Buy To Let Updated:
The rental sector is enjoying a boom time – 40% more people live in rented accommodation now than in 2006. On the whole, tenants are responsible people, who will treat you and your property with respect.
But, unfortunately, it's possible that you'll encounter some tenant difficulty – whether that be from tenants unable to pay the rent because of redundancy or relationship breakdown, or tenants that have no concept of, and pay no heed to, their responsibilities to you and your buy to let property.
This sounds an obvious one, but it's so important to screen your tenants thoroughly before letting your property out.
A good letting agent (preferably one that's registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents) will be able to help you by checking a prospective tenant's:
Your first line of defence against tenant damage is a proper inventory of the condition and contents of your buy to let property before the tenancy begins. The best way to do this is to pay an independent and competent party to carry out the inspection (your letting agent is unlikely to be considered independent).
You can do this yourself, although if you later need to rely on the inventory in dispute, you'll need to bear in mind that your word (as opposed to an independent party) may not be considered as reliable. Therefore you should look to take dated photos of the property in order to establish the condition prior to let.
You've taken all precautions, thoroughly screened your tenant and conducted a meticulous inventory. Yet somehow, against all the odds, you've managed to let your flat to an unhygienic, antisocial tenant who has a very 'easy going' attitude when it comes to paying you rent.
Payment of rent
Check what your agent covers as part of their managed service should your tenant defer payment. Some letting agents offer arrears management, whereby they chase arrears subject to a pre-agreed arrears management process and collect missed payments or arrears as part of their contract with you.
Raising the rent
The Direct.gov.uk website has much more information, together with useful PDF documents you can download.
If you are letting using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, you are obliged to put your tenant's deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. Each TDP scheme offers a free dispute resolution service to help agree how much of the deposit should be given back.
If you want to make a deduction from your tenant's deposit, you must be able to prove that the damage was the tenant's fault. This can be achieved through an independent inventory conducted at the outset and at the end of the tenancy.
You should also be able to back up why you need to deduct the amount – get quotes for any cleaning or repairs needed. You are unlikely to get the result you want if the dispute boils down to your word against the tenant's.
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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.
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