FAQs for Landlords
Letting your Property
What is special about Rent Happily?
We have the interests of landlords and tenants at heart, and making sure everone gets what they deserve is the purpose of our job. Landlords need safety of income, property care and transparent communication, whereas tenants want a decent home, security of income, and a moderate rent. This is precisely what we do, read our article on how we increase profits whilst reducing rents for tenants.
When do I pay the fees to rent out my property?
We will get the tenancy ready and deduct the fees from the first month rent, so you don't have to disburse anything upfront. There are some exceptions like the EPC, which is required before the property is put on the market, so if you don't provide the certificate yourself, we will need payment in advance to instruct our contractor to do it.
Taxes & Non-resident Landlords?
If your residence is outside the UK, The Tax Management Act (TMA) 1970 and The Taxation of Income from Land (Non-Residents) Regulation 1995, require us to deduct Tax at the prevailing rate -currently 20%- from your rental income. More information is available on the HMRC guidance.
The Non-Resident Landlord rule will apply unless we have received an exemption notification from the Inland Revenue, which you can apply for directly with HMRC, asking for the form NRL1. If the Revenue accepts your application, we will receive a letter confirming that we may pay the rent to you without tax being deducted. More information is available in the NRL Guide.
When we don't manage the property and the landlord is subject to NRL tax, the tenant will be responsible for managing the payments, as explained in the NRL Tenant Guide.
Am I affected by the Licensing Scheme?
Since April 2013 all properties within the designation areas of the licensing scheme within Bristol must apply for a license within 28 days of the property being rented. The license lasts 5 years once granted, and it is the landlord's responsibility to apply for a license with the Bristol City Council and to comply with the requirements of the scheme.
We assist landlord assess the potential of their property and apply for the appropriate license to maximise income whilst increasing rental capacity. In doing so, we help tenants access the rental market at more resonable rates, so tha every party benefits.
For further information check the council website: www.bristol.gov.uk/licences-permits/property-licences
What insurance do I need to rent my property?
Properties must have adequate insurance in place and we will require a valid certificate of building insurance prior to renting the property. Therefore, landlords must inform their insurer of their intention to let the property and get all necessary consents.
What does the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement contain?
Our Assured Tenancy Agreements are state-of-the-art documents that were published by the government to balance the interests of tenants and landlords. In summary, their offer the following advantages:
- Written in plain English
- Include the latest legislation
- Stored on our portal servers for safe-keeping
- Use digital e-signature
See our electronic AST: View AST Document >>
What does the referencing process entail?
We verify the following for every tenant: Employer references -or accountant if self-employed / main client if no accountant-; Affordability test with proof of income; Proof of addresses (3 years whenever possible); Landlord references; Proof of address (three years whenever possible; Proof of ID. We also carry out a credit check on the applicant to verify credit history and CCJ history.
A guarantor is required when any of the references above is missing or unsatisfactory, or when the applicants are DSS or in receipt of housing benefit, and provided we have the landlord's consent to proceed with the applicant.
How does Rent Happily handle the deposit?
For Management contracts, the deposit will be protected within our account of The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) www.depositprotection.com and the deposit will act as a cover for any loss of rent or damage inflicted to the property by the tenant(s) during the tenancy. Our service includes collecting the deposit from the tenant(s), protecting it with the DPS, and producing the relevant certificates at the beginning of each tenancy. It also includes dealing with any claim and administering the deposit deductions -if any- at the end of the tenancy, including the mediation service by us between the tenant(s) and the landlord, and the referral to the Alternative Dispute Resolution service of the DPS, if required.
For Let Only contracts, we will collect the deposit from the tenant(s), and the landlord is responsible for the protection of the deposit into a recognised scheme, including the obligation to inform the tenant(s) of their rights under the scheme of their choice. Although we submit the Prescribed Information of the DPS as part of our AST by default, landlords should issue relevant information to tenants of the scheme of their choice if other than the DPS.
Who pays the council tax and bills when I rent out my property?
Shared Properties: The Council tax payment is the tenant(s)' responsibility, unless the property is unoccupied, in which case it falls onto the landlord. Likewise, the services for energy, water and any other utility charges contracted by the tenant(s) remain their responsibility until they are transferred to the next tenant(s) or whenever the landlord takes their property back.
Rooms-Only, Mandatory HMO, Bedsit contracts: Council tax and utilities are on the landlord, who is also responsible for the communal areas within the property, so it's an all inclusive service!
As part of our management service, we inform the tenant(s) of their duty in respect of these, but we cannot formally request and authorise any contract transfer on behalf of third parties due to data protection, unless we have a letter of authority from the landlord.
Can I see the Rent Happily Terms and Conditions?
