Find answers to some of our most common questions we receive from landlords.

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Questions & Answers

Find answers to some of our most common questions we receive from landlords.

Why is it best to use an Agent that is ARLA qualified?

Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

As an ARLA member, we are required to have professional indemnity insurance cover and in addition we are covered by a bonding scheme which provides financial protection for our client monies.

We are governed by the Code of Practice providing a framework of ethical and professional standards at a level far higher than the law demands. Membership rules require that all member offices are to have professionally qualified staff. Our client bank accounts are required to be audited annually ensuring that they conform to a stringent accounting practice. ARLA is seen as a benchmark for professionalism that both Landlords and tenants can have confidence in.

Why is it important to use an Agent that is a member of a redress body?

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

iConn is a registered Agent which means we must follow the Property Ombudsman Letting Code of Practice. This sets out the framework within which registered Agents must operate and the standards of service they must provide for both tenants and Landlords. The code is compulsory and is rigorously applied in all complaints that are handled by the TPO. We are required to have professional Indemnity insurance in place along with having an in-house complaints system with written procedures; informing you how to refer any unresolved disputes to the Ombudsman and co-operate with any investigation by the Ombudsman.

What do I need to do to prepare my property before I Let it out?

All properties must be in good decorative order and be professionally cleaned prior to a tenancy. At the end of the tenancy each tenant is asked to ensure the property is returned professionally cleaned. Most tenants require properties to have carpets and curtains but not necessarily furniture. We would be pleased to advise you before any expenses are undertaken with regards to furniture and decoration. We would, as a matter of course, be happy to advise you on any aspect of preparing your property for viewings for prospective tenants

Will you advise me as to what I need to do regarding maintenance and redecoration works during a tenancy?

Most properties will require some redecoration or upgrading from time to time. We are able to offer a full service from supervising the repainting of a room to the complete refurbishment of a property. Charges are based on the amount of work required and the size of the property. We would be pleased to discuss this with you in more detail.

What Authority do Landlords have to give to Agents and will I need permission from my Mortgage company before I can Let out my property?

General Authority:

The Landlord confirms that he/she is the sole or joint owner of the property and has the right to rent out the property under the terms of the mortgage or head lease. Where necessary, the Landlord confirms that permission to let has been granted by the mortgagee. The Landlord authorises the Agent to carry out the various usual duties of property management including those that are mentioned in our terms. The Landlord also agrees that the Agent may take and hold deposits and comply with the requirements of any tenancy deposit scheme that may apply to that deposit.

Mortgages:

In most cases when a property is subject to a bank loan or mortgage, permission is required to let or sub-let the property.

You need to make your application for permission at a very early stage to avoid any delays once a tenant is found and your lender may wish to adjust the rate of interest.

There is not usually any charge for this permission and the lender will normally issue a letter of agreement to the letting; a copy of this letter will be requested by the Agent to hold on file. The tenant has the right to see the letter of agreement.

I am a Leaseholder of a flat, do I need permission to Let it out?

Landlords should apply for permission from the freeholder or their Agent before they let their property. If you hold the property on a lease you must ascertain that: a) sub-letting is allowed b) whether you are required to obtain written permission from your Landlord or lesser to sub-let c) if so, the conditions required for sub-letting. It is advisable to do this at the earliest possible time. A licence to under-let is usually issued and the cost of this is borne by the Landlord.

Do I need to have Landlord insurance and what is it?

As a Landlord you are required to have buildings and contents insurance with public liability cover to protect you against litigation. You have a legal obligation to provide the property in good repair and so a first-rate insurance would cover you for any unforeseen circumstances. Your insurance company should be notified of your intention to let the property and you need to check with them that all normal risks will be covered when let. It is a requirement that a comprehensive insurance policy which is specific for rented properties is in place; it is also advisable for cost management as it will cover you for any serious damage to your property. If the property becomes empty during void periods, the Landlord is responsible for notifying the insurance company and maintaining cover.

