First time landlord- documents & responsibilities – does the list ever end?

First time landlord- documents & responsibilities – does the list ever end?

9:35 AM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago 13

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I am close to completing the purchase of an investment property that has been mortgaged on a buy to let mortgage. As a first time landlord I am seeking some guidance on the responsibilities of the landlord for self managed Assured Shorthold tenancies. Here is how I see the workflow…

1. Advertise on property renting sites such as zoopla, rightmove,… Any other?
2. Collect a non refundable deposit and the following documents from prospective tenants in order to do a background check,
a. UK photo id card or passport and resident permit
b. Last three years address
c. Guarantor name, address and id
e. Employment details and last three months salary slip
f. Bank details & last three months bank statements
g. Resident permit to check whether prospect has right to live in the uk.

Would you recommend collecting any other documents that would further help in doing the background checks? First time landlord- documents & responsibilities - does the list ever end

3. Agree the rent & deposit.

How much deposit would you recommend collecting for a 6 month tenancy?

4. Binding tenancy agreement. I have found the following websites that provide quite comprehensive binding tenancy agreement for England,

Would you recommend using a different source for creating a binding tenancy agreement. Any special terms that are worth adding to the agreement?

5. Inventory check (sign in check), planning to use the following service

Would you recommend using a different source?

6. Ask tenant to set up a direct debit for the rent.

7. Pay the deposit into a TDS scheme.

What is the difference between the different schemes? Is there one better than the other, what would you recommend & why?

8. Perform a Gas safety check and give the tenant a gas safety check certificate.

The property I am renting out does not have Gas pipes, do I still need to get this check done?

9. Electrical appliances check.

Is the electrical appliances check mandatory?

10. Provide the tenant with the EPC rating certificate.

11. Email the tenant the uk-gov – How to rent in the UK checklist

12. Inform the following about the tenancy,
a. mortgage company
b. council
c. water supplier
d. electricity supplier
e. building developer
f. building service management company

Feels like everything… Have I missed something out…

As a first time landlord, I am quite nervous about self managing the property, apart from the questions listed above, I am really keen to know from others about things to watch out for…

Thanks in advance for your replies


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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:52 AM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago

Hi Tim

Firstly, welcome to Property118. Clearly you have done a fair amount of research, well done.

Rather than answer your questions I have some to ask you to give you some further food for thought.

What is your own time worth?

If you had to put a total value on everything you have listed, plus factoring in your own time based on the amount your earn from your day job, how much would it be?

Given that you are new to the business the likelihood of you making mistakes is much higher. Also, if/when you run into problems you will need to spend even more time researching the solutions and costs to implement them.

I have been letting property since 1989 and own a substantial portfolio. I have learned a lot but I still choose to outsource the letting and management of my properties. Why you might ask? Well I value my time at a higher amount than the money I pay to outsource the service. Also, as the company I outsource to are ARLA members I am confident because they have even more experience than I do due to managing 1,00's of properties. If they make a mistake they have professional indemnity insurance on the line. If I were to make a mistake I would only have myself to blame and no recourse.

The price I pay for everything you have listed is 4% of my rent plus VAT. Further details via the link below.

All the best

Mark Alexander - founder of

Tarun Arora

11:51 AM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "16/10/2016 - 09:52":

Hi Mark,

I am very keen to learn all there is to learn about being a landlord, there is certain pleasure in knowing the inner working of the business. Since this is my first property, there is a lot to learn and I think pointers from experts like yourself on 118118 forum is usually enough to get the right pointers to explore the topic further. Since I have only one property to manage and plenty of time at hand I think this is the perfect time to learn the business.

I plan to grow my portfolio over the next few years, I would consider handing over the responsibility of running my portfolio to a management company. Hopefully I would have enough experience by then to challenge them if I don't think something is being done right. It's kind of important to know how things work to be able to speak on the topic with authority.


Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:27 PM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tarun Arora" at "16/10/2016 - 11:51":

Very sensible.

On that basis I also suggest you invest into landlord accreditation with NLA which costs about £150 and also the training courses through Landlords action which can be found via the search bar on this website.

Good luck.

Gary Nock

13:01 PM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago

Hi Tim,

A pretty comprehensive list and not much missed. Remember whatever deposit protection scheme you use to issue the Prescribed Information - as if you don't you can be fined up to 3 times the deposit. If it's your own property then use an insured scheme rather than custodial. It will cost you about £15 to insure it but you retain it and it's easier to manage at the end of the tenancy.
Deposit amounts are a minimum of one month, usually 6 weeks, and in benefit tenant cases two months. As it's your first property and you are self managing I would steer clear of DSS. It's not for the inexperienced.

In relation to checks - if you use one of the well known referencing bodies you can get rent insurance guarantee. And I don't let a property - either my own or other landllords without it. If you do the reference checks yourself - and it sounds like you will - then you may not find an insurer who will cover you. For what it costs - £150 a year- its not worth not having it.

Join one of the landlord bodies and use their AST. And if you are intent on learning your trade then do the inventory yourself using one of the cloud based online date and time stamped packages. You might hear some people say if it's not an independent inventory then it doesn't carry as much weight - but to be fair I have never found that to be the case. It will take you at least 3-4 hours to do it properly.

No gas appliances - no need for a cert.
Electrics - Get an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) Not strictly legally required but if the tenant goes bang how do you prove it was safe when they moved in? Lasts for 5 years with intermediate inspections on change of tenancy.
Legionella -Get Legionella Cert done for £50 or do a risk assessment yourself if you feel confident enough.
Utility notification - Gas ( if supplied) water electrics and council tax. You should already have consent to let if bought on a BTL mortgage. Can't see why you would need to notify the building developer. Perhaps the management company if it's a leasehold property. But be aware that you may have to pay a fee to them each time you change tenant.

And I agree fully with what Mark has said. Letting Supermarket with whom I have dealings with, and have known one of the proprietors for many years may be your best bet the first time. Learn your trade as a landlord from people who do it very well. If you get it wrong it can be very expensive. As a Property Manager I am often called in to assist start-up inexperienced self -let landlords when it's gone belly up with tenants. Self management is perfectly okay and I started out using an agent until I felt confident enough to do it myself.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

18:46 PM, 16th October 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tarun Arora" at "16/10/2016 - 11:51":

Hi Tarun

A further thought for you, and I do applaud your hunger to learn.

However, it is far more cost effective to learn from other peoples mistakes than it is to learn by making your own mistakes.

Mike Hubert

7:54 AM, 27th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Don’t forget to perform a thorough tenant screening on the candidates you’ve chosen. Never rely on first impression. You should be sure that your tenants are reliable. Start with application.Then do criminal and credit reports. The fist one will show if applicants had any criminal records in the past. The credit report will tell you details of prospective tenant’s payment history. After that you can interview candidates in person. If you don’t know what questions to ask, here is the list of them

Gary Nock

8:32 AM, 27th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Mike neither landlords or letting agents can do criminal record checks. Only the police and other statutory agencies can do that. Employers can request a DBS check ( Disclosure And Barring Service Check) if a person is working with children etc.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:47 AM, 27th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "27/10/2016 - 08:32":

Hi Gary

I had a look at the link Mike posted and as all of his figures are in $ I can only assume he must be based in USA or Australia.

Maybe he doesn't realise this is a British website, or maybe he does and was linking to his own blog for SEO purposes?

Gary Nock

8:50 AM, 27th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Thanks Mark. I thought I had missed something there if us landlords have access to the Police National Computer ?

Tarun Arora

9:36 AM, 27th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Gents, Thank you for the correction. I've been on Google looking for ways to do criminal background check, only to realise it's not applicable to the UK.

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