In our blog, we have previously discussed whether the new carbon monoxide (CO) alarm regulations will have an impact on the buy to rent sector. With these proposed changes expected to take effect from 1st October, now is the time to ensure that you will comply with the law.
What do the new CO rules require from landlords?
Landlords and letting agents should already be aware of the obligations placed on them regarding carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors.
But from the beginning of October, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) regulations will create new obligations that must be complied with:
• Landlords will be responsible for repairing and replacing alarms throughout the tenancy, not just at the start. They can no longer rely on the tenant to repair or replace the smoke alarm or CO detector, and they need to ensure that they act once they have been informed of a fault by the tenant.
• Any room in the property with a fixed combustion appliance, including gas fires, boilers and wood burners (excluding gas cookers), must have a carbon monoxide alarm.
• Landlords must check alarms are in working order on the first day of a tenancy.
• Carbon monoxide alarms will also be mandatory upon installation of any heating appliance (excluding gas cookers).
• The social housing sector will now also be required to fit homes with fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensors.
To ensure compliance with the new regulations, landlords and letting agents will need to have all required alarms and detectors fitted by 1st October when the new regulations come into effect. It will not be enough to have them ready to install.
Now is the time to prepare for the changes
Now is the time to begin the process of making sure each of your properties will be compliant by the deadline. This means not only checking that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and installed as required but that you also have the right processes in place to ensure ongoing compliance.
Equally importantly, you also need the ability to demonstrate that you are fulfilling your duties.
For those responsible for block or estate management, the task of ensuring and maintaining compliance can be time consuming and complex. We have many clients who rely on our Estate and Block Property Management Services to ensure that they are meeting the range of responsibilities placed on them.
We can conduct weekly, monthly and six-monthly property visits, and our inspections include checks on a range of assets, including:
• Fire detection and fire alarm system
• Fire doors
• Emergency lighting
• Fire extinguisher
• Automatic doors
For anyone managing individual properties, our check-in services and mid tenancy services can support you and ensure changes in legislation never catch you out.
If you need support to get ready for The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) regulations 2022, please contact us to discuss how we can help you.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, supporting compliance, streamlining costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.
The foundation of a good relationship between a tenant, landlord and letting agent is when parties understand their rights and responsibilities to each other, establishing a collective responsibility to ensure the tenancy goes smoothly.
If you’re new to renting or haven’t reminded yourself of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, look at our guide below to know where you stand.
Your rights as a tenant
As a tenant, you have the rights provided for in Government legislation and may also have additional rights defined in your tenancy agreement with the landlord. The rights set by the government are the minimum:
· To live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
· Your deposit is returned when the tenancy ends, providing no damage has occurred to the property – and your deposit is protected if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007
· The right to challenge any charges you believe to be excessively high
· To know who your landlord is
· To live undisturbed in the property
· The right to see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
· Protection from unfair eviction and unfair rent
· To have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years
In addition to these rights, if you live in England, when you begin a new assured or short tenancy your landlord is obliged to give you a copy of the How to Rent guide, offering advice on the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords and the rental process in England and Wales.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
In addition to your rights, you also have responsibilities as a tenant, which you must be aware of to ensure you aren’t risking your tenancy. These responsibilities are:
• To take good care of the property, for example, turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather.
• Pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord.
• Pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example, Council Tax or utility bills.
• Repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
• Only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it.
• Allow the landlord access to the property to carry out repairs if they have given you at least 24 hours’ notice, and they request access at a reasonable time of day unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
If you don’t meet your responsibilities, your landlord has the right to begin legal action to evict you.
Building a positive tenancy
The rental sector is a dynamic one that’s subject to regular changes in the law, such as those proposed by the Renters Reform Bill or the proposed EPC regulations, so there’s a lot for landlords, letting agents and tenants keep aware of.
Good communications and putting processes in place, such as mid-term property reports, ensure that the property is well maintained and all stakeholders know their expectations and can work together to create a positive tenancy relationship – which saves time and money for all concerned.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, contributing towards a smooth relationship with tenants, streamlining costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.
