First time landlord needs advice on requirements for first rental

by Readers Question

13:29 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

First time landlord needs advice on requirements for first rental

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First time landlord needs advice on requirements for first rental

I am getting my first property ready to rent out. I am wanting to manage it myself in conjunction with the local council who apparently has a very good scheme that will do some of the leg work for me. I am just needing a little advice on where to start with the legal side of things. So far I understand that I need:

Tenancy agreement
Gas/electrical safety certificates
Adequate landlord insurance
Access to rent bond scheme

My other concern at this point is that there are no pre-payment meters fitted at the property. The utility bills are currently in my name. Would it be wise to switch them to pre-payment meters? Any help/pointers much appreciated.

Dangas



Comments

Neil Woodhead

14:29 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

If you put meters in you will be charged and you cannot insist tenant keeps them (they can have them removed at no charge) Just ensure you keep record on check in and out Inventories. Visit my profile to see how we could help.

Recardo Knights

15:10 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Dan, pre-paid meters are a matter of choice and poorer, or tenants on benefits seem to prefer them as they do not get large quarterly bills. I've never had a company charge to put in pre- paid as the customer pays more for their gas and electric. The company doesn't have to worry about non payment. Going from pre-paid back to ordinary bills may cost. Either way make sure the tenant is registered with the utility companies, gas, electric and water (no come back on you)

I have advised a tenant that wanted to go onto pre-paid it will cost more per unit and if there was a charge to switch back later they would have to pay.

I would forget about the council they advise tenants to stay even after a Court order to vacate the property. What tenants are they going to supply your property with. All the ones who have been evicted, didn't pay rent or look after the property? Wouldn't hold my breath on their rent bond.

If you do not want to find your first tenants get a local Agent to find them for you, they will also draw up a tenancy agreement for you (cost £200-400) ask them for a guarantor or rent guarantee. If you live local to the property meet with the prospect when the agent does the viewing. If your then managing the property you will know who you have to deal with.

Either let the agent deal with the deposit and prescribed info (ask them for a signed copy from the tenant to say it was received), or do this on line, I would recommend My deposits as you hold the money and gives you an edge at the end or the tenancy.
Make sure the tenant signed a copy or the DPC and prescribed info for you.

Get landlords insurance on line get one that has malicious damage by tenant, this normally covers for £5000 worth of damage. A lot of companies do not cover this.

Read this site often to educate yourself, find out when and how to use a sec21, DPC and when to re-issue for another tenancy or moving to a periodic.

Hope this helps.

Landlord Geoff

17:10 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Dan
With respect, reading your post I think you need hands on help to guide you through the landlord/tenant process.
Being a landlord is not a simple matter of finding a tenant and watching the rent roll in (if only). Mistakes or misunderstandings can be very very costly.
The local council helping you sounds like they are looking to house vulnerable/difficult tenants with you (I may be wrong), which may be something you don't want.
Please take care.

Geoff
http://landlordgeoff.weebly.com

Daniel Chow

17:12 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks guys, some good pointers. I was only really concerned that the utility company might ultimately try to hold me responsible even if I was no longer registered there.

With regard to the council the scheme looks great on paper, whether or not it works in practice is another matter, but we will see. The main crooks of the agreement is as follows:

TENANCY REFERENCING SERVICE

LANDLORD MEMBERSHIP

All reference information will be retained by the Tenancy Referencing Service in the strictest confidence under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act.

BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP

In return for private landlords working with us we provide:-

* Free marketing of property through “Lets Help you” website

* Assistance from Tenancy Relations Officers in completing application forms where necessary

* Two stage referencing service.

o Basic ASB and previous tenancy check- reference returned within 2 working days

o In depth previous 2 year reference- returned within 7 working days

* A dedicated team to support landlords through the letting process

* Dedicated Tenancy Relations Officer to help tenants settle into their new home and to identify any further needs

* Support from the Neighbourhood Safety Team to help tackle tenants responsible for anti social behaviour and breaches of the tenancy agreement.

* Access to Rent Bonds

* Representation a Multi-Agency forum that exchanges information on nuisance and harassment

MEMBERSHIP TERMS & CONDITIONS

* All Landlords who are members of the Tenancy Referencing Service must seek references through the scheme for all prospective tenants seeking accommodation within Middlesbrough. If landlords do not reference all of their prospective tenants, and offer a property to an applicant who has not been referenced via the Tenancy Referencing Service, they will incur a breach in their landlord membership, 2 breaches will result in their membership being revoked, and they will not be entitled to any of the benefits the scheme offers.

* All member landlords of the Tenancy Referencing Service will be signing to agree that any reference information they provide to an officer, will be a true and accurate account of the conduct of their previous tenants.

* All members granting new tenancies should, if possible, use the signing up service available through the scheme to gain assistance with the tenancy agreement documentation and other associated paperwork.

* All members should ensure their tenancy agreement has clauses relating to nuisance/anti-social behaviour and the use of the premises for illegal/immoral purposes.

* All members are expected to enforce their tenancy agreements especially with regard to anti-social behaviour conducted by their tenants, members of their family or visitors. The Tenancy Referencing Service along with the Neighbourhood Safety Officer will provide you with support and assistance in such cases.

