Further information for Landlords
It is essential that the property is not only presented in good order for the tenants to move in to but also that all our properties comply with the current regulations. We have listed below the most important ones that need to be considered before Letting out your property. These are the responsibility of the owner (the Landlord) and, where Thomas Merrifield manage the property, they are also ours as agents. To protect all interests, we will therefore ensure full compliance with the appropriate regulations, at the owner’s expense.
Gas Appliances & Equipment
You are required by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure all gas appliances are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out by a tradesman who is GAS SAFE registered. You must keep a record of safety checks and issue it to the tenant within 28 days of each annual check. Records must be kept of dates of inspections, of defects identified and of any remedial action taken.
Landlords are required to protect a tenants deposit in one of the Government approved schemes. Any form of tenancy deposit, or similar money that is taken at the beginning of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) on or after 6th April 2007 (or subsequent renewals of tenancies agreed prior to that date) will be subject to the Government’s Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme, whether it is called a ‘deposit’ or not.
The Act only applies where money, either cash or its associated forms, such as a cheque or a banker’s draft, is passed to the landlord or his agent from either the tenant or a third party. Third party guarantees or ‘promises to pay’ are not deposits for the purposes of the Act and therefore may continue to be used.
For tenancies where such deposits are accepted by either landlord or agent, the following provisions will apply:
- The deposit will be required to be protected within one of three statutory schemes within 30 days of receipt.
- Landlords and agents will be required to operate strictly according to the scheme rules as amended by the Localism Act 2011.
- Tenants and others shall be furnished with prescribed information within 30 days of accepting the deposit
Infringement of any of these three requirements may lead to onerous penalties on the landlord or agent
At Thomas Merrifield we currently retain the deposits but register them with The Dispute Service (TDS) on your behalf. We can do this for Managed Properties or Letting only (a fee may apply) and we will deal with all the necessary paperwork to ensure correct registration.
Electrical Appliances & Equipment
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 and some other regulations, you should ensure that any electrical installations and equipment you supply are safe to use. We insist that a Portable Appliance Test is carried out on all appliances supplied by the landlord once a year, we would also strongly recommend that the wiring is checked before commencing a tenancy. We would recommend that a qualified electrician be engaged for this purpose. Thomas Merrifield can arrange this on your behalf if required.
Furniture & Furnishings
You must ensure that any furniture and furnishings you supply meet the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996). The regulations apply to all domestic upholstered furniture and beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Therefore all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached.
General Product Safety
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 specify that any product supplied in the course of a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of letting, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. Recommended action is to check for obvious danger signs – leaning walls, broken glass, sharp edges etc and also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items, such as hot surfaces, electric lawnmowers, etc. for the tenant.
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established.
Please advise us where the Stop Cock is and make sure it is in working order. It is also a good idea to clearly mark this in the house. It can save thousands of pounds worth of damage if the tenant is easily able to turn the water off in an emergency.
Similarly, appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc. should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord’s expense unless misuse can be established.
Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral. We can discuss this with you prior to marketing to see if we feel any alterations or improvements need to be carried out to improve your chances of letting at the highest possible price.
We now find that there is a good proportion of tenants who are leaning more towards taking properties Un-Furnished so it is no longer necessary to furnish the property to let it out. This depends on the type of property and the potential tenant we are looking to attract. Our experienced valuers will be glad to discuss this with you and advise on the best course of action. If you are letting unfurnished, we recommend that the property contains carpets, curtains, cooker, washing machine, fridge and light fittings as a minimum.
Personal items, ornaments etc.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant’s own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish-free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, (except shrubs and trees) provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few tenants are experienced gardeners and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange maintenance visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition and at the end of each tenancy it is the tenant’s responsibility to leave the property in similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.