Fees, guides and advice for tenants
Here you'll find a range of 'how-to' and house rental guides for tenants as well as information about fees and some useful advice. We're an approachable team and we're here for you, regardless of the wide variety of questions you may have, so if you can't find the information you need on this page, please contact us and we'll do our very best to help. Simply choose a topic from the list below and download the useful 'how to' and house rental guides, all written to provide the very best possible source of information for our tenants.
Guide to Charges - Tenants
Guarantor Information - FAQ's
How to Rent - the checklist for renting in England - December 2020
General Lettings Support
Our general lettings advice for landlords. Remember, we're always at the end of the phone too, so if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Health & Safety
As a landlord you must keep your rented property free from hazards. It is your responsibility to make sure that your properties are safe for your tenants. This covers a range of different areas including electrical safety gas safety, fire precautions, and risk assessment.
Health & Safety guides
· Fire precautions
Carbon Monoxide Advice for Landlords
There’s a reason carbon monoxide is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ - because it has no scent, colour, or taste, and promptly causes unconsciousness.
In fact: the only way it can be detected is through installing a detector or by recognising the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and with 25 deaths occurring in England and Wales every year due to accidental inhalation, it’s an issue to be taken seriously.
How do carbon monoxide leaks occur?
For the most part, these leaks occur when household gas appliances such as stoves or water heaters malfunction, due to age or not being properly serviced and maintained. Improperly ventilated homes can also cause high levels of CO to build up.
What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak?
It's worth checking the appliances in your property for anything that looks faulty or damaged if you suspect a gas leak, although keep in mind that there may be an issue that isn't immediately obvious.
Some signs you may notice on your appliances are:
· Orange or yellow flames on a gas hob rather than blue
· Black staining/soot around the appliance
· More condensation on the inside of windows than normal (as this can be a sign that your appliance isn't venting properly)
It's also worth being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, in order to recognise them in yourself or your tenants. Symptoms may include:
· Physical tiredness/weakness
· Nausea or vomiting
· Loss of consciousness
If you notice your tenants displaying a number of these symptoms without a clear cause, it's important to open your doors and windows and vacate the premises while a check for a CO leak is conducted. It's also important for anybody displaying these symptoms to go hospital and be seen by a doctor.
What are a landlord's responsibilities when it comes to carbon monoxide?
The law requires all gas appliances to be checked and approved annually by a qualified gas engineer. It's important for landlords to ensure that those conducting the checks are on the Gas Safe register.
Risk Assessments Advice for Landlords
When you’re a landlord it’s a good idea to risk assess your property from time to time, to ensure your tenants are living in a safe environment and avoid local authorities stepping in to enforce repairs. This guide is to help landlords looking to risk assess their property.
What are the laws surrounding landlords carrying out risk assessments?
· Landlords responsible for flats or multiple occupancy houses have a duty under the Fire Safety Order to carry out a risk assessment to judge any fire safety measures that are required.
· Landlords are required to repair defects in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Defective Premises Act, which holds landlord and builders responsible for poorly maintained buildings.
The Government's Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used by local authorities when assessing the condition of privately rented accommodation. This is therefore an ideal resource to familiarise yourself with some of the potential hazards to look out for.
Using the HHSRS as a guide is beneficial to landlords as it can help you identify and document any issues that need to be fixed under the statutory repairing obligation.
The vulnerability of tenants should also be considered when carrying out a risk assessment, considering for example age and disabilities.
Potential hazards to consider
Electrical hazards, temperature, structural issues and damp or mould are all possible hazards that should be acknowledged and monitored. For a list of 29 potential hazards, along with preventative measures you can take to avoid them, and which groups are especially vulnerable, click here.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the potential hazards, conducting a survey of your property and documenting any damage you come across is the next step.
For any issues you find, we’d recommend scoring them depending on whether they are a high priority, medium priority or low priority, as this will allow you to prioritise any work that needs doing critically.
What must a risk assessment demonstrate?
An effective risk assessment should demonstrate the following:
• That you understand and have identified potential hazards
• That you’ve considered who could be at risk
• That you have prioritised further action where necessary
After you’ve conducted your risk assessment, hazards should naturally be removed where possible, for example if a structural element is unstable it should be repaired immediately. For less critical issues however, the practicality of decreasing the hazard can be considered alongside the cost of fixing the issue.