Landlords are raising rents in response to tax changes
It’s been two years since changes to buy-to-let mortgages also changed the way that landlords are taxed. As some had predicted, many landlords have been forced to reconsider their position and think about what the future now holds for them.
How has buy-to-let tax changed?
Before 2017, landlords could deduct mortgage expenses from their taxable profits, including all of the interest they paid for the mortgage on their rental property.
In 2017 this began to be phased out until April 2020. it stopped altogether. This was replaced by a 20% tax credit, which is substantially less for higher rate taxpayers who, under the old system, would have received 40% tax relief.
How has this affected landlords?
These changes in how landlords are taxed have had significant implications for them, with one in three reporting that their portfolio is not as profitable as it was before the changes came in. The same number of landlords have considered selling properties due to the loss of mortgage tax relief.
Apart from the financial impact, the lettings sector is undergoing a raft of changes, with more on the horizon; we recently talked about how the Renters Reform Bill will change things. All these changes and proposals are proving challenging to keep up with, causing 58% of landlords to claim that changing and confusing government legislation is the biggest challenge.
Two options for landlords
In addition to changing legislation, 32% of landlords stated that rising taxes are also a key challenge. To manage the financial impact of these changes, landlords are taking one of two main options – raising rents and selling properties.
25% of landlords said they have increased rents to cover the cost of increasing tax on their tenants, and for landlords with more than 20 properties, this increases to 58% passing on costs.
Around the same proportion of landlords with more extensive portfolios (26%) have reduced the size of their properties to reduce the impact of tax changes. However, the percentage decreases to 13% for landlords with smaller property portfolios.
What does the future hold for landlords?
With more changes to the law on the drawing board that will impact landlords, for example, renting with pets, changes to energy efficiency rating requirements, as well as possible interest rate rises, life for landlords won’t get any easier in 2022.
Ongoing changes and uncertainty in the rental market will continue to have unintended knock-on effects, such as reducing the amount of affordable housing and rental properties on the market.
Despite the challenges, almost 60% of landlords still believe that letting a property is worthwhile. Demand for rental properties is still high, so there is still much for landlords to be optimistic about, so long as they have a realistic business plan, which includes the right support that keeps costs down and maximises occupancy.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamline your costs and reduce your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.
The drive to improve the energy efficiency of properties in the UK looks likely to impact landlords in 2025, with the proposed EPC regulation that could require landlords to make potentially significant and expensive changes to their properties.
What are the current energy regulations?
All domestic and commercial properties for rent need to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) confirming the property’s energy efficiency. Ratings range from “A” to the most efficient” to “G”.
Current regulations state that any property being let must have an EPC rating of “E” or above, with certificates valid for ten years. After ten years, landlords only need to renew their certificates when they relet their property to a new tenant.
What are the new EPC regulations proposing?
As part of the government’s objective to increase energy efficiency and achieve net-zero carbon targets, it’s driving for greater energy efficiency in homes. All newly rented properties will need an EPC of at least Band C from 31st December 2025.
Existing tenancies will have until 31st December 2028 to achieve this new practical, affordable, and cost-effective target. Fines for not having a valid EPC will also increase from £5000 to £30,000.
This new legislation is expected to come into effect some time in 2022.
How will this affect landlords?
With approximately two-thirds of homes in the private rental sector having an energy rating of D or below, it means around 3.2 million privately rented properties in England and Wales will require work to meet government targets.
When asked in a recent study, landlords with properties below a “C” rating believe it will cost an average of £10,400 per property to deliver the energy efficacy required. Still, if this action isn’t taken, landlords could find themselves with a property they cannot rent.
What can landlords do to prepare for the proposed change?
It’s difficult to see how any landlords, especially those with tenants already in place, will be able to quickly make the changes to their properties needed to meet the new C band efficiency rating. The work is likely to take time; you also need to work around your tenants to get any disruptive work done on the property and find the funding for such a level of investment.
All landlords need to start understanding the scale of the proposed changes by looking at their properties’ current EPC certificate, the recommendations made at the time, and understanding where the current areas of energy inefficiencies exist.
