Posted by Alan - 09/11/2015
Your tenancy checklist, first the critical items. Failure to follow these can cost you dearly, some are based on experience, others on regulations that are being more and more heavily enforced.
There are increasingly fines of tens of thousands of pounds and prosecutions for breaking the law; especially where tenants are hurt or killed.
The list is not exhaustive but will set you on a strong start and get you to sleep at night.
•Insurance (Landlord and buildings)
•Tenant screening and referencing
•A strong, legal tenancy
•One third of tenancies go into arrears, (bitterly) experienced landlords always buy a Rent Warranty product– ensure it has no excess and at least £40,000 legal cover
•An inventory (unless you don’t want a claim on the deposit)
•If you want to get your tenant out at the end, you will need to serve a section 21 and it has changed in October. In particular you should provide copies of the agreement, the deposit prescribed information, the inventory, the Gas Safety Certificate, the EPC and a copy of the government “How to Rent” guide that can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
•It’s really important to lodge deposits properly if you want any chance of claiming on the tenants deposit later. Also fines came in the summer of up to 3 times the deposit, so get it right
•Ensure safety and compliance with the changing legislation – particularly electrical safety, furniture, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and window blinds. These have all changed.
•All appliances must have manuals, if you are missing any, download and print them and put it on the inventory
Some sensible measures
•If you have an alarm, provide instructions
•Show the location of stop cocks, electrics or isolator valves – you will be grateful for this if, say, you get a leak and the tenant can turn off the water
•Notify the utilities of the tenants’ details together with the local council you don’t want to be liable for the bills
•Provide a spare set of keys so that the tenants are bothering someone else in the middle of the night and not you
Finally on scams
•Do ensure you have a post redirect in place, there have been occasions where tenants have stolen their landlord’s identities and even re-mortgaged their properties, put a redirect in place to be doubly sure that you get all of your important post
•In February next year you will have obligations to check the ‘Right to Rent’ of all tenants, this involves carrying out ID checks. Regardless of this legislation, if you have not done so, check Photo ID of your tenants before they move in. If they are not who they say they are you are likely to be facing trouble down the line with no redress since you will never track them down
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