Letting a property in Central and East London need not be a hassle – providing you get as the right information from the right people. Here, we answer some of the basic questions a landlord might have, summing up the classic: ‘What do I have to do to be a sensible landlord?’
1) Do I need to pay council tax?
If there is a tenant in the property, they are generally expected to pay the council tax bill themselves, separately from the rent. However, if there is no tenant residing in the property, as a landlord you become responsible for paying the amount as the owner of the property.
If the property is empty for refurbishment, it is worth contacting the local council to see whether you are entitled to pay a reduced amount.
2) Do I have to renew a lease?
Landlords and tenants usually negotiate the terms of a new lease between themselves when the tenancy contract is ending. According to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1954, landlords are granted “security of tenure”, meaning that they have the right to take back the property on expiry.
3) Do I need contents insurance?
If you are letting a furnished property, you will generally require contents insurance in order to protect items like furniture or appliances from damage or theft.
Carpets may not be included under your landlord buildings insurance, in this case you will need to include them in contents insurance to cover them.
You can only cover the things in the property that belong to you. If your tenants want to cover any furniture or possessions they may have, they will need to take out their own insurance policy.
4) Do I need an electrical certificate?
Although there is no legal requirement to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for a House of Single Occupancy (HSOs), as a landlord you should ensure the safety of the property’s electrical infrastructure as much as you can by organising electricians to carry out periodic checks.
If you let an House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), in order to fulfil your legal obligations you must carry out a formal inspection at least every five years as well as making sure that any appliance provided is safe and has the CE marking, thus complying with European law.
Likewise, in HMOs landlords are obliged to provide fire blankets in all kitchen areas, and at least one fire extinguisher for each storey of the property.
5) Do I have to take a deposit?
If you do wish to take a deposit, often a month’s rent, you must protect the amount in a tenancy deposit scheme. Many landlords do this as a form of insurance as it acts as a safeguard when the tenancy comes to an end, giving the tenant an extra incentive to really look after the property.
However, it is not a legal requirement and if you do not want the hassle of keeping in the tenancy deposit scheme, or you don’t deem it necessary, the choice is yours.
Stirling Ackroyd’s Fully Managed Plus Service
If you have further questions, why not sign up to our Fully Managed Plus Service (FM+)? Not only do you get access to the expertise of our lettings specialists to answer any landlord related questions, but you and your tenants can use the revolutionary online Fixflo tool to report maintenance issues in a quick and effective way. That’s 24 hours a day, via smartphone, tablet or desktop – in any one of 40 languages.