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Are you a landlord trying to find your way through the information overload?

Let Bespoke Lettings Ltd agents manage this process for you

At Bespoke Lettings Ltd our comprehensive lettings and management service goes beyond the average High Street property management firm, as we pride ourselves in offering a tailor made service specific to your needs, ranging from a Full Property Management Service to a Tenant placement only service.

As a Landlord you have a responsibility to provide a safe and well maintained property for your tenants. Our Bespoke Property Management service is available to advise on the preparation of your property. We can arrange for qualified workmen to provide a repair service, as well as conducting relevant safety checks to ensure the property is kept to a legal and high standard.

Health and Safety Services

The letting of residential property has become quite stringent and we would advise you as a Landlord of the following important issues:

Gas Safety

Under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994, amended by Statutory Instrument 1996, and The Regulations Re-enact 1998 all gas appliances must be checked for safety at intervals of not more than 12 months. The certificate issued must note the date of inspection, defects identified and all remedial work action taken. The main amendment provisions are as follows: (i) Flues must be specifically included in any Gas Check as well as the appliance itself (ii) The gas safety check is only validated if carried out by a registered Gas Safe gas engineer (iii) A safety certificate must be issued and records of inspection must be retained for 2 years (iv) This certificate must be available to a current tenant no more than 28 days from the date of inspection (v) New tenants must be in possession of this certificate before the due date of occupancy. Since January 1996, gas fires, which are installed in bedrooms, must have an Oxygen Depletion Sensor. Ideally these sensors should be fitted in all rooms.

Electrical Safety

Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Plugs & Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994 all electrical installations in tenanted properties must be safe. The regulations apply to portable domestic electrical equipment such as: electric heaters, lamps, televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners, irons, toasters, microwaves, refrigerators, kitchen appliances. Builtin electrical goods are not covered by the regulations. As with the Gas certificate a qualified electrician should carry out an inspection of the tenanted property prior to the due date of occupancy. The same regulations applied to the availability and distribution of the gas certificate should also be applied to the electrical certificate.

Guidance

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 & Safety/Environmental Health Department/Department of Trade & Industry or similar bodies who will advise you accordingly.

Furniture & Furnishings Safety

The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1998 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide items supplied in the course of tenanted properties to comply with the minimum fire resistance test set out within the regulations. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards & mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture. Furniture manufactured before 1950 is exempt as are curtains, carpets & bed linen etc. In practice, items that comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Furniture manufactured between 1950 and 1983 should be carefully checked. All non-compliant furniture must be removed before the due date of occupancy.

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 & landing areas).

Penalties & Enforcement

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 (eg where contravention has led to a serious injury or death) an unlimited fine or custodial sentence may be imposed. If found to be non-compliance of the above regulations any insurance regarding the tenanted property may be null and void.

Additional Information

Tenancy Deposit Protection

From 6th April 2007 all deposits taken by Landlords and Letting Agents must be protected by one of three Government-backed tenancy deposit protection schemes.

The schemes provide some protection for Tenants by allowing them to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it. They also encourage Tenants and Landlords to clearly agree on the condition of the property at the start of the contract, making any disputes easier to resolve at the end of the tenancy.

There are two types of tenant deposit protection scheme available for Landlords and Letting Agents:

Custodial Schemes – where the Tenant pays the deposit to the Landlord or Letting Agent and it is then paid into the scheme for the duration of the tenancy.

Insurance-based Schemes – where the Tenant pays the deposit to the Landlord or Letting Agent and it is retained by the Landlord/Agent who pays a premium to the insurer.

At Bespoke Lettings Ltd we protect our deposits with The Deposit Protection Service (DPS), Custodial Scheme.

Energy Performance Certificate

Since the 1st October 2008 Landlords are legally required to provide prospective Tenants with and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), prior to a property viewing. The EPC determines how energy efficient homes are of A-G as well as using the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment. The certificate also includes recommendations on ways to improve the homes energy efficiency to save money and help the environment. The EPC is valid for 10 years.

What is an Inventory

An Inventory is an essential document that provides a written record that details the fixtures and fittings of a property and their condition as well as the condition of the property itself. This document should be amended, updated and recreated before the beginning of each new tenancy. This document must be carefully checked and signed by the Tenant and referred to when the Tenant is moving out.

Bespoke Lettings Ltd provide a thorough Inventory with photographs at the start of each tenancy by independent Inventory Clerks. This is to ensure that any disputes are resolved quickly and that the Landlord is protected of any costs that may be incurred from Tenant damage.

Lenders Consent

If the property is subject to a mortgage then the consent of the mortgagee should be obtained (if you do not have a Buy to Let mortgage).

Insurance

The appropriate buildings, contents and liability insurance should be taken by the Landlord. Bespoke Lettings Ltd would be happy to provide assistance with this.

Non Resident Landlords

If you are an Overseas Landlord you must apply for Tax Exemption Certificate from the Inland Revenue.


Free Government Guide

This guide is for current private residential landlords and anyone interested in letting a property in the private rented sector.

Download the Free Guide

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