Public liability insurance in excess of two million pounds is also required as this will cover you for any eventualities regarding possible injuries to the tenant or visitors sustained from a fault found at the property.

iConn are unable to arrange Insurances on your behalf, to notify your insurer of claims or to complete documentation relating to those claims; unless express permission has been provided to the Insurance Company for them to liaise with iConn direct.

If your property is leasehold, the buildings insurance is usually included in the service charge; however, it is advisable to check this with the freeholder or his Agent.

Please note, the Tenant is responsible for insuring all items they bring into the property belonging to them.

We will notify you when we believe that damage to your property has resulted from an insured risk and will provide you with the information that you need in order to make a claim. We will also obtain estimates for repairing the damage which can be supplied to the insurers and arrange for the repairs to be carried out upon your instruction.

iConn reserves the right to request a copy of your Insurance to retain on file and provide a copy to the tenant.

What is rent Guarantee and do I need one?

Rent Guarantee is an insurance designed to protect your investment by ensuring the rent is paid even if you tenant goes into arrears.

Should your tenant stop paying the rent then you are still liable for meeting any mortgage payments that are due. It would remain your responsibility to pursue your tenants for any rent that is outstanding or owed outside of the scope of our managed or rent collection service. You will have to wait until your tenant is at least, in two full months' rental arrears before you can commence proceedings through the courts to recover your rent. If the tenant fails to vacate your property, in addition to not paying the rent, you will be responsible for appointing a Solicitor to act for you to obtain possession and recover lost rent.

Those tenants that are unable to pay rent and are seeking housing support from the local authority, could be advised to remain in the property despite breaching the terms of the tenancy (until a court order for possession is made). As a Landlord you would be expected to instruct and pay for any Solicitors and court fee's that may arise from this event.

Further details on insurance and rent guarantee options are provided on request.

What is an EPC and why do I need one?

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Rental properties for new tenancies commencing on after 01st October 2008 are required to have an EPC. They are a result of the European Union Directive 2002/91/EC relating to the energy performance of buildings, as transposed into British law by the Housing Act 2004 and the Energy performance of building (certificates and inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

EPC's carry ratings that compare the current energy efficiency and estimated costs of energy use with potential figures that your home could achieve. Potential figures are calculated by estimating what the energy efficiency and energy costs could be if energy saving measures were put in place.

You should receive an EPC when you enquire about buying or renting a home. You'll need to provide one if you are selling or letting your home. An EPC is valid for 10 years.

How do you market my property?

iConn Property Management place great emphasis on marketing and we will use all our expertise in this field to ensure that we market your property as effectively as possible. We take space in the local papers, our website offers a strong competitive marketing tool and we advertise on all national property portals such as Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla. All of which we have secured key feature property advertising space, ensuring your property is regularly highlighted when perspective tenants are searching for a new home. In addition to the national portals we also advertise on the Canterbury Times local website.

Do you take your own photos of my property for marketing?

An iConn representative will arrange to visit your property and take internal and external photographs where possible. The Landlord gives iConn Property Management full and absolute right to photograph the property to be let, and to use such photographs and any photographs provided by the Landlord at any time at their absolute discretion. iConn Property Management will retain the copyright of any photographs taken by them. Unless otherwise specified, we will erect a "To Let"/ "Let By" board at the property.

Will I need to give you a set of keys for my property?

For marketing and management purposes, we will require a set of keys to gain access to the property and any outbuildings included. Landlords will be required to provide additional sets of keys per tenant once the property has successfully been let. If the property is under a management contract an additional set of keys need to be held by iConn for the duration of the tenancy. iConns' secure key system ensures that third parties cannot identify which property a set of keys is for. Therefore, in the event that keys are lost or unaccounted for. iConns' liability in respect of such keys and/or any locks is strictly limited to the cost of cutting a new set of keys.

What will the rent I achieve for my property include?

Unless otherwise agreed, the rent quoted to a tenant by us on your behalf will be inclusive of all outgoings for which you are liable for as a Landlord. Rent will include ground rent, service charges, insurances etc but will exclude gas, electricity and other fuel charges, telephone, water rates and council tax which the tenant is responsible for

Do you take a holding fee from the tenant to secure a property?

