Residential Landlords Granting Assured Shorthold Tenancies – Information
Our residential conveyancing solicitors are regularly asked to assist our clients who, as landlords of residential property, are worried about what they should do before granting an assured shorthold tenancy.
Here is a checklist of some of the matters we advise them to consider for properties in England:
- obtaining reliable references about the proposed tenants: their previous tenant history, their employment or ability to pay rent;
- asking for a Guarantor to guarantee the rental payments and the other tenant’s tenancy obligations;
- asking for a deposit. This should be no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000 or six weeks’ rent where the annual rent is £50,000 or more. Any deposit must be paid into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme promptly and the tenant must be provided with the prescribed information within 30 days from receipt of the deposit;
- where the tenant is receiving housing benefit, asking for a letter of authority from the tenant to contact the benefits officer about the tenant’s benefits claims;
- so there is an accurate record at the start of the tenancy, preparing an agreed inventory listing all the furniture, fittings and fixtures in the property and a schedule of condition in respect of those items and the decorative order and cleanliness of each room;
- ensuring that any furniture provided has a manufacturer’s label stating that it meets fire resistance requirements;
- ensuring that the property is fitted with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and ensure they are in full working order at the start of the tenancy;
- obtaining a Gas Safety Certificate confirming that all gas appliances and flues have been checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. This must be done and the certificate given to the tenant before the start of the tenancy and repeated every 12 months;
- ensuring that all electrical equipment is safe;
- obtaining an energy performance certificate (EPC) for the property and providing a copy to the tenant before the start of the tenancy showing that the property has a lawful energy rating;
- before the start of the tenancy, giving the tenant the most up-to-date Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government guide called: How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England;
- ensuring that the property is maintained in good order to comply with the landlords’ statutory and contractual maintenance responsibilities;
- accounting for income tax as required on any profit from renting out the property;
- considering whether the property is an HMO (house in multiple occupation) and if so, checking whether a licence is required from the Local Authority and there is compliance with all the HMO requirements;
- obtaining mortgagee’s consent, if applicable, for sub-letting the property;
- obtaining appropriate insurance and notifying insurers of the sub-letting if required;
- complying with obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in respect of personal data obtained from the tenant; any lawful occupiers and any Guarantors. This may include serving Privacy Notices. Failure to comply with requirements of the GDPR could result in significant fines and liability.
- preparing a well drafted written tenancy agreement recording clearly and covering fully the important terms of the rental and all the obligations expected of the landlord and the tenant during the tenancy including how to end it.
Contact our Residential Property Solicitors
If you require any specific advice or assistance about granting an assured shorthold tenancy, please contact Muscatt Black Graf by telephone on 0207 586 1141 or by email to email@example.com, or fill in our online contact form.
Please note this checklist is non-exhaustive. This blog was prepared on 06 March 2020. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.