We outline on this page a basic, quick guide and overview for Landlords, to explain what is typically involved with letting property. If you need any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you'd like one our specialist managers to conduct a valuation or review of your property, please click here to request a free valuation.
The Act came into force on 20 March 2019. It is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen tenants means of redress against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe.
Under the Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended to require all landlords (private and social) to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Act states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation. This Act provides an additional means for tenants to seek redress by giving them the power to hold their landlord to account without having to rely on their local authority to do so.
The government expects standards to improve as tenants will be empowered to take action against their landlord where they fail to adequately maintain their property.The Act applies to the social and private rented sectors and makes it clear that landlords must ensure that their property, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. To achieve that, landlords will need to make sure that their property is free of hazards which are so serious that the dwelling is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition. Where a landlord fails to do so the tenant has the right to take action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation. The remedies for the tenant are court orders requiring the Landlord to remove the hazard and/or damages to compensate the tenant for having to live in a property not fit for human habitation.
The landlord is considered responsible from when he or she is made aware of the hazard by the tenant. However, any hazard located in common parts of a block of flats or a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) would make the landlord immediately liable. The landlord will then have a reasonable amount of time to deal with this hazard, which will depend on the circumstances. Once the landlord has been made aware of a hazard, and is not actively attempting to remedy this hazard, the tenant would be able to take their landlord to court. It is for the court to decide whether the landlord dealt with the hazard in a reasonable time. Currently there are no specified limits on the level of compensation that can be awarded, and this is at the discretion of the judge having considered the evidence. Factors which will be taken into account include the perceived harm that has been inflicted on the tenant, the longevity of the issue and the severity of the unfitness in the dwelling. You may also be ordered to pay the tenants legal costs.
A landlord cannot serve a section 21 no fault eviction notice to a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy unless they have complied with certain legal responsibilities.
Unique Estate Agency use an external company to carry out a Housing Health and Rating Survey on all rental properties to ensure that you, as a Landlord, are protected from potential claims from tenants. These include; whether the building has been neglected and is in a bad condition, the building is unstable, there is a serious problem with damp, it has an unsafe layout, there is not enough natural light, there is not enough ventilation, there is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water, there are problems with the drainage or the lavatories, it is difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up or any of the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005.
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 carry out a professional inventory and check in on your behalf
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.
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.
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.
You will need an 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.
Our company are not tax advisers so 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.
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).
There is no minimum period for an Assured Shorthold tenancy; however we recommend that the tenancy is for not less than six months.
Most tenancies are drawn up for a period of six to 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. We will be happy to discuss the pros and cons of different time periods with you.
Our staff have been trained and receive ongoing training on the various legal aspects of letting including safety regulations, tenancy agreements and clauses, possession and have vast practical experience. They will be happy to discuss any questions you may have regarding more detailed legal matters.
The relationship between Landlord and Tenant can sometimes have its �ups� and �downs� and the need for a professional agent is paramount in closing any divide to allow for a smooth and enjoyable property experience for all parties concerned, whether you are a Landlord or Tenant you are best advised to conclude your property transaction via a reputable agent.
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.