A holding fee is generally taken from a tenant applying to rent a property.

The purpose of this fee is to verify the tenant's serious intent to proceed and to protect the Agent against any administrative expenses (taking out references and preparing necessary paperwork etc) that may be incurred should the tenant decide to withdraw the application.

The holding fee does not protect the Landlord against loss of rent due to the tenant deciding to withdraw, or references proving unsuitable although early acceptance of rent from the applicant would not be advisable until satisfactory references have been received. iConn reserve the right to deduct the cost of the administration fee (including the reference fee) from the holding fee and pay the balance to the Landlord, should the tenant withdraw their offer after the referencing procedure has been completed. Landlords should notify the Agent where they wish a larger security fee to be carried out to protect against loss of rents, or insurance undertaken. This fee is not a deposit until it is transferred on the establishment of the tenancy.

What sort of tenancy agreement do you use?

Unless we are instructed otherwise, we will use our standard ARLA approved Tenancy Agreement. You may of course use your own Tenancy Agreement, subject to our approval of the content. Should the Landlord, advisors or mortgagees require amendment of the contract or require the Agent enter into further work or correspondence, a fee for this extra work may be requested (or you may have the tenancy agreement amended by your own advisor at your own expense).

The Landlord shall provide the Agent with any requirements for return and repossession of the property at the earliest opportunity. Landlords should be aware that any tenancy agreement entered into on the Landlord's behalf is a binding legal agreement for the term agreed. Details of any tenancy agreement being entered into will be communicated to the Landlord as soon as possible. Landlords should be aware that the legal minimum notice period to tenants under assured tenancies is generally two months (should the contract allow for early termination) and this needs to be given even in the case of a fixed term tenancy which is due to expire.

It is agreed that the Agent may sign the tenancy agreement(s) on behalf of the Landlord.

Do I need an Inventory and why?

To avoid misunderstandings your property (whether furnished or unfurnished), must have a full inventory of contents as this acts as a record of items in the property, together with their condition. This is visually checked then signed at the commencement of the tenancy with the Tenant, then re-checked at the end of the tenancy. Should there be any change, a list of any discrepancies or dilapidations would be produced and charges agreed with the Tenant and deducted from their deposit. The inventory provides a fair and accurate record of the fixtures, fittings, and contents and the properties internal and external condition.

The person preparing the inventory is not an expert in fabrics, woods, materials, antiques, etc, nor a qualified surveyor. The inventory should not be used as an accurate description of each and every piece of furniture and equipment, or as a structural survey report. Inventories are prepared and included as part of our management service otherwise if you would like us to prepare one for you, please contact us to discuss the fee for this service.

iConn is not responsible for any items stored in any inhabitable area i.e. loft/attic/cellar space belonging to the Landlord or the tenant during a tenancy or after the tenancy has expired. Due to Health & Safety implications, no representative from iConn will enter an inhabitable loft/Attic/cellar space for any Inventory provision or property inspection or move any items of furniture or white goods, including check in & check out inspections.

iConn will not hold any deposit under the TDS Scheme unless a professional Inventory & Schedule of condition is provided either by iConn or a reputable professional Inventory Provider of your choice.

Do you take a deposit from the tenants?

iConn is a member of the Tenancy deposit Scheme (TDS) Upon signing the tenancy agreement, the Agent will take a dilapidation deposit from the tenant(s) in addition to any rents due. The purpose of the dilapidations deposit is to protect the Landlord against loss of rent or damage to the property during the tenancy itself. This deposit will be kept in a separate and secure client account ready for refunding (less any charges due) at the end of the tenancy.

NB: Please note any interests accrued on monies held on account are retained by iConn.

