General Guidelines for Letting Properties

A good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy and but it is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home.

General condition
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 landlord's expense unless misuse can be established.

Appliances
Appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established.

Personal items, ornaments
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant's own use.

Gardens
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.

Cleaning
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the tenant's responsibility to leave the property in similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.

Mail forwarding
Make use of the Post Office redirection service. Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal. It is not the tenant's responsibility to forward mail.

Information for the tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the tenant on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected. Equally a list of local services and restaurants is always helpful.

Smoke Alarms

The building Regulations 1991 require that all properties built since 1992 must have mains operated and inter linked smoke alarms fitted on every floor, but it does not cover most tenanted properties. However, it is generally agreed 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 that is not suitably fitted with smoke alarms. It is recommended that a smoke alarm be fitted to each floor (hallway and landing areas).

To ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of ALL ‘legal requirements’ and ‘duty of care’, please contact your Local Area Office of the Health and Safety / Environmental Health Department / The Department of Trade and Industry or similar bodies who will advise you accordingly.

The maximum penalty imposed in a Magistrates Court (or Scottish equivalent) for non-compliance of the above regulations is a fine of £5,000. If a case is then referred to a Crown Court (e.g. where contravention has led to a serious injury or death) an unlimited fine or custodial sentence may be imposed. If found to be non-compliant of the above regulations any insurance regarding the tenanted property may be null and void.

Fire Safety

The following fire safety regulations should be adhered to:

·         Fireguards should meet BS3248 standards.

·         Fire extinguishers should be marked BS5423 1987.

·         Fire blankets should be marked BS6575 1985.