Important Legal Checklist for Granting an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

 

When it comes to letting properties, landlords must ensure they fulfill the necessary legal requirements right from the start to avoid any potential issues down the line. At our company, we understand the importance of complying with these regulations and providing comprehensive services to assist landlords in meeting their obligations. In this article, we will outline a checklist of essential legal points to cover when granting an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), ensuring a smooth and compliant tenancy for both parties involved.

1. Keep a Signed and Dated Copy of the Tenancy Agreement

It is crucial to retain a signed and dated copy of the tenancy agreement. This document serves as a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant, outlining the terms and conditions of the tenancy. Keeping a copy helps ensure both parties have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

2. Provide the Government's 'How to Rent' Checklist

The government requires landlords to provide the tenant with the 'How to Rent' checklist, which offers important information about renting a property in England. This document outlines the tenant's rights and responsibilities and provides guidance on common issues that may arise during the tenancy. By providing this checklist, landlords demonstrate compliance with legal obligations and ensure tenants are well-informed.

3. Ensure a Valid Gas Safety Certificate

Landlords must have a valid gas safety certificate for the property, which should be in place before the tenant moves in. This certificate verifies that all gas appliances, fittings, and flues in the property are safe and meet the required standards. It is essential to provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to the tenant or ensure it is available at the property. Additionally, landlords must obtain new gas safety certificates annually to maintain a safe living environment.

4. Obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is another important document that should be in place before granting an AST. This certificate rates the energy efficiency of the property, helping tenants make informed decisions about their energy consumption. Landlords must provide a copy of the EPC to the tenant and keep evidence of sending it. This ensures compliance with energy efficiency regulations and assists tenants in making environmentally conscious choices.

5. Handle Tenancy Deposits Appropriately

If a landlord chooses to take a deposit, there are specific legal requirements to follow:

a. The deposit must be kept in an authorized tenancy deposit scheme. Letting agents can assist landlords in fulfilling this obligation.

b. Retain a copy of the deposit protection certificate, confirming the date when the deposit was protected. This certificate serves as proof that the deposit is securely held.

c. Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, provide the tenant with information about the deposit and the scheme in which it is held. This information helps tenants understand how their deposit is protected and where they can seek resolution in case of disputes.

6. Address Notices Relating to Property Condition

If the tenant or the Local Authority issues any notices regarding the condition of the property, landlords must promptly deal with these matters and retain copies of the notices. Proactive resolution of maintenance issues helps ensure tenant satisfaction and prevents potential legal complications.

It is essential to provide hard copies of all necessary documents to the tenant unless an agreement for electronic provision has been specifically made. In such cases, it is crucial to keep evidence of the tenant's agreement to receive documents via email.

Maintain an organized file containing all the required documents, as this will facilitate addressing any issues that may arise during the tenancy or if the need to regain possession of the property arises.

Lastly, it is crucial to ensure that all legal requirements are met before serving notice to regain possession of the property. If any doubts or uncertainties arise, seeking legal advice is recommended to ensure the validity of the