From Health & Safety to Money Laundering, AST Tenancy Agreement to Gas safety certificates – did you know there are over 150 pieces of legislation when it comes to residential lettings by professional letting agents can lead to a hefty fine should they not be carried out or even a jail sentence!
Money Laundering can be defined as ‘concealing the origins of money obtained from criminal activities, in order for it to appear that is has come from a legitimate source’. Regulation 5 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 requires customer due diligence and thorough background checks on all parties. This includes verifying and identifying the customer on the basis of documents, data or information. If ARLA Propertymark Estate Agents fall foul of the regulations, they could face a fine of up to 5million Euros so best ensure they are carried out!
There are several types of contracts depending on the on the nature of the deal, that are used when letting of a property – Assured Tenancy, Assured Shorthold Tenancies, Deeds or Licence are just some examples. The most commonly used is Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). This is used when the annual rent doesn’t exceed £100k per annum, the property is for a private individual, the duration of the tenancy is no less than six months and no more than three years (or a deed would have to be written) – to name some of the several requirements. Special clauses can be requested by either party to be included within the AST Agreement, however both parties must ensure that no unfair terms are proposed. Should terms be agreed prior to signing of the contract, a clause will be added to the contract or alternatively should it be agreed thereafter an addendum will be drafted and signed by all parties. The AST Agreement is a legally binding document and therefore one must ensure that there are no errors otherwise it could come back to bite you in the court of law!
An EPC Certificate must, by law, be carried out every 10 years, along with a Gas Safety Certificate (should it apply) every year although it is high recommended to be carried out more frequently – and both must be provided to the tenant prior to the contract start date. Should a landlord or agent fail to provide either document, they can be hit with a fine for several thousands of pound or even a jail sentence. My professional advice, don’t forget!