* All member landlords will be expected to follow good management practices in letting properties by following the terms of the tenancy agreement and due legal processes when seeking the collection of the rent and repossession of properties.

* All members should ensure that properties for rent of sound structure and fit for habitation. Properties should have valid gas and electrical safety certificates and all applicable furniture must meet the regulations for fire resistance.

Also:

Dear Landlord,

As a member of the Tenancy Referencing Service are you aware of how this can benefit you as a landlord? Firstly, you can advertise your properties free of charge with photographs and a brief description by registering on Lets Help You website as a landlord. This can be found at http://www.letshelpyou.co.uk. Partner agencies across Middlesbrough are now encouraging potential tenants to use this website in order to find a suitable property.

The new scheme offers a “one stop” service to you as a landlord. Tenancy relations officers will provide you with application forms for potential tenants, where on completion, a reference check of the last tenancy will be carried out. Results of the reference will be returned to you within two working days, if however serious issues are identified a further reference may need to be carried out which can take up to seven working days.

The results of the reference check will indicate a colour status which will assist you in making a decision as to whether or not you will accept the tenant.

Green- indicates no previous issues

Amber- may indicate that there has been no previous tenancy or there may have been some minor issues

Red- indicates previous issues of anti-social behaviour and/or rent arrears.

Whilst we acknowledge that people need somewhere to live, we would advise that if you are going to rehouse a “red” client then we would also like to consider a package of support in order to prevent any repetition of previous issues and to assist in sustaining the new tenancy.

Once you have found a suitable tenant we can provide you with a tenancy agreement if necessary, along with a post tenancy visit which will be carried out within the first 2 weeks of the new tenancy. The visit will ensure there are no issues with the property or in the surrounding neighbourhood and it will give the tenant the opportunity to access further services should they require them, this may include a visit from our tenancy support officer in relation to changes within the Welfare Reform Act ensuring the correct

benefits are being received, a referral to Cleveland Fire Brigade for a Home fire Safety Check or referrals to any supportive agencies.

If during the tenancy there are any complaints of anti-social behaviour then you will be contacted by a Neighbourhood Safety Officer who will discuss the concerns with you and provide copies of any warning letters sent to the tenant. As a landlord you will also be invited to any interviews where necessary. Should issues of anti-social behaviour persist then assistance can be given in preparing and serving a notice of seeking possession if appropriate.

A number of incentives are currently available where you as a landlord maybe eligible to apply for a replacement boiler system, external cladding or loft insulation at a reduced price or in some circumstances free of charge. Advice can also be provided to new tenants on affordable warmth incentives, tenancy education and healthy eating on a budget.

I am sure you can see there are lots of benefits for you as a landlord to work with the Neighbourhood Safety Team, from finding the most suitable tenant, ensuring the tenancy is a sustained one and providing you with advice and guidance if any issues arise in relation to anti-social behaviour.

Sounds great on paper to me?

Landlord Geoff

17:25 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Daniel
Personally I wouldn't touch the council scheme with a bargepole.
These terms should be a red flag to you:
"partner agencies" , "neighbourhood safety officer", "tenancy relationship officers"

Geoff
http://landlordgeoff.weebly.com

Daniel Chow

17:41 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Geoff, thanks for the input. Unfortunately due to the area that the property is located DSS tenants are pretty much guaranteed. If the area was reasonably good, I would consider renting to a different market but that won't be an option.

Recardo Knights

18:25 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

I have DSS tenants also in a run down area. As it is 90 miles from me I use an agent to find a prospective tenant as mentioned earlier, references, guarantor, and reference from last TWO landlords. The last LL may give a favourable reference to move a tenant on to someone else (this has happened in the past), the LL before that one will tell the truth.

You still have control of who you let too, hold a cash deposit and have A GUARANTOR in place. Don't take who the council want to shove on you, once they are in the council will only be interested in their rights not yours.

I manage my own properties and like a lot of others had no training in being a LL.

Going with the council could seriously damage your health and fortune, Either get the agent to find a tenant or get an agent to do the full management. It will cost you 10-12% of the rent. I have heard of full management going wrong so make sure they are members of a professional body and keep in touch with them regularly to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Dee Mc

18:51 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

When I was starting as a new landlord, I took a landlord accreditation course. They covered all manner of information which as a new landlord never even crossed my mind.

Daniel Chow

19:00 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Recardo Knights" at "01/12/2014 - 18:25":

Thanks for the input, how exactly do you secure a guarantor to pay in the event that the tenant defaults?

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

20:27 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

I utterly agree with those telling you not to use the council scheme.... Go to a reputable agent, who is a member of a Professional Body, get them to find your first tenant and get them to manager for at least the first 6 months until you learn your trade. there is a HUGE amount of legislatioint o comply with and pitfalls to fall into.

Join a professional landlords body RLA or some such and read their website till yours eyes ache !!

then after 6 months consider, only consider, self-management.

I have been a l/l for 15 and have just got rid of my very last benefit tenant and I have housed many of them over the years.... Read my final experience in "possession date - tenants still in - what next?" thread on here.

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