Advice when renting out property

By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)

Q: I have decided to rent out my property. Can you advise me as to what terms I should put in the tenancy agreement and any other factors I should be aware of?

A: Most private landlords opt for an assured shorthold tenancy. This normally lasts for six months and the tenant has fewer rights to stay at the end of the tenancy.
You will need to consider what restrictions you want to put into the agreement, eg whether pets are allowed. The amount of rent and when it is due will need to be specified. In addition to this, you will need to state whether there is a service charge due if there are any communal areas (eg a stairwell in a flat).
You should also specify what rights of access you have to the property.
It is usually normal and a right of the tenant to be given notice of a landlord's visit unless access needs to be gained in an emergency.
The bond is a very important aspect to get right. The bond has to be deposited in one of three government approved tenancy deposit schemes.
You must tell the tenant in writing which scheme the deposit is being held in within 30 days of receiving it. You must also have an Energy Performance Certificate in place.
It is advisable to enlist the services of a solicitor to draw up the agreement, as should you have any difficulties with your tenant, a well drawn-up agreement will make it easier for you to resolve.
The solicitor may also be able to give you broad advice on tax liability or refer you to a person qualified to give such advice.
In the unfortunate event that you need to evict your tenants, your solicitor will also be in a position to advise and assist you with the procedure.

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