Landlords FAQs

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Can my rent be increased?

Landlords do have the right to increase the rent at a reasonable rate. It is a clause in our tenancy agreements that the rent shall be reviewed on the first anniversary date and annually thereafter and that the rent shall increase by approximately 3% subject to the relevant notices. 

As a landlord, why do I have to do immigration status checks for prospective tenants?

Checking that a tenant has a right to be in the country is a new legal requirement that the government has introduced for private landlords. Landlords  who let private rented accommodation to new tenants from 1 December 2014, must check that the tenant(s), and any other adult(s) who’ll be living there, are in the country lawfully. Anyone who rents accommodation to someone who isn’t in the country lawfully without carrying out the checks may receive a civil penalty. Agents must carry out the checks if they’re acting on a landlord’s behalf and have agreed to do them. The checks also apply when people rent out all or part of their home, for example, when taking in a lodger or when subletting.

Do I need a carbon monoxide monitor?

It is advisable to place a carbon monoxide monitor in a property where there are any gas appliances for peace of mind,  however the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 which came into effect on 1 October 2015,  only apply to solid fuel appliances.  

Do I need contents insurance?

Contents insurance may cover the contents of a property including electrical appliances, carpets, furniture for a landlord for such purposes as damage if the property was in a fire or flood. Usually tenants cover these items against damage by themselves during a tenancy on their own contents insurance policy. Tenants contents insurance may be obtained separately for their own items such as clothing and personal items therefore it may be that both landlords and tenants decide to have contents insurance in place for their specific items.

Do I need smoke alarms?

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, and it is the tenants responsibility during a tenancy to check the functionality at regular intervals. The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

I want access to my property…

Landlords and/or their agents  must give 24 hours’ notice of any intended visit to the property by themselves or anyone else (such as contractors) unless it is deemed as an emergency (for example a water leak). The landlord should permit the tenant to have quiet enjoyment of the property without interruption. However this does not prevent the landlord from taking action through the courts should the tenant fail to pay the rent when due or be in breach of the Tenancy Agreement.

I want to deduct from my tenants deposit…

All landlord’s are expected to give due consideration to wear and tear, bearing in mind the length of the tenancy and the manner in which the tenancy has been conducted.  If the property has been damaged or items are missing, then it is advisable to get a written quote to give to your tenants to show the costs for repair/replacement. If the tenants dispute the proposed deduction, then it is a landlord’s responsibility to submit evidence to the arbitration services of DPS as to the condition of the property at move in and move out. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to make sure you have an inventory in place at the start of each tenancy.

I want to sell my property…

As we focus 100% on lettings, we do not sell property however, you may want to think about informing us first so that we can advise on where your current tenancy stands and what requirements are necessary to gain vacant possession.  We often receive enquiries from our current landlords that wish to extend their portfolio.  Speak to a member of our team

Is an Inventory necessary?

Yes – If the tenants dispute the proposed deduction from their deposit then it is a landlord’s responsibility to submit evidence to the arbitration services of DPS as to the condition of the property at move in and and move out. It is strongly recommended to make sure you have an inventory in place.

Managing a property myself or with an agent?

This is a personal choice and depends on your level of knowledge, experience and time available.  In a genuine survey conducted by Stuarts Property Services Ltd to tenants after their move in date, we can report these statistics which may be of guidance to you:-

Ideally, how would you prefer a property to be managed?

Answer Choices Responses
Managed by an agent 75.61% 
Managed by the landlord directly 24.39% 

My tenant has damaged my property…

All landlord’s are expected to give due consideration to wear and tear, bearing in mind the length of the tenancy and the manner in which the tenancy has been conducted.  If the property has been damaged or items are missing, then it is advisable to get a written quote to give to your tenants to show the costs for repair/replacement. If the tenants dispute the proposed deduction, then it is a landlords responsibility to submit evidence to the arbitration services of DPS as to the condition of the property at move in and and move out therefore it is strongly recommended to make sure you have an inventory in place at the beginning of each tenancy.

