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Things Landlord's don't think are important, but could cause you headache in the long run

Updated: Jan 12


A woman with a headache due to Landlord stress
Landlord headache

A lot of Landlord's are of the volition that they can rent their property themselves.

They are in theory correct, the process of finding a tenant is simple enough, however what Landlord's tend to become unstuck with, is later down the line.

If you have the perfect Tenant and a Tenant that knows nothing about legislation, you'll most likley be fine. But when you have keyboard lawyers and difficult Tenants, that's when the trouble starts.


Our aim here at Drummonds Property both through our services and this blog, is to give you, the Landlord, a fighting chance. Let's look at what we do to ensure our Landlord's are thoroughly protected and what you can do to ensure you are protected.


Inventory

A woman checking appliances in a property
Inventory clerk

Most Landlord's will avoid this and do it themselves. I mean, why spend money on a third party company when you know your property better than they do?

Impartiality. It's really that simple. Since 2007, Landlord's have needed to register the Tenants deposit in a government back deposit scheme. Now if the Tenant disputes a charge for their deposit, you need evidence that they did in fact receive the property in a certain condition prior to them moving in. Deposit schemes are there to protect the Tenant, not the Landlord, so if you have not dotted your i's and crossed your t's, you could end up having to return the full deposit. Shocking! We know!


Here at Drummonds Property we use Belfore, their website contains some really useful frequently asked questions. Please note, since 2019 you can no longer charge your Tenant for the Inventory Check Out or Check In.


Depending on the letting service you have with us or even the management service, you will receive a detailed inventory report from Belfore included in the service we offer you. This report is available online and in a pdf format, the tenants have a set period of time to note anything they feel the inventory clerk missed, and this is a legally admissible document for any issues you could have with the deposit or even a disrepair claim! We even offer one free interim check during the tenancy, to ensure your property is in good repair.


Deposit Schemes

As previously mentioned, this has been around since 2007, but it has changed slightly over the years. This is what you need to know.


If you take any money from your Tenant other than ONE months' rent in advance it will most likely be considered a deposit at best or a prohibited payment at worst.


The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has capped Tenant deposits at 5 weeks rent (get your maths right or this will be a very costly mistake that could cost you up to £5,000). Various deposit schemes have deposit calculators to ensure you have collected the correct amount.


If you collect a deposit, there are only three government backed schemes you can use. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the Deposit Protection Service and My Deposits. Each scheme has different requirements, such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme which requires Tenants to receive the Deposit Certificate, Prescribed Information and their information leaflet in order for it to be valid. No matter which agency you use, one thing is universally certain. You MUST register AND provide the correct documents to your Tenant within 30 days of you receiving the deposit money! Failure to do so will not only see you worthy of a charge of up to £5,000, but you could also not be able to use a Section 21 eviction should you require it. This is why we suggest using an Agent for Lettings, because if the Agent gets it wrong you have someone to pass the fine onto ;).


I know it's tempting to use the deposit if you have an insured deposit, instead of a custodial deposit (insured means you hold the deposit - it should be held in a segregated account, custodial means that the deposit scheme holds the deposit) but this is illegal. If your Tenant can prove you have spent their deposit (which is in theory easy to do, if you tell them not to pay rent for the last month), they can sue you for three times the amount of their deposit.


Here at Drummonds Property we prefer to use the custodial service of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, because if there are any disputes it will be handled directly by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. As previously mentioned, we will be able to submit the impartial third party inventory report and if you have management with us, all relevant information we hold to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. It's also comforting for Tenants to know that they are not being bullied into losing their deposit. It also means Tenants tend to look after properties better knowing that a third party is involved in deciding whether they will receive their deposit back or not.


Prohibited Payments


I gently touched on prohibited payments above, however since 2019 there are numerous payments that Landlords can no longer take from Tenants. You cannot charge the Tenant for the inventory - sorry. You cannot charge the Tenant for the initial cleaning fee - sorry. You cannot charge the Tenant an admin fee - sorry. You can't even charge the Tenant for the renewal.


