How can I make sure I get a good tenant for my rental property?
It goes without saying that you would like to achieve the best rent possible for your property but, what is even more important, is getting a good tenant. It might sound simple but that means a tenant who pays their rent on time and one who will respect both your property and their neighbours and that is not always easy.
Able Property requires (and verifies) 5 separate items of references/documentation such as Photo I.D., Previous Landlord Reference, Current Employer reference, a current utility bill and bank statement. In addition, we don’t carry out group viewings, only individual appointments. How else can we get to meet and talk to the prospective tenants properly before they become a possible tenant in your valuable property and asset?
We build a rapport with our client’s tenants which helps the tenancy run smoothly and often for extended periods. Rent is paid properly (or immediately followed up if late by even a day) and that the property is maintained throughout. We also have a “zero tolerance” policy in regard to anti-social behaviour which is made clear to any prospective tenants. By building a rapport with our current tenants they refer their friends and colleagues and by maintaining a current tenant database we always have excellent tenants ready to move (see “Tenant Testimonials”). e
How often can I increase the rent on my property?
The definition of market rent is “the rent which a willing tenant not already in occupation would give and a willing landlord would take for the dwelling“ and a landlord is entitled to increase the rent to market level on a residential property once a year only (unless substantial improvements have been made to the property).
The notice to increase must be written (a text won’t do) and your tenants given a clear 28 days advance notice before the new rent can take effect. It is very important to include certain details in the notice such as a tenant’s right to refer the matter to the PRTB if they dispute the increase and both the date of the notice itself and the date the increase takes effect should be clearly stated.
My tenants want me to reduce the rent, do I have to?
If your tenant has signed a fixed term lease you are not obliged to agree to a reduction as the rent has been set has been set for the period of the lease. So while you are not obliged to reduce, you may decide to if they are good tenants and the request is reasonable.
Can my tenants break their lease?
It’s important to note that under the Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant wishing to terminate a fixed term lease can request to assign or sublet the tenancy for the remaining time period of the lease. If the landlord refuses the request, the tenant may terminate the tenancy without losing their deposit.
So if a tenant breaks their fixed term lease without grounds they may not automatically lose their deposit but a landlord may be entitled to make deductions from or keep the deposit to cover expenses such as advertising etc. In addition, a tenant may also be liable for rent remaining on the tenancy for the period until it is re-let. However, realistically in today’s market anyway, that is likely to be a brief period.
What kind of insurance should I have for my rental property?
In the case of apartments, most building insurance is included in the annual management charges but a landlord should have a separate policy to cover their own contents. However, tenants are obliged to take out their own contents insurance and this clause should be included in your lease.
If your rental property is a house then you will need to consider the correct level of buildings insurance along with contents insurance and again, the tenants will need to cover their own belongings.
It is important to note that buy to let properties usually require special insurance as if a landlord fails to disclose to the insurer that the property is rented, it could result in a policy being made void in the event of a claim. It is always best to check this with your insurance company to be absolutely sure of their criteria.
What tax relief or allowances can I claim in regard to my rental property?
As a landlord you qualify for relief on certain expenses. For instance, while you can’t claim for your own time or labour, the entire amount paid in the year can be claimed for Agent’s letting and management fees, mortgage protection, insurance premiums, legal and accounting fees. In addition, repairs and maintenance, annual management fee costs and the PRTB registration fee are also allowance expenses.
Can I claim for wear and tear on my rental property?
Yes, Wear and tear allowances are available in respect of capital expenditure incurred on fixtures and fittings (for example, furniture, kitchen appliances, etc). The rate of wear and tear depends on when the capital expenditure was incurred. For expenditure incurred on or after 4 December 2002 the allowance is 12.5% of the expenditure per annum for eight years.
Is the LPT that I paid on my rental property an allowable deduction against rental income?
No, currently the LPT is not a deductible expense. However, following sustained lobbying and extensive representations by various bodies; there is hope that the LPT will be allowable as an expense against rental income in the future. Further clarification is awaited from the Government on this matter.
