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Appendix 1: A practical checklist for landlords

>> Preparation before letting

  • Permission from mortgage lender and/or freeholder
  • Planning or Building Control approval for major improvement work done to property
  • Make sure the property is both a safe and healthy environment for any potential tenant or visitor. This can be done by ensuring the property:
    • Has adequate heating and insulation
    • Is free from tripping and falling hazards
    • Is free from significant disrepair and asbestos
    • Has good lighting and ventilation
    • Has good security
    • Has good sanitation, food preparation and is hygienic
  • Gas safety check by a CORGI registered installer
  • Comply with electrical & furniture standards
  • Fire alarm and/or smoke/heat detectors
  • Emergency lighting
  • Check whether HMO or other licence is needed from the council
  • If letting as an HMO, comply with HMO regulations
  • Obtain an Energy Performance Certificate
  • Decide about the kind of tenant you are seeking, will you accept a tenant needing HB, and whether to let furnished or unfurnished
  • Decide whether gas/electricity/water rates is included in the rent
  • Decide whether or not to use an agent, and agree costs and level of service
  • Obtain insurance (NB check policy is suitable for rented property)
  • Consider any local council schemes such as deposit guarantees etc.
  • Consider entering an accreditation scheme and the benefits this can offer
  • Decide on the likely market rent
  • Calculate realistically whether the rental income (with void periods) will cover mortgage payments, repairs and all the other rental costs.  If not, budget to set aside money from earnings each month (in the early years) to cover the shortfall.
  • Obtain a tenancy agreement suitable for your letting.
  • Decide on length of letting
  • Advertise through agent, newspaper, internet or other means.
  • Consider joining a Landlord Association and undertaking professional development.

>> When the tenant moves in:

  • Sign the tenancy agreement  - two copies, landlords retain one signed by tenant and tenant should have one signed by landlord (although they can both sign them both). 
  • Consider asking tenant to sign bank standing order form for rent payments, or letter of authority to the Housing Benefit office if tenant is on benefit
  • Complete and agree an Inventory and Schedule of Condition (consider using professional inventory clerk)
  • Give the tenant your (or agentís) contact details for repairs and other problems. name, address and telephone.
  • Notify gas/electricity suppliers, council tax etc., the details of the new tenant.
    Inform tenant of gas, electric suppliers etc. and read meter
  • Give receipt for deposit (if taken).  Forward to Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme if custodial or insure the deposit if not, then notify the tenant of the scheme with which the deposit is registered.
  • Keep tax records of income and expenditure
  • Provide receipts to tenant for cash rent payments
  • Keep detailed records of repair requests, inspections, safety checks, repairs done, other management issues and a rent statement
  • If rental income exceeds (allowable) expenditure, set an amount aside to cover future tax demands
  • Complete tax return ideally soon after the end of your tax year

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