If you/the Landlord decide(s) to hold the Deposit and the Tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy you/the Landlord must specify to us/the Agent prior to the start of the Tenancy under which other Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme the Deposit will be covered. If the Deposit is covered by Tenancy Deposit Solutions you/the Landlord must provide proof of membership, together with a copy of the insurance policy before the Deposit can be released. If the Deposit is to be sent to the custodial scheme known as the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) we/the Agent will send you a cheque for the amount of the Deposit made payable to the DPS for you to forward onto them, within nine days. You will be responsible for all fees and charges associated with obtaining membership to the authorised scheme (where required) and protecting the deposit itself. iConn Ltd will be fully indemnified against any claim made by the tenant howsoever arising, as a result of you holding the deposit.

if you hold the deposit, do you handle disputes at the end of the tenancy?

If the Agent holds the deposit under the TDS and have undertaken the Inventory, the Agent will attempt, by negotiation, to resolve any deposit disputes between the Landlord and the tenant. Where the deposit is subject to statutory tenancy deposit protection and the dispute cannot be resolved between the parties, then it will be necessary to submit the claim to the tenancy deposit administrators for adjudication under an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

Please note if we support the Landlords claim to go to arbitration, there will be no additional costs. However, if in our professional opinion the claim is likely to fail and it subsequently does, there will be an additional fee of £250.00 plus vat for administration.

The Landlord authorises the Agent to make appropriate deductions from the rental income in the last two months of the tenancy to provide a maintenance fund from which any cleaning, repair or other costs can be disbursed at the end of the tenancy, whilst the deposit refund or dispute is being determined.

The Landlord agrees to follow all rules and legislation regarding the deposit returns procedures and time scales (which have been provided) and confirms this by signing our Terms and Conditions. iConn will not accept responsibility for the failure of any item of claim which is a result of your failure to provide the necessary information to us within the required time frame.

Do you seek authorisation for works that are needed to be undertaken at my property?

Management Work:

The Agent will request authorisation in advance for maintenance works, although it is agreed that in an emergency or for reasons of contractual or legal necessity where reasonable endeavours have been made to contact the Landlord, the Agent will proceed with emergency works where necessary. By law, it is necessary to carry out an annual inspection for any gas appliance. The Agent will carry this out on the Landlord's behalf and expense; the Agent will administer the necessary inspection and maintenance records. The reasonable costs involved will be debited to the Landlord's account.

Do you inspect my property and how often?

Under the Management Service, the Agent will normally carry out inspections quarterly (every two months for student properties) where and when access is possible. Such inspections do not constitute a formal survey of the property and it is not the intention to check every item of the inventory at this stage. The inspection is concerned with verifying the good order of the tenancy (i.e. house being used in a 'tenant-like' manner) and the general condition of the property. This would normally include inspecting the main items (carpets, walls, main living areas and gardens, where possible) Please note only property and grounds being confirmed as owned by the Landlord are inspected. iConn is not responsible for inspecting any areas where we have not been advised of the Landlords ownership. Where these were felt to be unsatisfactory, a more detailed inspection would generally be made. Please note we cannot accept responsibility for hidden or latent defects.

Following the departure of tenants, a final inspection of the property is carried out by the Agent. Testing of all the electrical appliances, heating system and plumbing is not feasible during this inspection: a qualified contractor should be appointed for this purpose should it be required by the Landlord. Any deficiencies or dilapidations would normally be submitted to the Landlord (and if appropriate, to the relevant tenancy deposit scheme administrator) together with any recommended deductions or replacement values.

Do you deduct outgoings from the rental income?

We cannot pay for any outgoings beyond the funds we hold. If we do not hold funds to settle an invoice, we may provide your contact details to the supplier so that they can apply to you for payment.

If we hold sufficient funds and where applicable and where instructed by the Landlord, iConn will pay for all regular outgoings from the rental income, as and when demands are received. We will endeavour to query any obvious discrepancies, however, it must be understood that we are entitled to accept and pay, without question, demands and accounts that we believe to be in order.

The Landlord agrees that, where any of iConn's fees or commission charges remain outstanding for more than 10 days, iConn may use any sums obtained or retained on the Landlords behalf to pay the outstanding sums.

Who do you use to carry out works to properties?

