So you have found your perfect tenant, credit checks have been passed, the correct ID has been authenticated and copied and the referencing hasn’t turned up any skeletons in the closet.
Good to go? Good to move?
Maybe not… Moving a tenant in is so much more that handing over the keys. In the past one could assume that having found the ideal tenant, having taken due diligence in the application process the work is done.
- How are you going to ensure you are compliant?
- How are you going to ensure that you are able to serve a valid Section 21 notice (notice for possession)?
Let’s take a look at some of the legal requirements and procedures that need to be adhered to before the keys are handed over.
So, we know that properties can’t be rented out without a valid EPC but how are you recording the fact that your tenant has seen the EPC? If questioned, how can you show that your tenant has had sight of it? Failure to be able to prove this means that you would not be able to serve a valid Section 21 notice.
Familiar with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998? Similar to EPCs, gas certs are an industry must but again, how are you recording the fact your tenant has been given the gas certificate? It’s simply not good enough to arrange the gas certificate, if you are unable to prove your tenant has received the certificate upon check-in, you may not be able to serve a valid section 21.
- Deposit taken?
- Deposit registered?
- Registered in time??
- Prescribed information sent???
Let’s hope so! If not, you could be liable for a compensation payment of between 1 and 3 times the amount of the deposit plus limitations on serving notice.
Unlike gas regulations there is no law to say that you must have a landlord electrical certificate.
So you don’t have to do one?
How are you then going to show that you have taken all reasonable care to ensure that the electrical fittings in your property are safe and conform to the appropriate standard?
The Government is clear: as a landlord you must ensure that the electrical systems are safe… so how have you done this?
How to rent?
So you’ve got the How to Rent Checklist/Prescribed Information ready to give to the tenant but have you got the most up to date form? Has the tenant confirmed that you can serve notices by email? Again, record keeping and validation is a must should you want to serve a valid Section 21 Notice.
C0 Detectors and Smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms on each floor?… Check!
But have you checked both C0 and smoke detectors are working in front of the tenant? How is this recorded? How can you be compliant if keys are collected or passed over at the front door?
Where is the risk of exposure in your property? Has the cold water system got a correctly fitted lid? Has the property been standing empty for some time? Have your tenants been advised of the risk? We move many tenants in that simply are not aware of Legionella and so in turn, how can you ensure your tenants have received the best possible advice?
What’s clear is that alongside industry knowledge, record keeping and documentation are of paramount importance. So how are you recording this vital information? Logs and checklists may be considered old school but in lettings they could just save you from difficulties further on down the line.