You can take many actions to improve a property’s energy efficiency and allow yourself time to plan the most effective and appropriate measures for your property that could help you save money.
With the potential for more regulations requiring further investment from landlords, now more than ever, it’s essential to protect your investment by looking after your property and ensuring that it’s well maintained. Regular property inspections and building good relations with your tenants keep your property an attractive proposition on the rental market, spread the cost of improving energy efficiency, and ensure you get a return on your investments.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could help keep you regulation-compliant, streamline your costs and reduce your workload by becoming your inventory partner, then contact No Letting Go today.
A property inventory process is crucial if a landlord wants to protect themselves against picking up the bill for property repairs caused by a tenant.
However, to be useful during a dispute, especially if the matter goes to court, it’s important that the inventory has been thoroughly completed as part of a well-managed process so that it covers every aspect of a property and is correctly preserved.
Why is an inventory system necessary?
One of the most common causes of disputes between landlord or letting agent and a tenant is over the return of a deposit at the end of a tenancy, especially if some needs to be retained to cover repair or replacement costs.
For all assured, shorthold tenancies in England and Wales which began after 6 April 2007, landlords must place deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) where it is legally protected.
A landlord, or their letting agent, must return the deposit in full if the tenant meets the terms of the tenancy agreement, doesn’t damage the property and pays their rent and bills. However, if you end up in a dispute with your tenant over the state of the property when they leave, the deposit remains protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
In this scenario, a well-managed inventory system provides the crucial evidence needed to settle any dispute and allow you to cover the cost for any damage.
What should an adequately managed inventory cover?
A property inventory is a comprehensive written and photographic report detailing the state of your property, including outside spaces, at the beginning of a tenancy.
It provides information on the furniture, fixtures, fittings and general wear and tear, details keys, appliance manuals and meter readings. Anything damaged or missing should be recorded in front of the new tenant.
A report also includes a safety section to record the evidence that a landlord or letting agent complies with safety regulations, such as smoke/CO detectors and the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, 1988.
An inventory must be scheduled for the check-in and check-out procedures of a tenant, to record the property’s condition as the tenant departs. This clearly shows any changes that occurred during the tenancy. Additional checks can also be scheduled during the tenancy.
It is important that all inventories are fully documented and witnessed. Having a professionally prepared inventory can help establish the landlord’s credibility if the case goes before a tribunal or judge.
How does inventory management benefit the landlord?
The details recorded in a property inventory provide the evidence needed to prove whether the damage was done during a tenancy and if it was the responsibility of the tenant. This makes a subsequent claim by the landlord or their letting agent against a protected deposit or zero-deposit replacement insurance much simpler and more likely to be upheld.
A detailed inventory also helps reassure your tenant that they won’t be blamed for any damage they weren’t responsible for. This gets the relationship between landlord, or letting agent, and tenant off to a good start and a happy tenant is much easier to deal with than an unhappy one.
No Letting Go
At No Letting Go we offer an independent and unbiased professional inventory management service, providing a written and photographic report on the condition of the property and its contents.
If you would like to find out more about how our local support or national network could support you as your property management partner to streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
Tenancy deposit disputes are messy and often frustrating for all involved. While the number of formal disputes remains low, the pandemic will have far reaching effects on all our finances and agents must prepare for increasing expectations in this area from both sides – landlords and tenants.
Disputes frequently arise from lack of knowledge or understanding about how this part of the tenancy process works.
While documentation is critical, it’s worth spending extra time with the tenant at the inventory stage of the process to prevent problems arising at the end of the tenancy.
Good inventory management protects both the landlord and the tenant and establishes what the tenant obligations are at both the start and end of the tenancy.
The deposit schemes will advise tenants to attend both the inventory and check-out appointment, but this is not always practical with these reports taking 1-2 hours and more on larger properties.
Tenants generally do not want to trail behind an inventory specialist, for this length of time. It is much easier, once the tenant has the report, to follow the structure which is clearly laid out and check the report is an accurate reflection of the property and its contents.
