Renting your Property - Getting it Right

The law relating to renting your residential property keeps changing all the time and failing to keep up to date with the latest regulatory requirements can have serious and costly consequences for the Landlord.  Following these steps will help you ensure that you do not fall foul of the regulations and find yourself in a corner when it comes to obtaining possession of your property.

 

The Tenancy Agreement – Practical Matters

  • Make sure you use a current tenancy agreement from a reputable source.  Relying on an old tenancy agreement or a tenancy agreement amended without the appropriate legal advice can have serious consequences.
  • If you are letting a leasehold property, make sure that any relevant obligations contained in your lease are incorporated in your tenancy agreement.   These could be obligations such as restrictions on pets, the number of occupiers or whether or not they have to comprise of a single family and much more.  Failing to do this could result in you being in breach of your own lease and not being able to evict your tenant.
  • Consider whether you need a guarantor to guarantee the rent
  • Carry out reference checks

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If your property qualifies, it must be registered as a HMO before you can serve a section 21 Notice requiring possession of the property.  Please note that local authorities can opt out of the permitted development rights relating to HMOs so please check the requirements of the local authority.

 

The Tenancy Deposit

If you are taking a deposit, you must ensure that it is protected in a Government backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.  You must also give your tenant certain “prescribed information” in writing and serve a copy of the Tenancy Deposit certificate. 

Failure to take the appropriate steps will mean that:

  • You cannot serve a section 21 Notice requiring possession on your tenant until such time as you have returned the deposit to your tenant and served the prescribed information on your tenant.
  • Your tenant may be able to claim for compensation and the Court will be obliged to order you to pay compensation subject to a maximum of three times the amount of the deposit.

Further information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/information-landlords-must-give-tenants

In some circumstances, you may be required to re-protect the deposit and re-serve the prescribed information every time you renew your tenancy agreement.

 

Serving Other Prescribed Information

You must provide your tenant with the following documents prior to them entering into the tenancy:

  • Landlord Gas Safety Certificate
  • EPC
  • How to Rent Guide
  • Electrical Safety certificate (with effect from 1 July 2020)

If you fail to do so, you will not be able to serve a section 21 Notice requiring possession of your property until such time as you have complied with the requirements.  Please be aware that you may not be able to rectify the position in this manner if you did not obtain the certificates prior to the time of letting in the first place.

 

Please be aware that you must obtain a new Landlord Gas Safety Certificate within 12 months of the previous certificate and serve this on the tenant within 28 days of the date of the certificate.  You are under an obligation to carry out electricity checks every 5 years and serve the new electrical certificate within 28 days of receipt.

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Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No.450213