My tenant is in arrears what do I do?

If your tenant has not paid their rent on time, it is important to contact them as soon as possible to establish whether it is a temporary ‘blip’ or if there is a bigger problem.  Tenants are advised to speak to their landlord/agent if they are having financial problems they may be able to set up a payment plan that suits both parties.  The tenants may be able to get assistance from Citizens advice or Shelter. If however the arrears are accruing, there are certain legal steps that you must follow. Each circumstance is different, we would advise you to ring our office on 0161 491 1411 to speak to Colin Hayes  about your current circumstances and he will guide you as to what steps he feels you should follow.

What is ‘Right to Rent’?

Right to rent simply means that the occupier has a right to rent a property in the UK. Anyone without it is disqualified from renting. This can be broken down into two different groups, permanent and time limited rights to rent. Each has different requirements. The landlord would normally be responsible for these checks but they can pass on the obligation to their agent as part of a written agreement. Anyone who rents accommodation to someone who isn’t in the country lawfully without carrying out the checks may receive a civil penalty. This means that the agreement between the landlord and the agent must specifically refer to who is responsible for performing right to rent checks. If the agreement is silent on this then the landlord will be responsible. Landlords and agents may wish to reconsider their current agreements as a result.

Who has a permanent right to rent?

  • British citizens; European Economic Area nationals (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.); and Swiss nationals.
  • People who have a right of abode in the UK; who have been granted indefinite leave to remain; or have no time limit on their stay in the UK.

Who has a time limited right to rent?

Those who are not British citizens, EEA or Swiss nationals who have:

  • valid leave to enter or remain in the UK for a limited period of time,
  • Or are entitled to enter or remain in the UK as a result of Acts of Parliament, European Union Treaties and Immigration Regulations (eg family members of EEA nationals). However, some family members of EEA nationals may be able to demonstrate an unlimited right to rent.

For full HM Code of conduct, click HERE

What is a Gas Safety Certificate?

A gas safety certificate is a form showing gas safety information to show that your gas appliances are working safely.  These checks are to be done yearly by a Gas Safe engineer.

 

What is a Legionella Risk Assessment?

This is a document to show that you have assessed the risk and control of legionella bacteria in water systems and is a requirement for rented properties.

What is a periodic tenancy?

A periodic tenancy, sometimes known as ‘month to month’ tenancy is when you are out of your ‘fixed’ term agreement but continue at the property on a month to month basis.  This form of tenancy gives you the flexibility to not ‘fix in’ for a duration of time as you just have to give one months’ notice in writing (unless your contract states otherwise) and is ideal if you are thinking of moving on, whilst the advantage of a fixed period is that you have the security of knowing you can remain in the property for a specified period of time.

What is a Section 21?

A section 21 is the official notice to evict a tenant.  This notice is officially called a ‘Notice Requiring Possession (under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988)’. It’s used in England & Wales by landlords to evict tenants and to gain possession of a property that is let under an assured short hold tenancy.

What is an AML?

AML is an abbreviation of Anti-money laundering.  The landlord or agent must satisfy the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Terrorism Act 2000 and Money Laundering Regulations 2007.  Completing accurate due diligence is vital for any business that has to comply with Anti Money Laundering regulations and these checks are an essential part of ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) policies and have become a legislation to landlords taking rent from tenants. They are becoming increasingly important when preventing identity theft, money laundering and financial fraud.

 

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

An Assured Short Hold Tenancy, sometimes referred to as an AST,  is a tenancy agreement which is used for letting furnished or unfurnished residential accommodation with certain protections under The Housing Act 1988 as amended by Part III of the Housing Act 1996. As such, it is a legal document and should not be used without adequate knowledge of the law of landlord and tenant. Prospective tenants should have an adequate opportunity to read and understand the tenancy agreement before signing in order for this agreement to be fully enforceable. This agreement may be used for residential tenancies of three years or less and where the rent is below £100,000 per annum and is for an individual or group of individuals rather than a company. Agreements for tenancies of a longer duration should be drawn up by deed.

