Frequently Asked Questions
What is ARLA?
ARLA stands for the Association of Residential Letting Agents. It is a professional membership and regulatory body that represents letting agents and property management professionals in the UK. ARLA sets industry standards and promotes best practices in the private rented sector. Northern Group are members of ARLA Propertymark, which means that our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practise and complex legislative changes.
I have a mortgage - do I need to tell my lender if I want to rent out my property?
Yes, it is important to inform your mortgage lender if you plan to let your property. Most mortgage agreements require you to seek their consent before renting out your property. Failure to do so may result in a breach of your mortgage terms.
What is an EPC and do I need one?
An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is a document that rates the energy efficiency of a property. If you want to rent out your property, you are legally required to obtain an EPC. It provides information on energy efficiency and potential cost-saving measures for tenants.
How much is an EPC?
An EPC will cost around £85 - £100 for residential properties and is valid for 10 years.
Do I need landlord insurance?
While not a legal requirement, landlord insurance is highly recommended. It provides protection for your property and can cover risks such as property damage, loss of rental income, and liability claims. Standard home insurance policies may not adequately cover rental properties.
Do I need an inventory for my property?
Yes, creating an inventory is strongly advised. An inventory is a detailed document that lists the condition and contents of your property. It helps to avoid disputes by providing evidence of the property's condition at the start and end of the tenancy.
Do I need a letting agent?
It is not mandatory to use a letting agent, but many landlords choose to do so. Letting agents can assist with finding tenants, referencing, tenancy agreements, property management, rent collection, and so much more. Their services can save time and provide professional expertise. You can trust Northern Group to let and manage your properties as we would our own – we will make sure that the process is as seamless as possible whilst maximising the returns on your investment.
How much are letting agent fees?
Letting agent fees will vary depending on the agency. With Northern Group, there are no hidden fees so what you see is what you get. Simply choose the package that suits you and find out everything that is included as standard.
What is a Gas Safety Certificate?
A Gas Safety Certificate, also known as a Gas Safety Record, is a legal requirement for landlords who provide gas appliances in their rental properties. It ensures that the gas installations and appliances are safe for use and must be obtained annually from a Gas Safe registered engineer.
What is an Electrical Safety Inspection?
This is a required inspection that needs to take place every 5 years to ensure that electrical safety standards are being met for tenants.
Do I need to pay tax on rental income?
Yes, rental income is generally taxable in the UK. Landlords are required to declare their rental income and may need to pay income tax on the profit after deducting allowable expenses. Read about the government guidelines for income tax.
Does my property need smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?
Yes, it is a legal requirement to have smoke alarms installed on each floor of your rental property. You must also ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
What are HMOs?
HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. It refers to a property where at least three tenants from more than one household share common facilities, such as a kitchen or bathroom. Depending on the property's size and the number of tenants, specific licensing and safety requirements may apply. Different councils may also have different licencing rules.
Should I allow pets in my rental property?
The decision to allow pets in your rental property is entirely up to you as the landlord. While some landlords prefer not to allow pets due to potential damage or allergies, allowing pets can expand your pool of potential tenants.
How much rent should I charge?
Determining the rent for your property involves considering several factors. Factors to consider include the location, property size, amenities, market demand, and similar rental properties in the area. Book a free valuation with us to see how much your rental property could be worth.
Do I need a PAT test?
A PAT (Portable Appliance Test) is not a legal requirement for landlords, but it is highly recommended. It involves checking the safety of electrical appliances in the rental property. While not mandatory, it helps to ensure the safety of your tenants and also protects you from potential liability.
Do I need to notify the utilities if I rent out my property?
Yes, it is important to notify the relevant gas, electricity, and water companies when letting your property. This ensures that they are aware of the change in occupancy avoiding any confusion or potential issues. At Northern Group, this service is included as part of our property management service.
Should I furnish my rental property?
The decision to furnish your rental property depends on various factors such as target market, location, and rental demand. Furnishing can attract certain tenants and potentially allow you to charge higher rent. However, it also comes with additional responsibilities and wear and tear. Consider the pros and cons and assess the market demand before making a decision. Book a free valuation with us and we’ll be more than happy to give you advice on topics such as this.
What is a selective licence?
A Selective Licence is a licensing scheme that has been introduced to regulate and improve the standards of private rented properties in specific areas. It requires landlords with PRS properties within the designated areas to obtain a licence and certain requirements have to be met. Visit your council’s website for more information on this.
Do I need a legionella certificate?
As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to manage the risk of legionella in your rental property. While there is no specific requirement for a legionella certificate, you should conduct a risk assessment to identify and address any potential risks. Implementing appropriate measures, such as regular cleaning and maintenance of water systems, helps ensure the safety of your tenants.
What do I do with my tenant’s deposit?
As a landlord, you are required to protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. This ensures that the deposit is safely held and can be returned at the end of the tenancy, minus any agreed deductions.
What is Right to Rent?
Right to Rent is a legal requirement in the UK and places responsibility on landlords to check the immigration status of their prospective tenants. Before granting a tenancy, landlords must verify that their tenants have the legal right to live in the country. Failure to comply with Right to Rent checks can lead to penalties and legal consequences.