Detailed inventory and schedule of condition reports can run into 40+ pages, and whether conducting them in house or using an inventory specialist, neither are infallible – the tenant has a key role to play with the inventory, and will usually be allowed seven days to settle into the property and check through the inventory in detail.
Tip 1 – Educating tenants – a stitch in time…
The inventory and schedule of condition is a visual check of the property and not a maintenance report. If the scope of the inventory report is not understood, it can lead to delays in obtaining signatures – if, for example, the shower, boiler or hot water does not work properly, which is a maintenance issue.
Tenants must be aware it is their responsibility to check the inventory carefully, note any omissions and take pictures. Talking them through the process and explaining how the inventory protects them, is more effective than simply relying on T&Cs.
We have on occasion experienced irate tenants who have found a minor omission and believe it is a conspiracy to keep their deposit – so not a positive start for the agent or landlord.
Tip 2 – Check in the tenant – physical or digital
An accompanied check-in reaffirms the point above, and assists the tenant to understand the potential impact an inventory may have on the deposit.
Highlighting any issues within the property also makes them feel part of the process – and for these reasons, a check-in is highly recommended.
However, as minimising contact now takes precedence, use automation to capture areas of concern and obtain signatures within seven days.
Tip 3 – Terms and guidelines
Cleanliness is the main area of dispute, so take steps to head this one off at the start of the tenancy.
A good inventory will show the overall cleanliness of the property in addition to cleanliness room summaries using a glossary of terms contained at the start of the inventory document.
Cleanliness can be subjective, so it is advantageous to highlight where the glossary of terms is listed. Fair wear and tear does not apply to cleanliness, and so the property must be returned to the same standard, otherwise a deduction may apply.
Tip 4 – Not all cleaners are ‘professional’
Just because a professional cleaner has attended the property, it does not always mean the clean is to a ‘professional standard’ – if, for example, dust was present on skirting boards and shelves. In this situation, the term ‘good domestic standard’ may be used.
We are sometimes asked why it states this when a professional cleaner has conducted the clean. It is always advisable to get this right as it is generally the most contentious issue with tenants.
Tip 5 – Educate your landlords about fair wear and tear
It is vital to manage the landlords’ expectations. When a claim goes to adjudication and the breach is accepted, often the amount of the claim is reduced by the adjudicator, leading to a disappointed landlord.
This can occur for a few reasons, but the most common one is because fair wear and tear has not been factored into the claim. For example, if a carpet is three years old, the tenant is not responsible for those three years, so even if they have damaged the carpet, the claim has to factor quality, age, lifespan and condition.
A good check-out report will highlight if dilapidations are due to damage or fair wear and tear. See our landlord guide on fair wear and tear.
Tip 6 – Changes to the property – requesting permission
This is covered in most ASTs, but it is good practice to advise tenants to ask permission first.
Common deductions are attributed to damage or changes to walls from hanging pictures, adding additional hooks or shelves, painting walls and using blue tack.
It’s not unreasonable for tenants to make minor adjustments to their new home, but get them in the habit of asking first so you have the opportunity to remind them of their obligations.
Tip 7 – Outside maintenance – how does your garden grow…
Tenants often forget about the garden at check-out so they need to ensure it is left as they found it, otherwise they will face a gardening deduction.
Tip 8 – Videos are not the whole picture
Some agents use these as a quick alternative, but unless you are a professional cameraman, the video tends to go up and down and all around – not pleasant viewing for landlords or tenants!
Video evidence is acceptable by the deposit dispute schemes, but often does not capture quite enough detail, as its easier to miss items using this method– so if you go to dispute, you may end up disappointing your landlord.
No Letting Go
With No Letting Go’s inventory services, you’ll receive the peace of mind which comes with an impartial, fully documented check in and check out procedure. Our service is reliable and consistent producing reports which stand up to scrutiny during any dispute.
A thorough inventory report will provide evidence of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy and at the end to help landlords and agents cover the cost of any damage made on the premises by the tenant.
Discover our property inventory services today.
For property services to continue to operate in the “new normal”, we’ve all had to adjust our working practices to comply with Covid-19 rules. Yet in one key aspect of inventory management, we already had systems in place that enabled effective social distancing – our fully comprehensive property inventory software
What you need from property inventory software
At No Letting Go, we have a specifically designed property inventory software called Kaptur. With compliance at its core, it captures, stores, reports and manages property information.
