Online estate agent easyProperty has created a guide to advise landlords about the consequences of failing to organize essential documents before they let a property. According to easyProperty, depending on the documentation neglected, consequences could involve large fines – as much as £6000 for failure to provide a Gas Safety Certificate – as well as difficulties when it comes to evicting tenants.
EasyProperty’s guide covers Gas Safety Certificates, EPCs, inventories, tenancy agreements, deposit protection schemes and possession notices, as well as the ‘How to Rent’ guide that all tenants must be offered.
The online estate agents’ guide details how landlords cannot serve a Section 21 Notice on their tenants without a valid Gas Safety Certificate or Energy Performance Certificate for their property. EasyProperty advises that landlords must also offer a ‘How to Rent’ guide current to the start of the tenancy along with the tenancy agreement to prevent potential court disputes. The estate agents warn that landlords may have to compensate tenants as much as three times the value of the deposit if they do not place the money in a government-backed scheme within 30 days of receiving it.
According to easyProperty, it is better to pay for professional services to ensure all documentation is watertight, rather than adapt sample agreements from online sources, for instance. In addition, the online estate agents offer tips, such as making sure inventories are signed at the start of the tenancy in order to prevent future deposit disputes. If there is no inventory, independent adjudicators are unable to claim back any money due, they caution. The online estate agents also advise that tenancy agreements must be signed before keys to the property are handed over.
Finally, as well as Section 21 Notices for end of contract, the guide discusses Section 8 Possession Notices, required to evict tenants for breach of contract. easyProperty recommends the best way to avoid fees, delays and fines is to ensure documentation is in place and to follow the correct procedures.