The Best tips for Landlords
If you currently own or intend to purchase residential property for rental in FIFE, you should consider our property management service. You will find our service both professional and cost-effective. As we are specialists, we know how to manage property for optimum performance, whilst ensuring smooth running tenancies, and compliance with private rented sector legislation . Maximise the return on your investment – contact us now.
Our Letting & Full Management Service includes:
Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any
other advice which you may require about letting your property.
Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
Locating suitable tenants. Your property will be advertised on all major
property portals, however we have excellent contacts with various local
and national companies and other establishment personnel departments,
furthermore we usually have tenants waiting.
Accompanying tenant applicants to view the property.
Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature by the
Collecting a tenancy deposit which will be treated in accordance with
Preparing/arranging a comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition.
Checking the tenant into the property and agreeing the inventory.
Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax accounts
into the tenant`s name.
Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you promptly,
together with a detailed statement from our computerised management
If required paying regular outgoings for you from rental payments.
Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems to you.
Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising with you
in the case of larger works.
Keeping in touch with the tenant on a routine basis, and arranging
renewals of the agreement as necessary.
Checking tenants out as required, re-letting and continuing the process
with the minimum of vacant periods to ensure that you receive the
optimum return from your property.
Guide for Landlords
Before a property can be let, there are several matters which the owner will need to deal with to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that he/she complies with the law. We provide summarised information below. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Preparing The Property
We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job, but it is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
Personal items, ornaments etc.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant`s own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants` responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant and 1 for the agent to hold in case of Emergencies. Where we will be managing the property we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee`s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can provide information on Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance for more information.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before he can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.
What is a Private Residential Tenancy?
Most tenancies in Scotland will be Private Residential Tenancies, Since December 2017 this is the type of tenancies used when the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies no longer have a fixed term and the notice period for tenants is 28 days where as for a landlord it is either 28 days or 84 days depending on the grounds and the period the tenant has been in the property.
Health and Safety, and other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are managing the property they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the landlord.
Annual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Energy Performance Certificate
From 4 January 2009 private landlords must provide all new tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The EPC for homes will be similar to those used for white goods. They will have an energy rating of between A and G, with A being the most energy efficient and G needing to use the most energy.
The certificate will also give information on which, if any, of the basic energy saving measures could be installed in that property to reduce the fuel use, for example loft insulation or cavity wall insulation.
An energy certificate needs to be displayed in each rental property you own, for example next to the gas or electricity meter, and copies will have to be given to all potential tenants before they decide whether or not to move into the property.
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are `supplying in the course of business`. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – `Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. The Repairing Standard requires for all electrical appliances/ items provided in the tenancy are PAT Tested and that there should be a valid satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report for the property.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law `duty of care` means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. The Repairing Standard requires that all smoke alarms installed since 2007 must be mains powered and that there should be 1 located in each circulation area(Halls / landings), 1 in the main living area and a heat detector in the kitchen. They all need to be interlinked.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities.
For further information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people`s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and commonhold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises.
Learn more here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/dda_factsheet4-premises.pdf
From 3rd September 2007, private landlords in Scotland have a duty to ensure that rented accommodation meets a basic standard of repair called the “Repairing Standard” under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
The Act sets out the criteria that must be met if a property is to comply with the Repairing Standard, including the requirement that the property has satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire.
The Repairing Standard basic standard of repair includes the following;
Accommodation must be wind and watertight and reasonably fit for human habitation
- The structure and exterior must be in a reasonable state of repair
- Installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
- Fixtures and fittings and any appliances provided by the landlord must be in a reasonable state of repair and in good working order
- Any furnishings provided by the landlord must be able to be used safely and for the purpose they are intended for
- There must be a satisfactory means of detecting and warning about fire (such as smoke alarms)
We hope that you will find the above information useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.