West Berkshire Council

Information for Landlords

Information and advice for landlords

Your rental property

As a landlord, it is important to remember that your rental property is somebody else's home. Whilst you may own the property, your rights to access the property when it is rented are limited and dictated by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
 

Landlord's responsibilities 

You are a landlord if you rent out a property and, as a landlord, you must:

  • Keep the property safe and free from health hazards
  • Make sure that all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
  • Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • Protect your tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme
  • Check your tenant has the right to rent your property if it is in England
  • Give your tenant a copy of the How to Rent checklist

More information on your resposibilties as a landlord can be found at Gov - Renting out a property.

If you are a landlord, you must meet your obligations under the Homes Act 2018. More information is available at Gov - Guide for landlords homes fitness for human habitation act 2018
 

Right to rent checks

You must check that any tenant you rent your room, house or flat to have the right to rent a property in the United Kingdom. You must do this for everyone who is named on the tenancy. You can do so by clicking Gov - Check right to rent documents.
 

Fire safety

All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure rented properties comply with fire safety conditions and that there is an adequate means of escape in the event of a fire. Landlords should identify all fire-related hazards within their properties and analyse how they may affect the building and their tenants. This is often best done by a fire safety professional.

  • You must fit smoke detectors on all storeys of a property where there is living accommodation.
  • You can fit self-closing doors to contain fires and protect stairwells so tenants can get out of the property.
  • Ensure outside doors can be opened at all times from the inside.
  • For Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), place notices showing exit routes.
  • Carry out regular electrical installation safety checks and annual visual checks of sockets, switches, lamp holders etc. 
     

Energy Performance Certificates

You need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you can rent your property to a tenant. You must order an EPC for potential tenants before you put your property on the market to rent.

An EPC contains:

  • information about a property's energy use and typical energy costs
  • recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
 

How to get an EPC

You'll need to find an accredited assessor if you're selling or renting out your home in:

They will assess your property and produce the certificate.

You can be fined if you don't get an EPC when you need one. Your ability to end a tenancy could be affected if you do not comply with this requirement.
 

Tenancy Deposit Protection

You must place your tenant's deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme if you rent out your property on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007.

You (or your managing agent) must place the deposit in a tenancy deposit in the scheme within 30 days of receiving it.
 

Setting the rent

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate

Renting your property at the LHA rate ensures that if your tenant is receiving Housing Benefit, the property will be affordable for them as the amount they receive is calculated based on their other income.

To calculate the LHA rate for your property, please click here Local Housing Allowance rates
 

A few legal things you should know

In order to end a tenancy and take occupation of the property, there are legal processes that you must follow. Even when the contract also known as the fixed-term of the tenancy has expired, you must follow a legal process to end the agreement.

If you do not have a written contract/tenancy agreement, you will still need to follow the legal process to take back the property.

During the tenancy, should you need to gain access to the property (other than in an emergency) you must obtain your tenant's permission; the tenancy agreement will confirm the required notice period.

It is important that you obtain independent legal advice to be clear of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
 

The eviction process

The standard eviction for an assured shorthold tenancy is a three-stage process. A section 21 notice can be served (sometimes referred to as the 'no fault' eviction process):

  • Stage one: Section 21 notice - If the tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015, the notice must be created on Assured Shorthold Tenancy Tenancy Form The notice must be in writing, give the tenant at least 2 months' notice and Shelter - How to check a section 21 notice is valid
     
  • Stage two: Once the date on the Section 21 has expired, if the tenant remains in the property, you will have to obtain a possession order from the court.
     
  • Stage three: Finally, once the possession order has expired, if the tenant remains in the property, you will have to obtain a bailiffs warrant from the court. The warrant will state the date that the tenant must leave the property.

Other eviction processes are subject to different set of rules such as the section 8 process for rent arrears. You can find out more about other eviction processes on Gov - Evicting Tenants.

The landlord's main repairing duties

In general, if you are a landlord, the law will impose certain repairing duties on you which you cannot contract out of. You will probably be responsible for most of the major repairs including:

  • leaking roofs and gutters
  • rotting floor boards and windows
  • rising damp
  • damp walls
  • defective electrical wiring
  • dangerous ceilings and staircases
  • faulty gas and water pipes
  • broken water heaters and boilers
  • broken lavatories, sinks and baths and shower facilities
  • repairs to communal areas of the property which are used by all tenants
  • good management of the accommodation, such as making sure communal areas are clean and well lit

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a tool the council will use to assess potential risks to the health and safety of people in residential properties. The council respond to requests for intervention by private tenants whose landlords will not carry out necessary work within their accommodation. We will carry out a full health and safety 'risk assessment', which includes gardens and paths within the boundary of the premises.

If work needs to be done we will issue instructions to the landlord in the form of statutory notices. This will set out the work that needs to be done and will specify timescales in which it must be completed.

If you fail to carry out legally-required work, the council may prosecute you via the local magistrates' court. If you are found guilty, the court will normally issue a fine and/or other instructions.
 

Renting your property through the council

West Berkshire Council can take the hassle out of letting your property.

The council will not only find you a tenant to rent your property but will also assist you to ensure your property is compliant before you let it, eg by arranging an EPC free of charge if you do not already have one. You will have a dedicated contact to walk you through the lettings process and support you throughout the term of the tenancy.

For more information about all the benefits of letting your property through the council, please call 01635 503 616 or 01635 519 628.