Letting Property – Q and A
1. I want to let a property do I need a tenancy agreement?
No, there is nothing in law to say you have to have a tenancy agreement. However, if a dispute arises then it could be very difficult to prove who was right and who was in the wrong. Property Hawk always recommends that a landlord uses a solicitor drafted Assured Shorthold Tenancy such as the one available FREE in our PM2 software.
Our tenancy agreement:
• Protects your rights as a landlord
• Produced by a legal expert
• Suitable for multi lets
• Suitable for use by a company
• Does not include clauses which were recently deemed as ‘unfair’ by the Office of Fair Trading
• Allows the landlord to charge for the cost of collecting late rent payments
2. Can I increase the rent?
A landlord can increase the rent at anytime providing the tenant agrees. If they don’t, a landlord will have to wait to the end of the fixed term of the tenancy, or, where it’s a periodic tenancy then the landlord will have to follow the statutory procedures if the tenant refuses to agree to the rent increase.
3. I want to get rid of my tenant because they’ve stopped paying the rent surely I can just kick them out?
No. Don’t even think about it. A tenancy gives your tenant certain rights to stay in a landlords property, even if they do many things that the landlord thinks are wrong : like not paying rent, being anti-social, failing to look after the property. If a landlord trys to evict them without going through the right procedures a landlord could end up with a big fine or even a prison sentence. Even phoning them at work could be considered to be harassment of the tenant.
4. I want to let my property but do I need a letting agent?
No. Landlords can do it all themselves and save a small fortune. A letting agent will look to charge you up to 15% of your rent for letting and managing your property. Why do this when you can let your investment property for FREE and manage your property with FREE letting software.
What you are talking about is getting possession. How a landlord gets possession will depend on the specific circumstances and getting things wrong can be costly. Some landlords seek legal advice Or some landlords choose to do it themself, but need to follow the instructions carefully.
6. Do I need to take a deposit?
No, landlords don’t need to take a rental deposit. In fact many landlords letting to students or low value rentals don’t bother taking a rental deposit.
If a landlord does, they will need to use one of the Governments approved schemes tenancy deposit schemes or risk a big fine.
7. Do I have to declare my rental income to the taxman?
Yes. Rental income is assessed under the land and property section of a landlords self assessment return. There are a lot of expenses that a landlord can set off against their rental income some landlords might even make a rental loss ( especially in the urrent harsh economic climate ). Losses can be carried forward and set off against future rental profits.
8. The tenancy is coming to an end what do I do?
If a landlord has set a fixed term tenancy, say a 6 month tenancy and want to carry on with the same tenant, the landlord has got a number of choices. Get the tenant to sign and complete a new tenancy agreement. Amend the terms of the existing tenancy including the dates of the tenancy and get the tenant to sign and agree the variation. Allow the fixed tenancy to lapse and it will then run on as a statutory periodic tenancy in which case the tenancy will just carry on with the same from rental period to rental period until the landlord or the tenant bring it to an end.
9. Do I need a specialist insurance policy?
Yes. Normal household insurance won’t cover your property if you start renting it out. This is because household policies do not cover buildings, contents or the landlord for third party liabilities while the buy-to-let property is being let out, read more on landlord insurance cover options.
10. What’s an EPC? Do I need one?
An EPC or Energy Performance Certificate has been introduced by the Government to measure the energy efficiency of a rental property. Since the 1st of October 2008, any property that is being marketed for rent needs to have one. Find out more about the EPC.