Every day, landlord and tenants have questions that need answering. The lettings industry – and the 125+ laws that apply to it – can be a bit tricky to navigate.
We receive many questions every day and do our very best to provide landlord advice. But we thought, surely if one person is asking this question, there’s someone else out there also looking for the answer? In this article, we’ve included some recent questions and shared our landlord advice to help you – and anyone else – looking for answers.
End of tenancy cleaning
Q: If a tenant leaves the property in a different condition to what it was originally, can a landlord ask for money from the deposit to cover the cleaning and what is the best way to obtain a quote?
Terence, UK Landlord
Tenants are expected to return the rental property back to the landlord in the condition it was initially let.
So, if the property is in a worse state of cleanliness than it was at the time of move in, aside from general ‘wear and tear’, the landlord may be able to deduct cleaning costs from the tenant’s deposit.
This being said, landlords cannot charge tenants for end of tenancy cleaning outright. Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords cannot request that tenants organise and pay for professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy.
Before the act came into force, landlords were able to include a clause in their tenancy agreement asking for a professional clean prior to move-out, however, this is no longer permitted.
Get quotes from local cleaners in your area with Bark.
Deposit disputes regarding cleaning or damage can be easily resolved if an Inventory and Check-Out Inspection are carried out. Recording the condition of your property before and after the tenant moves in will clearly show any damage or deterioration. Without these documents, tenant damages can be extremely difficult to prove.
Landlord advice: EICRs and gas safety
Q: If I buy a house from a landlord and they already got an EICR and gas certificate, do I need new ones or not?
Saime, UK Landlord
Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) and Gas Safety Certificates are for the property. EICRs are valid for five years and you do not need a new one until this expires – unless the engineer recommends your electrics be inspected sooner.
Gas Safety Certificates are valid for 12 months and must be renewed every year.
Landlords cannot let their property without a valid EICR, gas safety certificate or EPC. If the previous landlord has already got an EICR or gas safety certificate and it is in date, you do not need a new one until runs out.
Electrical inspections became a legal requirement for landlords in April 2020 and apply to all tenancies – new and existing – as of April 1st 2021.
Read more: Mandatory Electrical Inspections for Landlords 2021
I have a five-year-old new build and it has an Electrical Installation Certificate from July 2015, originally valid for ten years. It has been let since November 2019. Do I need to get a new EICR or wait until this expires in 2025?
John, UK Landlord
New builds and rewired properties are issued with an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC). Before the The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, some EICs and EICRs were valid for 10 years.
Now the regulations require rental properties to have electrical inspections every five years, meaning these older certificates will expire when they reach the five year point.
In John’s circumstance, his original certificate will have expired in July 2020 and he will need to get a new EICR in line with the electrical regulations.
Book your electrical inspection before April 1st 2021.
Advice on right to access
Q: My landlord states she has the right to visit the property surrounding the house I have rented, the half acre the dwelling sits on, anytime she chooses, without notification, because she is not visiting the dwelling itself. Is this true?
Alex, UK Tenant
Tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment”. This simply means they have the right to live in their property without unexpected visits.
If a landlord intends to visit their rental property or arrange a contractor to stop by, they must give their tenant a minimum of 24 hours’ notice in writing.
In this circumstance, if the half-acre of land was included in the initial property advertisement and is being let to the tenant along with the dwelling, then the landlord should give the tenant notice before visiting.
‘Accessing’ a property is not limited to the building itself. It includes all the gardens and any other grounds or areas included in the tenancy agreement.
Landlord advice on property inventories
Q: Do I need a property inventory even if my property is unfurnished? Are there any benefits or would I be wasting money?
Gina, UK Landlord
A common misconception amongst landlords is that an inventory is only required if you have furniture in your property.
We recommend a professional inventory and schedule of condition be carried out at all rental properties – furnished or unfurnished.
The inventory is a record of your whole property’s condition – not just the furniture. This includes:
- Light switches and plug sockets
- Kitchen and bathroom fittings
- Light fittings and shades
- Curtains and windows
- Carpets and floors
- Walls and doors
- Garden furniture, fencing and ornaments
Every last detail should be recorded and both you and the tenant should sign to say you agree on the final inventory. We would also recommend making a note of the utility meter readings and their locations.