In a previous post, The benefits of using a property inventory reporting system, we discussed in detail how these systems facilitate great property management from check-in to check-out, making them a great time-saving tool for letting agents. But in these times, when social distancing is paramount, the efficiency and operation of these systems take on new importance. Not only do they improve the property inventory management process, but they also enable letting agents continue supporting the letting of properties while observing social distancing.
How property inventory software enables social distancing
Our property management software was created to facilitate the smooth operation of property inspections and cause minimal disruption to tenants, landlords and letting agents by taking away the requirement to be physically present for inspections. This also supports social distancing:
- Inventories are electronic, so no documentation is passed by hand between individuals
- Inventories are reviewed online
- We use Digisign so all parties can sign reports online
- Allows parties to review reports online
- Parties are able to amend reports online
- Queries can be managed online
- Photos added to reports make it easier to illustrate issues to tenants and landlords
Ensuring tenants and landlords have confidence in the system
Property inventories provide key evidence should a dispute arise about the state of a property. As a letting agent, it’s important for you that all parties can trust this process and feel comfortable that outcomes are objective, even when tenants and landlords haven’t been present at any inspections.
Landlords and tenants also feel that a third party conducting a property inspection is a good way to ensure an independent perspective. Providing a tool that generates detailed reports and lets all sides engage demonstrates how you, as the letting agent, are committed to meeting compliance obligations, which builds confidence.
There are many reasons why property inspections are so important, even in these challenging times. If it’s proving difficult to provide property inventory management for your landlords and their tenants while observing social distancing, then it’s time to reconsider your current approach and look for a system that ensures the safety of your client landlords and their tenants.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories then contact us today.
Research by Statista, a statistics portal for market data, found more than half of landlords who responded were in disputes with their tenants, the main reasons being arrears, cleanliness, pets, subletting and breakages. Using regular property inventories letting agents can help their landlord clients to avoid such problems.
When should you use a property inventory?
A property inventory provides a detailed report on the contents and condition of a property, listing furniture, fixtures and fittings and alongside the condition and cleanliness.
A property inspection must take place for each new tenancy to detail the condition of the property at the start; at regular intervals throughout the tenancy to record any changes and damages from the check-in inventory; and finally, at the end of the tenancy to assess the property as the tenant departs.
These regular inspections provide a full report of the property’s condition for the complete duration of the tenancy.
Why are property inspections of benefit?
Completing a property inventory might seem like a time-consuming task for a busy letting agent looking after a number of properties. However, a comprehensive inventory process can stop a landlord-tenant dispute from escalating into a legal dispute, which would be far more costly in time and money. A proper inventory system offers other benefits:
- Essential evidence about the state of the property
- Crucial evidence if you need to take the cost of a repair or replacement from a tenant’s deposit
- Claiming on insurance is much easier with inventory evidence
- A speedy inspection process to reduce the period between tenancies and maximising a property’s income potential
- Using a standard inventory process ensures that nothing is missed during a property inspection
What does an adequate property inventory look like?
To ensure that a property’s inventory and schedule of condition will be useful to avoid a dispute, it must include:
- Full contents of the property, fixtures, fittings and state of decoration
- Details of the condition for each item
- Photographic, date-stamped evidence
- A declaration page for relevant parties to indicate their agreement to the contents of the report
It must also be completed in an objective and unbiased way and enable easy comparison between reports to identify any changes in contents or condition. Ideally, a property visit should be completed every three to six months
Disputes between landlords and tenants are time-consuming, potentially costly and can affect the reputation of a landlord and their letting agent. Using an independent inventory service can help boost the credibility of an inventory for tenants because they will see it as being independent.
Discussing the tried and tested landlord inventory service we use at No Letting Go can help letting agents understand how our inventories are structured to facilitate comprehensive property inspections and designed to capture the right information to prevent disputes.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories the please contact us today.
