Landlord FAQ’s

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 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.

I’ve lost my keys/I’m locked out…

Your landlord/agent will have a spare set of keys. In the first instance try ringing them to gain access. If you have lost the keys, then for security reasons you will need to consider replacing the lock at your expense and you must make sure that your landlord/agent is advised of the change and issue them with a spare set(s) as required.

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 move out. It is strongly recommended to make sure you have an inventory in place.

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 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

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?

Managed by an agent – 75.61%
Managed by the landlord directly – 24.39%

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

What is a fixed-term tenancy?

A fixed-term tenancy is a period in which you have initially signed the tenancy agreement or renewed the agreement for.  This is usually a period of six months or twelve months and it is important to understand that you are ‘fixed’ for this period and must pay rent and bills for the whole period.

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.

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.

Can I rent a property with a dog/cat?

This is dependent on individual landlord preference and it is advisable to check this information before viewing a property.  Many landlords do not accept pets and if this request is granted, this will be subject to a strict pet clause within the tenancy agreement and on some occasions, a higher rent amount may be requested.

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.

What is a Section 21?

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 shorthold tenancy.

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.

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 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 EIC?

An EIC is an Electrical Inspection Certificate which relates to the wiring of the property. An unsatisfactory report is defined by codings C1, C2, C3 and FI meaning:-

Code C1 Danger present’. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.
Code C2 ‘Potentially dangerous’. Urgent remedial action required.
Code C3 ‘Improvement recommended’.
Code FI ‘Further investigation required without delay’.
Whilst there is currently no statutory obligation for landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances, the government are in discussion to make this mandatory. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe and by having this certification, you can evidence this.