First Stages of Renting Your Property
We will initially view the property to assess its rental value. At this point we will answer any questions you may have and determine the most suitable service to meet your requirements. We will also be able to make recommendations where necessary that could potentially increase the rental value of your property. Our advice at this point is completely free and aimed at making sure you have a firm understanding of all your obligations before proceeding to let your property.
Marketing your property
Once you have decided to appoint us as your agent, one of our representatives shall visit the property in order to take some internal and external photographs. We shall use the photographs and the information we have collected to create an attractive advert which we shall display whilst marketing your property.
In order to maximise property exposure, our website is updated daily and our properties are listed on market leading property portals
Our highly trained and efficient staff will make sure that the best service is delivered to both the landlord and tenant.
Presenting the property
As the lettings market becomes more and more competitive, it is important that the property is presented in the best way possible. Without this, the property could remain empty for longer as well as affecting its rental value.
To help a rental property appeal to a wider market, we would suggest the following:
Keep the colours in the property neutral.
Gardens must be kept maintained (when a tenant occupies the property, the maintenance of the garden becomes their responsibility).
Keep the equipment provided and furnishings as contemporary as possible (can still basic).
Check for any grouting issues in places such as the bathroom. Any mould issues here can really effect a prospective tenant's decision to rent the property.
If the property is a flat with a communal entrance and hallway, make sure that for the benefit of all tenants that this area is kept tidy and clear of debris at all times.
Double glazing and gas central heating is another popular feature amongst prospective tenants.
In general, try to find and rectify any damages around the property that can be easily seen or experienced.
Obtaining the tenants and referencing
Arguably the most important factor when letting the property is the prospective tenant. The whole success of letting depends on finding the right tenant. If an applicant wishes to proceed with a tenancy, We will assess their suitability.
The references aim to check that each tenant is creditworthy by for example checking for CCJ’s and arrears and obtaining employer, landlord and character references. Once references have been received, we will contact you to confirm the results of this and advise of the proposed checking in date.
All necessary legal paperwork, including an inventory will be prepared and signed and any outstanding balances settled by the tenant before the tenancy commences.
Important Safety and Legal Requirements
Gas Safety Safety guide
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 say landlords must ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe for tenant’s use and that installation, maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a technician registered with the Gas Safety Register (which superseded CORGI on 1st April 2009).
The landlord must keep a record of the safety check for two years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.
Electrical Safety Safety guide
Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
All electrical certification should be carried out by an electrician whom is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installers and Contractors (NICEIC). There are two types of electrical certificate:
Periodic Inspection Report
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) FAQ
.Fire Safety Safety guide
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993) sets minimum fire resistance standards for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery that remain in a dwelling during the course of a tenancy.
These include any of the following which contain upholstery:
furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children's furniture
beds, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size)
sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling
scatter cushions, pillows, seat pads and loose and stretch covers for furniture
The Regulations do not apply to:
furniture made before 1950
bed-clothes (including duvets)
loose covers for mattresses
For items that do apply, a suitable label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a potential purchaser of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease. Examples of these labels can be seen above.
What is Right to Rent?
Right to Rent requires landlords in England to check that all tenants who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK. This means that before you can rent a home in England, a landlord or letting agent must undertake passport and immigration checks prior to letting out the property.
The Home Office introduced Right to Rent checks with the aim of making it harder for people to live and work in the UK illegally. Tenancies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not currently subject to Right to Rent checks.
As a private tenant in England, if your tenancy began on or after 1 February 2016 and the property you are renting is your main home, you must prove that you have a legal status to live in the UK.
Right to Rent checks
When carrying out a Right to Rent check, your landlord or letting agent must:
Landlords must now find out which adults will be living at the property as their main home or only home, and they must make sure they see the original documents providing tenants with the right to live in the UK.
People who have the right to rent include anyone:
Checking the original documents is one of the main duties for landlords. To do this:
You can find a useful user guide to document checks here.
When you check the documents, you should make a copy of each one for your records, making sure you copy every page with their details, and also make a record of the date you make the check.
You should then keep these copies throughout the tenancy and for one year after it ends.
Importantly, you will also have to follow data protection law, details of which you can find here.
The documents may be with the Home Office, in which case you will have to use the landlord's checking service – you will find this here, and you can call the helpline on 0300 069 9799. The tenant should have a Home Office reference number that you can use.
