Your tenant is likely to have an assured shorthold tenancy if; you are a private landlord, the tenancy began on or after 28th February 1997.
Tips for Landlords before you sign an AST
Ensure you have a written agreement with your agent so it is clear what responsibilities this agent is carrying out on your behalf.
If you intend to rent a property you have previously lived in as an owner you should inform your mortgage company and insurer. There may be restrictions on your mortgage and you may need to amend your insurance cover.
Ensure you ask prospective tenants for a reference from a former landlord if possible to reduce your risks.
Use a written tenancy agreement as this will help ensure your tenant knows what they are responsible for, such as who pays utility bills, how long the tenancy is for and arrangements for paying the rent.
Agree an inventory with a Tenant before they move in. This will make things easier if there is a dispute over the return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy. Take a look at our guide to inventories for Landlords.
Ensure you provide your Tenant with correct contact details so your tenant can get in touch if there are any problems.
If you (or your agent) accept a deposit from your Tenants ensure you protect this deposit in one of the government authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. This is a legal requirement if you use an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. For further information, see our guide to accepting deposits for Landlords.
Provide a gas safety certificate if there are any gas appliances in the property. It is a legal requirement to have an annual gas safety check carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer and to provide your tenant with the certificate within 28 days of each annual check. For more information, take a look at our Gas Safety checklist for Landlords.
Once the tenancy has begun
Keep the property in good repair. Local authorities have powers to take action against Landlords if the property contains serious health & safety hazards.
Things Landlords shouldn’t do
Don’t leave problems to fester – speak to your tenant at an early stage and if relationships break down contact your local authority who may be able to mediate for you.
Don’t leave large sums of rent with your agent for long periods –make sure rent is paid to you on a regular basis and that this is included in your agreement with the agent.
Don’t neglect the repair or maintenance of the property - local authorities have powers to take action against you if the property contains serious health and safety hazards.
Don’t try and remove your tenant by changing the lock or throwing out their possessions. This is illegal and you could be prosecuted.
Information contained in this article may have changed since it was first published. Ezylet strongly advises you to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.