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Landlords... you must read this!

LANDLORDS: READY… STEADY… RENT!

There has been much news in the press and in online forums about landlords selling up and leaving the private rental market, due to financial losses, too much red tape, difficult tenants and a whole host of other reasons.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of scaremongering going on, and doom and gloom seems to be more attention grabbing!

It is still worthwhile investing in rental properties and managing the ones you currently have – but in today’s ever-complex and ever-changing world of rules and regulations it just means landlords may need some help from the experts.

This is where professional letting agents like smarthomes can really help. We know what needs to happen, by who and by when. Many landlords are not complying with the current rental legislation, simply because they didn’t realise what they needed to do.

Outlined below are just a few elements that landlords have responsibility for. Any landlord wanting further advice on exactly what they need to do can get in touch with smarthomes for help and support.


Right to rent
To avoid being fined, a landlord must make sure their tenant has a right to rent. This means the tenant must be a British citizen, an EEA or Swiss national, or that they are in the UK in accordance with immigration laws. smarthomes can carry out these checks on behalf of the landlord.

Inventories
smarthomes always recommend a full, detailed inventory is carried out by a professional lettings’ agent or specialist inventory company as it’s the only way to prove if any damage has been caused during the tenancy.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
At least one smoke alarm must be fitted on every floor of the property where there are habitable rooms, whilst a carbon monoxide detector must be present in all rooms with a gas appliance. smarthomes are experienced in managing rental properties and can take responsibility for this if required.

Legionnaire’s disease
This lung infection is caused by inhaling drops of water that contain these bacteria. It is a legal requirement that landlords check for this in between tenancies - and take action if necessary. A written risk assessment is the best evidence, which smarthomes can undertake on the landlord’s behalf.

Safety
A tenant has the right to be safe in a rental property and if they have concerns, they can contact the local council who will assess the property using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. At smarthomes we know all the 29 factors that have to be assessed and can check the property to avoid council involvement.


TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE SMARTHOMES’ LANDLORD SEMINAR PLEASE FILL THE FORM IN BELOW.
THIS FREE EVENT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH ALL OF THE RULE AND REGULATIONS LANDLORDS ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW AND YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK THE SMARTHOMES’ LETTING TEAM ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


For more information on the award-winning smarthomes’ letting team please click here.


THE LOWDOWN ON LETTINGS FEES

The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1 June 2019 and many landlords are unclear as to what this actually means for them.

It bans most letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and applies to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019. The only payments tenant can be charged for are:

  • rent
  • tenancy deposit (refundable and capped)
  • holding deposit (refundable and capped)
  • early termination payment - if requested by the tenant
  • fee for changes to the tenancy agreement or alignment to another person (capped)
  • for utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
  • fee for late payment of rent (after 14 days)
  • fee for replacement of a lost key / access device

All other fees are banned, including fees for referencing, administration, credit and immigration checks. If in any doubt, it’s worth consulting a professional letting agent such as smarthomes who fully understand the rules and the implications. 

It’s also worth noting the following information regarding the deposit – as what happens to the deposit at the end of the tenancy agreement is usually the biggest issue between the landlord and the tenant:

Tenancy deposit registration
Any deposits taken for Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements must be placed in a Government approved tenancy deposit scheme within strict time limits - professional letting agents can undertake this to ensure it’s dealt with properly and independently.

Deposit dispute handling
Usually the tenant will want their entire deposit back, while the landlord will usually request a proportion to rectify issues outside of fair wear and tear. Lettings agents are a useful third party to help reach an agreement, but they can involve a deposit dispute resolution service if agreement is not reached.


TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE SMARTHOMES’ LANDLORD SEMINAR PLEASE FILL THE FORM IN BELOW. 
THIS FREE EVENT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH ALL OF THE RULE AND REGULATIONS LANDLORDS ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW AND YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK THE SMARTHOMES’ LETTING TEAM ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


For more information on the award-winning smarthomes’ letting team please click here.


DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DEREGULATION?

The Deregulation Act 2015 means that landlords must issue certain documents to their tenants before the tenancy commences, including:

  • A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • The Government’s How to Rent Guide
  • A valid gas safety certificate

EPC
Landlords who breach the EPC rule can be fined up to £4000 so take note!

The property must have a minimum energy performance rating of E – so any properties with a rating of F or G must have the relevant actions taken to improve the energy efficiency of the property, before the property can be let. This rule already applies to new tenancies and will apply for existing tenancies from April 2020.

The only exemption is when the landlord is letting a room on a single Assured Shorthold Tenancy in an HMO – House of Multiple Occupation.

How to Rent Guide
Landlords must provide their tenants with a copy of the Government’s most recent ‘How to rent’ guide before the tenancy starts. Failure to provide this may void any Section 21 notice the landlord may need to serve to their tenants.

Gas Safety Certificate 
A gas safety inspection is required annually, and the landlord must obtain a gas safety certificate as proof, to cover all fixed and portable gas appliances within the property. This must be provided before the tenancy starts otherwise the landlord may be fined.


TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE SMARTHOMES’ LANDLORD SEMINAR PLEASE FILL THE FORM IN BELOW. 
THIS FREE EVENT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH ALL OF THE RULE AND REGULATIONS LANDLORDS ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW AND YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK THE SMARTHOMES’ LETTING TEAM ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


For more information on the award-winning smarthomes’ letting team please click here.


HOW TO EVICT TENANTS THE RIGHT WAY

Currently, landlords can serve a Section 21 notice to regain possession of their property, and do not have to specify a reason. However, the Government is planning to abolish such evictions, meaning that landlords will have to issue a Section 8 notice instead, with requires ‘concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law’. In this instance, landlords would really benefit from seeking the advice of a professional lettings agent to ensure the process is managed correctly, in accordance with the law.

Section 21 Notice of Possession
This currently enables landlords to regain possession of their property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement or trigger an agreed break clause.

Section 8 Eviction Notice

This is served when the landlord has grounds for eviction - such as if the tenant has not paid the rent, has damaged the property or is causing a nuisance. The tenancy can be terminated if the tenancy agreement ha been breached, but the tenant can dispute it, and you both may end up in court.

Both notices can be served together and it’s worth taking professional advice from a good lettings agent to know what to serve, how and when. It’s also worth noting that if you have not protected your tenant’s deposit properly or followed the rule of the Deregulation Act 2015 this may prevent you from serving a Section 21 notice.


TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE SMARTHOMES’ LANDLORD SEMINAR PLEASE FILL THE FORM IN BELOW. 
THIS FREE EVENT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH ALL OF THE RULE AND REGULATIONS LANDLORDS ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW AND YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK THE SMARTHOMES’ LETTING TEAM ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


For more information on the award-winning smarthomes’ letting team please click here.


HOW TO COMPLAIN!

Every property agent is legally required to be a member of a Government approved redress scheme. If a property agent has not satisfactorily addressed a complaint from a customer, it can be taken to the Property Redress Scheme.

However, a complaint needs to be dealt with in a certain way, including:

  • The agent must be a member of The Property Redress Scheme
  • The complainant must show that a formal written complaint has been submitted within 12 months of the incident
  • The complainant must have allowed a minimum of 8 weeks for the matter to be responded to
  • The complaint can be referred to the Property Redress Scheme after the agent’s final response or – in the case of no response – 8 weeks after sending the complaint letter (and within 12 months of the formal letter of complaint being submitted)

If all of the criteria above have been met then the complaint can be submitted to the Property Redress Scheme, using their complaint form, and providing relevant evidence. There is no charge for raising the complaint and the process can be terminated at any time by the complainant.

The outcome will vary on a case by case basis, but the Property Redress Scheme can make an award to the complainant that could include:

  • An apology or explanation
  • A payment in recognition of distress incurred, costs involved, or time taken

At smarthomes we have never had to deal with The Property Redress Scheme as we do everything in our power to keep our customers happy. In fact, we were awarded the ‘Best Letting Agent for the West Midlands’ in 2018 by the national property review website Allagents.co.uk – based entirely on customer feedback. However, we feel it’s important that consumers are aware of such a scheme, in case they run into problems in the property market.


TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE SMARTHOMES’ LANDLORD SEMINAR PLEASE FILL THE FORM IN BELOW. 
THIS FREE EVENT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH ALL OF THE RULE AND REGULATIONS LANDLORDS ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW AND YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK THE SMARTHOMES’ LETTING TEAM ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


For more information on the award-winning smarthomes’ letting team please click here.


Register here

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