Landlord Guide

Legal Essentials


Tenancy Deposit Scheme

 
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been established under the Housing Act 2004. It requires landlords to register details of the start and end of all Assured Shorthold Tenancies. The Dispute Service (TDS) runs this scheme and is required to supply summarised details all of tenancies to [the Department of] Communities and Local Government (CLG).

A deposit is paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy to safeguard against damage. Since April 2007, all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be registered with a government-backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. If you are not using our Rent Collection or Full Management Service you need to make sure that you register with one of the three schemes available.

Landlords should be aware that there are significant penalties for failing to comply with deposit protection requirements and must ensure that a Prescribed Information Sheet is issued when registering a deposit. As part of our Rent Collection and Full Management services we collect a deposit from the tenant which is equal to six weeks rent. AJ Home Solutions is registered with My Deposits, Deposit Protection Service which means your tenant‘s deposit will be held by them for the duration of the tenancy. We will register the deposit on your behalf and liaise with their dispute service should the need arise at the end of a tenancy. We will also provide your tenant with the name and contact details of the TDP scheme and its dispute resolution service, which is a legal requirement.
 
Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate
 
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Landlords have a legal obligation to make sure all gas pipework, appliances, fittings and flues are safe to use and maintained in a safe condition. Every gas appliance and flue must be tested for gas safety every 12 months. A Gas Safety record must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days of the annual safety check, or to new tenants before they move in, and you must keep copies yourself for two years. All installations, maintenance and safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We are able to arrange this for your convenience (fee applies).
 
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
 
From the 1st October 2008, properties must not be placed on the market to let without an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). All properties for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before any marketing or viewings can take place. An EPC rates energy efficiency, its environmental impact and is valid for ten years for rental properties. A copy of the EPC must be made available to the Tenant before entering into a tenancy agreement. If you do not have an EPC for your property, AJ Home Solutions can arrange this for you.We would be happy to arrange this on your behalf using a fully licensed and qualified company to carry out this service (fee applies).
 
P.A.T Testing
 
Portable Appliance Testing is recommended by insurance companies on all let properties. We include complementary plug changing with the P.A.T test if required.
 
Electrical Safety
 
Landlords are required to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition. Although not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that you have the property inspected and tested by a registered electrician every 5 years and arrange Portable Appliance Testing (PAT test) once a year to ensure electrical appliances are safe and fit for purpose.
 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Regulations 1st October 2015

 
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
 
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force from 1st October 2015. It is mandatory for all landlords to ensure all smoke and CO alarms are properly checked, and if not already installed within their properties, then must be done so. From October 2015 regulations require Landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their rental property and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Smoke alarm is quite straightforward to ensure it is in 'good working order'. However, a CO alarm is not as easy because people may overlook some of the correct procedures. Should you like us to provide a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm for you, we can do so (fee applies).
 
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
 
Upholstered furniture and soft furnishing supplied in a rented property must comply with current regulations. This includes, but not limited to, bed frames, mattresses, headboards, sofa beds, pillows, cushions, seat pads and any garden furniture that may be used indoors. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. All non-compliant items must be removed before a tenant moves in.
 
Legionella
 
Legionella Risk Assessment prior to the start of all new Tenancies. The Health and Safety Executive has issued new guidance for employers and those in charge of premises, e.g. landlords. Duties under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 (HSWA) extend to risks from legionella bacteria, which may arise from work activities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSWR) provide a broad framework for controlling health and safety at work. More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions. As a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to Legionella.

You must understand how to: - Identify and assess sources of risk, manage any risks, prevent or control any risks, keep and maintain the correct records, carry out any other duties you may have. Legionellosis is the collective name given to pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria. This includes the most serious Legionnaires’ disease, as well as the similar but less conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.
 
Consent to let
 
If your property is mortgaged, you must obtain written consent to let from your mortgage lender. If it is leasehold, your lease may require written consent from your landlord before you can sub-let.
 
Buildings Insurance
 
Landlords are required by law to take out buildings insurance for rental properties. We advise our clients to also consider contents insurance and polices to cover rent guarantee and legal expenses.
 