Qualified Contractors:

We pride ourselves on only using approved Contractors that have years of experience and hold the appropriate qualifications, have the relevant insurances in place and are well known to the local area. We operate an 'Open Book' policy, offering our clients full transparency on all costs incurred.

iConn are not product driven. We are totally impartial and have no bias towards any approved contractor, only that they are the best in order to provide you an excellent level of Service and quality workmanship. If you wish to use your own contractors they must be able to provide us with evidence of the required qualifications and insurances. If your preferred contractor cannot be contacted or is not able to carry out the work in an acceptable time frame, we reserve the right to appoint another contractor of our choice.

Where the Agent is required to co-ordinate repair and maintenance work on behalf of the Landlord, the Agent will not be responsible for any negligence, damage, or breach of contract by any contractor employed in this way.

It is further more agreed that any instruction to the Agent from the Landlord regarding proceedings, major repairs, payment, or other significant details regarding the letting or management of the property be confirmed to the Agent in writing.

Do you administer and issue legal notices?

The Agent will, as necessary, serve the usual legal notices on the tenant(s) in order to terminate the tenancy, increase the rent, or for any purpose that supports the good management of the property, or the timely return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

What do I do about my post?

If you are resident in the UK, it is advisable to ask the Post Office to redirect your mail. Charges for postal will be made if we have to direct post to you at your new address. We can notify utility companies i.e. gas, electric, water and council tax of your vacation from the property but cannot inform any personal accounts i.e. BT, broadband, TV licence due to data protection. The tenant is only obliged to forward mail addressed to the Landlord to us within the first seven days of the tenancy commencing.

Who is responsible for Council tax?

Payment of Council Tax will normally be the responsibility of the tenants in the property. However, Landlords should be aware that where a property is empty, the Landlord is responsible for paying the council tax. Dependent on the type of tenancy that is set up i.e. individual room lets, there are different council tax exemptions and discounts available. iConn will advise you of your possible council tax liability upon each proposed new tenancy. If the tenancy is joint and several, the council tax will be the responsibility of the tenants.

Who is responsible for ensuring utility company accounts are in the correct name?

The Agent will take meter readings whenever possible at each change of occupation in the property and where necessary, inform the service companies (electricity, council tax, gas and water) of these readings and change of occupier. In many cases, the service companies (e.g. BT) require that the new occupiers formally request and authorise the service as it is not possible for the Agent to do this on the tenant's or Landlord's behalf due to data protection policies.

The utility providers and the local authority should send the relevant forms to the new occupier(s) to be completed and signed and it remains the tenants' responsibility to ensure that a new account is opened in their name. iConn cannot be held liable if services are disconnected or are transferred by the utility companies.

At the end of the tenancy, iConn will contact the utility providers and request transfer of responsibility for the accounts. If the property remains un-let and if we have retained funds, we will pay bills on the Landlords behalf until the property is re-let. If we do not have retained funds, we will forward the bills to the Landlord direct for payment. iConn cannot be held liable should the utility companies cut off the services for any reason.

Do you handle my income tax?

No; Income Tax is payable on any profit from rental income paid to you whether in the UK or abroad.

You must declare or submit your income Tax return to the Inland Revenue. The Inland Revenue will tell you how much tax if any is payable.

This will be done when the Inland Revenue assesses your Return. Alternatively you can calculate what profit you made before hand, so you can anticipate the liability, or declare a loss to be carried forward by way of a Self Assessment Tax Return form. If the form is not issued automatically, you have a legal duty to notify the Inland Revenue of any liability. The Inland Revenue assesses income individually, so properties that are jointly owned require returns to be completed by each legal owner. The Inland Revenue can assist you in completing your Tax return but you must sign the form and confirm that, to the best of your knowledge, it is correct and complete. An accountant can provide this Service to you for an agreed fee.

What is the Non Resident Landlord scheme and do I fall into this category?

Tax for overseas landlords:

The Non Resident Landlord Scheme is a scheme operated by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident Landlords. Under the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 and the Taxation of Income from Land (Non-Residents) Regulations 1995 requires UK lettings Agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent collected. You are considered to be non-resident if your usual place of abode is outside of the UK, or you are absent from the UK for a period of more than six months.

