Landlords FAQs

 

Whether you are new to the private rented sector or are a seasoned landlord you will almost certainly have some questions. Why not check out our list of the questions we have been asked most frequently over the years? You can also see what tenants often ask.

Tenants FAQ

I need to find a place to rent. What do I do first?

Before you start searching for your new home it’s a good idea to write down a budget. What are your current outgoings and what money do you have left each month to spend on rent? Take into account that, when you first move in, you will need to front a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent and a refundable holding deposit.

I've found a place I want to rent. Now what?

If you haven’t already, make sure you go and view the property. If it’s a house-share, meet all the people you’ll be moving in with. The letting agent will ask you to sign a Tenancy Fee Declaration form which lists the services they will provide and the Permitted Payments expected from you, in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The agent will then begin the referencing process to ensure you’re in a position to rent the property.

Why do I need to be referenced?

The landlord needs to be sure that that their tenant won’t have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of their property.

What does referencing involve?

Referencing is nothing to worry about. Tenants applying to rent need to give details of their employer and income, their previous address, and some bank account details. These will be checked to ensure they are able to commit to monthly rental payments.

Do I need to show ID?

As part of the referencing process, we need to be sure a tenant is who they say they are. We will require a proof of residency (such as a utility or council tax bill from the last 3 months) and proof of ID (such as a passport or driving licence).

What if there are problems with my reference?

In some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are students without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. This is not uncommon, and there are still options for tenants in this position. They could pay the rent for the full term up front or seek out a guarantor.

What is a guarantor?

If a tenant is not fully approved by the referencing process, they can ask a guarantor to support them. A guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to. Guarantors are required to pay any rent arrears (if the tenant does not pay) and for any damages costing more than the deposit. A guarantor needs to go through the same referencing process as a tenant. The normal requirement is that they are employed and a UK resident, with sufficient earnings to cover the tenant’s rental commitment.

In the case of a house-share, the tenancy agreement makes all tenants jointly responsible for all rents and responsibilities. There is no individual ‘share’ of the rent written into the agreement. The guarantor therefore has the same responsibility.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

The landlord trusts the tenant to keep the property in a good condition and in good order. The deposit is held to ensure that any damages (over and above fair wear and tear) can be corrected at the end of the tenancy.

What will happen to my deposit?

Landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The Nice Rent landlords register their deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. You should receive details of the scheme, explaining where the deposit is held.

What does a Tenancy Deposit Scheme do?

A Tenancy Deposit Scheme like My Deposits will protect the money for you and can offer assistance should there be a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract signed by both the tenant and the landlord. It outlines all the rules to which both parties must comply.

Who is responsible for repairs?

The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a good state of repair. They will either take care of this directly, or do so via a letting agent – make sure you know who to go to when there’s a fault at the beginning of the tenancy.

What if the landlord isn't keeping to their side of the agreement?

If a tenant believes the landlord is not keeping to their side of the agreement – for instance, not maintaining the property in a fit state of repair – then the first thing the tenant should do is speak to their letting agent. The letting agent has a duty of care to the tenant, and may be able to help to resolve issues depending on the service type the landlord has with the agent. Look at your 'Welcome letter' to find out the service level of your landlord. Alternatively, a tenant can find independent advice from The Citizens Advice Bureau.

What if I want to end the tenancy?

If you are tied into a fixed term contract, you will be liable for the rent until the fixed term is finished. If you are no longer in a fixed term contract (ie. a rolling contract) your tenancy agreement will define the notice you need to give.

What if I can't pay my rent?

It is always your responsibility to pay the rent, but circumstances change. What happens if you become unemployed or are unable to work due to sickness? The most important thing is not to let arrears pile up until they’re unmanageable. Speak to your landlord or letting agent and see if you can reschedule your payments. And don’t forget, you can get insured against sickness and unemployment to keep yourself protected.

Landlords FAQ

I want to let my property. Do I need to tell my mortgage lender?

Yes. Your mortgage lender needs to give you permission before you can let your property, and they may impose special conditions. If you are buying a property with the intention of letting it out, you may be able to obtain a buy to let mortgage.

How do I know what rent to charge?

Ask a letting agent to value your home. At The Nice Rent, we’re experts in the market, so we can tell you how other rental properties are doing in the area, and what kind of yield you can hope to expect. Book a rental valuation with The Nice Rent.

How much will it cost me to let my property?

This really depends on how much support you need. Be sure you understand an agent’s fees and exactly what you receive for your money when you ask them to conduct a lettings valuation.

Does a landlord need to pay tax on rental income?

All landlords could be liable to pay tax on their rental income, whether they live in the UK or are based overseas. Further information can be found on the Inland Revenue’s website.

Who will pay the council tax - the landlord or the tenant?

The tenant is responsible for the council tax (unless you decide to include this in the rent) but this needs to be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. If the property is standing empty, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay.

