Before you rent out your property, get an EPC check done (you need to give a copy to tenants) and see what you need to do to bring your property up to an Energy Rating C – which is going to be mandatory probably within 10 years. Draw up a plan for how you can achieve this.
When advertising your property make sure you do not misrepresent it – as this can get you into trouble later
Remember that it is illegal to have ‘no DSS’ policies as this could make you vulnerable to a claim for compensation
Be wary about renting your property to someone who intends to sublet to tenants and pay you a ‘guaranteed income’ (ie under a ‘rent to rent’ arrangement). Remember if a deal sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
Don’t forget to sign up for Property Alerts for your property at the Land Registry – this will protect you from criminals trying to take it over.
Be very, very careful when choosing tenants and don’t just take the first person who comes along. They may turn out to be a nightmare tenant.
Take details from applicants in a form and adapt this form to the questions asked by your credit reference company (as explained here)
Always assume, for the purpose of checking applicants information, that they have lied to you and double-check all details. For example, their employer’s phone number – is it correct or is it the number of their friend primed to give a good reference?
Check phone numbers via google search
Be very suspicious if someone wants to pay large sums upfront in cash. Particularly if they ask you not to do inspections. This is a classic sign of someone who intends to use your property for criminal purposes.
Be aware that tenancy agreements can be misleading as some clauses may not be enforceable or they may not tell the whole story. Try to avoid this as much as possible in YOUR tenancy agreement
If you have lived at the property previously or intend to live in it later (eg if it will be your retirement home) make sure you serve a ground 1 notice
If you require your tenant to have a guarantor don’t forget to check the guarantor as carefully as the tenant
If you know you will not be allowing pets – don’t amend your tenancy agreement pets clause to remove the tenants right to ask for permission. You will almost certainly invalidate the clause by doing this.
If you agree (and you don’t have to), this will need a new tenancy agreement and will (perhaps) put you to the cost of finding a new tenant.
If tenants want to end their tenancy early remember that you do not have to agree to this, but it may be best if they have a genuine reason.
Be careful about allowing tenants to find their own replacements without reference to you (what I call disorganised comings and goings) – this can cause big problems as regards deposits and eviction.
If your sole tenant dies, remember that this of itself will not end the tenancy
Do a review of your tenancy during the last two months of the fixed term, so you can serve a section 21 notice if you decide you do not wish to continue the tenancy
If you are in a dispute with your tenants, consider trying to resolve this by mediation rather than just issuing eviction proceedings
If your tenants are to stay and you are happy with your tenancy agreement you can just give them a shorter renewal form rather than a completely new tenancy agreement
However, if any of the parties have changed (ie if there are new joint tenants or if you have taken over the tenancy as landlord) you will need to give a new tenancy agreement
Assuming there have been no changes, you don’t HAVE to give a new tenancy agreement or renewal form – if the tenants remain, a periodic tenancy will be created automatically. There is nothing wrong with this.
Be aware that if you ask the tenants to leave and they refuse to vacate voluntarily, you can only get vacant possession through the courts
If your tenant does not have an assured shorthold tenancy, note that the correct notice to serve is a Notice to Quit
If your tenants tell you that they are looking to be rehoused by their Local Authority note that you will normally need to get a court order for possession before they will be rehoused
If you need to issue proceedings for possession, be awaare it can be tricky and mistakes can cause long delays – check out our free guide here before doing anything
When your tenants vacate, make sure you get a forwarding address for them
Get them to put in place a postal forwarding arrangement for their post – you do not want to act as an unpaid post forwarder!
Never arrange for new tenants to move in within hours of the old tenants moving out – you need to check the property, as YOU will be held liable to the new tenants, for example for any damage caused to your new tenants by the old tenants’ unauthorised alterations.
Remember that the law is constantly changing, so make sure you keep up to date – Landlord Law can help you do this. Sign up for our weekly bulletin for free!