You can apply to HMRC for approval to receive rents without tax being deducted. If your application is successful then once we have received written confirmation of their decision, we will pay you the rent without deducting tax. Even though the rent may be paid to you without tax being deducted, it remains liable to UK tax and you must include it on your tax return.

Where a Non-resident Landlord does not have approval from HMRC, we will retain the tax and submit quarterly and annual submissions. We complete the annual return and send you proof of the amount of tax we have paid on your behalf. No interest is paid to Landlords on tax retentions held by iConn. Please note iConn charges £30.00 plus vat per submission.

Where we do not deduct tax which should have been deducted under the scheme, we are entitled to recover this money from you at a later date, along with any other costs that are imposed on by HMRC.

iConn must be provided with a UK residential address for service. If we are not provided with a UK residential address, we are obliged to assume that a Landlord is non-resident and will operate the provisions of the scheme.

The Agent also requests that the Landlord appoints an accountant in order to manage correspondence with the Inland Revenue. iConn may charge reasonable administration expenses for further work requested by the Landlord, the Landlords accountant or the HMRC in connection with such tax liabilities. In many cases, a Landlord's tax liability is minimal when all allowable costs are deducted.

What are the health and safety requirements I need to adhere to when letting out my property?

LEGISLATION

The letting of property is now closely regulated with respect to consumer safety. The law makes particular demands regarding the safety, servicing and inspection of the gas and electric appliances and installations within a property and with respect to the safety of furniture and soft furnishings provided. The Landlord is legally responsible for ensuring the following regulations apply:

Energy Performance Certificate, Energy Performance of building Regulation (2007):

From 1 October 2008, an energy performance certificate will be required whenever a building in the social or private rented sectors is let to a new tenant. The EPC must be made available for any home free of charge to a prospective tenant; this must be at the earliest opportunity and in any event where any of the following events happen: when the home is viewed (even if that means providing the EPC before any written information or particulars are provided), if written information about the home is provided as a result of a request by a prospective tenant or before the tenant signs a contract to rent the home.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998:

All gas appliances and equipment within rented accommodation must be checked annually by a Gas Safe representative and a safety certificate produced for the tenant within 28 Days of the check being carried out. You must not allow the supply to remain connected if you are aware of any potential danger or leak, or if there is insufficient ventilation. This regulation also applies to us as an Agent therefore we will take any necessary action to ensure safety at your expense. iConn Ltd reserves the right to appoint a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect all gas appliances and their installations and carry out any remedial works where necessary in order to comply with gas safe requirements.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 as amended by Part P Building Regulations (Electricity Safety in Dwellings) 1st January 2005:

All tenanted properties must be safe and up to current electrical standards. In order to comply with this we advise Landlords to have their electrics checked with a registered electrician prior to commencement of the tenancy and at regular intervals. All electrical equipment must be 'safe' and not cause 'danger' and therefore should undergo regular safety testing by a qualified electrician. Any portable appliances in the property for tenant use must by law be Portable appliance tested (PAT) annually. The Landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that the electrical installation and all appliances within the property are maintained in good order and are regularly checked by an NICEIC registered engineer.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 Amended 1993:

It is an offence to supply in a property any furniture that does not comply with the regulations. The regulations cover all upholstered furniture and furnishings with permanent or loose covers including cushions, pillows and headboards which must be able to pass a 'smouldering cigarette' and 'match flame' test, and carry labels to prove it. Failure to comply with the regulations carries a fine and or imprisonment, and in addition a Tenant could sue you for damages against any loss or injury caused as a result of a breach. Furniture manufactured prior to 1950 is exempt.

There are also stringent controls on houses in multiple occupation (i.e. sharers) involving formal registration with your local council which we can undertake on your behalf. The Landlord warrants that all furniture present in the property and further furniture purchased after the date of this agreement will comply with the Regulations for the duration of the tenancy and any renewals.

HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System – Housing Act 2004 Part 1:

On 6 April 2006 the Housing Act introduced a new way to assess the condition of homes in England and Wales. The term homes can be any dwelling – a house, flat, bed-sit, or a room, and covers any associated outside space. Local Authorities have a duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review. Either as a result of that review, or for some other reason such as a complaint from a tenant or a neighbour, they can inspect a property if they have reason to think that a health or safety hazard exists there. The 2004 Act contains a package of enforcement measures for Local Authorities to use in both the public and private sectors.

Smoke Detectors:

All new properties built since 1992 must be fitted with mains smoke detectors on every floor. There are no specific regulations with regard to older properties but in the interest of safety we would advise you to install smoke detectors on every floor. Please note that any HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) properties are legally required to have mains interlinked heat and smoke detector alarms fitted.

The Landlord confirms that they are aware of these obligations and that the Agent has provided sufficient information as detailed above. It is agreed that the Landlord shall ensure that the property is made available for letting in a safe condition and in compliance with above regulations. Under the Management service, the Agent shall ensure that all relevant equipment is checked at the beginning of the tenancy and maintained during the tenancy as required and that appropriate records are kept. The Landlord agrees to repay the Agent costs in incurring any reasonable expenses or penalties that may be suffered as a result of non-compliance of the property to fire and appliance safety standards.

What is a deposit held for and what are the rules of the deposit scheme?

As you are aware the procedures for tenant's deposits has changed. Since April 2007 all tenancy deposits have to be lodged under a government approved scheme. The scheme we use is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and we have to follow their rules when holding a deposit and processing a deposit return.

Where the tenancy is an assured Shorthold Tenancy, the Landlord or Agent is legally required to ensure that any tenancy deposit taken under the tenancy is protected within one of three statutory tenancy deposit schemes within 30 days of receipt.

Where statutory tenancy deposit protection applies to a tenancy deposit, the Agent will provide to the tenant within 30 days, the following information required from the Landlord by the Housing Act 2004;

  1. Information on the particular scheme under which the tenancy deposit is protected.
  2. Compliance by the Landlord with his obligations under the act
  3. Prescribed information for the tenant.

If you do not want us to protect the deposit on your behalf, it will be your responsibility to protect it as required by law. A valid notice seeking possession under s21 of the Housing Act 1988 cannot be served on a tenant whose deposit is not protected. A tenant or any Relevant Person may apply through the courts for compensation of at least the amount of the deposit, and up to three times the deposit, if the Landlord (or someone acting on the Landlord's behalf):

  1. Fails to give prescribed information within the Statutory Time Limit; or
  2. Fails to comply with the initial requirements of an authorised scheme within the Statutory Time limit; or
  3. Notifies the tenant or Relevant Person that the deposit has been protected in a scheme, but the tenant or Relevant Person cannot obtain the scheme's confirmation that the deposit is protected.

If we are instructed by you to hold the Deposit, we shall do so under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. We hold tenants deposits as stakeholders; with any interest earned payable to iConn. At the end of the tenancy, there is a fixed procedure for the return of the deposit, under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

We have been asked on several occasions what is expected of the Landlord at the end of the tenancy. We have therefore outlined below the regulations which the TDS require us to adhere to and some further information regarding the possible outcome of your tenant's deposit return.

Based on iConn providing an inventory, please see the following procedures:

1 Documentation

A check out appointment must be completed by the Agent or inventory providers at the end of the tenancy, using the original inventory which the tenants had agreed to and signed on their check in at the start of the tenancy.

The findings of the check out are to b e documented fully (check out report) and presented to the tenants within 20 days of the tenancy expiring.

2. Deposit return

No dilapidations (no damage or loss)

If there are no dilapidations reported the tenants will received their deposit back in full within a further 10 days following the check out report.

Dilapidations reports (damage or loss)

If there are dilapidations reported that are to be deducted from the deposit, we may need to obtain costing, this could be in the form of compensation, repair or replacement. Once these have been received, an updated check out report will be sent to the tenant to include the costing. When the costing is confirmed and agreed, the undisputed amount of the deposit will be returned to the tenants and the balance retained to cover the cost of repairs. For example, if the tenant had a deposit of £900.00 and the dilapidations were expected to total £50.00 then £850.00 would be returned to the tenant with the balance retained on account t ready to pay for the work required or paid to the Landlord as compensation.

