Frequently Asked Questions ________
What is included in the rental?
The landlord is generally responsible for paying any service charge and water rates where applicable. The tenant is responsible for gas, electricity, telephone, council tax charges and water if metered.
Who transfers the utility supplies?
These will be registered in the tenants name during the tenancy. It is important that both you and the tenant notify the authorities at least 48 hours before occupancy and take meter readings at the commencement of the tenancy. We will confirm all transfers in writing however we stress that the authorities will not always take instructions from ourselves.
Should my property be furnished or unfurnished?
There is currently a greater demand for furnished properties, however if you are able to flexible about furnishings this can be more attractive to applicants. All furniture must comply with current legislation detailed in under the heading Safety Issues above. Charles Hamilton can arrange for the purchase of furniture packs of varying standards at very competitive prices.
Who will reference the applicants?
It is important to have the applicant professionally referenced; we do this through FCC Paragon, who are a recognised independent agency independent carry out thorough checks including credit report, employer, character & previous landlord reference.
How long is the tenancy agreement for?
This will vary according to the tenant’s requirements and type of agreement being used. Most agreements are for 12 months; however some tenants may request a longer agreement.
How much deposit is collected?
We request a deposit equivalent to 6 weeks rent from all tenants, this is security against damage etc. At the end of the tenancy the deposit is returned to the tenant less charges for any damage.
What about insurance?
It is the responsibility of the landlord to insure the building and his contents, fixtures & fittings. You must inform your insurer that you are letting the property; failure to do so may invalidate your policy.
Do I need to tell my mortgage company and freeholder?
If the property is subject to a mortgage it is your responsibility to seek consent, in writing, from the mortgagee. It is wise to obtain permission in principle prior to marketing your property to avoid unnecessary delays when negotiating a tenancy.
If you are a leaseholder it is important that you obtain approval from your freeholder/management agent to sublet so as not to invalidate your lease. We will be happy to advise them on these matters. These requests are not normally refused.
Who is responsible for repairs?
Under existing legislation landlords are responsible for all repairs to the property and its contents except when a repair is necessary due to a tenants misuse. If we are managing a property we will arrange for the work to be carried out by one of our approved contractors.
Who is responsible for external maintenance?
External decorations & maintenance are the responsibility of the landlord. However, if the property has a garden the tenant is usually responsible for its upkeep, but the landlord must provide the required necessary tools.
What about safety regulations for rented property?
The landlord must provide an annual Gas Safety certificate which can only be issued by a registered engineer. In addition you have a duty to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe to use, if necessary Charles Hamilton Estates can arrange for NICEIC & PAT tests.
All buildings built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors but it advisable to fit detectors in older properties too. All furniture must comply with the 1993 amendments to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 which extends the scope of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA). See Landlords Complete Guide to Renting for more details on safety issues.
What about an inventory and schedule of condition?
ARLA considers an inventory to be an essential document which provides a written benchmark that should be remade at the beginning of each tenancy. A properly constructed inventory details & condition of the fixtures, fittings & contents of the property. A schedule of condition should be produced against the inventory at check-in & check-out.
What is a Tenancy Agreement?
This is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out both the legal and contractual obligations of both parties.
What kind of tenancy agreement will be used?
The most common form of tenancy agreement used is an “Assured Shorthold” (an AST) under the 1988 Housing Act (amended 1996). This type of tenancy offers the most flexibility to both landlord and tenant; has straightforward notice procedures for bringing the tenancy to an end. If certain specific conditions are met relating to the proposed letting, a “contractual” non-housing act tenancy must be created an example of this would be what is commonly referred to as a Company Let where the tenant is a registered company, another would be where the annual rent equates to over £25,000.
What is a break clause?
This is a clause inserted in a fixed term tenancy which allows either the landlord or the tenants to give 2 months written notice after the minimum term thus terminating the tenancy earlier than the end of the original fixed term.
What does Joint and Several mean?
Where there is to be more than one adult on the tenancy agreement the contract will state that they are “jointly and severally” responsible. This means that the tenants are jointly liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities falling upon the tenants during the tenancy, as well as any breach of the Agreement.
Individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities falling upon the tenant, as well as any breach of the Agreement until all payments have been made in full.
What happens if either party wants to end the tenancy early?
There are only limited ways in which this can happen; the landlord cannot make the tenants move out, nor can the tenants lawfully walk away from their obligations to fulfil the contract. Either party might request of the other that a formal “surrender” of the tenancy be allowed. It would then be up to the parties to agree the terms and conditions of such a surrender. This might include some financial compensation for inconvenience or costs incurred.
What about the Tenancy Deposit?
We take a damage deposit equivalent to 6 weeks rent and we are members of My Deposits and The Deposit Protection Service where we can register the deposit on your behalf.
Are tenants entitled to have my name & address?
Yes, we are legally obliged to provide the tenant with the landlord details within 21 days of a formal written request.