Who will pay for the TV licence - the landlord or the tenant?

Usually the tenant, though this should be stated in the tenancy agreement. However, if the landlord furnishes the property with a TV, they would be expected to pay the licence.

Why should I use a managing agent?

Choosing a fully managed service allows you to completely relax. You never have to worry about the let. It creates a professional distance between you and the tenancy, and means you can avoid having to deal with all the bad bits like rent arrears and deposit disputes.

How do I receive my rental income from my letting agent?

We will organise for the tenant to pay the rent via standing order or direct debit. We will then transfer the money to your account minus our commission and any outgoings or fees (such as maintenance work fees). You will receive a statement every month.

What happens to my tenant's deposit?

Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At The Nice Rent, we register deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is there to protect the tenant’s money and help to resolve any disputes at the end of the tenancy. If you have chosen a regulated agent like The Nice Rent, then your money will be protected through the Protection Bonding Scheme. Not all agents are regulated, but The Nice Sell choose to be. We are members of ARLA Propertymark and TPO.

What if the tenant doesn't pay?

It is sensible to insure yourself against non payment of rent. The Nice Rent’s rent protection insurance pays 100% of your rent for up to 12 months if your tenant is unable to pay for any reason.

Terms and conditions apply. This information is a summary only. You will receive a full policy document upon application. This policy will set out the terms, conditions and limitations of this product.

What if I want to remove my tenant?

If your tenant refuses to leave the property then legal action will be necessary. The Nice Rent’s rent protection insurance covers legal fees up to £15,000 including any legal costs arising from regaining possession of your property from a tenant (providing there are rent arrears or the tenant has failed to vacate the premises at the end of a tenancy agreement).

Why should I have an inventory?

An inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of your property taken before the tenant moves in. It is important that if there is a dispute over damage at the end of the tenancy, you have proof of the original condition of the property and its contents. We strongly recommend that you take the option of a professional inventory. It helps you protect your property and forms part of the contract between you and your tenant. It will detail the condition of the property when a tenant moves in and at the end of their tenancy. Vital to ensure there is no deposit disputes at the end of tenancies.

What if the tenant damages the property?

Either the tenant pays to fix the damage, or the cost for fixing the damage is removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy. However, fair wear and tear should be allowed for.

Can I enter my property during the tenancy?

You need to give the tenant appropriate notice before you enter the property.

Why do I need an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC for short, is a report detailing the energy efficiency of a property. It gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

All landlords are required to purchase an EPC for a property before they let it and, from 1st April 2018, the property must have a minimum rating of E on its EPC. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches this requirement with a penalty of up to £4,000. There are a few easy and cheap ways to improve your property's EPC rating. Ensuring all your lightbulbs are energy savers is a simple change. Check your loft insulation is at least 270mm too, and if you have cavity walls ensure these are filled with insulation.

More expensive ways to improve your property's EPC rating include replacing an old, inefficient boiler; adding modern controls like room thermostats; or adding renewable technologies like solar panels to the property.

What are my obligations surrounding gas?

A Gas Safety Record (GSR) is in place to ensure that all gas appliances, pipes and flues are in safe working order. It must be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer. This needs to be checked every 12 months.

Do I need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?

Yes, to comply with the legislation an EICR must be carried out before you can let your property. t is recommended best practise to have a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) carried out to make sure the appliances included in the let are safe.

How do I check my furniture is compliant?

You must ensure that all furnishings comply with furniture and furnishing regulations. All compliant furniture must display standard labels in a prominent position. This is to reduce the risk of fire within the property.

What is ARLA Propertymark?

The ARLA Propertymark is the leading professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. ARLA Propertymark is dedicated to protecting consumers by improving standards and professionalism within the lettings industry. Remember, letting agents are not regulated by law. The Nice Rent choose to be members of a regulatory body.

What is Right to Rent?

The Right to Rent scheme, which helps to make sure that people renting property in the UK have a legal right to be here, was rolled out across England in 2019. At The Nice Rent we’ve been doing this as part of our referencing process for many years, but if a landlord carries out their own checks they will now need to get an acceptable proof of residency or risk a fine. If we don’t currently handle tenant checks for you, we’d be very happy to discuss how we can help you with this.

Landlord Fees and charges

All letting agents are legally required to disclose their fees and this information must be readily available. We offer three tiers of service and the details of what is included within each tier is outlined in our ‘Scale of Charges to Landlords’. However, the best idea is for us to talk together. This gives us the opportunity to better understand what you are looking for from your agent and explore with you the service option best suited to your needs. For a no obligation chat with one of our dedicated lettings valuers.

Regulated by..

All letting agents are required to be a member of a Redress Scheme and we belong to The Property Ombudsman Ltd. In relation to the deposits we hold, we protect these under the government approved scheme TDS (the Tenancy Deposit Scheme).

Please find below of our professional membership certificates:

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme       The Property Ombudsman


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