This information has been provided to help you understand the processes involved and the responsibilities you have as a landlord when letting your property. We hope this information answers many of the questions you may have. For further information, or should you require clarification on any point, please contact us.
If your property is mortgaged, then you may need to obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting.
If you are a leaseholder then you may need to obtain the written consent of the freeholder to the letting.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to insure the property and any contents you may leave in the property (i.e. furniture, electrical goods). A landlord should always inform their insurers that the property is to be let as this may affect the premium and affect or invalidate the cover. Leasehold properties are usually insured under the block’s building insurance, paid for through the service charge, however, landlords should check this with the freeholder or the building management company. With freehold properties you will need to have stand alone building insurance. Tenants may wish to insure any contents which they bring to the property however they are not required to insure any contents you may choose to leave.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. You should inform your local authority that you are leaving the property. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner but usually at a substantially discounted rate. Please contact the relevant local authority for more information.
Energy Performance Certificate
Since 1 October 2008 it has been mandatory for all rental properties being marketed to have a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This provides a rating for the property showing its energy efficiency and environmental impact on a scale from A-G (A being the most efficient). Thomas Michael can arrange for an EPC for your property.
Deposit and tenancy deposit scheme
A deposit (usually equivalent to 6 weeks rent) is taken from a tenant prior to the start of a tenancy. This is to cover breakages, missing items and any damage over and above normal wear and tear. All deposits taken on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy are required to be held according to the terms of a tenancy deposit scheme. We provide the deposit to you as it is your responsibility to register it with one of the schemes. We are happy to advise you of the various schemes and details of these schemes are set out here: Click here . The deposit is refunded to the tenant (less any deductions) after the end of the tenancy.
Inventory and schedule of condition
It is advisable that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid any misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without an inventory and schedule of condition it may be difficult for a landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. Thomas Michael can arrange for the inventory and schedule of condition to be prepared.
When the landlord is resident in the UK, it is entirely his responsibility to inform HMRC of rental income received, and to pay any income tax due. Many lettings expenses can be offset against tax on the rental income. These include letting agents fees, insurance, ground rent, legal and accounting costs, loan interest, wear and tear and repairs.
Where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, unless an exemption certificate is held, the tenant (or the letting agent where he is collecting the rent and forwarding on to the landlord) is obliged to retain and forward to HMRC an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses.
Further information may be obtained from HMRC: Click here
Right to Rent
From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. Under Right to Rent, landlords or their agents should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. For further information please: Click here and Click here .
Section 21 Notices
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 contains the rules concerning the termination of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy by a landlord and the notice required to be served on a tenant under these rules is commonly known as a ‘Section 21 Notice’. Since 1 October 2015 there have been changes to these rules that all landlords should be aware of and we summarise the main changes here:
Finally, we link you to the Government’s general information on being a private rental landlord: Click here
The information provided here is only a guide and independent professional advice should be sought if you require clarification on any matter.