Top Tips for Landlords

1 Ensure that you get an application completed by the tenant(s) with the last 3 years residence, with their birth Date, national insurance number and next of kin details.
2 Carry out reference checks on the tenant(s) such as the services provided by the RLA. This will highlight any previous credit issues the tenant(s) may have and confirm the details the prospective tenant has given you in their application.
3 Ask the tenant(s) for a guarantor. By having a guarantor you can contact them for any rent arrears problems that may occur during the term of the tenancy. A home owner and/or someone in stable employment is a good guarantor to fall back on if required. Credit check the guarantor(s).
4 Where your market allows, consider taking 6 weeks as a minimum for a deposit. This is hopefully a sufficient amount, for a month's rent arrears and any damages/cleaning that may occur at the end of the tenancy. At the time of writing you may take more than 6 weeks rent but this practice is set to be banned in the near future.
5 Protect the deposit (if taken) in a relevant scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. Once the deposit is protected, ensure that all parties (parents, partners) that have contributed towards the deposit are given a copy of the Certificate, Prescribed information and Scheme Leaflet. Get a signature confirming that the tenant(s) have received this information from the Landlord/Agent.
6 Do not hand over any keys to the property until a tenancy agreement has been signed and the first month/week rent in advance and security deposit has been received.
7 Appropriate Insurance should be in place for Building, Public Liability and Rent Guard (rent insurance).
8 Complete an inventory (photographic) and make sure the tenant (s) sign to agree the condition of the property. If they do not sign the Inventory, write to the tenant(s) and give them 7 days to confirm back, otherwise it will be taken that the Inventory is agreed by both parties.
9 In England, before the start of the tenancy give the tenant a copy of the EPC, gas safety certificate and a copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. You can't serve a Section 21 without serving this first.
10 Make sure you have smoke alarms on every floor of your property and carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a solid fuel source.
11 Provide a privacy notice to your tenant and anybody else with personal information you hold when you are given the information.
12 If you are in England then you must ensure you perform the right to rent checks on anybody over 18 who will move into the property before you sign the tenancy.
13 If you use an agent, check they are a member of a redress scheme and has the scheme's details clearly advertised on their website. In England all agents are legally required to be a member of one of the 3 schemes and this protects you by giving you an avenue to raise complaints against them.
14 Check you need a licence. You almost certainly will need at least one licence in Wales but in England you should check with your local authority if you do not have a mandatorily licensed HMO.
15 Regularly refresh your knowledge through training courses. Housing law is constantly changing and ignorance of new laws are sadly no excuse in the eyes of the court.
16 If you get stuck give the Landlord Advice Team a call! We're always happy to provide advice to our members.
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