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Frequently asked questions

Are there any rules about what comes with a property if it is fully furnished, furnished, part furnished or unfurnished?
No. There are no strict rules, and both expectations and reality will always vary from each Landlord and each Tenant. Generally, a property offered as “fully furnished” would come with all the main fixtures, furnishings and fittings, white goods etc., plus the standard crockery, cutlery, glassware, pots and pans etc., that a reasonable Tenant would normally use on a day to day basis.

At the other end of the scale, an “unfurnished” property would normally be provided only with such basics as carpets, curtains and light fittings, possibly white goods too.

Clearly, there are infinite variations between these two extremes of what might be included. Therefore, the critical aspect, whether you are a Landlord or Tenant, is to make sure that everyone clearly understands what main items are, or are not, included before finalising the Tenancy Agreement.

What about Insurance?
Landlords and Tenants should take care to review any existing policies when renting or letting a property for the first time as some standard insurance products will either not provide cover, or might place restrictions on cover, for rented property and/or it’s contents. A failure to inform your insurer that you are renting/letting a property could invalidate any subsequent claim. It is the responsibility of the Landlord to insure the building and any contents, fixtures and fittings belonging to the Landlord.

The Tenants are responsible for insuring any of their own possessions. There are various specialist insurance products designed for landlords and tenants and rented property.

What about an Inventory?
An Inventory is an essential document that provides a written benchmark of a property's condition including details of any fixtures and fittings. This should be amended, updated and recreated before the beginning of each new tenancy.

What is a Tenancy Agreement?
A Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding contract between a Landlord and Tenant (not the Agent) that sets out both the legal and contractual responsibilities and obligations of the two parties. It should be written in plain and intelligible language (no unnecessary jargon!) and it’s terms and clauses should be fair and balanced, taking account of the respective positions of the parties and should not mislead about legal rights and responsibilities. The Landlord and Tenant should take care to individually negotiate any particular terms or conditions that are important to them.

What kind of Tenancy Agreement will be used?
The most common form of Tenancy Agreement used is an “Assured Shorthold Tenancy” (AST) under the 1988 Housing Act (amended 1996). This type of tenancy offers the most flexibility to both Landlord and Tenant. It has a straightforward notice procedure for bringing the tenancy to an end and a special Accelerated Possession court procedure should tenants fail to vacate.

In the case where the annual rental income exceeds £25,000 a contractual non Housing Act Agreement must be used. Similarly if the Tenant is a Company, a different form of Agreement will be used. Our team will always be able to advise you on which type Tenancy will be created in each in case.

Joint and Several. What does that mean?
Mostly, where there is to be more than one person living in the property, the Tenancy Agreement will say they are “jointly and severally” responsible. This expression means that, jointly, the Tenants are liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities falling upon the tenants during the tenancy, as well as any breach of the Agreement. Individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities falling upon the tenant, as well as any breach of the Agreement until all payments have been made in full.

What about the Tenancy Deposit?
It is common for a deposit of an amount equivalent to six weeks rental to be required to be held during the Tenancy against the satisfactory performance by the Tenant of all the various obligations under the Tenancy Agreement – but mainly, those relating to the cleanliness and condition of the property.

The relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement set out who is to hold the deposit (e.g. Agent or Landlord), what the deposit can be allocated for and the end of tenancy procedures and timescales for its refund.

What is a “Break Clause”?
This is a clause sometimes inserted in a fixed term tenancy, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more. A break clause will usually allow either Landlord or Tenant to give two months written notice at any stage after a particular date or period of the Tenancy, thus terminating the tenancy earlier than the end of the original fixed term.

How often can the rent be put up?

In general terms, rent of an existing Tenancy can only be increased once every twelve months after the initial term. This means that if the tenancy is renewed after six months there will be a rent increase but this will then be held for twelve months. It is usual, if creating a longer fixed term tenancy at the outset (or one with a binding option to renew), to include a clause that allows for an increase of the rent on an annual basis.

Repairs and maintenance issues
The Landlord, in very general terms, has a legal responsibility to repair the structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes; to keep in working order the installations for the supply of gas, electricity and water; and, for the installations for the provision of space and water heating. The Landlord also has other legal responsibilities relating to the safety of such items as gas, electricity and furnishings as well as the general standard or fitness of the property for habitation.

The Tenant has an implied covenant to act in a “tenant-like manner”. Broadly, this means to report disrepair promptly; to take reasonable steps to ensure that neither the tenant nor guests damage the property, its fixtures and fittings; to do the minor day to day things any home-occupier would normally do e.g. replace light bulbs, fit a new battery in a smoke or CO2 detector, tighten an odd screw which has come loose on a door handle etc.; to keep the property reasonably warm and aired to help prevent condensation or freezing of pipes; to leave the property secure when absent from it; to keep the garden and other areas reasonably tidy and free from rubbish.

If have any other questions please feel free to call us on 0207 099 5944 or contact us via our web form

 

 
51 Mill Lane, West Hampstead, London, NW6 1NB Tel: 020 7099 5944 Fax: 020 7099 5943 Email: info@londonbrowns.com Company No.: 7638847
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