Essential guide for Landlords

Posted on December 8, 2017 in Landlords

Becoming a landlord means letting out properties to tenants, ensuring that these properties adhere to the essential rules and regulations for the rental market. It’s important that landlords understand their responsibilities as many of them are legal, meaning not adhering to them could land you in trouble.

Making sure properties are safe and legal

Arguably the first step in ensuring a property is safe is to make sure it has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This needs to be available to prospective tenants during viewings.

An EPC gives information on how energy efficient a property is as well as the carbon emissions of the property. The running costs of heating, hot water and lighting are also included. The certificate is valid for 10 years.

It is now a legal obligation for all rental properties to have an EPC, and properties cannot be put on the market until a certificate has been obtained.

When it comes to gas safety, government legislation states all landlords need a Landlord’s Gas Safety Gas Certificate, which has been issued by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and details all gas appliances in a property.

A Gas Safety Certificate lasts for 12 months and needs to be renewed on an annual basis whilst properties remain let. Copies of the certificate need to be given to landlords and tenants.

Any appliances included as part of an inventory for a tenancy should be tested for safety. Landlords have a legal duty to make sure all portable electrical appliances like fridges and washing machines are safe. A PAT safety certificate can be obtained to show this has been done.

When letting a property out, landlords should check that fixed wiring is safe, and this can be done by having a Periodic Inspection and Report (PIR) undertaken. This will be carried out and signed off by authorised electricians. The report will identify areas that need attention along with recommendations of what work could be done to bring these issues up to the required standard.

Fire safety for landlords is an important responsibility, and one, which needs to be adhered to correctly. Since October 2015, landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm fitted to each floor of a property, along with carbon monoxide alarms installed in rooms that have a solid fuel burning appliance like a coal fire. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure these alarms work before the commencement of a tenancy.

What other obligations do landlords have?

The presentation of a property before the start of a new tenancy is the landlord’s responsibility. It’s common for a professional cleaning service to be used to include the cleaning of carpets and curtains. Any exterior areas like gardens should be well presented, with grass that has been mowed.

Landlords are also obliged to offer assistance when it comes to maintaining and repairing a property. These repairs include the exterior and structure of a building including damage to roofs, guttering, drains, windows and walls if any damage is the result of structural problems.

The interior of a property is also the landlord’s responsibility when it comes to maintaining the supply of water, gas, electricity, and sanitary systems.

For tenancies starting after 6 April 2007, landlords must put deposits in a government-backed scheme. This legislation came into force due to deposits being unfairly withheld at the end of tenancies.

Tenancy agreements

When it comes to tenancy agreements, the majority of tenancies are classed as Assured Shorthold Tenancies. This means landlords have more rights when it comes to claiming possession of properties, with a more efficient way of doing this.

The minimum period for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is six months, but many tenancies are entered into for a 12-month period. If break clauses are included in an original tenancy, then it means either a tenant or landlord has the legal right to end a tenancy before the expiry of the written tenancy, if sufficient notice is served.

Becoming a landlord means adhering to the legal responsibilities and duties set out, for the safety of tenants. It also means that the maintenance and repairs of the rented property are the responsibility of the landlord, and properties that are to be put on the market need to be fit for habitation in terms of safety and cleanliness.

UK Property Market Report

Posted on November 25, 2017 in Landlords, Sell

The UK property market is constantly fluctuating and can be a difficult subject to understand. To make things easier, our property market report will help you understand the current property climate, whether it’s the right time to rent, and whether your home will be worth more or less right now.

The UK property market enjoyed a period of growth towards the end of 2017

The turbulent politics of 2017 left many homeowners and potential buyers wondering which way our property market would turn. And, according to the latest house price index as released by the Land Registry, the market has seen a marginal decline in recent months. Their statistics showed that the annual house price growth was at 4.5% in October, which showed a small decline of 0.6% from September’s statistics. This puts the most recent average UK house price at £223,807.

As you may have noticed, statistics can vary. However, because the Land Registry’s data is based on information from actual property sale completions as opposed to mortgage approvals or asking price data that has been gathered from online portals, it is the most reliable view of the UK housing market and its performance. This also means that the Land Registry releases its house price reports with a two-month delay.

Rental values have recently increased

In the more promising news, according to the JLL UK Property Index, rental values have increased by 0.6% over the third quarter (July, August and September). This has seen the first good annual rental growth figure of 2.2%, in the last five quarters. This is positive news for anyone who may be considering purchasing property for rent, or who may be looking towards renting out a current property.

How was the UK property market split?

The property market can have a large difference between the North and South, with London being the most expensive location to buy and rent property. According to the JLL UK Property Index Q3 (third quarter) report, London and the South East of England surpassed the rest of the country with a property return of 3.9% as compared to the 2.8% that the rest of the country saw.
 

What are the UK housing market forecasts?

As stated by the JLL residential forecast, the UK housing market is going to experience a slower state of growth than what has been seen over the last 20 years. Major factors in the increasing growth of the UK housing market included an expanding population, low-interest rates and the relative affordability to incomes. However, with these factors all plateauing, we’re expecting to see this reflected in the property climate. The UK’S decision to leave the EU will also factor into a weaker market.

Statistics have led JLL to forecast that 2018 and 2019 will see a marginal growth in the housing and rental market with a prediction of just 1% house price growth in 2018 and 2% in 2019. The rental market is expected to remain slightly stronger during this period, however, rental growth will also be weaker than expected at around 2% per annum. Interestingly, alongside other factors, this slow growth is predicted to also contribute to a stronger house price growth outside of the London and South East Region. This is exciting news for the rest of the UK and may see house prices begin to catch up to these more expensive areas.

What does this mean for you?

The current property climate and housing forecast will affect people differently, depending on their circumstances. As the next year appears to have a marginal growth in UK house prices as compared to recent times, but a stronger property rental market, investors are more likely to be inclined to buy to let, rather than buy to sell. This may also influence long-term tenant decisions, giving them an incentive to get on the property ladder and become a first-time buyer as house prices face smaller and slower growth. For homeowners who are considering in moving forward and placing their property for sale, this news shouldn’t affect their decision too much, as we can expect property prices to hover around their current prices, although the prospect of rental may now be more appealing.

Interested in finding out more? Whether you’re looking into letting, selling or buying property, chat with one of our friendly agents today and learn how you can benefit from our online estate agency.

ABOUT RELIANCE PROPERTIES

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