Our Terms of Business (or Terms and Conditions) are:
- Written in plain English
- Compliant with the latest legislation
- Fair to Landlords and Tenants alike
See our T&C: Terms & Conditions >>
Can I use my own contractors to maintain my property?
For both Let Only Services and Management Services, we endeavour to use reputable contractors at reasonable prices and with suitable credentials. Yet you can request the works to be carried out by the contractor of your choice and delegate the management to us as described above, or to handle the contractor yourself.
How does Rent Happily quote for works required at my property?
Normally we use our discretion to spend up to a maximum of £100. Any work above that sum will be communicated in writing for approval, except in case of emergency where we may act before seeking approval. We normally provide one quote before starting the works if under £500 and 2 quotes if above that amount.
What maintenance is included in the Management service?
We will handle the maintenance of the property as part of our Management Service insofar as it relates to the tenancy and its impact on the property. This includes, but is not limited to: Repair & Maintenance of appliances; Partial redecoration e.g. a room or hallway; Safety certificate renewal during the tenancy; Any job relating to the tenancy and it's normal use e.g. minor carpet repairs, small electrical jobs, changing fixtures and fittings due to wear and tear, all will be dealt with as part of our managed service.
When the works required are not directly related to the tenancy, we will charge our standard 12% fee (min. £20) on top of the invoice supplied by the contractor. This applies for instance to improvements, additions or renovation projects, upgrades, alterations or structural repairs; Redecoration after more than 5 years under the same tenancy. For more information please refer to clause 5.11) of our T&C.
The first time a safety certificate is contracted to an external supplier, a 12% fee (min£20) is also due, as it is the landlords responsibility to provide a property suited for rental.
Health & Safety
When do I need a PAT and a GSC?
PAT: The Low Voltage Electric (Safety) Regulations 1989 and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulation 1994 as updated in 2016, requires the Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate to be renewed every year whenever white goods are provided. If your property is provided without electrical appliances at all, then you don't need to do the test.
GSC: The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, as amended, requires any property with gas appliances to have a valid Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) before the start of the tenancy. This is to be renewed every year.
Do I need a Soft Furnishing Fire Safety Certificate?
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 & 1993, 2010 Amendment requires the furniture and soft furnishing of the items provided in the prpoerty to be compliant with the above standard and to show the required labels, as explained in the following Guide to the regulation. The certificate must be issued prior to the start of the tenancy and it is valid indefinitely for the life of the item listed on the certificate.
Where are Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors needed?
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 requires the property to be fitted with smoke alarms on all floors used as living accommodation, and to have carbon monoxide detectors wherever there is a solid fuel burning appliance or a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers). We can supply and fit these whenever necessary, and we will test these at each interim inspection.
For properties qualifying as HMO and/or falling into the designated area of the Licensing Scheme and subject to its requirements, a Grade D -mains, interlinked- smoke alarm may be necessary. We deal with the council, obtain the certificates from certified contractor and ansure the property is safe for the tenants and the liability of the landlords if covered.
Do I need a Fire Safety Evaluation?
The Housing Act 2004 and The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 requires the dwelling to be safe for human habitation and ascribe the landlord as ultimately responsible for fire safety of their property. Our Fire Risk Evaluation covers the main aspects of this requirement, and it also makes sure the property is safe to rent by the Bristol City Council Fire Safety Standards, whether within the designated area of the license or not. This evaluation is valid for 5 years, although it must be carried out at the onset of every new tenancy.
Note that this is not a Fire Risk Assessment as prescribed by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, (FSO) which would only apply to the common parts of Mandatory HMO and blocks of flats, as explained in the LACoRS Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing (2008).
Is the Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) mandatory?
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and The British Standard 7671: 2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations) require the electrical installation to be inspected by a qualified electrician every 5 years at least for all rented properties in England. As of July 2020, every new tenancy will have to be tested, as prescribed by The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. We make sure the required certificates are obtained, ensuring tenants are safe and landlords are covered.
Why do I need a Legionnaires' Risk Assessment?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, in accordance with the HHSRS Code of Practice of the Health and Safety Executive (2005), require a Legionnaires' Risk Assessment to be carried out at the onset of every tenancy. Once the initial Assessment is in place, a Risk Review must be carried out annually, as explained in this Legionnaires' guide to dutyholders by the HSE.
Do I need a Residential Property Risk Assessment?
The HHSRS Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005 makes it a requisite for any rented property to comply with the regulation, even for single-family households. Our Residential Property Risk Assessment covers 50 checks around 9 areas of potential hazards and makes recommendations to minimize and/or manage potential risks.
This assessment also meets the requirements of The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, and it makes sure the property complies with the criteria detailed in the legislation, including the prevention and the management of risks. It is valid for three years, although it must be renewed at the start of every tenancy to make sure tenants are safe and landlords are covered.