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What documents must a landlord provide?
The Government “How To Rent Guide”
To the frustration of many first time renters, this essential renting document can be all too often overlooked by some owners. Landlords are legally obligated to provide any new tenant with the latest copy of the UK government’s “How to Rent Guide”. The document is imperative as it can be of crucial reference for some renters, helping them to better understanding of the renting procedure alongside both their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. The guide also goes as far as to explain how much they can be asked to pay for the various deposits before moving in, where they can turn if they think they may not be able to pay their rent, a list of banned fees outlawed by the introduction of the tenant fees act 2019 and what to expect during the eviction procedure, if they are ever subject to the process.
Energy Performance Certificate
Although the owner of the rental property will only be required to obtain a new energy performance certificate every 10 years, the document must be provided to aspiring tenants upon the outset of their tenancy. As the name suggests the energy performance certificate evaluates how energy efficient a rental property is, providing this information to landlords and tenants through a grading system, alongside an estimation on how much it will cost each month to run the property; and some actionable advice on how the landlord can make the rental more environmentally friendly. Landlords must ensure that they have a valid EPC in place before they present the rental opportunity to new tenants, whilst maintaining an EPC rating of at least an “E” grade or they will be prevented from letting.
Security Deposit Protection
Once the aspiring renter has provided the owner of the property with the amount requested for the security deposit, the landlord is legally required to enter the sums into a government approved deposit protection scheme. Whilst it is important to note that rental property owners do not have to take a security deposit, sometimes referred to as a tenancy deposit, from their tenants, if they do the sum must be protected within 30 days.
Alongside this, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the specific deposit protection scheme they have entered the sums into, with confirmation of the rental property’s address, the amount being protected, and any reasons under which the landlord can make a deduction from the amount that would be returned to the tenant come the end of the fixed term. Lastly the owner must detail where the tenant will be able to turn if they wish to dispute any of the deductions being made, or if come time to move out they do not hear from the landlord when asking for the deposit to be returned.
Gas Safety Certificate
Rental property owners are legally obliged to obtain a gas safety certificate each year. The inspection must be carried out each year by a certified gas safe engineer. This evaluation will see all of the gas outlets, appliances, pipes and flues be inspected to evaluate if their use is safe for tenants.
Electrical Installations Conditions Report
As the name suggests the Electrical Installations Conditions Reports will detail if the electrical appliances, wiring and outlets are safe to be used by the property’s occupants. Each of these will be subject to a grading system that will detail their risk to the inhabitants and the action the landlord needs to take to quell this risk.
What Happens if Landlords Fail to Provide These Documents
Perhaps the most significant impact of landlords not providing the above documents to their tenants from the outset of the tenancy, will be the prevention of being able to serve a valid section notice. This means that if the landlord wishes to reclaim possession of their property, then they will face great difficultly doing so. Owners will need to supply their aspiring tenants with the above correspondence within 30 days of the tenancy starting. However, in regards to the tenancy deposit, if the landlord neglects to take steps to the enter the deposit into a protection scheme, if taken to a court by the tenant they could be compelled to repay as much as three times the original amount to the renters.
If you do not serve your tenants the correct paperwork, you may have limited legal grounds by which to challenge any issues which arise. This could also mean that you’re not allowed to serve them a Section 21 Notice to legally evict them, should you need to. Regarding deposit paperwork, you may also have to pay them compensation if the correct deposit procedure is not adhered to.
The above paperwork is critical when it comes to both landlord and tenant rights. There are several other documents that are needed, too. A tenancy agreement is the obvious one, allowing tenants to be crystal clear about what the tenancy involves, and if through their actions they are breaching it.
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