Although we all do our best to avoid them, void periods are a fact of life and most landlords and letting agents will find themselves with a vacant rental property on their hands at one point or another.
If you find yourself with an empty property, it’s important to keep it safe and secure. We’ve got some advice on how to protect vacant property and keep it in good condition until your next tenant comes along.
From security solutions to regular inspections, keep your property safe with these tips.
How Long Can A Rental Property Be Vacant?
If your rental property is left vacant for an extended period of time, you will need to inform your insurer. How long this period is can vary from insurer to insurer, so make sure you read the small print in your contract.
Usually, when a rental property is left vacant the insurance will go up as it is considered to be more of a risk.
Vacant Rental Property: The Risks
With no one living in the property to take care of day-to-day maintenance and inform you if something goes wrong, vacant properties present more of a risk for landlords and letting agents.
Here are some of the potential issues you could come across;
- Leaks or water damage
- Electrical faults
- Structural damage
- Pest infestations
- Weather damage
Vacant Property Security: The Solutions
While these potential issues sound scary, there are several steps you can take to ensure your property remains safe and secure.
Secure Doors and Windows
It’s good practice to change the locks between tenancies to minimise the risk of unlawful occupation. Having secure doors and windows also helps to prevent theft or squatting.
The RLA recommends using five lever mortice locks for external timber doors or a multi-point locking system for PVC doors, as well as door chains.
Regular Property Maintenance
Regular property maintenance is vital throughout the year, whether your rental property is occupied or not. By keeping on top of maintenance tasks, when it comes to vacant buildings, there is a smaller chance of structural or internal damage.
The main tasks to address include;
- Exterior maintenance e.g. replacing missing roof tiles or clearing guttering
- Regular servicing of boilers, pipes
- Interior maintenance
Depending on how long the property is left vacant, it may be wise to switch off certain utilities such as the electrics to minimise the risk of fire. However, if you’re dealing with an empty building over the winter period, scheduling the heating to come on periodically can prevent mould growth.
Perhaps the most important measure you can take is to ensure all smoke and CO checks are up to date.
Installing Security Systems
Installing an alarm system or extra site security can discourage theft or vandalism to your property. Security services can include;
- 24 hour security cameras
- Alarm system
- Security lights
- Property security services
Alert the Neighbours
Having a quick chat with the neighbours or sending round a letter is a cost-effective way of protecting your investment. Asking the neighbours to act as property guardians and alert you if they spot any suspicious activity or leaks before they create permanent damage can save you time and money in the long run.
Take Advantage of PropTech
PropTech innovation has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and there are plenty of solutions out there to help landlords and letting agents protect their properties remotely. From leak detection to remote temperature control and live streaming- you’re sure to find an app to put your mind at ease.
Vacant Property Inspections
Vacant property inspections are vital for the protection and security of your property. Most insurance companies require vacant properties to be visited weekly or fortnightly to check for any security or management issues and ensure they are dealt with promptly.
Improve Your Marketing Materials
No landlord or letting agent wants a vacant rental property on their hands. To avoid this situation from occurring in the first place, it pays to invest in quality marketing materials.
We offer a 360 degree virtual property photography service to show off your property to a high standard, producing images for use in marketing and inventory reporting.
No Letting Go’s Vacant Property Protection Services
As experienced partners to landlords, letting agents and property professionals around the UK, we understand the importance of keeping your property safe and secure during void periods.
As part of our services, we offer essential vacant property inspections to check for any damage and arrange for swift repairs. Whether you are a landlord living overseas or a letting agency needing help with your portfolio, our dedicated clerks are on hand to help.
Discover the rest of our property inventory services here.
As a landlord or letting agent, what do you do if your tenant disappears? Tenant abandonments can cause a lot of hassle and complications for those managing the property, so if it happens to you, it’s best to be prepared.
If a tenant is expected of abandoning, the landlord or letting agent will need to place a notice of abandonment at the rental property. We explain what this means, the responsibilities involved and how we can help with our abandonment notice service.
Tenant Abandonment: The Facts
Tenant abandonment is the term given for when a tenant leaves your property before the end of the tenancy agreement without notifying you (the landlord or letting agent).