If you find that the tenant's permission to live in the UK is limited, you need to make a further check, otherwise you can be given a fine (a civil penalty) if their permission time runs out during the residency.
You should make this check before their expiry date or 12 months after the previous check has been made. If you find that the tenant's time has run out, you must inform the Home Office, or again you could receive a fine.
If you do not carry out the check and you end up renting your property to someone who does not have the right to rent, you could receive a fine of £3,000.
As a landlord or agent, it is your responsibility to comply with the new Right to Rent rules, so make sure you understand exactly what you have to do. This link at Gov.uk provides full details of the process, so read through it and make sure you contact the authorities if you are in any doubt about what you have to do – rather than risking a fine for failing to comply.
Please note Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms will be mandatory from October 2022
From the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. Changes are also made to the licence requirements in relation to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsits which require a licence and also in relation to properties which are subject to selective licensing. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.
Energy Performance Certificate
What are the current EPC requirements?
Since October 2008, rental properties in England and Wales have required an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
On April 1st 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force. This required all properties being let or sold in England and Wales to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ or above.
How have EPC requirements changed?
From 1st April 2020, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards apply to all existing tenancies – not just new ones or renewals.
If your property doesn’t have a valid EPC rating of ‘E’ or above by this date, it cannot be legally let.
What are the new EPC regulations for landlords in 2022?
After a consultation in December 2020, the government have announced changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for England and Wales.
The government have proposed that all rental properties will need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above by 2025. Similar to the previous changes, the new regulations will be introduced for new tenancies first, followed by all tenancies from 2028.
The regulation changes hope to make homes more energy-efficient and reduce carbon emissions as part of the government target to be net-zero by 2050.
The penalty for not having a valid EPC will also be raised from £5,000 to £30,000 from 2025.
The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save money and help the environment.
Houses in Multilple Occupancy
If the landlord wishes to rent their property to multiple occupants, it may mean that a licence is required before the property can be legally rented. Houses in Multiple Occupation are also referred to as “HMOs” and the purpose of the licensing scheme is to improve management and safety standards in this area of the rental sector.
It is now a mandatory duty for:
All Local Authorities to have a licensing scheme
Owners of certain types of HMOs to have a licence
For further information on houses in multiple occupation and how this may effect you as a landlord, please speak to one of our representatives or click on the link below
Coventry Council HMO Licence Fees and charges
Licence fee structure consists of two stages:
Your application is not “duly made” until the stage 1 fee is paid.
|Application type||Stage 1 fee||Stage 2 fee||Total fee|
|Higher Rate New Application - New application for a one-year licence where the HMO has been found to be operating unlicensed for more than 12 weeks||£625.00||£1,185.00||£1,810.00|
|Standard New Application -
New application for a one-year* licence where:
i) The HMO was acquired and/or began operating as an HMO within the previous 12 weeks; or
ii) The licence expired before a valid renewal application was completed; or
iii) Change of existing licence holder.
*May be eligible for longer licence in cases of i) or iii) if licence holder holds other HMO licences with us and all relevant criteria are met at time of application
|New application – Two-year licence where all eligibility criteria are met||£625.00||£275.00||£900.00|
|New application – Five year licence where all eligibility criteria are met||£625.00||£190.00||£815.00|
|Standard Renewal - Renewal of a licence||£625.00||£165.00||£790.00|
Please note that in order to be eligible for a renewal licence, you must submit your application while the existing licence is still current, and you must be the existing licence holder - HMO Licences are not transferable, so an application made by a new owner is de facto a new application.
A renewal fee applies only if the licence is being renewed for the same period as the existing licence. If, upon the expiration of your current licence, you wish to renew for a different period (to a maximum of five years), you must pay the new application fee for the new licence length. Please note that if you were issued a five year licence under the pre-2019 structure, you will need to evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria in order to renew for five years.
We will issue a receipt for all payment methods upon request.
|HMO licensing advice (per visit) – optional visit to determine whether the property is suitable to be licensed and advise on requirements for property to be used as an HMO.||£260.00 plus VAT (£312.00)
|Charge for printing and posting Paper HMO Applications.||£33.00|
|Charge for additional Paper HMO Applications.||£11.00|
The licensing fees are set to recover the administrative and inspection costs. We can only offer refunds upon withdrawal of an application as below.
