Renting Your Property

 

EPC

Energy Performance Certificates

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is:

  • built
  • sold
  • rented

You must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent.

An EPC contains:

  • information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and it is valid for 10 years.

Check how you could make your home more energy efficient using the EPC adviser.

How to get an EPC

You’ll need to find an accredited assessor if you’re selling or renting out your home in:

They’ll assess your property and produce the certificate.

You can be fined if you don’t get an EPC when you need one.

The person selling the house, the landlord or the letting agent must show you the EPC if you’re buying or renting.

Sabbatical Homes can assist you in getting an EPC assessor.

Buildings that don’t need an EPC

These include:

  • places of worship
  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
  • industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished
  • holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy
  • listed buildings – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

You can opt out of the EPC register if you don’t want other people to be able to see your EPC.

Landlords Gas Certification

Landlords have specific legal responsibilities to their tenants when it comes to gas safety

Understanding the law for rental accommodation

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Landlords’ duties apply to a wide range of accommodation, occupied under a lease or licence, which includes, but not exclusively:

  • residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, housing co-operatives, hostels
  • rooms let in bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
  • rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.

Landlord’s responsibilities

If you let a property equipped with gas appliances you have three main responsibilities:

  • Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue.  A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
  • Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.

All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Sabbatical Homes can assist you in getting your Landlords Gas Certificate done.

Pre Tenancy Preparation

Prior to letting

The Landlord must ensure that the property is thoroughly cleaned and properly maintained throughout, all machines, appliances and gas/heating/water systems should be in excellent working order and recently serviced. Bed linen must be freshly laundered and ironed. Carpets, curtains, duvets, blankets, bed covers should be professionally cleaned where possible. Check bed pillows are not stained.  It is advisable to supply mattress and pillow protectors. Windows should also be cleaned and gardens well maintained.

Rent

The tenant will expect to pay the following – Rent, telephone, water, gas, electricity and in some cases the Council Tax.  It is less complicated when a Landlord continues paying Council Tax and the other utility bills by standing order.  For our clientele, rentals of under one year the Council Tax, water rates and TV Licence  should be included in the rental price. The Tenant will usually be invoiced 4 weekly.

The rent received by Sabbatical Homes will be paid to you less our commission, by electronic bank transfer directly to your bank or building society.

Gas & Electricity and Telephone

We are now recommending all utility , telephone and broadband accounts be upgraded to Online Accounts ( BUT DO NOT GO PAPERLESS ). By having online accounts we can submit current meter readings, check current tariffs for re-charging tenants, and check that bills are being paid via your direct debit instructions.

All we ask is for you to let us have your usernames and passwords so that we can access these accounts. For telephone accounts it also enables us to check actual call charges as well as line rental costs and over usage charges for internet, by directly checking the online accounts.

Please go to our Landlords Registration Page to fill in appropriate Utilities Information Form.

We suggest that you pay all your bills by standing order or direct debit.  We will recoup the money from the tenants based on the meter reading taken at the beginning and at the end of the tenancy.

We do not recommend you change the account names as it may cause problems at the end of the tenancy, due to Data Protection Issues.

If you do decide to change account names then please arrange for the utility companies to read the meters shortly before your departure, this avoids confusion as so many bills are based on estimated readings.

Where the utilities are to be transferred into the tenants name, we recommend the following:-
Before the beginning of the tenancy you will need to notify the utility company that you require a final bill as you are giving up the service and give the name of the new subscriber. At the end of the tenancy, the tenant (as the subscriber) must contact the utility company requesting that the gas/electricity service be transferred back into your name.

Word of Caution : Due to the Data Protection Act, it is very difficult for us to find out any information regarding utility accounts once the name has been changed into a tenant’s name. While we ask you the Landlord to provide us with all the necessary online information to manage the account on your behalf, if tenants decide not to provide us this information at the end of a tenancy, it is very difficult to change the account back to your name and resolve any outstanding money issues if there is any.

Telephone                                                                                                            

For long lettings ( 12 months or longer ), If the line is being transferred to the Tenants name –  ( we recommend it doesn’t),  the Landlord (as the subscriber) informs BT or your telephone service provider they wish for a final bill and for the service to be transferred into the tenants name on the date specified. At the end of the tenancy the tenant does the same, please note you will also have to contact BT agreeing for the service to go back into your name.

You are not giving up your telephone number by doing this.

For shorter periods it is recommended that the account remains in the landlord’s name and readings taken by BT or your telephone service provider are recorded at the beginning and at the end of the letting term. When requesting itemised bills please make sure these are for all calls. Sabbatical Homes will recoup the appropriate cost for the landlord from the tenant.

If you are already registered for online billing, just let us know your username and password.