In the case of abandonment, whoever is managing the property needs to ensure the tenant has permanently vacated the property before they can rent it out again.
Rent will still be owed until the end of the tenancy or until the property is let out again.
Issues for Landlords
If your tenant abandons the rental property, this can cause several problems;
- Loss of rental income
- Risk of vandalism and lack of security at the abandoned property
- Abandoned properties can result in higher insurance premiums
- If tenants leave possessions behind, these become the responsibility of the landlord to safeguard
What is an Abandonment Notice?
If you believe your tenant has left the property before the end of the tenancy, you need to place an abandonment notice.
An abandonment notice is a written statement that must be displayed in a prominent, accessible position on the property informing the tenant that the locks have been changed and where to find a replacement key if they wish to return.
It should give the tenant a limited time to get in contact and request a new set of keys.
By completing an abandonment notice, you are protecting yourself from being accused of unlawfully evicting the tenant.
What is Considered Property Abandonment?
Tenants are obligated to inform their letting agent or landlord if they plan to leave their rented property for more than two weeks. The tenancy agreement should include this clause as a form of protection for residential landlords.
Landlords and property professionals need to act cautiously, as under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, the tenant is entitled to return to the property within the tenancy period. If the tenant decides to return and the property has been let to someone else, this could constitute a criminal offence on the part of the landlord.
Without obtaining a lengthy and expensive court possession order, the tenant is still legally the occupant- even if they are in rent arrears.
This means you need to be certain that the tenant has permanently vacated and surrendered the property before re-letting or entering the property.
Landlord and Letting Agent Responsibilities
In order to ensure you are not making an unlawful eviction, if your tenant appears to abandon the property there are steps that must be taken;
Before letting the property to someone else or changing the locks you must first ensure the tenant has surrendered the property.
Firstly, try to contact the tenant to establish whether they are surrendering the tenancy. If you can get written confirmation from the tenant and they return the keys, you are safe to go ahead and re-let the property.
If you cannot get a hold of the tenant check if;
- The tenant has stopped paying rent
- The tenant has removed their belonging
- The tenant has left the keys at the property
- The neighbours have seen the tenant at the property
Housing and Planning Act 2016: Abandonment
If you can ensure that your property has been abandoned, and your tenant is in rent arrears you are now able to take back possession of your property under the Housing and planning Act 2016.
In this case, you can place a written warning at the property requesting rent repayments. If the first warning is ignored, a second warning notice is required. If the tenant still fails to respond, a third and final notice must be displayed. If this is also ignored, the landlord can take repossession of the property.
Can I Enter an Abandoned Property?
If you believe your tenant has abandoned, you can only enter the property if;
- It is in a vulnerable state and you need to secure the property by changing the locks
- There is any danger to neighbours (e.g. regarding the electric or gas supply)
There is damage that needs urgent repair
That’s where we come in. Our clerks can act as independent witnesses and help with the abandonment notice process, informing the tenant the locks have been changed.
What Should an Abandonment Notice Include?
There are certain elements an abandonment notice should include;
- Written notice that you believe the tenant has abandoned the property. Don’t forget to include important dates such as how long the property has been empty
- The full name, address and contact details of both the landlord and tenant
- A section asking anyone who knows the tenant’s current location to contact the landlord or property manager
- An agreed date by which the tenancy will be assumed abandoned or surrendered by the tenant (if the tenant fails to make contact by this date)
- A section recommending the tenant seeks legal advice
- The name of the independent witness
No Letting Go’s Abandonment Notice Service
In the event that either a landlord or letting agent places an Abandonment Notice up at a property, it is vital that someone attends the property on a regular basis (ideally every 3-4 days) to ensure the notice is still in place. We offer an abandonment notice service whereby we will visit the property as instructed to ensure the notice has not been removed or displaced and to report on the security of the property.
No Letting Go are dedicated to providing professional and unbiased property inventory services from the start of tenancy to the end. From appraisals and right to rent checks, to property inspections and maintenance reports – we’re here to help you protect your investment.
Discover how we could help by browsing our full list of property inventory services.