Do I need contents insurance for my let property?
That depends. If you are renting an unfurnished property then you only need buildings insurance. However, if you are letting a furnished or part-furnished property then you should insure your contents. Your tenants should have their own insurance for personal belongings and furniture that they keep at the property.
Can I claim if my tenants default on payments?
What is the law regarding tenancy agreements?
When you rent out your property to a tenant, the tenancy agreement will usually be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) unless you agree otherwise in writing, or the agreement is made outside the legislation governing ASTs.
In most cases, using an AST will mean that you have a guaranteed right to get your home back after six months should you need to. You can also charge rent at the current market rate and can repossess the property if your tenant falls behind on rent payments by at least two months (or 8 weeks). In addition, ASTs give you the power to evict any tenants that cause a nuisance to local people.
How long should an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) last?
How can I get my property back?
An AST can be ended at any point after the initial six month period, assuming that any fixed term you originally agreed to is over. You are required to give your tenant a minimum of two months' notice in writing, to let them know you want your property back and to give them time to make arrangements to vacate. If you have grounds to do so, you might also end the tenancy at any time. These grounds might include anti-social behaviour by the tenant or damage caused to your property, as well as the rent arrears as mentioned above.
What if the tenant refuses to leave?
Why not just leave my property empty?
A property standing empty for no real reason can lead to the loss of a great deal of potential revenue, plus a property costs money whether it is occupied or not. Council tax and unoccupied house insurance are necessary expenditures, plus you will need to invest in measures to prevent dilapidation and take additional security precautions. You also run the risk of vandalism, squatting, neighbourhood complaints and an elevated risk of accidental fire or arson occurring.
What are my responsibilities and what will my tenants be responsible for?
You will be responsible for undertaking repairs and maintaining the premises' heating, hot water, basins, baths and other sanitary installations. You will also need to ensure that the gas and electrical appliances provided are safe to use and that all furniture/furnishing you provide are fire safe. Your tenant is responsible for paying rent to you at the rate you agreed upon, usually paying for council tax and utilities unless you include them in the rent agreement. They are also responsible for taking proper care of your property.
What’s the difference between a residential and a commercial landlord?
The difference between a residential and a commercial landlord is to do with the type of property they let out and is not whether their activities as a landlord constitute their full-time occupation or not.
Can I get landlord insurance for flats?
You can take out landlords buildings insurance and landlord contents insurance for flats that you let out. Landlords need to take out a separate policy for each flat. Note that, in general, the owner of the freehold of a set of flats will probably have buildings insurance for the entire building.
Do I need landlord insurance for lodgers?
When do I need to get an HMO license?
A house of three storeys or more, and occupied by five or more people who are not related, is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). You will need to obtain a licence through your local council to lease this property legally.
Find out more about HMOs for landlords.
When is an EPC required?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is necessary whenever a qualifying property is built, sold or let out. A qualifying property are defined as a self-contained property with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities. Landlords are responsible for having an EPC in place for every property that they let out.
If a tenant refuses to pay their rent, how do I get the money I’m owed?
Sadly this can happen. Tenants may refuse to pay rent if they are disgruntled or experiencing financial difficulties, or they may suddenly leave without giving proper notice. With cover from HomeProtect you can have additional cover options, such as rent loss recovery, where you are insured up to the cost of £2,500 per month.
What should you do if a tenancy ends unexpectedly?
You should always seek legal advice if you believe your property has been abandoned. The best way to keep yourself legally protected is by obtaining a Possession Order, so you can take back ownership of the property and lease it again. Landlord's house insurance will need to be secured and maintained even after abandonment, and even though the home is vacant.
Does everyone have the right to rent?
In theory, yes. However, it is a recent law that you should check a person’s immigration status before leasing a room. Checking that they have the right to live in the UK is a law which the Government imposed on private landlords in December of 2014. Visit gov.uk for more information on the right to rent.