The role you play in protecting your tenants, landlords, and their properties is crucial. As a letting agent, adapting to ever-changing legislation is a major part of this, and recent proposals by the Government confirm your part. However, it also gives your pre-existing clients a reminder of the work you do on their behalf, and the protection you offer them. It is also ideal to highlight to prospective new landlords that both they and their properties will be safe in your care.
In recent proposals, and subject to parliamentary time permitting, the Government have confirmed they will amend the legislation relating to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. For landlords and letting agents, this means:
- Landlords will be expected to replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when they are informed of any faults or defects.
- Smoke alarms will be mandatory in all socially rented properties.
- Carbon monoxide detectors will be mandatory in rooms with fixed combustion appliances (excluding gas cookers) in both private and socially rented homes.
- Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in a room when a new heating appliance (excluding a gas cooker) is installed.
The main point to take from this is that landlords (or their responsible letting agent) are required to repair or replace alarms when they are informed of any faults.
This could be either through the tenants in situ during a tenancy, or if discovered during a check-out inspection or an inventory before a move-in.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are vital in protecting both tenants and rental properties. There are 37,000 house fires on average per year in the UK, and having a fully working smoke alarm means occupants are four times more likely to survive.
Checking that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order should be a part of your inventory process, which takes place at the start of a tenancy.
A detailed inventory offers numerous forms of protection for both tenants and landlords prior to a move-in. They show your eye for detail, and cover the relevant party at the end of a tenancy should proceedings turn sour. It is the start of the tenancy, however, where you as a letting agent come into your own when safeguarding your clients, their properties, and their tenants.
What role do letting agents have with safety?
The start of a tenancy is an important part of the property letting and management process. In brief, it is about finding the right tenant for your landlord and their property, the opportunity to ensure legislative compliance is met, and that finances are safely and legally stored.
A happy tenant is a long-term tenant. Ensuring your tenants feel safe and secure during their tenancy is key to extending the duration. This minimises your landlords' void periods and keeps them happy, which is great for your business.
As we’ve already mentioned, conducting an inventory at the start of the tenancy is the best method of highlighting any potential safety risks. Inventories are primarily carried out to document the condition of a property, and act as evidence in the event a claim against a deposit is made.
They also allow you as the managing agent to identify issues relating to the safety of the property and prospective tenants themselves.
In addition to checking for fully operational smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, you should be alert for any structural defects by checking the integrity of walls, ceilings and floors.
Examining windows and door frames for signs of chips/cracks, worn-out sealant or rot, can also help to identify and prevent damp and mold issues.
Significant health problems can be attributed to the growth of damp and mold in a property, and also costly to rectify. Not only are you able to preserve the health and safety of tenant’s during this stage, but that of the property and your landlord’s finances through minimal repair costs.
Landlords are subjected to a wealth of legal documentation and processes at the start of a tenancy. Ensuring these are checked off and issued correctly on behalf of your landlords keeps them safe in a number of ways.
As a managing agent, you will be expected to do all this on behalf of the landlord at the start of a tenancy. This includes ensuring prospective tenants are given relevant copies of information such as EPCs and Right To Rent guides. Their deposit should also be lodged in a Government approved scheme.
As part of our Onboarding solution, up to date legally approved terms and conditions, referencing criteria, end to end right to rent checks and tenancy agreement are offered. This keeps both your landlords compliant through documentation, but also saves you time in admin work and allows you to let properties more quickly.
By completing the process of documentation and compliance at the start of a tenancy, you will be keeping your landlords safe from fines, possible court summons, and covering them on all bases in the event of a negative ending with the tenants.
It is also important to guarantee the tenants you are entrusting to look after your landlord’s property are who they claim to be. A thorough referencing process will prevent any scams or fraud, and keep all parties safe involved when letting a property.
Efficient yet thorough referencing can ensure your landlords are safe from unscrupulous tenants occupying their assets, whilst also helping to minimise void periods due to the prompt turnaround times.
As a letting agent, there are a number of options when it comes to referencing a tenant. At RentProfile, we allow you to track applicant tenant’s live progress, and utilise auto follow-ups to save you time. This means you can effectively communicate with prospective tenants to advise and identify any issues along the way, whilst demonstrating proactiveness to your landlords. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.