What are your fire safety responsibilities?

All landlords must adhere to core rules to safeguard against fire risk. As a landlord, you need to ensure tenants are protected against all fire risks.

Escape routes
The first and most critical responsibility for all landlords is to ensure all escape routes are kept clear at all times. If your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO), all fire doors to escape routes also need to be clear at all times, and must be 30 mminutes fire resistant. Emergency lightings should also be checked. As a landlord, you can’t emphasise enough to tenants the importance of keeping fire exits clear. Conduct regular checks to ensure routes and doors remain clear at all times.

All landlords must adhere to core rules to safeguard against fire risk. As a landlord, you need to ensure tenants are protected against all fire risks.

  1. Escape routes

The first and most critical responsibility for all landlords is to ensure all escape routes are kept clear at all times. If your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO), all fire doors to escape routes also need to be clear at all times, and must be 30 minutes fire resistant. Emergency lighting should also be checked. As a landlord, you can’t emphasise enough to tenants the importance of keeping fire exits clear. Conduct regular checks to ensure routes and doors remain clear at all times.

What are the common landlord pitfalls?

  1. Fire alarms

Check that all smoke alarms and heat detectors suitable to the property are in working order. If they are battery-operated, replace the batteries and check they are working. In larger properties, all alarms should be interlinked and hardwired with a battery back-up. Landlords should test all equipment at the start of each tenancy and typically every three to six months during tenancies.You must also emphasize that the tenants need to check that the smoke alarms are in working condition once a month.

Also check the lifespan of detectors. It’s usually around 10 years. After 10 years, you should replace them because they become ineffective due to a build-up of dust and grease.

Landlord Insurance Explained

  1. Fire blankets

Apart from a fire blanket in the kitchen, there are no regulations for residential properties to have fire-fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers. Critically, however, if you are putting a fire blanket in the kitchen, brief tenants on how to use it, to avoid scalds or burns. The main reason fire-fighting equipment is not recommended for a residential property is because the focus is on escape.

Landlords should ensure that any that are supplied are in full working order, maintained and inspected annually, and that any instructions on how to operate them should be given to tenants.

Unexpected costs of being a landlord

  1. General hazards

Much fire safety advice is common sense but it’s always best to advise tenants about the dangers of leaving pans unattended, as well as other lifestyle considerations, such as leaving items on or near heaters. Tenants must be aware of chargers and other electrical appliances being plugged in too long and overheating, as well as overloading sockets. Only allow a sparker device to be used when lighting a gas cooker, as opposed to matches. You can even put a clause in the contract stating that a gas cooker can only be lit using a sparker.

How to keep your tenants happy?

  1. Electrical equipment testing

Check appliances all have PAT (portable appliance test) annually. Also ensure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark.

Everything except the boiler, cooker and solar-panel charging unit would fall into PAT test. What usually surprises landlords is that washing machines, dryers and fridge freezers are considered portable items for PAT.

Some of the rules and regulations around health and safety can be interpreted differently by local authorities. So to ensure you comply, talk to your local housing enforcement officer.

How to ensure your property is safe

  1. Annual gas safety check

The annual gas safety check is a statutory requirement for all landlords and is a fire-prevention tool. If your property is an HMO, then there will also be a requirement to get an electrical safety test. This should be done at least every five years. There also may be a requirement to get this done in smaller HMO or non-HMO properties depending on whether the local authority is requesting this as part of any additional or selective licensing schemes.

Landlords should ensure that the engineer understands what they are required to test. When you get a gas engineer to do the gas safety check, ask them to check other gas appliances too, in accordance with the manufacturers’ guidelines.

Do you need smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in rental properties?

Read more:  What is West London Property Networking?

Please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free property consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

How to manage a tenancy deposit dispute?

Most tenancies end amicably when it comes to dealing with deposit release. You can successfully manage a deposit dispute with a tenant.

1-The first step to successfully managing a deposit dispute is a detailed, professional and independent inventory. This allows a basis for the argument. Once you have a detailed inventory follow up with a check-out report based on the initial inventory report. So that, you have independent reports to outline any changes in the property (such as damage or dirtiness) between the start and end of the tenancy, should the situation escalate to dispute resolution.

Most tenancies end amicably when it comes to dealing with deposit release. In this article, though, you will discover how to successfully manage a deposit dispute with a tenant.

The importance of an inventory in a tenancy deposit dispute

The first step in successfully managing a deposit dispute is a detailed, professional and independent inventory. This allows a basis for the argument. Once you have a detailed inventory, follow up with a check-out report, basing on the initial inventory report. So that, you have independent reports to outline any changes in the property. Note downs details such as damage or dirtiness between the start and end of the tenancy, should the situation escalate to dispute resolution.

Read more: What are the common landlord pitfalls?

