FAQs

FAQs

Are There Any Obligations As A Landlord If The Tenant Is Disabled?

As a Landlord, you must abide by the Equalities Act 2010, which covers various discriminations, including disability.
You should allow the tenant to make minor necessary adjustments to the property. If you agree to the tenant carrying our works on your property to accommodate special needs, you are within your rights to request that the tenant returns the property in the same condition it was in at the start of tenancy at his or her own expense.

You may choose to not accept a tenant who is not in employment as they will not pass referencing, but you cannot refuse to accept a tenant due to receiving Disability Benefit (so long as the tenant meets all the other requirements). Otherwise, this would be classed as discrimination because of the tenant’s disability, i.e. he is unable to work due to the disability.

As A Landlord, Will I Be Liable For More Stamp Duty When I Purchase A Property?

You are liable for the 3% stamp duty surcharge unless you are selling and replacing your main residence.

As A Tenant, Do I Need Tenant’s Content Insurance?

The landlord is responsible for insurance covering the building and any furniture that it comes with. As a tenant, we’d recommend that you take out tenants contents insurance to insure your own possessions as these are not covered by the landlord’s insurance.

Can I Appoint A Managing Agent If I Already Have My Own Tenants?

Whether you already have an ongoing tenancy, have found tenants or have instructed another agent to do so, we can take on the management of your property. We often assist landlords with the transition of moving from their current management company to our service.

Do I Have To Rent A Property For A Certain Amount Of Time?

Yes, as a tenant, you are legally required to pay rent until the end of the tenancy agreement or any release clause agreed. A tenancy agreement is signed by both tenant and landlord and it is legally binding. Your landlord may agree to end the tenancy earlier, but you will be expected to cover the costs and financial losses incurred.

Do I Need A ‘For Sale’ Board When Selling A Property?

It is not obligatory, however many buyer enquiries come from people who have seen a ‘for sale’ sign on a property Because of the increased visibility that it can bring for your property, we do strongly recommend it. We will always check to ensure that we are permitted to display a board in your grounds or on your building.

Do I Need Insurance?

As a landlord, you should insure the property and the contents included within the tenancy agreement. You are not responsible for your tenants’ possessions and they are advised to take out their own insurance. Make sure your insurance covers you as a landlord, and carries Public Liability Insurance.

Do I Need To Be Present For Viewings?

We would normally suggest that the owner is not present at the time of viewings. Tenants will often feel more comfortable if they are able to view the property alone. If your letting agent is accompanying all viewings and they have access to your property, then you do not need to attend.

Do Landlords Allow Renting With Pets Or Children?

Although landlords do allow renting with pets or children, many choose to avoid doing so due to the risk of damage involved. Despite how cautious a tenant may be, a rented property with pets or children is more susceptible to damage.

Does A Tenant Or Landlord Pay For Utility Bills And Council Tax?

Details of which bills are to be paid for by the tenant will be listed in the tenancy agreement. For the most part, the tenant is responsible for bills such as gas, electricity and water, as well as council tax and the TV licence. A tenant should always make sure that they notify TV Licensing of their new address. Without a licence the tenant risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Does Dealing With Utility Companies, Liaising With Personal Contractors, Freeholder, Building Managers And Insurers Incur Extra Charges?
These are all included within the standard management fee. However, you must authorise the provider to liaise with us on your behalf and we will assist where possible.

Found In A Tenancy Agreement, What Does The Term ‘Jointly And Severally’ Mean?

This term will appear in the tenancy agreement if there is more than one tenant renting the property. It means that all tenants must take responsibility, both individually and together. All tenants are, as a group, responsible for making sure the rules of the tenancy agreement are adhered to. For example, if one tenant fails to pay the rent, the other tenants are legally responsible for the shortfall in rent.

How Can I Present My Property In The Best Possible Light When I’m Selling It?