If gas, electricity and telephone paper bills are kept in your name they can be sent to us C/O  Sabbatical Homes (by prior agreement) for safe keeping. and payment management

Please supply Sabbatical Homes with your most recent telephone,broadband and utility bills, this enables us to calculate the latest charges, plus this also gives us the correct reference numbers if we need to contact the telephone and utility companies with any queries.

Please be advised we cannot be held responsible for any failure that may occur on the part of the various services complying with any request.

Expenses Contingency

Sabbatical Homes will deduct £150 from the first rental payment, which will be held on your account as contingency against any expenses / bills that need to be paid on your behalf. At the end of the tenancy ( if the tenancy is a one off ) the balance of the contingency together with any tenant re imbursements will be paid directly into your bank account.

Insurance                                                                                                                             

Under the terms of a tenancy agreement, a Landlord is responsible for insuring the building and the contents included in the inventory (if any).

Landlords should advise their insurance company  the property will be tenanted.

Hotel Safes

We recommend that you fit a hotel style electronic key pad style safe for your guests to keep their valuables ( passports, travellers cheques etc ).

 

Landlords Responsibilities

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

These regulations came into force on January 9th 1995 and are applicable to all electrical equipment with voltages between 50 and 1000 if alternating current or between voltages of 75 and 1500 if direct current.

In order to comply a Landlord must ensure that all the electrical equipment in his property is safe. It must therefore comply with the Consumer Protection Act 1987 but must also comply with the above regulations. Therefore in order to minimise risk the Landlord must ensure the safety of all animals and the property as well as those humans who either live in the property or may enter upon the premises. Safety includes minimising the risk of injury as well as death.

The Landlord must: 
1. Ensure there are written instructions for all electrical equipment in the property.

2. A safety check should be carried out by a qualified electrician (NIC), preferably annually or when the tenancy changes. We advise annually.

3. Provide Sabbatical Homes Ltd and tenant with written proof of the safety check prior to the tenancy commencing.

PENALTIES:
Should the electrical equipment not comply with the Regulations and an incident occurs the penalties are:

3 months and/or £5000 fine if there is risk of fire and/or an animal is injured
6 months and/or £5000 fine if a human is injured or killed.

Remember that you could also be convicted of manslaughter and there are far greater penalties for that!.

Furniture regulations for Landlords.

Furniture and soft furnishings must comply with the Fire and Safety Regulations 1988.  (details of this act and the amended fire resistance requirements may be obtained from  Her Majesty’s Stationery Office).

Liability as a Landlord.

As a landlord you must ensure that all of your property is safe and in no way poses a danger to anyone entering the premises. You must ensure that all glass doors have safety glass fitted, that the garden poses no danger to anyone, i.e. an old iron fence may cut a child’s hand, the guttering may not be held up properly or the kitchen cupboard door that you have been meaning to fix may fall of it’s hinges and injure another party.

You have a duty of care to ensure that your property poses no danger to your tenant, a visitor or even someone trespassing on your property. Check your property thoroughly to ensure that there are no hidden dangers. What may be seen as an everyday inconvenience to you and something that you will get around to fixing one day can end up as major incident to someone else and cost you a fortune.

Landlord Repairing Obligations

Repairing Obligations: 
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, the landlord is responsible by law for certain repairs. We have enclosed the wording of Section 11 which deals with the repairing obligations of a landlord. However, generally speaking, as a landlord you are responsible for repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, sinks, baths and any other sanitary installations within the property. You are also responsible for the heating in the property.

By this, we understand that as a landlord you should ensure that all the sanitary installations and heating including pipes as well as boilers and radiators are in safe working order at all times. Should a tenant complain that there is a malfunctioning unit it is in your best interests to ensure that it is fixed as soon as possible to ensure minimum risk to the tenants health.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 Section 11

1. Disclosure of landlord’s identity

(1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor –

(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),

(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwellinghouse for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity).

(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwellinghouse for space heating and heating water.

(1A) If a lease to which this section applies is a lease of a dwelling-house which forms part only of a building, then, subject to subsection (1B), the covenant implied by subsection (1) shall have effect as if-

(a) the reference in paragraph (a) of that subsection to the dwelling-house included a reference to any part of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; and

(b) any reference in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection to an installation in the dwelling-house included a reference to an installation which, directly or indirectly, serves the dwelling-house and which either-

(i) forms part of any part of a building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; or

(ii) is owned by the lessor or under his control.

(IB) Nothing in subsection (1A) shall be construed as requiring the lessor to carry out any works or repairs unless the disrepair (or failure to maintain in working order) is such as to affect the lessee’s enjoyment of the dwelling-house or of any common parts, as defined in section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which the lessee, as such, is entitled to use.