Obtain independent quotes for any work

When what needs to be fixed or cleaned in your property is clear, make sure you obtain independent quotes for any necessary work. Be it a professional house and carpet clean or fixing a broken sink or window, always get a professional cleaning quote. In fact, in the event of a tenancy deposit dispute, the adjudicator will only award you for the money spent and you need to have evidence of that.

Read more: What are the common issues with tenancy agreements?

In a tenancy deposit dispute, negotiation is key

Once you have all the quotes for any damage or cleaning, speak to your tenants. Try and resolve the deposit issue with your tenant without it escalating further. Discuss the issues with your tenant that need fixing as per the tenancy agreement, inventory and check-out reports. Usually, tenants will agree about most of the issues. But there may be occasions when they dispute the amounts involved.

Negotiation is key at this point. You can meet your tenants halfway. You are better off settling for slightly less than rather going to dispute resolution, which involves time and effort and paperwork. Be reasonable with your tenants. Most landlords agree that negotiation is the best option.

Read more: How to avoid tenancy void periods?

The Scheme Assistance in a tenancy deposit dispute

It is important to keep the communication going.  When a tenant notifies the deposit scheme that they wish to dispute the tenancy deposit deduction, both the landlord and tenant can agree to go through with the dispute resolution service offered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme to adjudicate the dispute.

Read more: Landlord Insurance Explained

Proving evidence to support your claim

The landlord must submit a case and provide evidence to support their claim to the tenancy deposit deductions.

The landlord evidence should include:

  • a tenancy agreement,
  • check-in
  • and check-out reports,
  • photographs
  • and any video available,
  • as well as documents relevant to the dispute that support the claim.

All claims should be cross-referenced with the relevant evidence to ensure ease of reading for the adjudicator. Landlords have 14 days to provide evidence.

Read more: 9 Signs of a good tenant

Tenants will be given the opportunity to review the dispute case and counter the landlord’s claim. Tenants are also invited to submit their own evidence.

Examples of tenant’s evidence can be:

  • images,
  • email exchanges with landlords/agents,
  • text messages,
  • or any other evidence that can help to counter a claim.

Tenants also have 14 days to act.

Read more: Unexpected costs of being a landlord

Landlords will be given another opportunity to view the dispute case and submit a further comment for the adjudicator to review. They have seven days to provide comments.

Read more: How to evict a tenant in the UK?

The adjudicator’s final decision in the tenancy deposit dispute

An independent adjudicator will review the case and their decision is final. There is no opportunity for cross-examination or to hire legal advisers. All decisions are based on the evidence submitted by the landlords and tenants. They will notify the tenant and landlord of the full and final decision. Then, they will distribute the money as per the decision.

It’s important to remember that, if you submit to adjudication, you cannot appeal against the final decision unless you challenge it through the courts.

Read more: How to handle bad tenants?

Deposit arbitration can only involve the amount of a deposit. So, if a deposit dispute exceeds the total value of the deposit, then landlords have to go to the small claims court. They would, however, have to inform the deposit scheme of their intention.

Read more:  What is West London Property Networking?

Please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free property consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

What are the common landlord pitfalls?

Don’t fall into the following 9 most common landlord pitfalls when it comes to dealing with your investment property.

1. Not referencing a potential tenant

You may be in a rush to get a tenant into your property to generate a rental income as soon as possible. However, make sure to spend enough time referencing your tenant thoroughly. Call their employer, check payslips and bank statements. Use a tenant referencing service similar to the one that NLA (National Landlord Association) provides to its members at a small cost.

Do not allow a tenant to rush you, just take your time making the decision to accept an individual as your tenant.  How to attract the best tenants?

2. Thinking the property will always be rented

Before agreeing to purchase a property, do your own financial due diligence. Ensure that you can pay the mortgage in the event that you have void periods. Make sure you have sufficient funds in the account to cover the mortgage payments when your property is vacant. How to avoid tenancy void periods?

3. Underestimating the cost of repairs or ongoing property maintenance

Maintain the property: tenants will be more likely to stay and pay their rent on time with no issues. Respond to their queries in a timely manner. Keep sufficient income to cover the costs of managing the property (i.e. painting, cleaning and carpet cleaning between tenants).

Also, have a financial plan in place in case there are any unusual circumstances as dealing with structural issues etc. Unexpected costs of being a landlord

4. View it as a business

Owning rental properties is a business and in order to generate a profit, you’ll need to operate it as such. That means establishing separate bank accounts for deposits and expenses. Use a bookkeeping system and consulting a tax professional. They will ensure you are correctly handling and paying taxes on your business.

It is a business transaction and your tenant is your client. Landlord Insurance for beginners

5. Do not rely on a handshake

Make sure your tenants sign an adequate lease to reside in the property. Ensure that he or she understands the terms of the contract. If you run into problems with your tenant you will need writing, binding documentation (i.e. a lease). So, the judge could make a ruling. As long as you follow the procedures and comply with regulations you are safe. What are the common issues with tenancy agreements?

