Certain criteria need to be satisfied for a tenancy to qualify for assured status. Assured Tenancy gives the tenant security of tenure but at a market rent negotiated between the parties. The landlord may request back possession of the property let on an Assured Tenancy but must obtain a COURT ORDER. This has its advantages but is not as flexible.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
This tenancy is attractive to landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of tenancies are based on this format. However, certain criteria must first be met:
- 1. The tenant must be an individual
- 2. The property must be the tenant’s main residence/home
- 3. The rent cannot exceed £100,000 per annum
- 4. The landlord must not occupy the same property
If the property is let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the landlord can issue a section 21 Notice to guarantee possession, provided the term of the shorthold has expired and not less than two months notice has been given by the Landlord stating he requires possession. If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the tenant. However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, for a landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a tenant from their property.
This is governed by contract law and is not regulated by the Housing Acts of 1988 or 1996. It is used when a private or public limited company (excluding partnership or sole trader) wishes to enter into a tenancy. There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.
Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Act of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that agreement.
Furnished or Unfurnished
Most tenants prefer the property to be furnished however, it has been found that a tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the Landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the tenant – see Damage Deposits).
Market / Finding a Tenant
You will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a tenant or whether you would prefer to engage the services of their managing agents.
Whether you choose to opt for a managing agent or not, Regional homes as your letting agent, will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar properties handled and decorative condition to name but a few.
It is important to set your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable tenant.
Thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective tenants and we reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the landlord’s investment.
Drafting of Tenancy Agreement / Leases
The letting team at Regional homes will prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
This is usually equivalent to 4 weeks deposit and is collected from the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy. In the case of an assured shorthold tenancy, the deposit, which will be protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme is lodged in a CLIENT ACCOUNT, the details of which, along with the tenancy details, are registered with the TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME within 28 days and all details are provided to the tenant. This deposit is held for the duration of the tenancy, at the end of which the property will be inspected and subject to dilapidations (if any) the deposit is refunded within 28 days of receiving written confirmation.
In the event of a dispute over dilapidations (if any), then either party may notify the dispute to the Dispute Service. Both parties will then be required to submit evidence and the deposit (or relevant part of it) will be forwarded to the insurance based scheme. Once an adjudication has been made, the scheme administrator will allocate and pay out the disputed amount within 10 days of the findings.
Collection of Rent
This is usually done on a calendar-monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
Legal Duty of Care
Under common law, the landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with safety legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution.
It is advisable that every landlord and property owner can provide their tenants or prospective buyers with a valid gas safety certificate, electricity safety certificate and an energy performance certificate.
Furniture and Furnishings
- – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993)
- – Soft furnishings (such as mattresses, sofas, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
Whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted on each floor of the property being let.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment for each offence. This can be harsher in the case of injury or fatality. The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
From the 1st October 2015, it is a legal requirement that all rented residential accommodation have installed carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance. These are also required for any houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsit. This again is a legal requirement that all landlords must abide by as failing to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.
If this is something you do not have installed in your property, please feel free to contact Regional Homes and we’ll be more than happy to assist you with this.