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  • Buy-to-Let

    Tenancy agreement query

    Good evening

    Apologies if this post is not in keeping with the PT forum and I should be seeking advice from a different source.  I’m letting my first BTL property to a housing association for a 2 year period, during which they will cover the maintenance.  They’ve sent me their tenancy agreement and I just wanted to check a couple of things with you more experienced landlords.  Any comments are much appreciated.

    Would I be correct in assuming item 2 would not come under maintenance?

    For item 4, I understand I need buildings insurance, but is contents required as well?

    They’ve asked not to pay a deposit and I’m not sure if any damage, which is not fair wear and tear, is covered in the remaining points.

    They also asked if they could make alterations, for example a stair lift, on the basis they would return it to its original condition, which makes me wonder why they’ve included item 17.

    2.            Main repairs

    The Landlord will maintain in good condition :

    a.            the outside of the Property;

    b.            the main structure of the property

    but this does not include remedying any damage caused by the Tenant unless the cost is met by insurance under clause 4.

    4.            Insurance

    The Landlord will:

    a.            arrange for [the Building], [the Property] [and the Contents] (but not the Tenant’s or Occupier’s possessions) to be insured under comprehensive insurance policies;

    b.            use all reasonable efforts to arrange for any damage caused by an insured risk to be remedied as soon as practicable; and

    c.            refund to the Tenant any Rent paid for any period in which the property is uninhabitable or inaccessible as a result of such damage.

    but b. and c. will not apply if the insurers refuse to pay out the policy monies because of anything the Tenant has done or failed to do in breach of the Tenant’s Obligations under this Tenancy Agreement.

    The Landlord will observe all obligations imposed on him by any Superior Lease except for those which are the Tenant’s obligations under this Tenancy Agreement.

    10.         Maintain the condition of the Property

    The Tenant will, or will ensure that the Occupier will:

    a.            keep the inside of the Property in as good condition as at the date of this Tenancy Agreement;

    b.            have the windows of the Property cleaned on a regular basis;

    c.            properly tend any garden forming part of the Property and any houseplants, planted windowboxes or planters

    but, if the Tenant complies with clause 11, the Tenant will not be responsible for fair wear and tear caused by normal use or for damage by risks insured under clause 4.

    11.         Replace damaged items

    The Tenant will immediately pay for or replace:

    a.            any glass which is broken by the Tenant;

    b.            [any Contents which are damaged, destroyed or lost], and

    c.            any components of gas, electrical, heating or other appliances which become defective due to misuse, but, if the Tenant complies with clause 9, the Tenant will not be responsible for damage by risks insured under clause 4.

    13.         Notice to repair

    If the Landlord or the Landlord’s Agent gives the Tenant written notice requiring the Tenant to remedy any failure by the Tenant to comply with clauses 9 to 11 above, the Tenant will carry out the necessary remedial work within two months from being given the notice.

    17.         No alterations

    The Tenant will not, and will ensure that the Occupier will not:

    a.            alter or add to the Property internally or externally;

    b.            decorate the exterior of the Property;

    c.            change the décor of the interior of the Property; or

    d.            erect any external aerial or satellite dish at the Property.

    Kind regards

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    Broadly speaking you should be aware that letting property to Social Landlords comes with Pros&Cons.

    The plus side is Rent is g'teed in this case for 24 months and will be paid even if void - ditto Council Tax/Water Rates usually.

    You should though expect a higher amount of "wear&tear" with social tenants - and how much of that is covered by HA at end of tenancy may leave you feeling short changed.

    Repairs per se tend to be based on fixed amounts which allow for nil negotiation from your side - you may for example have a fair amount of repairs needed - you get paid a lump sum by HA then are left with job of finding trades to refurb within that lump sum.

    That said they could choose to renew the tenancy for sequential 2 yr periods for many yrs - giving you a good return overall.

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    As a PS - you may also find yourself on a tight rein as far as any repairs to eg heating/sanitary ware are concerned - you may be given a week or less to complete repairs - failing which HA may well stop rent.

    The HA may require you to buy maintenance cover for GCH etc - with Occupant being given a 24 hr call out number.

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    PPS - as per Landlord&Tenant Act the main structure of the building - as well as ongoing functionality of heating/cooking/sanitary ware would remain the Owner's responsibility - just as for any other private rental.

    Offsetting that is no letting agent fees and none of he direct hassle of finding/vetting/replacing tenants - but be aware that there could well be several occupants placed in the property by HA over the 24 month period.

    Occupants will invariably be LHA claimants - usually lone parents who may or may mot be working (usually not) so if at home all day again higher wear and tear versus a professional working occupant.