As first impressions play a big part in selling your property, it is important to:

  • Think like a buyer – look at your property through a buyers’ eyes and identify areas that you think requires improvement.
  • Reduce clutter and decorate neutrally – keep rooms and surfaces clean and tidy, and décor neutral. This will allow the buyer to visualise the space with their own furniture and belongings.
  • Keep it light – clean the windows and open all the curtains to encourage natural light into your property.
  • Consider the exterior – the outside of your property plays a big part in a buyers first impressions. Well cared for and maintained outside spaces will help to make a great first impression.

For more information, see our guide to selling.

How Do I Find Mortgage Advice And Make A Home Loan Application?

There are several different home mortgages available, all at different rates. A mortgage and protection adviser can help you find the right mortgage for you and will assist you through the application process.

We do not charge for our advice. Instead, we simply charge a fee for arranging your mortgage of up to 1.5% of the mortgage amount. A typical fee is £399. We will not charge a fee to existing clients for arranging a residential re-mortgage.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

How Do I Know If A Tenant Is Suitable For My Property?

Letting a property can be a good investment but there are a several things you need to consider. Our lettings team will find the tenants, advise you on the best rent for the area and manage the tenancy agreement paperwork.

Our letting agents will keep you up-to-date with potential tenants who are interested in your property, arrange viewings on your behalf and pass on their feedback and thoughts of the property. David Astburys will also advertise your property on websites and in our office making sure it receives the best exposure possible.

How Do I Renew My Contract After The First Year?

Our tenancy renewals team will contact both you and your landlord, usually three months before the end of the tenancy, to find out each parties plans. Any new tenancy contract will be subject to you agreeing new terms with your landlord.

How Do I Serve Notice To Vacate My Property?

You need to do this in line with the fixed term in your tenancy agreement. You must provide written notice to let your landlord know that you would like to end the tenancy agreement. If you have agreed a break clause in the fixed term agreement and want to use this, then you need to comply with those terms. We advise, referring to your tenancy contract.

If you go over the fixed term, you will need to give your landlord written notice. The minimum notice is usually one month however this could be longer. Details of this will be in your tenancy agreement.

How Much Is My Deposit And What Happens To It?

A tenancy deposit offers the landlord peace of mind, that when the tenancy ends the property will be left in good condition and you will have acted in line with the tenancy conditions. It is usually equivalent to six weeks rent.

At David Astburys we protect tenant deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), which is run by The Dispute Service Ltd. This is one of the Government approved schemes. However, sometimes a landlord will wish to take responsibility for protecting your deposit with this scheme or one of the others.

How Much Will It Cost Me To Let My Property?

The specific costs involved in letting your property would be set out in our terms and conditions of business. Before letting, you will need to budget for:

Letting fee – a letting fee will be due when a tenant introduced by us enters into a tenancy agreement with you. This will usually be a percentage of the rent plus VAT, paid in advance for the period of the fixed term agreement. The letting fee will be due if you and your tenant decide to renew, extend or continue the tenancy after the initial fixed term has ended.

Management fee – if you choose to use our property management service, then the fee will be charged on a monthly basis as a percentage of the rent plus VAT. This will be taken from rent received from your tenant.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – you will need to provide us with an EPC before we can market your property and we can help you arrange this. We are required to give a copy of an EPC to anyone wanting to view the property and to any tenants when they move in.

Inventory and check in report – we strongly advise you to have an inventory and schedule of condition drawn up by a professional, impartial inventory clerk before the start of a tenancy. The tenant should also be checked into and out of the property using this inventory, again by a professional clerk. This will be your evidence if you need to make a claim against the tenant’s deposit at the end of the tenancy. We can help arrange this for you.

Tenancy Agreement – we can offer you a comprehensive standard tenancy agreement which can, where possible, be amended to suit your requirements.

Tenancy deposit protection – if the tenancy is to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), then you are legally required to protect any monetary deposit with an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. We are members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), run by The Dispute Service Ltd, and can do this on your behalf for a small administration fee.

I Am Sharing A Property And Want To Leave During The Tenancy. Can I Just Get Someone To Take My Place?

No. As tenants you should act together, so the tenancy does not end until you all give the landlord back vacant possession of the property, under terms set out in the tenancy agreement – your landlord does not have to agree to alter these terms. Even if your landlord does agree that you can leave and find someone to take your place, it is not as easy as just changing a name on the existing tenancy agreement. The new tenant will need to be referenced, have new tenancy contracts signed by everyone staying on, the deposit paid and re-protected, and a new inventory will have to carried out. Your landlord will probably expect you to cover these costs, at least.

