Services to your rented property
The gas, electricity and water companies etc should be advised whenever the property is empty so that meters can be read and accounts prepared, even if this will only be for a relatively short period of time.
We will do this for you on the initial letting and also each time there is a change of tenant or the property is to be empty for some other reason. During these ‘ void ‘ periods the utility services will be transferred back into your name.
The tenant is responsible for the gas, electricity and water/sewerage bills generated by their usage during the tenancy, including standing charges, but their liabilities in this respect clearly finish on the date of their vacation.
Telephone companies will not deal with third parties, therefore you must inform British Telecom (or any other service provider as appropriate) that you are leaving the property and advise them what you want to do with your existing number.
The tenants are responsible for arranging any line reconnections and meeting any costs associated with this. The tenancy agreement will forbid tenants from changing an existing number without your consent or indeed taking it with them at the end of the tenancy.
However preventing this possibility by giving the provider clear instructions yourself in respect of a specific number is by far the best safeguard.
Council Tax is a property based tax operating in very broad terms like the old rating system but with payments determined by wide property price bands.
Payment is therefore not the Landlord’s responsibility whilst the entire property is let. When an unfurnished property is unoccupied it is exempt for 6 months, then 50% of the Council Tax becomes payable. If empty and furnished then the 50% becomes payable immediately and throughout any void period between tenancies.
If you still reside at the property whilst acting as a Landlord then you will remain responsible for the Council Tax charge. We will inform the Council Tax office of each and every change in occupancy.
There is a clear legal obligation on a property occupier to register for Council Tax and a specific clause in the tenancy agreement, to which we draw their attention, also clearly highlights the tenant’s obligation to register for and pay Council Tax.
Buildings Insurance is normally incorporated within the mortgage. If not, you must ensure that you do take out a policy, and also inform your Insurance Company that you are renting out your property.
It is also advisable that you take out ‘Landlords Contents Insurance’. Gatehouse Estates Property Management is able to supply leaflets that specify different policies that Landlord’s and Tenants are able to take out
New legislation came into force with effect from 1st April 2000 under the Water Industry Act 1999, that tenants who are renting for a period of six months or more are entitled to have a water meter fitted without the consent of the landlord, even if the landlord was to forbid this change. Once the meter has been fitted at the property and has been used by the tenant for a period of 12 months or more, then after this time, it will not be possible for the water meter to be reverted back to mains supply.