When entering into a tenancy agreement, it is essential that all parties have done everything possible to protect themselves throughout the term of the agreement. Often, Landlord’s fail to provide their Tenant with all the relevant documents which prevents their rights of evicting the tenant. Below, we have listed what a Landlord should do before the tenancy starts. If some of these obligations are not met at the start of entering a tenancy agreement, then some rights which may come useful at a later stage, will be invalid.
Check the Tenancy agreement There are a number of clauses which must be in the tenancy agreement to ensure the Landlord is protected. For example, clause on damages and insurance. Clause on date of payment. Clause on termination etc. Without all the relevant clauses, this could prevent you from actioning your rights at a later stage. For example, if the tenant has not been paying the rent on time, unless the payment dates is made clear in the tenancy agreement, they technically would not be doing anything wrong. We recommend that you show the tenancy agreement to a solicitor before you sign it.
Obtain and provide EPC Provide the Tenant with an EPC – Energy Performance Certificate. If you do not have an EPC, then you will need to arrange for this. It demonstrates how energy efficient the property is. You will need to provide the Tenant with a copy of the EPC the day they move in. it may be worth getting the Tenant to sign a document to confirm they have received the EPC. If the EPC is not provided, the tenancy may be deemed as invalid and many rights of the Landlord will therefore be void. i.e. when trying to evict the tenant.
Protect Deposit You can take a deposit of up to 5 weeks with of rent from the Tenant before they move in. You will need to put your Tenant’s deposit into a government-deposit-scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Here are some useful links in protecting the deposit: https://www.depositprotection.com/ https://www.mydeposits.co.uk/ https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/ If the deposit is not protected, then the Tenant could make an application to the court and this will be detrimental to the Landlord. Not protecting the deposit could also mean that the Landlord cannot evict their Tenant under section 21 (our article on section 21 will be published in our next edition newsletter).
Provide up to date ‘how to rent’ guide The Landlord will need to download and provide the Tenant with the most recent ‘how to rent’ guide. The guide can be found on the Residential Landlord’s Association website: https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/documents/how-to-rent.shtml You must provide the latest up to date guide again when the tenancy is renewed. If you do not provide your tenant with a ‘how to rent’ guide, any section 21 notices to evict the Tenant will be invalid.
Provide gas safety certificate Landlord’s will need to ensure that the property is safe before renting it out. Therefore, they will need to get a qualified gas safe registered engineer to check the property and provide a report. The gas safety certificate needs to be provided to the Tenants within 28 days of them moving into the property It would be good to get the Tenants to sign a document confirming that they received this document. Without the gas safety certificate, the Landlord will not be able to evict via section 21.
If you are not sure if you have take the necessary steps and you do not want to sign the agreement until you are sure, we advise that you run your tenancy agreement by a solicitor first.
Here is a summarised checklist:
Landlord duties summarised: 1. Make sure all necessary clauses are n tenancy agreement. 2. Provide Energy Performance Certificate. 3. Register the deposit under the deposit protection scheme and provide certificate to Tenant. 4. Provide ‘how to rent’ guide. 5. Provide gas and safety certificate.
Need more advice? We do free private and confidential initial consultations, so please give us a call if you have any questions on 01234 810786.