 

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Otherwise referred to as an EPC, the certificate gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.  It is a requirement to have an EPC before marketing the property and shows where the property could be more energy efficient but also advises tenants in advance of them occupying the property of the ratings so that they can make an informed choice.

What is the deposit return process?

Once the tenants have moved out of the property, the deposit will be returned within 10 working days of the vacating date.  If there are proposed deductions, these will be discussed with them within this time period. If the property is managed by the landlord directly, the agent may have the deposit protected under their scheme ID. This means that the agent will require written confirmation from the landlord to confirm full receipt of rent and that the property has been handed back in  a satisfactory condition with due consideration to fair wear and tear.

What is the minimum period I can rent for?

Assured Short Hold Tenancy agreements are for a minimum period of six months but can be up to three years with landlord approval.

What notice does a landlord have to give to tenants?

Tenants are entitled to at least two months’ notice before being required to give up possession of the property.  However, if the tenancy started on a periodic basis without any initial fixed term, a longer notice period may be required depending on how often they are required to pay rent (for example, if they pay rent quarterly, you must give at least three months’ notice, or, if it is a periodic tenancy which is half yearly or annual, you must give them at least six months’ notice (which is the maximum).  The date they are required to leave should be shown, then after this date the landlord can apply to court for a possession order against them if needed.

What repairs should I be doing as a tenant?

Tenants are expected to deal with small repairs.  As a tenant, you’re responsible for:

  • looking after your home by using it in a ‘tenant like’ way 
  • telling your landlord/agent about the repairs that are needed
  • providing access to have any repair work done, and
  • having a duty of care to your visitors

Using your home in a tenant-like way generally means:

  • keeping your home reasonably clean
  • doing minor repairs yourself, such as changing fuses and light bulbs, checking the smoke alarm batteries, tightening door handles, plunging toilets in the first instance of a blockage, running hot water down a sink to clear debris etc.
  • not causing any damage to the property and making sure your visitors don’t cause any damage
  • using any fixtures and fittings properly, for example, not blocking a toilet by flushing something unsuitable down it

Your tenancy agreement may also set out some express terms on what your responsibilities are for repairs.

Your landlord cannot include a term in your agreement that would pass on any of their repair responsibilities to you, for example, that you are responsible for repairs to the roof. This type of term would not have any force in law.

The Landlord is obligated to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, and to keep in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and the installations in the Property for space heating and heating water.

Who pays the service charge/ground rent?

The landlord of the property should pay the service charges and any ground rent charges if applicable.  It is important to make sure tenants are aware that if documents relating to these charges are sent to the property in error, then it is important to pass them to the landlord/agent at the earliest convenience.


  • Stuarts Property Services
    Reviewed from Google

    4.8 out of 5 stars

    Terry M
    Terry M

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 2 months ago

    I've rented through Stuart's for 5 1/2 years and Colin and the team have always been friendly and helpful. Any maintenance required was dealt with quickly and efficiently and I was always kept informed if anyone needed access when I was away from the flat.

    I have recently left the flat which has been my home for the past 5 1/2 years and the leaving process was hassle free and simple and my deposit returned without delay.

    Thanks to everyone at Stuarts for making my rental a pleasant and enjoyable one.

    Carmel Waugh
    Carmel Waugh

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 1 month ago

    We have rented through Stuarts Property Services for over 7 years and can’t fault the service. Repairs and enquiries are dealt with very swiftly and hassle free. Communication is excellent with particular thanks to Margaret who is very professional and responds to enquiries in a timely manner. Thanks again Margaret.

    Would highly recommend, not one issue in 7 years which speaks for itself.

    Katie Davies
    Katie Davies

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 2 months ago

    Stuarts property services are an excellent company. Their customer service delivery is exceptional. All of the staff are friendly and professional and are clearly passionate in what they do. I cannot rate this organisation highly enough!!