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Letting a property, particularly for the first time, can be a daunting prospect. We are here to help, advise and make it as smooth as possible. Some items unfortunately remain your responsibility as the landlord, including the safety of your tenants as the tenancy agreement terms are between the Landlord and the Tenant.

Here is our guide to them and the letting process, but if you have any questions remaining, please feel free to give us a call.

Please find below our "Terms of Business" and "Property Questionaire" together with some of the very important health & safety and legislative requirements that you need to be aware of.
 

Gas and electricity appliances

The law usually sides with the tenant in any cases involving safety issues that could have been prevented by a simple health and safety check. 

You must ensure that each gas appliance is checked for safety at intervals of at least every 12 months by a registered contractor who will issue a Gas Safety Certificate. 

Since June 2020 all new tenancies must have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report before the tenancy commences.  This law is to be extended for all existing tenancies during 2021.

In addition, all portable appliances should be PAT tested annually. 

All electrical works must be completed by a competent, suitably qualified electrician

We have contractors who will undertake these inspections and any work required undertaken at a reasonable cost. Please contact us if required. You may also nominate your own contractor. 

Smoke alarms

You must have a smoke alarm on each floor and a fire blanket in the kitchen is also recommended. All smoke alarms including mains operated ones have an expiry date and they must be in date and regularly tested as working starting from the commencement of the tenancy. The legislation is due to be introduced during 2021 that smoke alarms will need to be mains and inter-linked..

A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in all properties with gas and solid fuel even though current regulations specify solid fuel only. These alarms should be in date and regularly tested starting from the commencement of the tenancy.

Remember as a landlord, you have a liability for a tenant’s safety and any precautions you have taken at the start of the tenancy will be recognised should any problems occur at a later date. The law views tenant’s health and safety very seriously.
 

Upholstered Furniture & Furnished Lettings

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety Regulations 1988), (as amended in 1989) sets levels of fire resistance on domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. The regulations do not apply to furniture made before 1950 or the re-upholstery of furniture made before 1950. Any furniture included in the property made since 1950 must meet the fire resistance requirements. If any furnishings since this date do not have a fire label visible, non compliance must be assumed and the item must be removed before the property is let.
 

Continued compliance

Any managed property is expected to comply with all the rules/regulations applicable at the time and advice on Rules, Regulations and legal requirements in connection with letting a property can be given prior to marketing.
 

Housing health & safety rating system

This legislation is designed to identify risks and reduce the number of accidents in the home. There are 29 potential hazards to be checked and the risk assessment should be carried out on all properties offered to let. Any serious hazards such as non-toughened glazing indoors should be addressed prior to commencing a tenancy. Special care should also be taken with regards to steep steps, fish ponds etc. when letting properties to tenants with young children.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above, please get in touch with Whitton & Laing’s lettings teams in either the Exeter or Exmouth office.
 

Energy performance certificates

All let properties must now have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These are valid for 10 years from the date it was carried out. We can arrange one to be carried out if you do not have a valid one. A rental property must be rated "E" or above.
 

Mortgage and insurance

If the property to be let is subject to a mortgage, your lender may have specific requirements before it will permit a letting and therefore it is advisable to approach them with a view to obtaining permission as early as possible. The lender would usually have the power to terminate the letting if mortgage payments are not maintained and other requirements complied with and there is provision for this within the tenancy agreement with the inclusion of the relevant 2008 Housing Act Notice.
 

Buildings insurance

You remain liable for the insurance of the property. Advise your insurers that your property is to be let as this may lead to an alteration in your cover or to your premium. Your insurance may be invalidated if you do not tell them. Some insurance companies require regular inspections on non-owner occupied properties.
 

Leasehold properties

If the property is leasehold, please ensure that:

  • any intended letting is permitted by the terms of your lease
  • any tenancy is for a period expiring prior to the termination of your lease 
  • the written permission of your freeholder, if the terms of your lease requires their permission to let.
  • You are aware of any restrictive covenants within your head lease.

Joint property ownership

Authority to let the property must be obtained in writing from any joint owners who should be named in the letting agreement, and all joint owners will be required to provide photographic evidence as to their identity. All information is held in accordance with GDPR requirements.
 

Income tax

As a landlord, all income received from letting your property is liable for Income Tax. Overseas landlords should note that we are bound by law to deduct and retain tax at the basic rate before forwarding the balance to you unless a valid Tax Exemption Certificate is sent to us which is obtainable direct from the Inland Revenue. This form can be obtained and completed on-line by visiting HMRC. The certificate must be addressed to the current letting agent and is not transferable.
 

Fair wear and tear…?

Although tenants are expected to leave your property in the same condition as they found it, needless to say, nobody looks after your property as well as you do and you must prepare yourself to accept fair wear and tear to both decoration and furnishings, for the number of occupiers and the length of the tenancy. 

The definition of ‘fair wear and tear’ can vary from person to person and this is where most grievances arise between a landlord and tenant and where employing a good experienced letting agent is invaluable. Deposit schemes issue guidance as to the definition of "fair wear and tear"

Although we endeavour to vet tenants as thoroughly as possible (read more about this) references cannot always confirm that someone will make a good, reliable tenant. The final decision for tenant’s selection lies with the landlord, but we are of course able to advise and guide as required.
 

Termination of tenancy

Although tenants are expected to leave your property in the same condition as if they found it, needless to say, nobody looks after your property as well as you do and you must prepare yourself to accept fair wear and tear to both decoration and furnishings, for the number of occupiers and the length of the tenancy. 

The definition of ‘fair wear and tear’ can vary from person to person and this is where most grievances arise between a landlord and tenant and where employing a good experienced letting agent is invaluable. Deposit schemes issue guidance as to the definition of "fair wear and tear"

Although we endeavour to vet tenants as thoroughly as possible (read more about this) references cannot always confirm that someone will make a good, reliable tenant. The final decision for tenant’s selection lies with the landlord, but we are of course able to advise and guide as required.
 

And finally…

By managing the property for you, we negotiate and deal with everything mentioned above including the hassle! We are however merely caring for your investment and all decisions remain with you as the property owner. You can have as much or as little involvement with the tenancy as you wish. We do try not to incur landlords in any expense from contractors (unless an emergency) without prior consent. We have built a quality rental portfolio, based on recommendation always putting the interests of our clients first. Quality of service which is based on customer satisfaction is at the heart of our lettings services.

Lettings (Exeter & East Devon)

Call us on: Exeter 01392 285060
Email - lettings@whittonandlaing.com... or send us a message

Get in touch

Call us on 01392 259395 or send us a message...