Landlord & Tenant Matters - Renting Out Your Property


The key to peace of mind

Renting out your property may seem like an easy source of income, but it can be a legal minefield.  you might also be liable to pay tax on the income you earn. If there are disagreements between you and your tenants, it can quickly become a drain on your time and resources. The best way to avoid this is to take   legal advice from the start. Keith Flower & Co can deal with all areas of Landlord and Tenant Law and are skilled in avoiding and settling disagreements. Prevention is better than cure, so before you even look for a tenant ask Keith Flower & Co to help you decide what the terms of the tenancy should be and build these terms into a written 'tenancy agreement' tailored to your needs.

Tenancy agreements

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant. This contract can be written or verbal. In England and Wales there is no legal requirement for landlords to provide a written tenancy agreement, but it is a good idea because if you have a dispute with your tenant about the terms of the agreement, it will be your word against theirs as to what was agreed if there is no a written agreement .

The main advantage of having a written tenancy agreement is that it sets out your rights and responsibilities as a landlord in a way that is legally enforceable. This keeps disagreements to a minimum because both sides know where they stand. There are several types of tenancy agreement. Of these, the two most common types are the 'assured shorthold' tenancy and the 'assured' tenancy.

Assured shorthold tenancy

This is normally for at least six months and the tenant has fewer rights to stay at the end of the agreed tenancy period.

Assured tenancy

This is used mostly by housing associations and registered social landlords but occasionally by private landlords too. It sets out in what circumstances you can end the tenancy and gives the tenant far greater rights to remain in the property at the end of the agreed tenancy period.

Getting advice

Ideally, you should contact Keith Flower & Co as soon as you start thinking about letting  your property. This will give you a clear idea of the terms to offer to any tenant you are considering. Keith Flower & Co can also:

  • Advertise and find tenants for you
  • Reference and Credit Score prospective tenants
  • Obtain an insurance backed rent and legal expenses cover guarantee for you 
  • Manage the rental property and collect the rents for you   
  • Explain the different types of tenancy agreement and identify the most suitable for you;
  • Draw up or check a tenancy agreement for you;
  • Highlight the essential requirements and terms of your tenancy agreement;
  • Explain any related legal issues;
  • Warn you of any pitfalls, including advice on how to end an agreement; and
  • Give you advice on the type of tenant references to ask for.
Drawing up your agreement

When You appoint Keith Flower & Co we will explain your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. and will ask you to explain your specific needs and concerns. This will help us to draw up a tenancy agreement that is tailor-made to suit your needs. During this process, will cover the following issues with you.

Length and type of tenancy

What type of tenancy do you want? How many tenants will live in the property? What notice will you or your tenant need to give to end the tenancy? How long will the tenancy last?

Restrictions

What restrictions do you want to place on your tenants about keeping pets or playing loud music?

Rent

How much rent can you charge? When must the tenant pay the rent? What penalties are there for paying late? When can you increase the rent? Are Council Tax and outgoings included in the rent?

Deposits

What deposit must the tenant pay? Is the property furnished? Will an inventory be prepared and agreed with the tenant? When must the deposit be returned to the tenant and in what circumstances can deductions be made from the deposit?

All deposits taken by landlords must be held in one of three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes. These schemes make it easier to resolve disputes over deposits.

You must tell the tenant in writing which scheme the deposit is being held in within 14 days of receiving their deposit. Failure to do this can result in a court fine. Keith Flower & Co can tell you more about tenancy deposit schemes.

Service charges and repairs

Will you provide any services such as laundry, maintenance or meals? Will you be making separate service charges for these? What are your legal obligations in relation to maintenance and repair of the property?

Access

What are your rights to enter the property when it is let?

Energy performance certificates

Landlords must provide tenants with an energy performance certificate (EPC) for the rental property. Landlords cannot charge tenants for the EPC. The EPC lasts for ten years and contains a rating for the energy performance of the property and recommendations for improving it.

Related matters

Keith Flower & Co can also advise on some of the broader issues involved in being a landlord, such as tax liability and what to do if the property you want to let is mortgaged.

Disagreements

If you do have a disagreement with your tenants, there are several ways Keith Flower & Co can help. Whether it's a simple case of checking your legal rights, or something more complicated such as adapting your tenancy agreement, negotiating a solution or even going to court, we have the knowledge and experience to help you.