The idea behind an inventory is to protect both the landlord and the tenant and prevent possible disputes when the tenancy comes to an end.
An inventory is extremely beneficial should any damage-related deposit disputes arise. If your tenant leaves your property in a bad way and you want to claim the costs from their deposit, the inventory (along with mid-term or check-out reports) will support your case.
Q: My letting agent has told me that I need a guarantor to rent a property I would like. Please could someone tell me what a guarantor is?
Emma, UK Tenant
A guarantor or “rent guarantor” is someone who will pay the rent on your behalf if you are unable to pay it.
This can be anyone – perhaps a friend or relative – who lives in the UK. They don’t need to be a home-owner, but they do need to give their consent before you put them forward as your guarantor.
Whether you need a guarantor or not is usually determined during the tenant referencing process. This involves a 6-year credit check, an employment and income check and a reference from your previous landlord.
To meet the income requirements to pass referencing, tenants must earn 30 times the monthly rent amount. For example, if the rent is £1,000 a month, the tenants must have a combined income of £30,000 (30 x £1,000 = £30,000).
Of course, some tenants will be unable to meet this requirement, but instead of being declined they will have the option to put down a guarantor. Their guarantor must meet the income requirements and will be liable for the rent or any damage costs should the tenant be unable to pay.
Read more: Lettings Definitions And Renting Jargon: 2021 Landlord And Tenant Guide
Landlord advice on testing for Legionella
Q: How can I test my property for Legionella?
Mohammed, UK Landlord
Landlords can test their rental properties for Legionella with a Legionella Risk Assessment.
This involves a competent person visiting the property to assess and test the water and water system for traces of Legionella bacteria.
Legionella risk assessments are not a legal requirement for landlords, however, some landlords opt to have one done to ensure their water is completely safe.
The risk of Legionella is relatively low in regular properties, but the risk may increase if the property is unoccupied. Draining the water system will help manage this risk during void periods.
If your property has an open water tank, the risk of Legionella may be higher due to the water being stagnant.
Read more: Legionella Risk Assessments: Everything You Need to Know
Landlord ID checks
Q: I want to let my property but the letting agency has asked me to show ID proving I own the property? I feel like they don’t trust me. Is this normal procedure?
Dom, UK Landlord
When advertising a property, letting agents will ask the landlord for proof of ownership. This is to protect landlords and tenants from fraud and illegal subletting. This verification is an extra level of security, not just for the letting agent, but for every landlord out there. Without asking people to prove who they are, a landlord’s property could be listed without them knowing.
Before advertising your property, LettingaProperty.com ask for:
- Photo ID – such as a driving licence or passport
- Proof of ownership – such as a mortgage statement, title deed, consent to let or land registry certificate
Some landlords are surprised when asked for this. It’s important to remember that this is a normal process with your best interests in mind – not a personal doubt of your integrity!
Read more: Landlord ID and Proof of Ownership: What’s the Big Deal?
Q: Hi, I am a new landlord and would like some help. Where should I store my tenant’s deposit?
Clare, UK Landlord
It is a legal requirement to put your tenancy deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) on assured-shorthold tenancies.
In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:
In Scotland, landlords can use:
If you do not store your tenant’s deposit correctly, you could face fines and be unable to let your property in the future. At the end of the tenancy agreement, you must return the deposit back within 10 days. If there is a dispute, the deposit will be protected by the scheme until it’s resolved.
Read more: Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes – A List For Landlords
Got a question?
Have you got a landlord or tenant you need help with? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll provide you with some landlord advice.
If you’re a landlord in England, Scotland or Wales, talk to us. We can help remove your administrative burden and leave you more time to focus on building or managing your property portfolio.
We have a range of fixed-fee rental plans (starting from £39 inc VAT) that give you everything you need – including total Rent Protection, Legal Expenses Cover and 24/7 Home Emergency Cover.
To find out more, visit our website or book a call with a member of our team.
DISCLAIMER: This information is general advice and should not be construed as legal landlord advice. If you are uncertain, you should contact your letting agent and/or seek legal help from a professional property lawyer.[/kc_column_text][/kc_column][/kc_row]