(2) The covenant implied by subsection (1) (“the lessor’s repairing covenant”) shall not be construed as requiring the lessor-

(a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,

(b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or

(c) to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.

(3) In determining the standard of repair required by the lessor’s repairing covenant, regard shall be had to the age, character and prospective life of the dwelling-house and the locality in which it is situated.

(3A) In any case where-

(a) the lessor’s repairing covenant has effect as mentioned in subsection (1A), and

(b) in order to comply with the covenant the lessor needs to carry out works or repairs otherwise than in, or to an installation in, the dwelling-house, and

(c) the lessor does not have a sufficient right in the part of the building or the installation concerned to enable him to carry out the required works or repairs, then, in any proceedings relating to a failure to comply with the lessor’s repairing covenant, so far as it requires the lessor to carry out the works or repairs in question, it shall be a defence for the lessor to prove that he used all reasonable endeavours to obtain, but was unable to obtain, such rights as would be adequate to enable him to carry out the works or repairs.

(4) A covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises is of no effect so far as it relates to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (c), except so far as it imposes on the lessee any of the requirements mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (c).

(5) The reference in subsection (4) to a covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises includes a covenant –

(a) to put in repair or deliver up in repair,

(b) to paint, point or render,

(c) to pay money in lieu of repairs by the lessee, or

(d) to pay money on account of repairs by the lessor.

(6) In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.

What can the tenant do?

Unfortunately several landlords are of the impression that they do not have to do anything. Well, you do because you have a duty of care to your tenant! The term duty of care is valid to just about everything we do in everyday life. We all have a duty of care to each other! You must ensure that the dwelling is safe, hygenic and that all the items in the property are safe to use. We all know about the gas, Electric and Furniture regulations, but bear in mind that you should ensure that any other possible problem could be put down to your negligence. For example, that gutter that you have been meaning to fix for the last two years, suddenly decides it has given up hanging on by its’ last hinge and plummets to the ground, hitting the tenant as they walk out of the door. Well, you will be liable! The tenant can prosecute you for failing in your repairing obligations and also seek compensation.

Another very good reason to ensure that you have the correct insurance policy for being a rented property.

Many Landlords have asked us why they should repair something that a tenant has damaged. The answer is because it is the law.

As a landlord, it is often difficult to prove that the damage was the fault of the tenant. You can get engineers in who will say that the heating has broken down because it has been on high all day for the last four months, but then there is little you can do about this. The tenant has a right to heating and if they are cold, then they are going to turn it on and up. You have a duty to ensure that the heating is working correctly at all times and it does not matter how the tenant behaves.

We had an excellent case a few winters ago whereby the tenant left the property for two months over Christmas and turned the heating off. The pipes froze and burst and the water tank split. The water tank was situated in the loft of a five storey house that was being rented out for £2500 per month.

Upon the tenants return they rang the landlord and immediately informed him of the disaster. The landlord rang us up in a panic and asked what they should do.

As we were arranging for repair men to enter and replace carpets and decorate after getting the dryers in it occurred to us to have a look through the tenancy agreement. Sure enough, there was a clause that stated that the tenant must inform the landlord if they are going to be absent from the property for more than two weeks. Plus we had also put in the contract that the tenant upon leaving the property for any period of time must ensure that the heating is left on so as to avoid the freezing of any pipes. The tenant had failed on both counts and was faced with a serious bill to pay. Fortunately they had the foresight to take out insurance and we all lived happily ever after.

If you have a particularly difficult tenant who complains the whole time about things that need mending, don’t worry too much. At least you know the property is being looked after! The term no news is good news, does not really apply to landlords!

However, if you have a tenant who appears to be breaking everything he touches, then your best course of action may be to serve notice and deduct the cost of repair from the deposit. Note however, that you will have to come to agreement with the tenant and that it is unwise to just take the money and run!

Non Resident Landlords Status

The Non-resident Landlords Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords.

The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct Basic Rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If non-resident landlords don’t have UK letting agents acting for them, and the rent is more than £100 a week, their tenants must deduct the tax. When working out the amount to tax the letting agent/tenant can take off deductible expenses .

Letting agents and/or tenants don’t have to deduct tax if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tells them not to HMRC will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if non-resident landlords have successfully applied for approval to receive rents with no tax deducted. But even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it remains liable to UK tax. So non-resident landlords must include it in any tax return HMRC sends them.

Applications by non-resident landlords for approval to receive rent with no tax deducted

Non-resident landlords who are eligible can apply at any time for approval to receive their UK rental income with no tax deducted. This includes applying before they have left the UK or before the letting has started.

If Sabbatical Homes are to be your agent then our reference number which will be needed to be added to your application is NA 035799

Go To HMRC Website for NRL1i Form Link

Sabbatical Homes can arrange for this service to be done on your behalf. Our normal time charges will apply