are any gas appliances at the property, make sure you get the property inspected annually by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register and give the necessary certificates to the tenants when they go into the property and annually thereafter. You should also get the electricity checked at least every five years.
  6. Do not set too high a rent. It is better to have a tenant in the property paying a modest rent than to set a high rent and have the property remain empty
  7. Make sure that you have a proper form of tenancy agreement which sets out all the obligations of the tenants and protects your position as landlord, and ensure that all the tenants sign it before they go in. Note - beware older forms of tenancy agreement which may not comply with current legislation.
  8. If you take a deposit this must be protected (for ASTs) under a government approved tenancy deposit scheme, or penalities will apply. Make sure you have a proper inventory/schedule of condition prepared for the property and its contents, and go through this with the tenants both when they go in and when they leave. Otherwise your chances of success in a dispute regarding the deposit are slim.
  9. If the tenants fall into rent arrears of two months/eight weeks, take immediate steps to serve a section 8 notice and consider bringing proceedings for possession. Remember that if the tenant pays no further rent, arrears at least four months (and probably more) will have accrued by the time a possession order is obtained. Can you afford to trust them?
  10. If the tenants appear to have gone, you need to be very careful indeed about re-entering the property without a court order. Remember that unlawful eviction is a criminal offence and can also make you liable in the civil courts for a substantial order in damages (plus you will probably end up having to pay the tenant's legal costs).


Find out more here

Notes: 

Members will find further information on all the matters discussed here in the members only information.

Landlord members will be able to use our tenancy agreement service.

 

 

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