The law currently requires landlords to provide a number of documents to all tenants prior to starting a new tenancy. Failure to provide any of them can remove your ability to issue a Section 21 notice and may even result in financial penalties.
All of the required documents should be easily available and straight forward to provide, so there's really no excuse not to.
PaTMa Property Manager helps you to keep these documents at hand and makes the process of issuing them to your tenants (with proof of receipt) as simple as a few clicks.
What are the required pre-tenancy documents?
Before any new tenancy the tenant must be provided with the following documents:
- How to rent guide (from the government)
- Deposit protection terms and conditions (dependant on provider)
- Gas safety certificate
- Electrical safety certificate (required for HMOs now but soon for all)
The rest of this article will look at what each document is and where to find it.
How to rent guide
Get the latest guide here - directly from the government site.
The How to Rent Guide is a document published by the government. It's updated now and then so if you're providing these documents manually, make sure you check for the latest version.
Information contained in the guide is actually very good and worth a read if you haven't already.
There's are also some related guides, including one for landlords. These do not need to be sent to tenants but are also worth a read, you can find them here.
Deposit protection terms and conditions
Assuming you're taking a deposit, you'll also (need to) be protecting that deposit in one of the recognised schemes.
There are currently six official schemes available in England and Wales. These are from three providers - each offering a custodial and insurance style of deposit protection scheme. The official government list of approved schemes is here.
Having chosen the scheme you're going to use, it's important that you make your tenants aware of it and the terms under which their deposit will be held.
Each of the schemes produce a terms and conditions document or guide for tenants. And as with the How to Rent Guide these do get updated so make sure you always use the latest document.
Energy Performance Certificates have been widely used for a long time now, being required to rent or sell a property.
It's up to you to ensure your property has a valid EPC but as they last for ten years, you shouldn't need to replace this too often.
All EPCs should be available directly from the EPC Register but your EPC provider will also supply your own copy directly. You can upload this to your property record in PaTMa to keep it safe and easily available.
Gas safety certificate
The majority of properties in the UK have a gas supply, normally used to provide heating and hot water. The gas supply may also be used for cooking, via a gas hob and oven.
Faulty gas appliances can be extremely dangerous, with potential fire risks or carbon monoxide dangers.
To ensure the greatest possible safety of your tenants it's essential that all gas supplied properties and gas applicances are checked by a qualified Gas Safe engineer once a year.
Gas safe checks will provide you with a certificate which you must provide to your tenants. You need to provide this to your tenants before their tenancy and in the case of gas safety certificates you must also provide your tenants a copy of each new annual certificate.
You can store gas safety certificates in PaTMa, keeping them easily available. PaTMa will also email your reminders to make sure you renew in plenty of time each year.
Electrical safety certificate
At the time of writing these are only actually required for HMO properties. However they've been expected to be required for all buy-to-let properties "very soon" for a while!
All landlords (HMO and single let) are legally required to ensure a property is electrically safe, even if an official certification is not required.
The current EICR Fixed Wiring certificates last for five years and can be provided by most qualified electricians.
Electrical certificates can also be stored and tracked, complete with renewal reminders, in PaTMa Property Manager.
Property Manager Automation
You can make arranging all of these documents much, much simpler by using the PaTMa Property Manager new tenancy checklist.
PaTMa is aware of all the six deposit protection schemes and maintains copies of their terms. To keep them current PaTMa monitors the deposit providers and automatically updates whenever they publish new terms and conditions.
Similarly PaTMa monitors the government How to Rent Guide publications to also make sure that it always has the latest required version of the document.
You can also store the required EPC, gas safety and electrical safety certificates against your property in PaTMa. The latest version of these will be automatically picked up by the new tenancy process.
Should you wish to issue these documents manually you can use the convenient links on the checklist to download them directly.
Alternatively PaTMa Property Manager subscription packages include the option to bundle these documents together and send them straight to your tenants, along with a request for an online signature to record proof that you've issued them.