landlord and tenant law

Letting out your property: a checklist for landlords

Before you let your property; do you have everything covered?

It might seem like an easy way to make some money, but there are a lot of legal factors to take into consideration.

Here is a checklist for landlords highlighting some key points to consider.

1. Get it in writing

In England and Wales there is no law to say you need a written tenancy agreement Ė a verbal agreement is sufficient.

However, itís worth getting the agreement in writing so you can refer to it if there are any disagreements between you and your tenant.

Find out more by reading our tenancy agreements guide.

2. Make some money

Not only will you have to decide how much rent to charge, but you will also need to decide when the tenant has to pay and if you are going to charge any penalties for late payments.

You should also decide whether you are going to include Council Tax and utility bills in your rent. Have a look online at similar properties for rent in your area to see what other landlords are charging.

When thinking about finances, you also need to consider the deposit. You must hold the deposit in one of the Governmentís approved tenancy deposit schemes.

Make sure you tell your tenant in writing what scheme their deposit is being held in within 30 days of receiving the money. If you donít, you could be taken to court and fined.

Your accountant will advise you on other financial aspects such as your tax liability on the income you earn from your rental property.

3. Think about furniture

Is your property furnished or part-furnished?

If so, you might want to think about including an inventory of furnishings and fittings in your tenancy agreement.

It can be a good idea to go around and take detailed photos of all the rooms, furniture and fittings so you have a record of what condition everything was in when you first let the property.

4. Lay down the rules

Do you want your property to be a smoke-free zone? Would you rather your tenant didnít keep pets? How do you feel about them playing loud music after a certain time?

Most landlords will lay down some ground rules in the agreement as to what is and isnít acceptable in their property.

5. Can you fix it?

As a landlord, you have certain legal obligations regarding repairs and maintenance.

On top of these, you may also want to offer additional services, which you might be able to charge for. Maybe you might want to make sure the tenant is responsible for looking after certain things?

For example, you could write it into the contract that the tenant is responsible for keeping the garden in a decent state, or this might be something you would prefer to do yourself.

6. Got a mortgage?

If the property you want to rent out is mortgaged you will need to talk to your lender to obtain consent. You may need to change the type of mortgage you have on the property.

7. Get further advice

Itís a good idea to contact your solicitor as soon as you start thinking about renting out your property.

Thatís where we can help.

We will able to help you draw up your tenancy agreement and advise you on your obligations and responsibilities as a landlord.

If you would like more information or help contact our solicitors at Wallace Robinson & Morgan on 0121 705 7571 or email enquiries@wallacerobinson.co.uk.

Further reading:

Tenancy Agreements (Landlord and Tenant Law)

Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes - advice for Landlords (Landlord and Tenant Law)

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.