Q.My first ever tenant is nearing the end of their first six-month fixed tenancy. Should I get them to sign a new agreement?
A.It’s entirely your choice whether you sign a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy?(AST) agreement or not. If you don’t, the tenancy becomes a “statutory periodic tenancy”. This has no fixed length and just rolls on weekly or monthly. If you want your tenant to leave, you have to give them two months’ notice; if they want to leave, they have to give you one month’s notice.
So what should you do? There are advantages to both approaches. Signing a new agreement gives you some peace of mind that your tenant is committed beyond the next month – but it also commits you longer term too. If you think you might want to sell the property, or you have misgivings about your tenant, opting for the periodic tenancy will be the more flexible option. If you’re using a lettings agent, be aware that many of them charge for tenancy renewals. You won’t have this charge with the periodic tenancy.
Q.I evicted my tenant for not paying their rent a couple of months ago, and my new tenant is receiving their unpaid bills. I’m worried my property will be blacklisted.
A.Firstly, the property can’t be blacklisted: the debts are owed by the tenant, not the property. Mark the bills “not known at this address” and put them back in the post. It’s crucial to keep utility companies and the council tax office informed of who your tenants are and their dates of occupancy at the beginning and end of every tenancy.
Q.I’m renovating a rental property after the last tenant trashed it. Is it true that I can’t fit laminate flooring in a second floor flat?
A.If it’s a leasehold flat, it’s quite common to have a clause in the lease requiring carpet to be fitted in all rooms except the bathroom and kitchen. The noise impact on the occupants of neighbouring flats can be excessive with laminate flooring, even if underlay is fitted correctly. Cushioned vinyl could be one option for you, but whatever you do, talk to the freeholder before you spend money on flooring, otherwise you might find yourself having to replace everything again.
James Davis is CEO of www.upad.co.uk. You can follow Upad on Twitter: @avoidthevoids