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Important Renting Rules for Landlords and Tenants to Follow

When renting a property to tenants, several issues can come up, from late rental payments to disputes over damaged property. Some of these problems can be dealt with swiftly while others take longer to resolve. 

Having a good understanding of what renting rules you need to follow as a landlord, as well as the responsibilities tenants have, can help you manage the situation effectively should one of these problems arise. 

By reminding yourself of the rules that need to be followed, you can maintain a healthy relationship with your tenants without any underlying resentment towards them. 

Renting Rules for Landlords 

Do the right tenant checks 

Before prospective tenants sign the tenancy agreement, you should undergo tenant referencing to find out more about the people that want to move into your property. 

As a landlord, you are legally required to carry out Right to Rent checks on all occupants aged 18 or over, even if they’re not mentioned on the tenancy agreement. These checks are done to ensure that tenants are legally allowed to rent a residential property in England. 

Also, you should carry out a credit check on prospective tenants after they have given permission. A credit check will detail the credit history, County Court Judgements (CCJs) and bankruptcy or insolvency of a tenant. 

If you are barred from carrying out a credit check by your tenant, they could be at high risk of falling into rent arrears, i.e. falling behind with rent payments. Seek out a guarantor or request rent in advance if that is the case. 

Don’t enter the rental property without your tenant’s permission 

Disputes over the right to enter and inspect a property can deteriorate relationships between landlords and tenants. 

According to the law, landlords should provide at least 24 hours’ notice before they enter a property. To avoid disturbing your tenants, it is wise to come at a reasonable time of day. 

Even when it comes to carrying out repairs and maintenance, landlords should inform tenants in advance, unless immediate access is needed in an emergency. 

Meet safety requirements and be prompt with repairs 

To keep your tenants safe, ensure your property is protected from dangerous hazards.  

Gas appliances and electrical systems must be installed properly and maintained regularly. Smoke alarms should appear on every floor of the property and carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted in rooms with solid fuel-burning appliances. 

It is important to be upfront with tenants about what you’re responsible for repairing as a landlord. So when tenants contact you for repairs, you can bring assistance as soon as possible. 

Being responsive to any problems that arise will keep you on good terms with your tenants. Delaying repairs will only strain your relationship with tenants, which can result in legal proceedings for serious cases. 

Protect your property and finances with insurance 

Make sure you have insurance in place to protect your finances from property damage. 

Landlord insurance policies can protect you against a wide variety of risks. Not only do policies include building protection, but can also cover emergency repairs, missing rent payments and damage caused by tenants. 

They can even extend to cover legal expenses and the cost of overnight accommodation for tenants if the situation gets worse. 

Renting Rules for Tenants

The rights of tenants 

tenant in a privately-rented property has the right to

  • Know who their landlord is 
  • Have a tenancy agreement that is fair and complies with the law 
  • Live in a property that is safe, undisturbed and in a good state of repair 
  • Know who their landlord is 
  • Have a tenancy agreement that is fair and complies with the law 
  • Live in a property that is safe, undisturbed and in a good state of repair 

Knowing what rights tenants have can shape your obligations as a landlord, providing a property where renters can live peacefully and are treated with respect. 

Perform a thorough inventory check 

Before tenants unpack their belongings, it is recommended that they carry out a detailed check of the property’s inventory. This can help them get an overview of what state the rental property was in before their stay. 

If and when a dispute arises concerning damaged property, photos of various appliances, flooring and furniture can be provided by tenants as evidence to landlords. 

An in-depth inventory check can help tenants receive their full deposit back at the end of their tenancy. 

Stick to the terms of their tenancy agreement 

Much like landlords, tenants are responsible for sticking to the terms set out in their tenancy agreement, which includes: 

  • Taking good care of the property 
  • Paying the agreed rent – even if repairs are needed or their in dispute with the landlord 
  • Paying other charges as agreed with the landlord, such as council tax or utility bills 
  • Paying for any damages they have caused 
  • Only subletting a property if they have permission in their tenancy agreement or directly from their landlord 

If they fail to meet these responsibilities and haven’t spoken to their landlord explaining the situation (e.g. struggling to pay rent), then their landlord has the right to take legal action to evict the tenant from the premises. 

Notify their landlord if repairs are needed 

Landlords can only respond to repairs if tenants immediately notify them about repairs that need to be made. 

As part of their tenancy agreement, tenants should give their landlord access to the property to inspect and carry out essential repairs, as a majority of repairs fall under their responsibility. 

Any signs of damage should be reported immediately so it can be fixed before the problem gets worse, causing greater damage to the property. 

Get permission before making property improvements 

Tenants may be inspired to make improvements to the rental property they’re occupying, such as repainting a room or adding extra storage space, but they’ll need permission from their landlord first before anything goes ahead.  

To avoid the chance of losing their deposit at the end of their tenancy, they should check their tenancy agreement to make sure they can make alterations. 

