I am a Landlord or Tenant

What do you need to consider before renting out a property?

If you are thinking about renting out a property for the first time, it is important to consider whether you want to manage this yourself, or if you want to appoint a Letting Agent to handle this on your behalf. Appointing an Agent will obviously have cost implications, but it will significantly reduce the amount of time and risk you will need to invest should you handle this yourself.  
If you decide to appoint a Letting Agent, it is worth investigating the range of services different Agents will offer. Most letting agents will provide a basic service whereby they will find a tenant for you and you will pay a fee. The amount you pay might be just a one off fee or it might be a percentage of the rental income. If you also require the Letting Agent to ensure that the rent is collected then this would involve extra cost.

Renting out a property usually involves a lot more than just finding a tenant and collecting the rent. Before any property is sold or rented, it will need to have an Energy Performance Certificate issued. Once issued these are valid for 10 years. The property also needs regular maintenance such as keeping the plumbing system in a good state of repair. If the property is connected to mains gas - you will need to have Gas Safety Certificate. This needs to be renewed every year. A survey of the Electrics will either need to be carried out before any new Tenants move in,  or surveyed every 5 years if the same tenant is occupying the property for more than 5 years.  In both cases it will also need to be renewed every 5 years. You will also need to have regular agreed checks in place to ensure that the tenant is doing his part to keep the property in a reasonable state.

What should Tenants consider before renting a property?

When you have found a property you are interested in renting, it is important to look at the conditions of the rental agreement or lease very carefully. Most agreements are for an agreed period of time, usually 6 months or 1 year, but some agreements also have set periods for rent review included in them. In cases such as these, it is worth getting some professional advice from an independent expert.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme was introduced in 2007. This means that the security deposit you pay when renting a property is now protected.The scheme states that if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, your landlord or letting agent must place your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection(TDP) scheme within 30 days of getting it. These government-backed schemes ensure you’ll get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don't damage the property and pay your bills and rent.

What should you do in the case of a Dispute?

If you have a dispute regarding the return of a security deposit, you may consider raising a tenancy deposit dispute with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  Their website has all the details of when, and how to do this.

If you have have had a Schedule of Condition drawn up at the beginning of a lease and a Schedule of Dilapidation at the end of a lease, which have been agreed between both landlord and tenant, these will often help prevent any problems arising.

In serious cases where no agreement can be reached, you may wish to consider employing the services of an Expert Witness to help prove your case.