Referencing all potential tenants
Obvious yes, but making sure potential tenants are adequately referenced is often overlooked. The best referencing is usually achieved using an independent referencing company. They will check:
- Current and previous address history.
- Credit history to identify any past adverse credit.
- Current employment. Are they permanently employed? Can they afford the rent?
- Do they have a valid UK bank account.
- If currently renting does their current landlord or agent recommend them as tenants and have they paid their rent on time.
In addition to this, all landlords now have the legal responsibility to check and record, the right of any tenant and occupant to rent in this country.
A good professional agent should help guide you through the above and provide you with an independent assessment.
A comprehensive tenancy agreement
Having a written tenancy agreement and making sure it is comprehensive enough to include all the necessary clauses to protect you. It should make everything clear so both parties know what has been agreed and what is expected. What rules apply such as no smoking, sub-letting or the keeping of pets. Certain very important information including terms relating to any deposit and how the tenancy can be terminated etc.
Inventory and schedule of condition
Don’t be fooled into thinking that an unfurnished property does not need an inventory. Before a tenant moves in a full inventory and schedule of condition is vitally important to protect a landlord’s interest. An inventory will detail the current décor, fixtures & fittings, doors, bathrooms and kitchen units including their condition, as well as listing any items and furniture.
A tenant can cause substantial damage and if you don’t have a full inventory and schedule of condition it can be difficult to prove the damage is the tenant’s responsibility. With Tenancy Deposit legislation you need to be able to provide evidence to prove any claim against a tenant’s deposit should they choose to dispute.
The legal stuff
Today there is so much legislation for landlords to comply with it can be daunting. The best tip is to make sure when choosing an agent is that they are licensed members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
As well as the expected gas safety certificate it is also vital that landlords make sure other ‘prescribed’ documents are provided to their tenants such as EPC’s and the Government ‘How to Rent’ tenant guide. Failure to do so could mean you cannot serve notice and get possession of your property back.
Being a landlord brings many rewards but also lots of responsibility.
Gallant Richardson, as qualified licensed agents, are always on hand and delighted to help, please call our lettings team.