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A checklist for new landlords

  • 12, Oct 2020
  • Read time: 5 mins

There’s a lot more to letting a property than signing a contract and handing over the keys. New landlords have plenty to take into consideration, from the safety of the property to how and where it’s advertised – there’s a lot to keep on top of. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy landlord checklist to make the process of letting your property a little bit easier.

Couple moving into new home.

Safety first

Before getting stuck in to anything else, it’s important to make sure first and foremost that the property itself is safe and the list begins with fire. To start with fire exits must be clear and unobstructed so there is always a safe way out of the building. Fire alarms must be installed on every floor of the tenancy, as well as in every room used for living space. Carbon monoxide detectors also need to be installed in rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire. For more information, click to read our article on flat fire safety.

It is imperative that a Gas Safe registered engineer is brought in to ensure all gas safety equipment is correctly installed and working. A gas safety check record must be presented to the tenant before they move in, and the engineer will need to do an annual check to make sure that everything is maintained properly. Take a look at our guide for the ins and outs of the gas safety certificate.

The third safety aspect to consider is that of the electrics in the house. A qualified electrician will need to check that all of the sockets, light fittings and all electrical appliances are safe to use. If you want to learn more about the electrical safety certificate, make sure to read our guide.

Locks should also be changed between tenancies if there’s any doubt that all keys were handed in by the previous occupants.

Check the tenants’ right to rent

It is the responsibility of the landlord to check whether or not potential tenants have the legal right to reside in the UK before letting a property to them. Landlords are within their rights to employ a third party such as a letting agent to undertake this task, but it is relatively easy to do.

There is a list of acceptable identity documents for checking immigration status which can be found on this government website page. Some examples of those listed include UK passports, permanent residency cards, European Economic Area passports, and documents showing indefinite leave to remain. It is worth noting that failure to undertake these checks can result in hefty fines, so make sure they’re done well before the move-in date.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Landlords are required by law to present an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to occupants on the first day of their tenure. EPCs display how energy efficient the property is and must be included in all advertisements of the property prior to the initial, or any subsequent lets to new tenants.

Make sure you have landlord insurance

We offer landlord insurance for when things go wrong. From burst pipes to broken boilers, unforeseen maintenance complications can be a major headache for landlords, and often come with hefty repair and call-out fees. If you already have landlord insurance remember to make sure it’s up-to-date, but if not it’s quick and easy to get a quote here.

Tenancy agreement & deposits

At the beginning of any tenancy, the landlord is required to provide a tenancy agreement. This is the contract which certifies the agreement between tenant and landlord, allowing the occupant to receive tenure and the landlord to receive rent.

There are different types of tenancy agreements but usually they’re automatically Assured Shorthold Tenancies or ASTs. These generally begin with a specified fixed-term such as 12 months and evolve into a rolling contract thereafter. Tenancy agreements contain details such as the tenant’s basic information, employment details and references from their current or previous landlord.

A tenancy agreement is also required to include the details of the tenants’ deposits, which are required by law to be placed into a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. The agreement should detail the name of the service, why any portion of the deposit might be kept, and who to talk to if there’s a dispute.

Reference Tenants

For peace of mind landlords often ask for tenant references before agreeing to let out their property. This means that without references tenants might also struggle to find a landlord willing to let a property out to them, so it works out beneficial for both parties. Make sure that references are completed before moving on.

Create an inventory

Something that is often left until last is making an inventory of items in the house, but it’s a really important step to avoiding disputes when the tenancy comes to an end. Once the property is clean and tidy, make a detailed list of everything supplied with the property and make sure to run it past the new tenants so that both parties are clear on what’s included.

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