Can I claim mortgage interest relief on the loan for my rental property?
This whole area is currently under review by the Government and a full report is due shortly (May 2015). In the meantime, further information can be obtained on the Revenue website: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it70.html#section5
Do I have to register with the PRTB?
Yes, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that every tenancy is registered with the PRTB. New tenancies must be registered within one month of the lease date to avoid a late payment fee (€180) and the cost of registering a tenancy is now €90.
A tenancy registration lasts the length of the tenancy agreement, to a maximum duration of 4 years. If a tenancy has been in existence for four years it must be re-registered with the PRTB. However, if a tenancy is terminated, the new tenants must be registered and another fee of €90 is required.
Failure to register may result in penalties or a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment The cost of the PRTB registration is an allowable expense for tax purpose and a landlord must register with the PRTB in order for his/her tenants to receive Rent Supplement.
Do I need a BER to rent my property?
Yes, it has been a legal requirement since 1st January 2009 to have a BER certificate for any property available for sale or rent. BER details are also required when a PRTB registration is submitted. A BER is similar to the energy label for a household electrical appliance like your washing machine. The label has a scale of A-G. A-rated homes are the most energy efficient with a G being the least efficient.
It is against the law for anyone to advertise a property for sale or rent with a BER being in place. Tenants are more and more aware of BERs and as they have an entitlement to request one, you can be sure they will. Costs vary depending on the size of a property but the fee usually includes the €25 fee to submit the Certificate to the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland). Each BER will remain valid for 10 years from the date of issue unless any works are carried out to the property which may affect the property’s energy performance. Failure to produce a certificate on the sale or letting of a property coming under the legislation when required can result in a maximum fine of €5,000 on conviction in the Court.
Able Property Services work with several reputable energy assessors and can arrange a BER Certificate for your property if required. Further information: www.seai.ie
I have an extinguisher; do I need to have a fire blanket in my rental property as well?
Yes. Obviously fire safety is of paramount importance and landlords must ensure that their properties comply with fire safety regulations in regard to the provision of fire extinguishers, fire blankets and smoke alarms. In addition, it would be common sense to also include a carbon monoxide alarm in any rental property.
Since February 2009 all rented accommodation must meet the minimum housing requirements as set out in the Housing Standards for Rented Houses Regulations, 2008. The Regulations were established to improve standards and landlords of rented accommodation, houses, apartments and flats etc. have a statutory duty to ensure that their rented property complies with certain minimum standards. Enforcement is carried out by systematic inspections of accommodation with notice being served on Landlords where breaches arise.
I own a rental property so how often do I need to get the boiler serviced?
All Gas Boilers should be serviced annually. A boiler service is the best way to ensure it works safely and efficiently. It guards against increased heating costs and reduces the possibility of breakdown.
Landlords have a legal responsibility under the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 to ensure that the gas installation in the house or apartment shall be maintained in good repair and safe working order.
Housing regulations also require that all electrical installations in rented accommodation be maintained in good repair and safe working order. An inspection by a registered electrician for the electrical installation in the property should be carried out every 5 to 10 years and a current ETCI (Electro-Technical Council of Ireland); Periodic Inspection Report should be supplied by the electrical contractor. Further Information: www.etci.ie
I really like a property, how can I make sure I get it?
It’s very simple, be a good tenant! That’s all a landlord or agent wants so there are three basic requirements 1) Always pay your rent in full and on time (2) Respect the property – it must be kept clean and undamaged (accidents do happen but if they do, inform your landlord immediately. (3) Respect your neighbours by making sure there is no anti-social behaviour.
Able Property treat tenants with respect and (see our “Tenant Testimonials) and many register on our Tenant Database so we always have good tenants ready to move into our client properties.
Register with us today and, If you like what we do, please “like” our Face book page and share it with your friends.. It may end up saving you and them a lot of time and trouble: https://www.facebook.com/ableproperty
What references do I need to rent?
