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Guide to Becoming a Landlord in Leeds & Bradford

  • Posted:  7 years ago
  • Categories:  Landlords
Guide to Becoming a Landlord in Leeds & Bradford - Priestley Lettings

As a landlord, you will need to manage a number of things which often include health and safety, furnishings, rents and deposits, property overhead and also legal regulations such as tenant rights, rental agreements and property management.

Health & Safety

If you are looking to rent space to tenants, it will be your responsibility to make sure that the living units are safe. You will need to make sure that all fixtures and appliances work properly, the structures such as floors and ceilings are intact and that there are no infestations of pests. It is also important to make sure that tenants are not in any danger of getting injured or sick when living in your rental property.

Furniture & Furnishings

As a landlord you need to ensure furnishings adhere to fire regulations and fire safe. You will also need to make sure that any furniture you put into the property is fire resistant as well. According to regulations, any furniture that was made before the year 1988 is not likely to meet fire safety standards.

Any items that can be used inside the property such as upholstery, must be checked out before letting someone move into the property. It is important to check a number of things such as beds, headboards, mattresses, futons and sofa beds. You will also need to check children’s and nursery furniture, cushions, pillows and garden furniture that is used on the property. Some items are exempt from the fire standards such as sleeping bags, carpets, curtains and furniture that was made before the year 1950.

Most furniture and furnishing labels will state if they conform to fire regulations. Things such as bed bases and mattresses have a label that state that they are compliant with fire safety tests.

Gas Safety

When owning a property as a landlord, one of the most important things you will need to focus on is gas safety. Landlords are legally obligated to maintain and service all gas equipment once per year or every 12 months. They also need to keep records of all regular checks on all equipment on a regular basis. As a landlord, it is also required that you provide tenants with an annual gas safety certificate in order to verify compliance. It is illegal to not provide tenants with annual gas safety certificates so this is a must as a landlord.

Landlords are also required to provide all tenants with instructions on how to safely use gas appliances and equipment. The gas safety certificate known as CORGI has been replaced and is now called Gas Safe. Rather than being run by CORGI, the authorities have installed a system where gas engineers need to register all equipment and appliances. Landlords are required to inspect gas appliances such as boilers and heaters every year and get a certificate from a registered engineer. When inspected, the appliances need to meet the standards of Gas Safe. You will need to provide tenants with a report within 28 days of completing the inspection.

Another thing that must meet safety standards is the electrical wiring, you will need to make sure that all electrical wiring is in proper working order.

Regulations require that landlords must inspect electrical wiring every year. Electricians are likely to recommend a new inspection between two and ten years, but it is always better to get these inspections done more frequently to ensure safe and functional wiring.

If a landlord is looking to provide electrical equipment to tenants, they will need to ensure that all of the items are tested for safety and labeled properly. It is important to get an electrician to check and inspect these items on a regular basis. Landlords and tenants will also need to keep electrical testing reports for their records as well.

Tenancy Agreement

The most important document is the tenancy agreement which is the contract that legally binds both you the landlord and the tenant. With this document, both parties will have a listing of all the conditions associated with the rental agreement. The contract provides information about the rights that both you and the tenant have such as the tenant having the right to live in the property for a specific amount of time and your right to receive rent for letting a property to a tenant.

Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreement

Since the end of the 1990’s, the AST has been the standard tenancy agreement and provides all of the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant. One of the most significant things that a landlord must know is that, they have the right to repossess the property at the end of the agreed term. This agreement does not have to be short and can go on as long as both parties want to continue the let agreement. There is no term minimum but the tenant has the right to stay in the property for at least six months.

While most agreements are at least six months, any fixed term that is for three or more years must have a deed drawn up by a solicitor. The AST has a number of requirements that you must follow as a landlord. These include the tenant being an individual, the property being the main home of the occupant and also the property being a separate accommodation.

If you are looking to terminate a rental agreement, you must provide two months notice to the tenant. Any agreement must contain certain information. This will include provisions such as your name, the tenant’s name, and the address of the property being let. A let agreement must also include the date the tenancy will commence, the duration of the tenancy from the start to the agreed finish of the occupation and also the amount of rent that is to be paid, the frequency in which it must be paid, the date the rent is expected to be paid and also when it can be increased according to legal regulations. Landlords who provide the agreement must also include information such as what Council taxes need to be paid, utility payments and service charges. The landlord must reveal the services provided such as maintenance and also the notice period which you and the tenant needs to give in case the tenancy is to be terminated.

Landlord Inventory & Deposits

Inventory details the contents of the property that a tenant will use along with the condition that it is in on the day the tenant moves in. This inventory must contain information about any current cosmetic issues which include wallpaper that peels or paint that flakes. Once the unit is to be let, you must provide the tenant the exact condition of all of the property’s contents. Make sure that the document is signed and that you and the tenant both have a copy of it. As a landlord, you will want to get checkups on the property every three months in order to assess its current condition.

As a common practice, landlords are entitled to request a deposit from the tenant right before they move in. This protects the landlord from any damage of the property caused by the tenant beyond normal use and also in case the tenant doesn’t pay rent in a timely manner. While some agents will handle this issue, it is beneficial for landlords to handle this themselves and get the deposit as soon as possible. You will want to ask for the equivalent of one month’s rent and the first month’s rent right before the tenant moves in. After getting the deposit, you will then be in position to close out the process of letting your property to a new tenant.

Before a Tenant Moves In:

Once you agree to let a property, you will first want to ensure that the property unit is clean, sanitary and looks nice. It will also be important to send mail to the former tenants address and transfer all utility accounts to the new tenant that is moving in. As a landlord, you will also want to arrange for the council tax to be paid by the new tenant. Making sure that there are complete instructions on all appliances and equipment that will be used along with making sure that they are all properly labelled. Along with these things, it will also be required to provide the tenant with sets of spare keys as well.

On the Day the Tenant Moves In:

When a tenant is moving into the property on a particular day, there are a number of things you must do as a landlord. The first thing you will need to do is gather complete meter readings and provide them to the new tenant once they move in. You will also want to gather, make an agreement with and get all inventory signed over to the new tenant. It is required that you give the gas safety certificate and maintenance book to a new tenant and demonstrate the process of operating equipment such as alarms and locks. Landlords will need to explain how to use safety equipment such as extinguishers and blankets as well as provide emergency contact numbers along with how to deal with an emergency. Lastly, a landlord will need to be available to answer any questions a new tenant has.

If you’d like to find out more about the pros and cons of being a landlord, read our recent blog: Is Being a Landlord Worth It & How Much Do They Make?

Property Letting Agents in Leeds & Bradford

If you’re a landlord looking to let your property in the West Yorkshire area, Valor Properties should be your first choice property letting agent.

Valor Properties rise to becoming the most recognised and trusted Leeds & Bradford property letting agent was built on providing a level of personalised service that’s second to none, matched with an extensive knowledge of the local property market.