6. Not carrying out regular Property Inspections

Do regularly check your property and stay in touch with your tenant. Make sure to give 24 hours notice and get your tenants permission to enter the property. Stay in communication with your tenant to ensure you can resolve issues before they arise. How to keep your tenants happy? 

7. Not meeting health and safety regulations

As a landlord, you’re required to make sure the property meets health and safety standards and follow the regulations. Have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted, furnish the property with fire-resistant furniture, have regular gas safety checks etc. Do you need smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in rental properties?

8. Delaying an eviction.

Not beginning eviction proceedings as soon as legally possible can be a very costly mistake. If you run into problems with a tenant and are unsure about your rights or how to proceed, contact a property lawyer as soon as possible. How to evict a tenant in the UK?

9. Not having evidence

It’s essential that you keep written documentation of interactions with your tenants. You will need them in the event that you ever need to take them to court. Note phone conversations and keep copies of emails, voicemails or text messages, etc. to be able to support your allegations. How to successfully manage my property?

Maybe you are unsure about how to successfully start your career as a landlord. Do you fear that you may not have the time necessary to perform the job well? Could you avoid these very common landlord pitfalls? Consider working with a professional property management company:

Please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free property consultation on +0208 994 7327pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

What is West London Property Networking?

What are the common issues with tenancy agreements…..

It is important that The tenancy agreement is comprehensive and as it may be called upon in court if necessary. Common issues with tenancy agreements keep coming up at court cases and it is necessary that landlords have the correct tenancy agreements to protect themselves.

Using the wrong type of tenancy agreement
The most well-known agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), which is signed by a tenant who intends to reside in the property as their main or only home. There are types of tenancies that an AST is unsuitable and should not be used. If you have a lodger, you should draw up a lodger agreement. you need a property-let agreement is you let your property to a company.

It is important that The tenancy agreement is comprehensive and as it may be called upon in court if necessary. Common issues with tenancy agreements keep coming up at court cases and it is necessary that landlords have the correct tenancy agreements to protect themselves.

  • Using the wrong type of tenancy agreement 

The most well-known agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), which is signed by a tenant who intends to reside in the property as their main or only home. There are types of tenancies that an AST is unsuitable and should not be used. If you have a lodger, you should draw up a lodger agreement. you need a property-let agreement is you let your property to a company.

How to avoid tenancy void periods?

  • Entering into a rent-to-rent scheme without a legal contract

Rent to rent schemes can make a landlord`s life far more easier, where they can go travelling or else and hand over the responsibility of their property to someone else. Many local authorities offer to lease properties from private landlords in an effort to solve housing shortages, and there are certain circumstances where these schemes are attractive for a landlord: at the end of the three or five year period, the property is given back to the landlord in the same condition; the rent-to-rent company tends to be responsible for any maintenance work; and the landlord doesn’t need to pay for any void periods. However, there are companies renting rooms individually to maximise the income from a property without disclosing their full intentions to the landlord. So it’s crucial with rent-to-rent schemes to thoroughly research the company or individual, do your due diligence, be mindful of all the pitfalls, and have a legal contract drawn up by your solicitor. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you can only regain possession of the property if there is a breach of contract.

Landlord Insurance Guide

  • Name all individuals on the tenancy agreement that lives in the property

It is recommended that all adults be included in the tenancy agreement. So, is a couple and their children over the age of 18 live in your property, ensure they are all named in the agreement and each of them is referenced. You must be very careful when subletting. If a tenant in a privately rented property sublets, this means they have breached their tenancy agreement. Breaching the agreement is a condition for seeking possession in court. Preventing this comes back to due diligence. If only one person wants to rent a two-bedroom flat, or a couple wants to rent a three-bedroom house, do find out their reasons for needing more space.

9 Signs of a good tenant

  • Not complying with regulations at the beginning of a tenancy

You must comply with certain rules at the beginning of a tenancy, otherwise there will be problems if you try to seek possession of the property:

  1. The deposit must be protected within 30 days of it being paid.
  2. Deposit prescribed information must also be supplied.
  3. Tenants must be given a copy of the EPC, the current gas certificate (very important) and the ‘How to rent’ booklet.
  4. The final issue to bear in mind is licensing. If your property needs a HMO licence, you must have this before you are able to regain possession of the property.

Unexpected costs of being a landlord

  • Contravening rules set by the Competition and Markets Authority is one of the common issues with tenancy agreements

Letting agents quite often devise their own tenancy agreements, and some add in clauses and certain conditions, believing that they are favourable to landlords; however, some actually contravene the Competition and Markets Authority rules. One example is a clause stating that the landlord will give two months’ notice if they require possession of the property at the end of the fixed term, and that the tenant will give two months’ notice if they want to end the tenancy. However, the law says that the tenant only has to give one month’s (rental period) of notice. It is not a fair term under the Competition and Markets Authority rules and can’t be enforced.

What is West London Property Networking?

Please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free property consultation on

+0208 994 7327

pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk