20 top tips all residential landlords need to know
- AuthorJoseph Hossein
- Prior to granting a tenant an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) carry out a credit check on them and seek references from their previous landlord/s.
- Insist on a guarantor to guarantee the tenant's obligations under the AST. Carry out a credit check on the guarantor.
- Take utility meter readings immediately prior to granting an AST and ensure the tenant agrees with the readings, in writing.
- Prior to granting an AST create an inventory of your contents that are to remain in the property. The inventory should be expressly referred to in the AST. Ensure the tenant agrees to the inventory and signs and dates it at the same time as the AST. You should then attach a copy of the inventory to each copy of the AST. Having an inventory can help avoid disputes with a tenant and assist in proving your claim to any deposit monies.
- Prior to granting an AST, create a photographic schedule of condition evidencing the state of repair and condition which the property is in. The photographic schedule of condition should be expressly referred to in the AST. Ensure the tenant agrees to the photographic schedule of condition and signs and dates it at the same time as the AST. You should then attach a copy of the photographic schedule of condition to each copy of the AST. Having a photographic schedule of condition can help avoid disputes with a tenant and assist in proving your claim to any deposit monies.
- If the rent is to be payable to you monthly in advance, as is normally the case, you should hold one month’s rent from the tenant as cleared funds either before or on the date the AST is granted.
- Hold any deposit monies as cleared funds either before or on the date that the AST is granted.
- Within 30 days of receipt of any deposit monies, protect the same in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme.
- Within 30 days of receipt of any deposit monies, provide the tenant with the compulsory deposit protection documentation. Ask the tenant to sign and date a copy of each document and return the signed copies to you to confirm they have received them.
- Give the tenant a receipt for the first month’s rent and deposit monies if you hold the same prior to the grant of the AST. The receipt should state how much has been given to you and what each amount is for and whom the money is from. This should settle the tenant’s fears that you may pocket the monies and not grant them the AST, as they will be giving you monies before the AST is granted.
- Create and keep an up to date rent ledger for your tenant.
- Give the tenant your/your agent's contact details in case of an emergency or otherwise.
- Keep a copy of all correspondence and notices between you and the tenant and guarantors.
- Carry out regular property inspections on giving at least 24 hours’ notice, provided the tenant agrees.
- Carry out the necessary landlord based repairs to the property as and when they arise.
- Use the relevant assured shorthold tenancy procedures for evicting a tenant including serving a s21 and/or s8 notice, as and when the need arises.
- Do not harass your tenant, force your way into the property or disturb their quiet enjoyment of the property.
- Obtain a duly completed standing order form from your tenant for the amount of the rent to ensure payment of the rent is made directly from their bank account to yours.
- Before the start of the AST, ascertain if the proposed tenant will be on housing benefit. If so, speak to the tenant and local authority to see if the housing benefit can be paid directly to you once the AST is granted.
- Retain a copy of the keys to all doors and windows at the property.
Please note that the above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of landlord best practices or obligations upon a landlord.
Should you need expert legal advice regarding any of the above or indeed any other property law matters, please contact Joseph Seyed Hossein at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01204 540 900.
The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.