Some legal bits and bobs (Important!)
Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2007
You will need to ensure that your property and the new tenancy meet the regulations set down by the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2007. Landlords need to supply the correct tenancy terms, rent books and fitness inspections - with fines of up to £2500 to be paid by landlords who fail to comply. Don’t worry though - by using Patton Property Ltd you’ll be secure in the knowledge that we will supply all the correct documentation you require!
Landlord Registration Scheme
With effect from 25th February 2013 all landlords must register as private landlords. This can be done online and costs £70 for a three year registration. visit www..nidirect.gov.uk/lamdlords
Council Fitness Certificates
These certificates are required from for all properties which meet the following criteria:-
Built before 1945 OR
Built before 1978 with a 1978 NAV of £140 or less whether rent restricted or not
These certificates are a “one-off” and obtained from the Environmental Health Department of the local council for an approximate cost of £50. This must be in place before the start date of any contract but advertising can commence before it is produced.
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPCs)
From 30th December, 2008 all rental properties require an Energy Performance Certificate before advertising can take place, viewings be arranged etc. This certificate will be valid for a period of 10 years regardless of how many tenants you have during that period.
Patton Property Ltd will arrange your EPC unless you can provide an existing certificate (by email only and only Full Management or Letting Only package client).
If you don't have an EPC we will organise this for you at an additonal cost. This service will be outsourced to an EPC assessor.
All new tenancies granted from 1st April, 2013 will require the deposit to be protected under a recognised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Where we are managing agents for the property we will transact this guarantee on your behalf and ensure compliance with the scheme. Where we are providing a letting only service we will provide you with the necessary forms.
Some General Advice about letting your property
A well presented property which is clean, tidy, neutrally decorated throughout and ready for occupation will let much quicker and for more money than one in a poorer state. It’s vital all the plumbing, heating, electrics etc are all in good working condition before the tenant moves in.
Most properties are now let “unfurnished”. However this means that the property is still complete with flooring throughout, blinds and/or curtains throughout and cooking facilities. Should you wish to let a furnished property it is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings, and these should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items to be left are in the property during viewings. If you are still unsure about certain items we will be able to advise. Our property managers can advise whether furnished or unfurnished letting would be most suitable for your property.
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.
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. Where we will be managing 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 give you information on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.
Rates and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of 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 handled for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
Landlord’s are advised to visit the following website and contact Land & Property Services so that they can take advantage of either a landlord or agent discount on the rates accounts. These currently are 7.5% and 15% respectively. Visit www.lpsni.gov.uk/index/rating/landlords.htm for full information and terms and conditions.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord's Agent are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
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. However we are not accredited inventory clerks and if you require an inventory that could, for example, be used in a claim against tenants then you should employ such clerks.
Some Health & Safety bits and bobs (Important!)
Health and Safety - Gas
Annual safety check
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 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 (i.e. a “GAS SAFE REGISTER” registered gas installer).
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
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-in being carried out.
Health and Safety - Electrical
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations electrical appliances and equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. It is therefore necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and remove or replace any faulty items. However a landlord should be able to prove that any electrical appliances in the property are safe and for this reason we recommend that an electrical report is arranged via an authorised electrical contractor for properties older than five years old.
Consumer Protection - Fire
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 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. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
Viewing appointments are available most days excluding Sundays.
Our call centre is open 24/7 for tenants, and to make any enquiries you have