The Tenant Fees Act limited how much deposit you can take, how much of a holding deposit you can take and what exactly can be deducted from the deposit. Failure to comply could leave you with a hefty fine and could also mean that you lose your Section 21 eviction.


Here are Drummonds, we provide the Tenants with a clear idea of what they will be charged and when and what happens to their money from start to finish as soon as they register with us. To download our Tenant fees PDF, click here.


How to Rent Guide


This seemingly insignificant document can cause you problems in the long run. This is a government guide that became a legal obligation to provide to Tenants from 2015. You also need to make sure it is the most up to date guide. It changes regularly so don't get caught out. You can always get the latest How to Rent Guide by clicking here. Don't get caught out! This could affect your Section 21 eviction.


At Drummonds Property, this is another one of the documents that our prospective Tenants receive as soon as they register with us.


Gas Safety Certificate


Gas hob
Gas Safety Check

Now most Landlords know gas safety checks need to be done prior to a Tenant moving into their property, however did you know that for a successful Section 21 eviction, you need to list all the gas safeties done and provided to the Tenant throughout the tenancy?


You will need to attach all gas safety certificates during the tenancy, and provide evidence that the Tenant was in receipt of such.


Not to scare you or anything, but if anything happens in the property gas related and you do not have a Gas Safety Check, you could be legally liable. Worst case scenerio you could be held criminally responsible.


Here at Drummonds Property Limited even if you only Let the property with us and take no other service with us, we will remind you about your gas safety expiry date. That's one less thing for you to worry about.

If we manage the property for you (depending on the management package you pick with us) we will get this done for you without you even needing to ask, at no additional cost. You'll have access to the documents on your dedicated Landlord Portal should you ever need it, and your Tenant automatically receives an email copy and has access to it on their dedicated Tenant Portal. Making your life simple.


EICR


Cieling fan
Electric fan

Otherwise known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Thank goodness you only need this every 5 years, however best practice is each time you get a new Tenant.


This only became a legal requirement from 2021. It's something that we at Drummonds Property have seen a lot of Landlord's miss.


Without one of these you will not be able to gain possession of your property through the Section 21 eviction process. However more importantly, not having one of these can have another serious consequence such as imprisonment.


Again, if you only choose to Let your property with us at Drummonds Property we will remind you about your EICR expiry date because we're helpful like that.

If we manage the property for you (depending on the management package you pick with us) we will get this done for you without you even needing to ask, at no additional cost. You'll have access to the documents on your dedicated Landlord Portal should you ever need it, and your Tenant automatically receives an email copy and has access to it on their dedicated Tenant Portal. Making your life simple.


EPC


Otherwise known as the Energy Performance Certificate. Fun fact, when selling your property we can't even list it without this. You need a EPC to rent your property. The good news is, you only have to do this once every 10 years. You can check if your property has one here. If you need to book one, just give us a call on 0208 138 1990.


Rent Guarantee Insurance


Last but not least, this one is not a necessity but we strongly recommend it. In the last decade we've seen threats of recession, Covid19 and the knock on affects of what is happening in the Ukraine. Everyone is struggling. Your Tenant could have a great job today and be redundant tomorrow (we sincerely hope not). Protect against the unexpected.


You guessed it, here at Drummonds Property (yes we heard it too) we offer Rent Guarantee Insurance that commences from the first missed rent date.


Obviously we would love you to come on board with us, we know what we're doing, plus we've said here at Drummonds Property enough times. Our team are all legally trained (we all have Law degrees, just saying) to protect our Landlord's best interests and have excellent customer service. If you'd like us to contact you, you can fill in our Landlord Questionnaire here or you can give us a call on 0208 138 1990 or email us at admin@drummondsproperty.com.


However, if you do decide to go it alone, we hope this helps you immensely. And if you have a question, give us a call 0208 138 1990 or drop us an email at admin@drummondsproperty.com. Have a great day and thanks for making it Drummonds Property!


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