For new tenancies that have started on or after October 1st 2015, landlords are required to provide a number of additional documents or they will lose their rights to serve Section 21s.
A Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 specifies the procedure you need to follow to legally obtain possession of a residential property let under an Assured Short hold Tenancy (AST).
If you miss any of the steps listed you will be unable to use a section 21-eviction notice and could face hefty fines.
In addition, landlords need to check the right to rent status of any occupiers moving into a property from February 1st 2016. This must be done before the tenancy is signed and records should be kept for all the documents checked.
To assist landlords in remaining compliant with the law and to make it easier to show proof of this compliance, I provide a checklist for the landlord and tenant to sign at the start of the tenancy, to show all the necessary checks and documents have been provided.
Landlords now need to provide the following at the outset of a tenancy
All of the following procedures I arrange and check as part of my fully managed service: some of these items incur additional costs.
*Please see terms of business.
Gas Safety Certificate.*
Energy Performance Certificate.*
How to rent Guide 2015: The checklist for renting in England provided by the government.
Smoke alarms have been fitted on every floor. They have been checked and are in working order at the outset of the tenancy.
Confirmation that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in every room with a solid fuel-burning source. They have been checked and are in working order at the outset of the tenancy.
Registration and confirmation that the deposit has been protected, if already paid.
Confirmation that the prescribed information for the deposit scheme has been provided.
Checklist of legal requirements
This only applies to private and residential landlords. If I manage your property I will organise these on your behalf with your instructions.
Do you have a current gas safety certificate? Under the Gas safety regulation (installation and use) 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety, and a certificate must be provided by a Gas Safe engineer within the past 12 months in order to be valid. You don’t need a new certificate per tenant,but you do need to renew it every 12 months.
Do you have a valid energy performance certificate (epc) for the property? EPCs assess the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of your property with potential figures it could achieve. Any house that is rented requires a valid EPC. They are valid for 10 years and then the property needs to be reassessed for a new certificate. If energy efficiency improvements are made to the property, you can apply for a new EPC to achieve a better grade.
Have you protected the tenant’s deposit with an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme? Any deposit you receive must be secured into a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. I use the government approved scheme – the DPS.
Have you provided the prescribed information to the tenants? As your instructed Letting Agent, I will serve the prescribed information on your behalf. This is a requirement of the tenancy deposit protection scheme. Once the deposit is secured, you must provide certain information about the deposit and where it has been secured to tenants, either as part of the tenancy agreement or on a separate form. The scheme that you secured your deposit with will have more information on this.
Is the tenant permitted to rent in this country? Under the ‘Right2Rent’ legislation landlords are required to ensure their tenants are not illegal immigrants and are consequently permitted to rent in this country. More details are available at http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/right-rent-immigration-checks/ There is a £3000 fine for non-compliance
Other points to consider
Have you provided the tenant with a “how to rent” guide?
This isn’t a legal requirement; however, it is required to be served to tenants in order to serve as a valid section 21 notice (a repossession notice).
Landlords should provide their tenants with an up-to-date document entitled “how to rent: the checklist for renting in england”, as published by the department for communities and local government, at the beginning of tenancies that start on or after october 2015 in England only.
Further information and a useful guide is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/howto-rent.
I provide this as part of the prescribed information.
Are all plugs & sockets compliant to current standards?
Any plug, socket or adapter supplied for intended domestic use must comply with the appropriate current standard. Specifically live and neutral pins on plugs must be part insulated, so as to prevent shocks when removing plugs from sockets, and all plugs must be pre-wired.
The regulations relating to electrical installation include; the electrical equipment safety regulation 1994, the plugs and sockets regulations 1994, the 2005 building regulation – part p, and british standard bs 1363.
Is the property Legionnaires' disease free?
Health and safety legislation requires that risk assessments for the legionella bacteria which cause legionnaires’ disease are taken.
The assessments must identify and assess potential sources of exposure, and steps taken to prevent/control any risk that is identified. More information is available at www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition is prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards it is impossible for landlords to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents.
In order to provide a complete service to the landlord, I will, if requested, arrange for a third-party to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at a cost to be quoted depending on the size of the property.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgage provider's written consent to the letting.
They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform your agent.
Other useful information
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your building and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies.
Landlord insurance will cover you for claims for injury or worse from the occupants, visitors or the general public, plus miscellaneous damage and for periods when the property is empty.
Whilst the tenant should insure their contents separately, it is still important to have landlord's content insurance to cover your carpets and curtains etc.
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier.
You should inform Poole Borough Council that you are letting the property. During vacant periods, the responsibility reverts to the owner.
I would recommend you provide your agent with three separate copies of each key required for access to the property.
PayProp is the only bank integrated property payment system with an indelible audit trail in the UK. It provides me with a dedicated client account that helps me see immediately which tenants have paid, and keeps you the landlord 100% up-to-date on all transactions.
PayProp also offers automatic transaction processing of any property-related payments (maintenance, rates and taxes, water and electricity, levies or even garden services) once the rent is received. Better still, any payments due to you are available on the same day that I receive the rent – so there are no delays in receiving funds from different banks.
Because PayProp retains all transaction data, I am able to provide you with up-to-date and accurate reporting on all transactions that have occurred on your property, at the click of a button.
Blinc tenant referencing have developed market-leading products and services to ensure complete protection for both myself as the letting agent and you the landlord.
In the current lettings market it has never been more important to protect your property and investments. That’s why blinc aims to provide the highest level of protection possible, by offering a comprehensive rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance policy that offers unrivaled cover.
Even the best tenants situations can change and fall on hard times, blinc rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance will ensure this will not affect your rental income.
Please note: This is for information purposes only and is not an exhaustive list. It is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice or to be a legally binding document. I’d always recommend you seek legal or professional advice before entering into any kind of tenancy agreement.