Ask The Experts: Your FAQs Answered

As a current landlord or a soon to be landlord, it can be quite confusing sometimes, knowing things like what licenses you need to have, the latest on property and tenancy regulations and what certain things mean. Below you can find some of the FAQs we receive, that we have answered to make life easier for you. 

Should I include appliances when letting my property?

Including appliances will attract a higher rent and boost the property’s rentability but it will need to be made clear in the AST whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for the maintenance of named appliances.

You will need to be aware that tenants need to be in receipt of the appliance manual if it was purchased after the 8th December 2016 (Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016). If purchased before this date, generic safety information is sufficient to comply. This applies to any electrical equipment for a property when first placed on the market.

Do I need to fit a Carbon monoxide detector in my rental property?

The official requirement for CO detectors only extends to solid fuel appliances i.e Log and Coal fires. So if your property has one or either of those then the answer is Yes. In the interests of best practice however we would advise the provision of a CO Alarm in properties where gas appliances are fitted in rooms where occupants are likely to sleep i.e boilers mounted in bedroom cupboards etc. In this instance we have recommended fitment and we expect that over the coming months this will be added to the legal requirements of a rental property.

How long do I have to secure the tenant’s deposit?

You have 30 days to secure any money taken as a deposit within a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). The DPS is free for landlords to register their own deposits but you must give the relevant TDP prescribed information for the scheme you choose to the tenant when they are signing their agreement.

The tenant is demanding their deposit back but I am waiting for invoices?

At the end of the tenancy you must return the deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you’ll get back. If you are waiting for invoices, inform the tenant and give appropriate timescales for when you are getting them. Essentially, keep the tenant informed and be reasonable with the timescales dependent on the magnitude of dilapidation work required.

With the DPS the tenant can initiate the claim themselves, and if you choose to ignore the repayment request they can claim for the deposit via a statutory declaration; 14 calendar days after the tenancy has ended. It is wise to be quick with your claim on the deposit.

Do I offer a property furnished or unfurnished ?

This largely depends on whether you are looking to attract a long or short term tenancy and this is a tactic that can be effectively used to attract the ideal type of tenure.

It stands to reason that a greater upheaval is required for a tenant to move all their belongings and this has an active role in the longer terms of tenancy. Offering an unfurnished property also limits your responsibilities to maintain furnishings as they dilapidate through wear and tear.

Do I need an Energy Efficiency Certificate (EPC) to advertise my property, even if I don’t intend to advertise it on the internet?

The answer is yes and actually if legal situations arise regarding the non-payment of rent, the landlords rights to compensate can be detrimentally affected if provision cannot be proven prior to the tenants moving in.

Do I need to get my properties tested for Legionnaires Disease?

The answer is no. You have a responsibility to conduct a risk assessment on any rental property and you should be sufficiently competent to perform this risk assessment. Having gone through all the training we can do this on your behalf and do this free of charge as part of our market appraisals and ongoing property management.

What is a ‘How to Rent guide’?

The how to rent guide is a document produced by the government and is a legal requirement to be provided to a new tenant prior to renting a property. What does it say? It briefly outline the responsibilities that are assumed when undertaking tenancy.

Isn’t this just another pointless handout? – well yes… but actually, it’s one with far reaching consequences. It can actually prevent you from successfully servicing an eviction notice should you want to get your property back.

Do I need to get my rental property electrically tested prior to let?

No. There is no mandatory requirement for a property to be electrically tested. However, you do have a legal responsibility to ensure that the property and any appliances provided within it are safe to use.

If this has been your family residence for a number of years you will most probably already be able to establish its electrical safety – however if the property has been recently purchased or you have no prior knowledge of it in this regard then we would strongly recommend you get it tested. Again we can help you in this regard should you require.