These are the main things you need to know:
Generally speaking, repairs and maintenance are a landlord’s expense unless it can be established that a tenant has mis-used a property.
Experience shows that a well maintained and decorated property will help achieve a higher rental value, is more likely to attract longer term tenancies and is usually better looked after by the tenants.
Interior fittings and decorations should be in good condition and ideally neutral wherever possible.
We will carry out the legally required Right-to-Rent checks which ensure tenants renting property in the UK have a legal right to be here.
You must keep the exterior and structure of the property in good repair. This includes heating, drains, gutters, external pipes, and installations for gas, electricity, water and sanitation.
You must ensure that all furniture and soft furnishings comply with current fire regulations. You need to remove from the property items which do not comply, or where you can’t find evidence of compliance. We can advise you of the exclusions to this legislation.
The HHSRS allows local authorities to assess the condition of a property and any potential hazards. The aim is to maintain good standards in the private rented sector. We can help you understand how this legislation may apply to your property.
Any gas appliances, pipes and meters must be given an annual inspection and a new certification by a GAS SAFE registered engineer. It is a sad fact that deaths occur every year from non-compliant gas facilities, and in this case the landlord is considered responsible if no inspection has occurred. If you opt for our ‘Find & Manage’ service we arrange this for you.*
All electrical equipment must comply with the safety requirements of the 1994 Regulations, and that it won’t cause danger to your tenants. If you opt for our ‘Find & Manage’ service we arrange this for you.*
You must ensure that all instruction manuals and operating instructions for appliances are left at the property for the tenants’ use. This is especially important for central heating and hot water systems, but also for cookers, washing machines, fridge-freezers, gas fires and other appliances.
As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenants to make sure your water supply is working properly to protect them from Legionella. We can arrange for suitable checks if you wish.*
You must have at least one working and compliant smoke alarm on every storey of your property.
Any room that contains a solid-fuel burning appliance must contain a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Such appliances include open fires, wood-burning stove, multi-fuel stove or where biomass is used as fuel.
You must check the alarms on the first day of any new tenancy, and it is then the tenant’s responsibility to check them once a month at least, and report any problems to you or us.
We can arrange for smoke alarms to be fitted if you prefer.*
An EPC is a legally-required report which details a property’s energy efficiency, rated from A (best) to G (worst). By law it must have been carried out before a tenancy begins. If you don’t have a valid certificate we can arrange for an inspection to be carried out.
As an EPC is valid for 10 years, if you have bought or rented out the property within this time, it is likely your property will have a valid EPC, but we can arrange one for you if not.
From 1st April 2018, by law, all privately-rented properties must have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
Properties with three or more storeys, occupied by five or more people consisting of two or more households, and who share amenities, will need to be licensed as an HMO. Such properties have to meet mandatory and discretionary licence conditions, and comply with standards such as minimum room sizes and provision of bathrooms and kitchens.
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We will register your tenants’ deposits with a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which we have to do by law. This
We will compare the property at the end of a tenancy with the ‘Inventory & Schedule of Condition’. Any dilapidations, allowing for ‘fair wear and tear’ can be claimed against the tenant’s deposit.
Most often, any discrepancy is settled amicably, with help from Complete. Should a dispute arise that cannot be settled amicably, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has a process laid out to adjudicated. We can explain more about this process, should the need arise.
Your responsibility as landlord, is to make sure that your property and any contents are fully insured against fire, flood, theft and damage. Speak to your insurance company before your tenancy commences to make sure that your buildings and contents are appropriately insured, as many regular house & contents insurance policies are not valid for letting. We can put you in touch with our recommended insurance provider if required.*
If you intend to let a property you must inform the mortgage lender concerned. Failure to do so may invalidate the terms of the mortgage. Our tenancy agreements comply fully with the legal requirements of all major building societies and banks.
The income you gain from your property is subject to income tax if you are a landlord. This applies whether you live in the UK or abroad, although there are certain allowable expenses which can be deducted. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires that all legal owners of the property individually declare the rental income using a Self-Assessment tax return.
If you live for more than six months outside the UK, we are bound by law to deduct basic rate tax from the rent we receive on your behalf, and pay this directly to HMRC.
However, you can apply to have rent paid to you without deducting tax, under the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme. For this you will need to quote our reference number: 904/NA054320.
Find out more about non-resident landlords and tax from HMRC and we also recommend you ask your tax adviser or accountant.
Details correct at time of publication (June 2016).
*services carried out by third party contractors incur a charge from the contractor, but not from Complete.
You will find more information on much of the above at www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property.