The Landlords Forum meets twice a year. The Forum provides an opportunity for private sector landlords to meet to discuss the issues which affect them and to get advice and support from the District Council and other agencies.
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The inventory is vital and probably your greatest piece of protection. Should you need to make a claim from the bond it is vital that the property is inspected before the tenancy begins & that both the landlord (or their agent) and the tenant have signed it.
It is this document that will form the benchmark should a dispute arise.
Ideally a similar exit survey should be conducted and if possible should also be signed by the tenant. This will leave only the costs of the remedial action to be decided & agreed.
Where the landlord does not inform the tenant of the whereabouts of the deposit, the tenant can apply to the local courts. The courts can then order the landlord to either repay the deposit or get it protected.
If the courts wishes are not carried out within 14 days the landlord will be ordered to repay three times the amount of the deposit to the tenant within 10 days.
Futhermore where the deposit has not been protected the landlord can not evict the tenant using a Section 21. Therefore, by not securing the deposit you will not be able to get your house back and face a large fine.
Assuming you are happy for your present tenant to remain you have two choices. You can either offer another fixed term contract and both parties, assuming they agree, will be bound by those terms for that period.
Alternatively you can let the present tenancy roll on (Periodic tenancy)
By issuing a new shorthold the landlord gains the security of another fixed term but may incure additional administrative costs & will not be able to regain possession of the property until the end of the fixed period. In addition some agents may charge the tenant an additional fee. This can annoy tenants who may be less willing to renew next time.
By creating a periodic tenancy (allowing the tenancy to roll on) reduces costs and can make it easier for landlords to gain possession should they wish to.
If you let out a room in the house in which you live yourself your tenant is treated as a lodger and has very few rights in law. You will not have to go through court proceedings to evict and you can adjust the rent as you please
The building itself is insured against most risks - such as flood and fire for the cost or repair or rebuilding. Even risks such as terrorism or subsidence can normally be purchased as optional extras for added security from most insurers.
When you declare the value of your property you are actually estimating the cost of rebuilding it should it be totally destroyed (this is what insurance companies call a total loss).
Most insurance companies work out a rate to charge the landlord based on the location of the property and then apply it to the amount specified to rebuild the building (which is called the Buildings Sum Insured).
It is therefore cheaper to insure a building that is worth less than an expensive building which is as expected.
It is equally important to make sure that you do not underestimate the cost of rebuilding your property. If you have paid a lower premium by underestimating the Buildings Sum Insured, then the insurer will normally only pay your claims up to the proportion of the building that you have insured.
For example: If your house is worth £100,000 but you only declare a Buildings Sum Insured of £60,000. should you have a claim of £10,000 then the insurer will only pay you £6,000, as they will deem that you under-insured. It is important not to be caught out by this by being tempted by lower premiums for lower Buildings Sum Insured.
You will be required by law to have all gas equipment checked and certificated by a registered Gas Safe engineer. All equipment must be certified as safe every 12 months. The consequences of failing to comply can be very serious with hefty fines or even imprisonment should there be an accident.
Energy Performance Certificate
Each new let will now require an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). The certificate lasts 10 years, but landlords may consider having it reviewed should insulation improvement works be carried out or improvements to the heating system. A copy of the certificate must be passed to the tenant.
If you let property you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe - failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in:
- A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
- Six month's imprisonment
- Possible manslaughter charges in the event of deaths
- The tenant may also sue you for civil damages
- Your property insurance may be invalidated
- These regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive.
There is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment as there is with gas, but it is advisable for landlords to have periodic checks done by a qualified electrician.
Last updated: Mon 18 September, 2017 @ 09:40