Whether you are a new landlord or already have an existing portfolio letting a property can be a stressful affair. There are so many legalities and tasks to consider and remember.
The hard work begins with finding the ideal tenant but, even when they have signed on the dotted line, there is still so much to do. With so many legal obligations to fulfil, it is easy for some things to slip through the net no matter how experienced the landlord.
With that in mind, here is our list of the top seven things landlords forget to do when letting a property:
1) Secure the deposit
Certainly one of the most important things any landlord should consider.
However, getting the deposit from the tenant is just the start. The deposit then needs to be secured in accordance with the government's tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP).
The TDP is to protect both landlord and tenant and the landlord has a legal obligation to do this for any assured shorthold tenancy.
2) Get an EPC
An Energy Performance Certificate is required for every self-contained property and there are fixed financial penalties for failing to provide an EPC.
As well as needing to provide an EPC to all new tenants a landlord is unable to serve a valid Section 21 notice if an EPC has not been supplied to the tenant.
3) Get mortgage approval
If the landlord didn't purchase the property on a buy-to-let deal the mortgage provider must be notified before the property is let.
The mortgage company needs to provide a consent to let and may charge a fee for this.
However, prospective landlords shouldn't be tempted to not tell their mortgage provider about their intentions as they be contravening the terms of their agreement and could be committing mortgage fraud.
4) Get landlords insurance
Closely tied to point three, many new landlords don't realise they need specialist insurance.
Normal residential insurance is not valid for rental properties. Should a claim be made on a household policy for damage caused while renting the insurance company are unlikely to pay out.
5) Use an adequate tenancy agreement
The tenancy agreement needs to be absolutely watertight. It is a legally binding contract between landlord and tenant and must be drawn up correctly to ensure the landlord doesn't lose out financially and also fulfils their legal obligations.
Needless to say this can be a minefield and landlords must ensure they receive the right advice or have the tenancy agreement drawn up for them.
6) Check the smoke alarms and meet other obligations
Before the tenant moves into the property there are a raft of checks which need to be performed including testing the smoke alarms. As a minimum landlords must provide a tested and working smoke alarm on each storey of the property,in addition a carbon monoxide detector is required for each room with a useable fireplace or woodburner.
It is best practice to test your smoke alarms on the day of check in and record this in the check in report and Inventory documents.
Once the tenant is safely installed there are still plenty of ongoing management tasks including collecting the rent, maintaining the property, and ensuring the tenant is happy and settled in the property.
7) Produce a full photographic Inventory for the property
A common failing with landlords is not taking the time to compile a full photographic inventory full photographic inventory of their property before the tenant moves in.
Photographs, properly time-stamped and recorded, can be essential evidence should any disputes arise with the tenant over damage to the property. It is recommended that landlords arrange for Inventory reports to be completed by an independent party, once completed a copy must be provided to the tenants and confirmation of their acceptance should be recorded.
Makeurmove are an established estate agent providing a full range of management services to landlords. Call us on 0333 8000 210 for more information on how we can help you manage your portfolio.