3. Costing for Dilapidations:

Betterment – The term betterment (improving something) can be applied to both the Landlord and the tenant. If, for example during a tenancy a small fridge breaks down and needed to be replaced, the Landlord only has an obligation to replace like for like and so the tenant cannot demand a new large fridge/freezer to replace the broken one. (This also works on the principle that the tenant took the property as seen) With regards to assessing damages at the end of the tenancy, betterment is applicable to the tenant. It is a principle of law that there is no requirement for the tenant to leave the property or its contents in a better condition than it was at the start of the tenancy. There is also no need for the tenant to replace any missing or broken items with articles of a higher value. It is important that the Landlord understands there is no requirement for betterment and that they must also take fair wear and tear into account when considering any claim.

4. Agreement on Dilapidations:

The TDS states that the tenant must confirm in writing their agreement to any monies being deducted from their deposit.

If the tenant(s) agree with the deductions:

When written notice is received from the tenant the retained monies held on account are released to the Agent or Landlord to either pay for the works required as agreed or forwarded to the Landlord as compensation.

If the tenant(s) do not agree:

The tenant(s) have the right to dispute any costing applied to be deducted from their deposit. We will negotiate between the tenant and yourselves on your behalf to resolve the dispute but if we are unable to reach an agreement the TDS must be notified of the dispute. The retained money is then forwarded to the TDS within the 10 day timescale, along with all relevant documentation and evidence to support the claim amount. The TDS will independently arbitrate the case and will provide the Agent and the tenant with a written report stating their findings and final decision along with a cheque if applicable. The TDS decision is final and legally binding.

5. Payment of invoices:

Due to the timescales which are involved with the process of the deposit return, there may be instances where the dilapidations reported will need to be completed before the tenant has agreed to the costing. This is mainly in new cases where a new tenancy id due to start promptly and the property must be up to standard and ready for the new tenancy to start. Normally an invoice has a 10-30 day payment period, in which time, the tenant has agreed to the dilapidations and we are able to pay the invoices without a delay but in some cases where the deposit has been sent to dispute, we have to wait for the TDS to arbitrate. When this happens the Landlord must be aware that the invoices for dilapidation works completed will need to be paid with the view to receive a refund from the TDS when the deposit has been arbitrated.

Please note in some cases the Landlord may not be awarded the deposit claimed.

6. Decision on Dispute:

The Dispute Service (TDS) is an independent, not-for-profit company established in 2003 to resolve complaints and disputes arising in the private rented sector. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme operates in accordance with the requirements of the Housing Act 2004. This provides a dispute resolution service should a dispute arise about the allocation of a deposit. The aims of the scheme are:

  • To ensure that tenancy deposits are securely held and available for return to the tenant.
  • To resolve disputes above the allocation of a deposit when an assured short hold tenancy ends quickly, cost-effectively and fairly.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE MAY BE OCCASIONS WHERE THE TDS ARBITRATION TEAM AWARD IN THE FAVOUR OF THE TENANT. THIS MEANS THAT SOMETIMES THE COST OF DILAPIDATIONS WOULD NOT BE REFUNDABLE TO THE LANDLORD. THE DECISION OF THE TDS IS FINAL AND LEGALLY BINDING.


There are obviously exceptions to all these comments.

The Scheme rules are available to view and download from www.tds.gb.com. A very important point for you to bear in mind is that we must hold the deposit as "stakeholder". This means that we can only pay money from the deposit if:

  1. Both Landlord and Tenant (and any Relevant Person) agree; or
  2. The court orders us to do so; or
  3. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme directs us to do so.

More information on the requirements of the deposit protection schemes are available on the following web site(s) and Landlords are strongly urged to familiarise themselves with their legal responsibilities. http://www.direct.gov.uk



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