I Have A Property To Let, Do I Need Permission?

If you are thinking of letting your property, then you need to make sure you have all the necessary consents first. You need the permission of your lender (if you have a mortgage or loan), your freeholder (if the property is leasehold) and your insurer (as you may need a lettings specific policy).

A mortgage lender or freeholder might impose conditions before giving you permission to let your property. Not complying with these conditions could lead to repossession of the property. You should also check with the local authority if your tenancy will make the property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or if you need any planning permission.

Landlords Often Ask For Non Smokers. As I Never Smoke Indoors Should I Classify Myself As A Smoker Or Non Smoker?

Some landlords will accept smoking outside the rented property but not inside. Other landlords insist that their rented property is only let to non-smokers. Although the tenant obligations are detailed in the tenancy agreement, if in doubt just ask your agent to clarify the landlords’ policy.

Should I Have An Open Day?

An open day is when a property is marketed through viewings and buyers are invited to view the home in one day rather than spread out over a few weeks. You don’t have to have an open day but it usually allows you to sell your property more quickly with interested buyers submitting their offers via sealed bid and the best offer wins.

Should I Pay For A Property Valuation?

There are different ways to obtain a property valuation. If you are selling a property, we will not charge you to estimate a market value of your property. If you are buying a property and require a mortgage, your mortgage lender will carry out a mortgage valuation. This is a basic survey of a property to assess its value and suitability for a mortgage. Additionally, when you are buying a property you may want to carry out a more in depth valuation and instruct surveyors to complete a homebuyer’s report or building survey.

What Are My Obligations As A Landlord?

Your main legal obligations are to:

Look after the property – to keep the exterior of the property in good condition, making sure you maintain the roof, drains, and gutters.

Make sure services are available – it is a landlord’s obligation to make sure that the property is supplied with services like gas, electricity, water, sanitation and heating.

Leave your tenants in peace – a ‘covenant of quiet enjoyment’ is part of most tenancy agreements. It means a landlord must not interfere with the tenants. For example, you cannot enter the rented property without their consent, except in an emergency or do anything that affects the tenant’s rights, e.g. cut off services to force a tenant to leave.

What Are The Obligations Of A Tenant?

Tenants and landlords both have rights and obligations. Some are set out explicitly in the tenancy agreement. The main things to be aware of are property repairs, use of the property and giving property access to the landlord.

Property repairs – a tenant will be responsible for any property repairs that are the fault of the tenant. The tenant is normally responsible for the interior condition of the property, but the tenancy agreement should be checked first as some landlords don’t allow tenants to redecorate. Tenants must pay for anything that is broken or damaged in the property during the tenancy. If the tenant does not pay for this at the time the landlord can deduct the cost from the tenancy deposit.

Use of the property – a tenant must use the property solely for residential purposes, not to run a business of any kind, as this may put the landlord in breach of local bye laws.

Property access for the landlord – the landlord will need to visit from time to time to carry out repairs and safety checks and will have a set of keys to the property but they should never use these without the tenant’s consent, except in an emergency. to check that the building is in good condition. A tenant must allow the landlord property access but the landlord should always let the tenants know first.

What Are The Safety Regulations For A Property To Let?

There are a number of safety regulations that govern the letting of residential property to which landlords must comply. The penalties for failing to do so are severe and could result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment. As your letting agent, we can advise you of your obligations, the implications of the safety regulations and to assist you in ensuring you are fully compliant. To find out more information on what is required of you as a landlord, see our guide on the (rights and responsibilities of Landlords).COPY

What Does Share Of Freehold Mean?

When you buy a flat, the lease on the property comes with a share of ownership of the building. Leaseholders in a block with several properties often choose to buy the freehold between them and so share of freehold gives them more control over the management of the property.

What Is A Sinking Fund?