    You personally though will have nil direct dealings with any occupant - unless needing to make appointment for any repairs for which you remain responsible. If you are lucky you may never meet the occupants.

    The occupants will essentially be in Temporary Accommodation whilst in your property - and you should be aware that one of the ways they can boost their Priority for a permanent social housing tenancy is to create a situation where the property may be deemed uninhabitable - eg condensation/mould being one of the easier methods. The occupants will almost invariably be in fuel poverty due to being on benefits.

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    Thank you LandLordy for sharing your views on this and taking the time to do so.  I understand the HA will be housing refugees and that they may be considered to be more elderly.  So I guess the HA covering maintenance may need some clarification for me to understand what is considered their or my responsibility, given your points regarding heating, cooking and sanitary. Certainly the points you've raised are worth considering for future properties, thanks again.  The HA have also agreed for me to attend the 6 and 12 months inspections with their own housing officers.  Will I need contents insurance as well as building?

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    Normally social landlords take property unfurnished - so no Contents Ins needed - but your HA may have specified a different deal.

    Fixtures/fittings are deemed part of structure eg kitchen/bathroom/fitted wardrobes etc so covered routinely via Buildings Ins.

    Is the property mortgaged - lender may have an issue with more than 12 months AST?

    You personally remain responsible (as any landlord) for maintaining both inside/exterior of property so as to be habitable - you should read other PT thread on Fitness for Habitation.

    You should make a list of all queries on what HA regards you to be responsible for and have a proper convo before signing deal.

    Have you undertaken Gas/Elec inspections?

    If occupants are to be Asylum cases you may want to write a document explaining how the main services function - esp heating - again noting that these will be fuel poverty benefit occupants - though HA should emphasise how to avoid condensation/mould issues.

    The HA will be responsible for any Gas/Elec arrears - though you could easily find occupants get in to arrears and suppliers change over to Pre Pay meters - which then cost you around £50 per meter to change back later - another issue for discussion with HA.


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    Thanks again.  I've had gas and electric certificates done.  There is a 12 month clause when either side can terminate with 3 months notice.  I will clarify as you suggest, before signing.  Thanks

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    Like LandyLordy said there are pro's and con's to giving it to HA. You will only know what it will be like after 2yrs. Whether with Rent Guarantee you win or loose.

    With regards to contents insurance I think they mean what you have supplied like furniture etc.  Clarify with them what they mean by contents for your peace of mind.

    Have they not asked for plug in heater incase your main heating breaks down.  After my personal experience I have now supplied a Oil filled heater incase there is no heating in this cold weather.

    I wouldn't give my property to an HA tenant(But there is a petition for that too that this is discriminative) but having said that not all are trasher's so you will win or loose you will only find out after 2yrs.


    Good Luck.

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    Thanks for your response.  The property is unfurnished so I would imagine buildings only insurance would suffice, but will confirm this as you suggest.  No request for spare heaters.  In the early days I'm told the housing officers visit on a regular basis and as I mentioned, I can attend inspections if required.  Thanks

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    Pleasure.


    With regards to heater I don't think you have to wait for it.  As when my tenants boiler broke down I had no time to hint down one so the tenant went to Argos and bought one she liked for £70.  A bit expensive for my liking for a rental property.  I would invest in one say £20 to keep in one room to warm up, get it PAT tested and keep it in case.


    What do others think about the spare heater.

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    The part of the HA Tenancy Agreement/Private Lease that you really need to focus on - is the Condition Report of your property.

    This will typically grade things as good/fair/poor etc.

    If you find that most aspects are described as only fair for example - that foretells the extent to which HA will recompense you for any damages/wear and tear after 2 yrs. Specifically whilst they may demand decent floorings throughout - you may well find that carpets etc just go missing by end of lease with no expectation of your being recompensed.

    Whatever HA says about covering maintenance/repairs - you must note that occupants have "no skin in game" eg no deposit at risk - and as I flagged above the elephant in room is that your property is just Temp Accommodation for these social tenants - who will be angling to get a permanent social tenancy asap.

    Most parts of UK for many yrs have operated a CBL scheme (Choice Based Letting) where those on Council waiting lists have to make weekly online "bids" for any eligible property becoming vacant. Once plugged in to that system they will note that a medical issue of a tenant in a rental eg asthmatic with damp/mould etc - is one of the easier ways of garnering higher priority for a permanent social rental. They will note all that because the sites also show how many yrs successful bidders have been on waiting lists and this can be 10/15 yrs or more in some cases - just look on your own LA's CBL site.

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