Stage 1 fees for withdrawn applications will no longer be refundable from 1 April 2022. However, we will continue to assess requests for refunds depending on specific circumstances on a case by case basis.
If you withdraw your HMO licence application and it is subsequently found that you are operating the property as an HMO then you will be required to make a new application and may be subject to formal enforcement action for operating an unlicensed HMO.
As a Landlord, you will be liable for tax on rental income and you must inform the Inland Revenue that you are letting the premises.
There are a number of allowances that you can claim against on your rental income. You should seek advice on these allowances from your accountant or from the Inland Revenue website which can be accessed on www.hmrc.gov.uk. You must also keep all your invoices for six years for taxpurposes.
The Inland Revenue has special rules regarding the collection of tax on rental income if you are a Landlord who is resident overseas, or you subsequently move abroad. If you fall into this category it is your responsibility to obtain a tax approval number from the Inland Revenue. The relevant form and guidance notes can be down loaded from the above website. Until that approval number is given to us by the Inland Revenue. Benburys are legally obliged to deduct tax from your rental income at the prevailing rate which is currently 20%. This money is forwarded to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis. If the tenant pays you direct and he has not received approval from the Inland Revenue to pay the rent gross he must deduct tax and forward that to the Inland Revenue on your behalf. No person is exempt from this scheme.
If your intention is to reside abroad then we can offer the following services:
Arrange for annual rental accounts to be prepared by a local firm of chartered accountants and be submitted to the Inland Revenue at the end of each tax year. Details available on request.
Tax saving schemes relating to earned income abroad and the possibilities of re-investing your income to receive tax-free interest. Again we have the expert advice of a firm of financial consultants on hand, details are available.
The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 every landlord or letting agent that takes a deposit for an Assured Short-hold Tenancy in England and Wales must join a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The new regulations came into effect from April 6, 2007. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure good practice. The secondary purpose of the new regulations is to try and keep disputes between landlords and tenants out of the courts by encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In November 2006 three companies were awarded contracts by The Government to run Tenancy Deposit Schemes:
The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)
Insurance backed schemes
Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) (now trading as my deposits)
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
Changes Since 1st June 2019 What can a landlord now charge for?
As you may already know, the law around what tenants can be charged for when starting new tenancies changed recently.
The Tenant Fees Act, which came into force at the start of June 2019, says that landlords and letting agents can no longer charge for a range of admin fees that they previously had. It’s also capped tenancy deposits to five weeks.
But because this new law hasn’t been around for long, tenants are understandably trying to get to grips with what this new legislation specifically means for them.
We’ve seen lots of questions posted online about what the Tenant Fees Act does and doesn’t cover, so here’s our brief Q&A for renters which we hope you find useful.
What can landlords charge renters under the Tenant Fees Act?
For properties in England, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant’s behalf) the following permitted payments:
Can landlords demand professional cleaning at the end of tenancy
This is a question Rightmove has seen pop up a lot recently. The short answer is no – your landlord can’t force you to pay for a professional to clean your property at the end of your tenancy for any new tenancies. However, if your tenancy contract began before June this year, and in it you agreed to pay for cleaning services to be provided, then a landlord or agent can carry on charging these fees up until 31 May 2020. But from 1 June 2020, this will no longer be the case.
The best way to avoid a charge is to leave the property in the same state – or better – as when you moved in. That way you should have nothing to worry about. A landlord or letting agent can’t make you use the services of a specific cleaning firm at the end of your tenancy, but they can charge you for their own cleaning costs if the property is not left in a fit condition for the next tenant. To ensure you cover yourself as much as possible, we recommend you walk around the property when you first move in and make an inventory list of every detail you see, along with notes and photographs. It’s important to make a note of the state of the furniture, and the décor, as well as the overall cleanliness of the property. You should then share this with your landlord within a day or two. What this means is that when you come to vacate the property, both you and your landlord will be working from the same starting point should any disagreements arise.
You can’t be made to use a specific cleaning company at the end of your tenancy. But you must clean the property to the same standard as it was when you moved in. In essence, you should return the property in the condition you found it, notwithstanding any fair wear and tear. A landlord can’t withhold money from your deposit for any changes to the property which are a result of fair wear and tear.
No – a landlord can’t charge you a fee for leaving the property on a Saturday (or at any time across the weekend). The same applies to checking out of a property in the evening.
If you want to read the full details of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, read the Government’s official literature here.