Moving Your Tenant In

Tenancy Agreement
 
This is a legally binding agreement, setting out the rights and obligations of both Landlord and Tenant. Residential property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for an initial fixed term of 6 or 12 months. We will prepare all the paperwork and draw up a comprehensive legal document for signing.
 
Inventory/Schedule of Condition
 
All inventories produced for AJ Home Solutions clients are undertaken by an independent professional company and contain a full written description of the property, its contents and schedule of condition inside and out including the wall, flooring and all fixtures and furnishings accompanied with photographic evidence. This provides a crucial legal reference should any discrepancy or claim arise against a tenant‘s deposit at the end of the tenancy.
 
Utilities & Council Tax
 
Usually, it is the tenant‘s responsibility to pay utility bills and council tax. We organise meter readings and notify the suppliers of water rates, gas, electricity and council tax, of the meter readings and change of address.
 
Keys
 
You should provide at least one set of keys for each tenant. If you are using our Fully Managed services, we will also require a full set which will be kept at our office for emergency situations and will be coded for security purposes.
 

Moving Your Tenant In

Collecting rent
 
AJ Home Solutions offers a rent collection service as part of our Fully Managed Services. We collect rent monthly unless the Tenancy Agreement specifies otherwise. Occasionally, Tenants may experience financial difficulties and we will chase any late payments.We will notify you at the earliest opportunity of any rent arrears. You can protect against loss of rental income with an insurance.

As a Landlord, you are responsible for assessing your own tax for rent received. Below is some basic guidance on taxation matters relevant to Landlords; however, we would always recommend you seek independent financial advice from an accountant or Tax advisor on tax matters.
 
Income Tax
 
Rental income is liable to tax, although a number of expenditure items can be offset against rental profit. You would also need to pay Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do counts as running a property business.
 
Overseas Landlords
 
Under the Non-resident Landlord (NRL) Schemes, your lettings agent will need to deduct tax from rental income and pay the tax directly to HM Revenue & Customs. If you choose not to use a lettings agent to collect rent, then your tenant will be legally responsible for collecting and paying the tax to HMRC. Alternatively, Landlords living overseas can apply for approval to receive rental income with no tax deducted. Full details of the NRL Scheme are available from HMRC.
 
Visits, maintenance and repairs
 
The practicalities of being a Landlord can be very time-consuming. With our Management Service we take care of all the day-to-day management and upkeep of your rental property so you don‘t need to worry about it. We will carry out regular routine property visits – at a mutually convenient time agreed with the tenant. This will involve visual inspections, assessing any wear and tear and organising maintenance and compliance checks. If we identify any problems we will advise you and if required can arrange for repairs and any work to be carried out on the property and settle the costs from the rent received. We have a network of approved contractors we can call on to deal with routine repairs or emergencies at competitive rates.
 
Tenancy renewal, reviews and notices
 
We will handle all tenancy renewals, including rent reviews for you. If you decide to increase the rent we will issue the relevant notice informing your tenant. If you wish to end a tenancy, we will serve notice to your tenant in line with legal processes and timing requirements and manage all the end of tenancy administration.
 
End of tenancy check and deposit returns
 
At the end of the tenancy the Landlord should ensure the property is in a good, clean condition before the tenant checks out, take back the keys and formally take possession of the property. Assuming there are no issues, all paperwork is completed, utility companies notified and you have a forwarding address for the tenant, the Landlord should return the tenant‘s deposit
 

Professional Bodies

The Property Industry is not Regulated
 
We are a member of The Property Ombudsman to demonstrate transparency and ensure that we are at the forefront of developments in the industry. Estate agents, letting agents as well as auctioneers who display “The Property Ombudsman” logo are actively ensuring maximum protection for their clients.
 
What Makes AJ Home Solutions Different?
 
  • Backed by a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme
  • Team of Professionals in the property industry over 5 Years
  • Members of a Government approved independent redress scheme
  • Kept up to date with complex legislative changes and best practice
  • Adhere to a nationally recognised Code of Practice
  • Hold professional indemnity insurance
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    Professional Bodies

    The Property Ombudsman
     
    All Letting agents are required to register with an Estate Agent Redress Scheme which investigates complaints. The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is the scheme that AJ Home Solutions is registered with. In addition to this registration we have also agreed to follow their Code of Practice and are required to provide additional consumer protection that goes beyond that required by the law.











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