When you buy a property that is termed ‘leasehold’, part of the service charge may be paid into a sinking fund. The sinking fund builds up over the years to cover future projects that may be needed to repair or improve the building. The freeholder or the property management company will be responsible for the service charge management and will notify leaseholders if part of the service charge will be paid into a sinking fund.

What Is A Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme?

Any deposit paid by your tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) must be protected by a recognised tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of the tenant making payment. Certain documents must also be served within that time. We are members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) run by The Dispute Service Ltd and we can protect the deposit on your behalf for a small administration fee.

What Is An EPC?

Any property advertised for letting must have an EPC; energy performance certificate. An EPC demonstrates the energy rating and efficiency of a property. It gives landlords and tenants information on how energy efficient the property is and gives a standard energy and carbon emissions rating from A to G, with A being the most efficient.

What Is An Open Day?

An open day is when a property is marketed through viewings and buyers are invited to view the home in one day rather than spread out over a few weeks.As you will only have a short time to view the property, it is very important to do your homework on the property and the area before the viewing. Study the floor plan, walk around the area and consult your mortgage broker beforehand. Use the viewing to ensure the home is to your liking whilst looking for any defects, as usually, there is not time for a second viewing before you submit best and final offers.

What Is Ground Rent?

Ground rent is the rent you pay for the land the property is standing on and is normally paid every year or six months, along with the property service charge.

What Legal Documents Do I Need When Selling A Property?

A property for sale requires a number of legal documents to be produced, including:

  • Property title deeds
  • Local authority searches
  • Draft contract to the buyer
  • Leasehold document

For more information on selling your property please take a look at our guide to selling.

What Property Access Is Available To A Landlord When The Property Is Rented?

The landlord will need to visit the rented property from time to time to complete repairs and safety checks, and to check that the rented property is in good condition. A tenant must allow a landlord property access however, the landlord is required to let a tenant know in advance of a visit to the property. The landlord will have a set of keys to the property, but they should never use these without the tenant’s consent, except in an emergency.

What References Will I Require?

At David Astburys, we instruct a professional independent referencing agency on behalf of our landlords to carry out reference checks on all potential tenants and guarantors. The referencing agency will require you (and your guarantor if applicable) to complete an online application form. The agency, will check your credit history, employer and previous landlord references. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide audited accounts covering a period of 12 months. The referencing agency will then use this information to establish if you qualify for the tenancy.

What Should I Check In A Draft Contract Prepared By A Property Solicitor?

The contract is a written and signed agreement between the buyer and seller. The first contract prepared by your property solicitor should have the following details confirmed:

  • The price you are paying for your property
  • The deposit amount
  • The address and description of the property
  • What is included in the sale price (e.g. carpets/white goods) of your home
  • Covenants i.e. what you are required to do as the property owner

Check that these items are correct and ask your property solicitor if you have any doubts.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Pay My Rent?

You could lose the property you are renting. When you sign your tenancy agreement, you are entering into a legally binding contract with your landlord, agreeing to pay the agreed amount of rent and on specific days. If you fail to make payments, you will be in breach of these terms. Your landlord may be able to serve notice asking you to move out on or after a particular date, or if you are more than two months’ in arrears the landlord may apply straight to the county court and request an order of possession of their property.

When Is My Deposit Returned To Me?

Once the inventory checkout has been completed you will need to agree with your landlord whether any deductions should be made from your deposit. Once we have written confirmation from you and the landlord agreeing the amount (if any), we will arrange for the payments to be made. This should be sent to you within 10 days of us receiving the final confirmation.

Where Can I Find First Time Buyer Advice?

At David Astburys, we make every attempt to make buying your first home as simple as possible. An introduction to the property buying process, including conveyancing and mortgages, can be found in our guide to buying.

Who Looks After My Property And Manages My Tenancy?

Once the tenancy begins, David Astburys will hand the tenancy over to your dedicated property manager. Both landlord and tenant will be advised of the property manager’s details prior to the tenancy starting so you are aware who to contact. Your property manager will deal with all reported maintenance, problems and safety issues throughout the tenancy. If your property manager is away or out of the office, they are fully supported by a proactive team who can assist whenever needed.