A Westmorland and Furness Council Project

Advice For Property Managers

Property managers and letting agents are an integral part of the private rented sector.

Depending on your role and your organisation, your specific responsibilities will differ, but the law requires you to do certain things.

See also Agency services, charges and regulation – Shelter England (www.england.shelter.org.uk)

Property Redress Schemes

You must be a part of a government-approved redress scheme. This means that the landlords and tenants can voice their concerns to an impartial expert.

The redress scheme you belong to must be advertised at your premises, or be visible on your website.

Enforcement bodies and members of the public can search for property managers on the National Trading Standards Property Checker to make sure a particular company or agent is registered. 

Tenancy Deposit Protection

Letting agents and landlords must put tenancy deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme for assured shorthold tenancies.

This also applies to a deposit paid on someone else’s behalf.

You do not need to protect a holding deposit from a future tenant, but you do need to protect the money once it becomes a deposit.

Client Money Protection Scheme

If you handle client money you must be a member of a client money protection scheme.

These schemes, sometimes known as CMPs, ensure that tenants and landlords get compensation if you cannot repay them.

The scheme you choose must be government-approved, just like a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Similar to a property redress scheme, you should always show your membership certificate clearly on your website and in an office the public can access. It must always be available for anyone who asks for it.

Not being part of a CMP, displaying a certificate or producing one when asked for it can incur fines.

Transparent Fees

Any fees must be transparent and publicised, so anyone considering your services can see how much it would cost.

See also Tenant Fees Act 2019: guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

At The Start Of A Tenancy, The Tenant Must Receive:

The above may be provided by the landlord, or the property manager on the landlord's behalf.

In addition, Right to rent checks have been done on prospective tenants that are 18+

The property must be safe, healthy, and free from hazards. There must be a smoke alarm on every storey where there is living accommodation.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be within 2 meters of a combustion appliance (such as a log burner, gas fire, and gas boiler).

For more on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, see also the NRLA's Guide To Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Gas safety checks must be done annually, and electrical safety checks must not be more than every 5 years.

For more detail on these requirements, see also A Landlord’s Guide To Healthy Homes

Tips To Keep Your Tenants And Landlords Happy

Create Clear Written Tenancy Agreements

It’s a good idea to give your tenants a written tenancy agreement, which has fair terms.

Within the tenancy agreement, you must include the name and contact details of someone to contact if the tenant has any issues with the property. See also A Tenant’s Guide To Healthy Homes

You can use the Government’s model tenancy agreement as a guide, or seek legal advice to draw up your own agreement.

Record All Communication

Ensure that you have records of all communication in a written format, just in case you need to refer to something later, there is a dispute, or anything goes wrong.

Two tenants moving their boxes into their new home, one holds a plant while the other holds a box of framed art

Any Issues? Tell The Landlord!

If the property has any issues, ensure you make the landlord aware as soon as possible. This will also give them a chance to fix it before it gets worse.

Environmental Health Officers may serve notices against the landlord if significant issues are found during a housing inspection.

If nothing is reported to the landlord before this, this may be the first instance that they are aware of a problem, which can damage your working relationship with them.

Make Sure Your Properties Are Safe

Landlords and property managers should self-assess properties they are responsible for every year to make sure the homes don’t fall into disrepair.

You should be aware of the Housing Health And Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which is what Environmental Health Officers use to judge if a property is safe and free from hazards.

Inspections done by surveyors do not assess homes in the same way. What may look fine to the system a surveyor uses may not be consistent with the hazards a housing inspection could highlight. 

If you are unsure if the properties comply, contact us for advice.

HHSRS Training

As part of the project, we will also offer some training on the Housing Health And Safety Rating System. When dates and details have been confirmed, this page will be updated. If this is something you would be interested in, please let us know by contacting us