- Have a recognised assured short-hold tenancy (AST) agreement in place and, depending on the circumstances, you may want to consider adding extra and specific clauses to suit your needs.
- Seek references for tenants with evidence of income and credit searches.
- Take a deposit from the tenant – usually 1 to 1.5 month’s rent and place it with one of the following Government backed schemes within 30 days.
- Deposit Protection Service.
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
These schemes are designed to protect the tenant’s money and ensure they get the deposit back if they comply with the terms of their rental agreement. You should be aware, if you don’t place a tenant’s deposit with one of the above schemes, you could be forced to pay the tenant compensation of between 1 to 3 times the deposit amount.
- Within 30 days give the tenant information regarding where there deposit had been placed, how they can get it back and what to do if there’s a dispute.
- Protect yourself legally against damage to the property by taking a damage deposit appropriate to the size and condition of the property. You might also want to consider taking photographs and giving a copy to the tenant as a record of the pre-let state of the property for future reference. There are specialist insurance policies you may want to consider to protect landlords against any losses.