Buy to Let – Five Legal Aspects to Consider

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Letting any property quickly and efficiently is essential to start earning a return on your investment. Appealing to a wider range of prospective tenants and following a few golden rules will help let a property much quicker.

Proximity to local facilities, good schools, mainline stations and major road links will all certainly add value but have you thought about the legal aspects? Here are five things you need to consider to make sure you are legally covered to let your property.

1. Safety First 

Every Landlord needs to make sure the property is safe for their tenants. You must have a current Landlord Gas Safety check and ensure all electrics are safe.

If your property is being let unfurnished ideally you should still provide curtains, blinds, carpets and in many cases white goods such as dishwasher and washing machine etc. If the property is furnished then everything, including the furniture, must comply with Fire and Furnishings regulations.

Professional inventories are vital if you want to protect your property and all the fixture and fittings. Letting Agents will provide this service for you. The fee depends on the size of property but will range from £96 for a bedsit to £400 for a 6 bed house.

2. Save Energy 

It is a legal requirement that any property for rent has an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate and from April 2018 must have an EPC rating of E or above. To improve the energy rating you can undertake such tasks as insulating the loft, hot water cylinder and all pipes, as well as installing an efficient boiler and double glazing. Only Domestic Energy Assessors can produce valid EPCs so speak to your Letting Agent who can recommend a suitable company.

3. Drawing up the tenancy agreement and obtaining references

A tenancy agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and that of your tenant. It will include information such as the monthly rental, length of the let, any exclusions or special conditions.  We provide tenancy agreements that have been approved by ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) that are very detailed and can be up to eighteen pages long.

Letting Agents are able to carry out tenant referencing on your behalf so you can obtain financial and credit checks on your applicant. This will help ensure your tenant is responsible and has a good track record in previous lets.

4. Tenancy Deposit  

All tenancy deposits from individuals must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit scheme and any dispute over the apportionment of the deposit can be decided by an Arbitrator free of charge. They will only be able to make a decision based on the written information provided so an inventory, a tenancy agreement and check-in/check-out reports, provided by your Letting Agent, are essential to obtain a successful outcome.

5. Getting covered

You must advise your insurer and mortgage lender of your intentions to let your property. Your lender may require extra clauses in the tenancy agreement and charge an administration fee.

It is advisable to obtain insurance that covers you for accidental and malicious damage caused by the tenant.  You should also insure minimum contents if you are leaving white goods, carpets and curtains.

These five areas do cover the basic legal requirements but as a specialist Letting Agent we go above and beyond what is legally required to ensure both the landlord and the tenant are happy with the property and the let.

If you are thinking of letting your property please contact us on 01732 740789. We will be happy to talk through what to expect when letting, the different levels of service we offer, our fees and what we do to help you prepare your property.

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