Even if the tenancy agreement allows tenants to make changes, they should still get written confirmation from their landlord before making significant property improvements. 

Insurance for tenants 

For all tenants renting properties, there will always be a risk of possessions getting damaged or stolen. Therefore, tenants should get insurance on their valuable items. 

Some policies include tenancy liability insurance, which will protect tenants against damage to their landlord’s property. 

In Summary

Renting a property can be an exciting endeavour for both landlords and tenants, but both parties need to keep in line with renting rules so that the renting process remains smooth sailing and stress-free. 

As a landlord, managing your obligations towards your tenants by understanding their rights put you in a better position if a small issue or major dispute should arise. 

Keey is here to help landlords manage their rental property, from guest approval to professional maintenance. Visit our website to learn more! 

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Landlord

Found yourself strapped for cash and wanting to earn more? You’ve probably considered becoming a landlord and letting other people reside in your property. 

In order to be successful as a landlord, you have to know what makes a “good” landlord. It’s not as simple as letting someone live in your home or for them to temporarily stay there for a holiday. Granted, while you’ll need to get to know the people who’ll be owing you money, there are some basic pieces of social etiquette that needs to be followed. Here is a list of things you can’t do as a landlord: 

1. Discriminate 

An absolute no-brainer, under no circumstances should you be hostile towards tenants or reject possible ones. specifies that it’s against the law to discriminate individuals on the following grounds: 

  • Age 
  • Gender reassignment (being or becoming a transgender person) 
  • Being married or in a civil partnership 
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave 
  • Disability 
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin) 
  • Religion, belief, or lack of religion/belief 
  • Sex/gender 
  • Sexual orientation 

However, it’s perfectly reasonable to “lawfully discriminate”; for example, if a tenant has poor credit history or cannot afford the rent, these are justified reasons to be more critical for once. After all, you do want them to pay you on time, don’t you? 

2. Refuse to make any repairs 

Now, how would you like it if you were living in someone else’s home – or just staying at a hotel – and you came across something that desperately needed to be fixed? Obviously, you have no obligation to do it yourself, not to mention you might not even be qualified to deal with it anyway. You’ll find yourself asking someone who is allowed to do so… but they never do it. You might follow it up and repeat what you said, but still, nothing comes about it. 

As a landlord, you have to make repairs if something is damaged, broken, or just not right. In fact, it’s against the law if you don’t repair your letting property. It’s covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985; Section 11, to be precise. If you do avoid making those repairs, you may be avoiding those tasks as a way to make it difficult for your tenants to stay, hoping that they’re going to leave. This passive-aggressive discriminatory behaviour is not allowed. You’re also not allowed to make up your own rules just because you and a tenant might not get along or you’ve had some form of disagreement. As covered in the previous point, you mustn’t discriminate your tenants, whether it involves the listed reasons for discrimination or not. 

3. Enter without permission 

Let’s say you’re relaxing at home. You might be reading the newspaper or watching the television as you unwind. All is going fine. That is, until someone suddenly enters the room – or even your house, for that matter – despite you not granting them access to it. You’d be annoyed, wouldn’t you? 

Now imagine that the person who was keeping to themself was your tenant. The person who disturbed their peace was you. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Indeed, it’s not very pleasant. Just because you own the property doesn’t mean you should suddenly come barging in with no prior warning. If you are to enter, you must give at least 24 hours’ notice at the very least. If you want to have privacy, so should your tenant. There is nothing worse than an unwanted and uninvited houseguest. 

4. Constantly messaging the tenant 

Desperately need that rent from your tenant? Are they running late with it, perhaps again? Are you constantly contacting them, whether it’s by phone, email, text, or a simple letter? It’s perfectly alright to be concerned if you haven’t been paid yet, but what must be taken into account is the frequency of which you contact them. If you message the tenant too much, even if they are in the process of or are close to paying you, you could be making them feel alarmed or distressed. This is classed as harassment, which is, yet again, against the law. If your harassment goes too far, you might find yourself being taken to court and losing more money. 

5. Wrongful eviction 

It is important to highlight the difference between wrongful conviction and wrongful eviction. This doesn’t mean you’re kicking someone out just because of a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of events, but you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. There are two things you must never do in terms of evicting tenants: 

  1. Evicting them without notice. No one likes to be told something at short notice, let alone at the last minute. You especially cannot do this during a fixed term. Even if there is an end-date on the contract, that doesn’t mean the tenancy agreement will automatically terminate. If rent is paid every month, then a month should be the minimum notice period. 
  1. Evicting them because you’re selling the property. If a tenant has a fixed term tenancy agreement, then they can’t just simply pack up and leave because you are. 

In Conclusion 

These 5 pieces of advice must be followed rather strictly if you wish to be a landlord. If you don’t, then you’ll be breaking the law. However, there are many other things you should never do as a landlord, so if you want to hear more advice about what not to do, as well as what you should do, contact us at Keey today

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