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If you are a landlord, or a potential landlord thinking about letting your property in Newport, there are important responsibilities that you will have. You need to be aware of these before you rent out your property, in order to avoid serious problems in the future.
There are certain legal requirements that you must adhere to, as well as certain best practices that will help the tenancy to run more smoothly and avoid possible future altercations with your tenants. If you are diligent in preparing correctly for the tenancy, you can better ensure a legally watertight tenancy agreement, which will protect all parties involved and make the experience a pleasure.
If you let your property, the tenancy will normally be an assured short hold tenancy (AST). With an AST, you have certain guarantees and rights, for example:
• You can get your property back after six months provided any fixed-term agreement has ended and you have given your tenant two months’ notice to leave the property.
• You can charge a market rent.
• You can end a tenancy at any time if your tenants do not pay the rent, behave anti-socially or damage the property, including within the first six months or initial fixed term, if the tenancy agreement provides for this.
You need to agree with your tenant how long the tenancy will last, and have it written into the tenancy agreement before they move in. You can agree to a set period, known as a ‘fixed term’, or you can leave it open-ended.
A tenancy agreement is a written or verbal contract between a landlord and a tenant, which sets out the terms and conditions of a rental agreement. You should try to have a written agreement ready before a tenancy begins. You can use a verbal agreement, but they offer no proof if disputes need to be settled.
Your responsibilities as a landlord include:
• Repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, to be carried out in a timely manner.
• Repairs to heating and hot water installations.
• Repairs to sinks, baths and other sanitary installations.
• Ensuring the safety of gas and electrical appliances that you supply.
• The fire safety of furniture and furnishings that you supply.
• Providing an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
• Protecting your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme.
In return, your tenant is responsible for taking good care of the property and paying the agreed rent. The tenant should also pay for other charges, such as council tax and utility bills, unless you have already included an amount for these in the rental agreement.
You will have to pay income tax on your gross rental income, less your day-to-day running expenses. If you have a mortgage on the property you intend to let, you must have, or must obtain, consent to let the property from your mortgage lender.