Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

The Landlord’s Property Health Check – Can you Afford Not To?

From Robert Ulph on April 4, 2016

I can’t believe that here we are, already a quarter of the way through the year and what a year it has been so far in the property world. The introduction of new legislation has brought increased pressure on the small time, investor landlord, as landlords now need to do much more to stay on the right side of the law.

The new procedures mean additional paperwork to ensure that landlords are able to get their property back when they require it and don’t get stuck being unable to get a bad tenant out. This is on top of the existing requirements, which many landlords are not currently aware of, to serve tenants with the correct prescribed information at the right time of the tenancy.

The threat of landlords being hauled through the court, for something they didn’t know anything about or had forgotten to do, is unfortunately very real with the recent changes and the existing legislation.

This month also brings the amended stamp duty tax into effect for investors and second home buyers and the additional tax implications on any buy-to-let profits.

All in all it strikes me, as the local expert and ARLA area representative, that landlords need further assistance so I am offering a new service – the Landlord’s Property Health Check.

The Landlord’s Property Health Check

From my previous articles you may have seen just what a landlord needs to provide a tenant before they even move into the property and it is quite a list.

Best practice for all new tenancies (in England) includes that a tenant should receive
• a copy of the Landlord’s signed tenancy
• a copy of the full inventory which includes photographs and a walk through of every room in the property
• a copy of the current EPC (if a copy was not supplied before they viewed)
• a copy of the signed prescribed information (tenant signed)
• a latest copy of the Government’s “How to Rent” leaflet
• the deposit schemes information on how to get the deposit back at the end of the contract
• a receipt for the money and deposit that has been paid
• a copy of a gas safety certificate C12 (if the property has gas)
• confirmation that smoke and carbon alarms are present and that they have been tested on the first day of the tenancy
• a copy of the legionella report
• and finally the keys to the property.

So gone are the days when you could just ask the tenants to sign a one page agreement, pay their money and you hand over the keys. If the landlord is not using an agent who will check in the tenant and supply the necessary documents and go through the necessary procedures, they will need to carry out all of the above themselves.

Missing out any of the list or forgetting to do some items at a particular time, will potentially affect being able to get the property back when it is required.

So now is the time to act to give your property portfolio a health check to ensure everything is in order and as part of the Landlord Property Health Check we can also look at what other aspects need to be done and in what order. This includes the new “Right to Rent Checks” which is not just for agents to do, as these checks are for Letting-only Landlords as well, and need to be carried out if you renew a tenancy as well as letting new properties. Also I do see landlords who fail to re-register the deposit on the deposit scheme and serve new prescribed information when a tenant renews as well.

I fully understand how difficult it is to now keep on top of all of these requirements and I see it almost impossible not to use a licensed ARLA agent or legal expert when preparing this paperwork for a tenant to move in.

So if you are not 100% up on this, please give me a call and I can go over what we can do to help.