It can sometimes be difficult to find the property you want but, having found it, it is important to be prepared so you are in a position to secure it. Reputable agents will require (a) A written previous landlord reference (b) Current employer reference (c) Proof of current address, i.e. a copy of recent utility bill or correspondence (d) A bank statement or current payslips or a letter from your employer stating your annual salary (e) Photo I.D. – Either a copy of your Passport or Driver’s License
How does the Letting process work?
Once you have made an offer on a property, Able Property Services will liaise with the landlord, who always makes the final decision. If your offer is accepted, a Security Deposit (equivalent to one month’s rent) is taken to secure the property, this also “books” the property and further viewings with other tenants will cease at this point. All references should be provided so that they can be fully verified and a “move-in” date is agreed. One month’s rent in advance should be paid before you move in and the lease is signed. On your move-in date, utility readings will be taken and accounts subsequently transferred into your name or you may open these directly yourself. In the following weeks you will be required to set up a standing order for the ongoing rent. Able Property Services will liaise with you throughout the process and will be available to answer any questions you may have.
I’m moving out. Should I let my current landlord know?
Yes, out of courtesy you should let your landlord know if you are coming to the end of a fixed term lease and wish to leave. In these circumstances there is no legal obligation to do so as the end date is known from the start, but it is advisable and courteous to give appropriate notice of termination, preferably in writing (not a text though).
What is a fixed term lease?
As the name suggests, it is a lease for a fixed period of time, usually 12 months. A lease is a legal document and should not be signed if you cannot fulfill its terms and conditions. For example, if you are a student, do not sign a 12 month lease if you only intend to stay in the property for 9 months.
I’d like to stay on in my rental property. What should I do?
Notify your landlord in writing if you are coming to the end of a lease and wish to stay on. You should write to the landlord at least one month before (and at most three months from) the end of the lease.
Can I get Tax Relief on my rent payments?
Maybe! Rent Relief is being phased out, but is still available until 2017 if you first started renting before Dec 2010. If you were already renting privately on 7 December 2010 and are paying tax, you can claim tax relief on your rent at the standard rate of 20%. If you have moved house since 7 December 2010, but are still in private rented accommodation, you continue to qualify for this relief. However, if you were not renting privately on 7 December 2010 and subsequently enter into a rental agreement you will not be able to claim relief. The amounts in brackets show what the relief is worth to you in 2013. For further information check on http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it27.html
I live in an apartment block. Do I have to pay for bin charges?
If you live in an apartment block and have the use of communal bins these charges are usually included in your rent as the landlord already pays for this service through annual management charges. However, if you live in house, waste charges will probably fall to you to pay but you may qualify for tax relief on bin charges so check online at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it27.html
There is a problem with my heating, who do I call to fix it?
It depends on who manages your property. If it is the landlord then you must contact them to report the problem. If not, contact your management agent to explain the situation. However, as a tenant you should not engage any tradesman or company unless you have permission from either the landlord or agent. Able Property understand how important it is to have a properly managed property – matters can and do go wrong – and you need to know that anything that crops up with be dealt with fairly and efficiently.
I want to rent a property but the letting agent won’t answer my calls or emails?
We know this is very frustrating and upsetting and that’s why we make a point of always returning calls or emails. However if another agent will not return your calls or text all you can do is turn up early for the group viewing they are probably advertising and have all your “documentation” ready to go.
I work during the day and can’t view properties. Do agents view in the evenings or weekends?
Some do, but unfortunately some don’t. Able Property view 7 days and evenings to suit you because you shouldn’t have to take time off work to view a property! A little courtesy goes a long way so this is why we also don’t do “group” viewings and arrive on time for our appointment with you. If a viewing has to be postponed or cancelled for any reason, we will always let you know in advance. We will maintain contact and let you know asap if you have secured the property and if not, we do our utmost to find another similar property for you. Oh, and we don’t hide anything either – all our advertisements have photos!