There are over 125 pieces of legislation that relate to the letting of a property so it’s no surprise that landlords, and tenants have plenty of questions. Here’s some of the most common…
1.What is an EICR and do I need to get one at every tenancy change?
An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Landlords have the responsibility to ensure that a tenanted property has an electrical installation that is safe to use by its tenants. It will identify any immediate hazards that need fixing. Your electrician will carry out a professional assessment of your fixed electrics and supply a full report for you to keep and issue to your tenant. This report must be issued to your tenant within 28 days of the inspection, or before the tenancy starts.
EICRs are valid for five years. Landlords only need one certificate every five years and can provide a copy of the certificate to any new tenant during that five-year period.
The latest regulations require electrical tests to be carried out at regular specified intervals and are not triggered by a change of tenancy. As such, a change of tenancy does not invalidate an EICR. These regulations have applied in England to all new specified tenancies since 1 July 2020, and all existing specified tenancies since 1 April 2021.
2. Can a landlord request a deduction from a deposit for end of tenancy cleaning?
Tenants are expected to return the property in the same condition that it was initially let to them. So, aside from general ‘wear and tear’ if the property is in a worse state of cleanliness than it was when they moved in, the landlord may be able to make deductions from the tenant’s deposit. However, landlords cannot charge for an end of tenancy clean outright. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 states that landlords cannot request that tenants organise and pay for an end of tenancy clean at the end of the tenancy and cannot enforce this as a clause in the tenancy agreement.
The best way to avoid any disputes over deposits is to employ the services of a professional inventory clerk to provide an inventory prior to move in and check out report once the tenants have left. Without these documents, it’s very difficult to prove tenant damages.
3. Do I need to tell my mortgage lender if I’m going to let my property?
In a word, yes. If you don’t inform them, it may be seen as mortgage fraud. Your mortgage lender needs to give you permission before you can let your property, and they may impose special conditions such as having sight of the tenant’s applications and needing evidence of the rent being charged. If it’s a HMO, they may also want to see your HMO licence if applicable. If you are buying a property with the intention of letting it out, you may be able to obtain a buy to let mortgage.
4. Who is responsible for paying Council Tax?
The tenant is responsible for the council tax (unless you decide to include this in the rent, such as in most HMO’s) but this needs to be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. When the property is empty, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay.
5. Why should I use a letting agent such as Greentree?
Most letting agents have several different service options depending on how hands on you want to be. The most popular are a Let Only and a Fully Managed service. Choosing a fully managed service allows you to completely relax. You never have to worry about the let. It also creates a professional distance between you and the tenants and means you can avoid having to deal with all the unpleasant things like rent arrears and deposit disputes.
Greentree Property Management offer both these service options. Suited to the more experienced professional landlord, the let only option will give you the confidence that the property will be let to a fully referenced tenant, on the appropriate legal tenancy agreement. With the let only service, the landlord would become solely responsible for any issues that arise following the commencement date of the tenancy.
With the fully managed service, we’ll manage all aspects of the tenancy from the day the property is advertised, until the end of the tenancy, and return of the tenancy deposit. We’ll handle all compliance matters, to ensure you meet your legal duties, and your Health & Safety responsibilities. We’ll handle all contact with the tenant(s) and all maintenance and repair issues. We’ll also undertake regular property inspections, and report to you. We’ll provide efficient collection and forwarding of rental payments and monthly statements.
However, should you need a more bespoke service, get in touch and we can offer a service tailored to your needs.