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Tessa's Ten Top Tips for landlords on rent

Houses in Derbyshire
  1. Do not charge too high a rent - it is better to let a property with a moderate rent, than have it lie empty.
  2. If you are letting for a fixed term of more than one year, consider having a rent review clause in your tenancy agreement.
  3. Try to ensure that your tenants pay by standing order if possible. Ideally this should be specified in the tenancy agreement.
  4. If you have made the rent payable weekly, note that you have to provide the tenant with a rent book in the prescribed form (obtainable from most large stationers).
  5. Keep accurate records of rent paid, making sure you record the date and the amount paid every time rent is received from the tenant.
  6. The best way to increase rent is by agreement with the tenant. This is normally done by getting the tenant(s) to sign a new tenancy agreement or renewal form (you can use this as an opportunity also to update your agreement). If you do not want to do this, make sure you have a written record of the tenants agreement to the new rent - this is best done by getting them to sign and date a copy of the letter informing them of the rent increase (and keep this in your files).
  7. If the tenant refuses to agree the new rent, assured and assured shorthold landlords with periodic tenancies can increase rent by serving a notice of rent increase (landlord members can use our online form). Notice must be given in the proper form and be properly completed, or it will not be valid. Note that the tenants have the right to refer any rent increase to the Rent Assessment Committee/Residential Property Tribunal Service (who have the right to amend it to a market rent), so use this procedure with caution.
  8. If rent is not increased in the proper way the increase will not be valid and the tenant is entitled to continue paying the existing rent.
  9. If your tenant is a protected or statutory tenant under the Rent Act 1977, they will either have, or be entitled to apply for, a 'fair rent'. In these circumstances you will only be able to charge the 'fair rent' assessed by the Rent Officer. This rent can only be reviewed every two years, unless substantial improvements are done to the property or if there is a change in the cirumstances of the letting, in which case an earlier application can be made to the Rent Officer.
  10. Do not allow the tenant to fall into arrears. If the rent is paid late write a letter, and consider serving a possession notice and perhaps eviction proceedings. Remember that it takes between three to five months to evict a tenant (during which time you will probably not be paid any rent) so you should start the process as soon as possible to minimuse your losses, if your tenant stops paying.

 

Notes: 

Members can read FAQ and articles on all the points covered here.

We have a rent arrears action plan for landlord members,which gives detailed guidance on what to do when tenants fall into arrears plus letters and forms.

 

 

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