Author Archives: Laura Azevedo

5 Legal Documents for your Buy to Let Business

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After incorporating your property business you will be keen to get started and let your properties so that you can get returns on your investments as soon as possible. However, before you embark on your buy to let business, you will need to ensure that you have a suite of legally-compliant contracts that protect you, your properties and your business. A failure to provide certain documentation might result in financial penalty for a landlord and out of date contracts are both unenforceable and dangerous. In this article we discuss what essential contracts and documents you will need for your buy to let business and what you need to consider when selecting them.

1. Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)

Arguably the most important contract you can source for your buy to let company after incorporation is a robust and compliant assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST). An AST describes the relationship between the landlord and the tenant and makes clear the obligations and rights that derive from the agreement in relation to the property.

It is important that your ASTs include certain clauses and information, such as:

  • The landlord and tenant’s personal details;
  • The start date and end of the tenancy;
  • The rent amount;
  • The nature of the let (e.g. sole occupancy, house in multiple occupation, bedsit);
  • Details relating to deposit protection (it is a legal requirement that all deposits taken from the tenant are registered with an approved provider);
  • Details relating to the property and common parts;
  • The term of the tenancy and termination requirements in accordance with notice periods prescribed by legislation; and
  • Governing law.

Alongside this core information, it is also important that your AST is up to date. In support of tenant rights, the Government has introduced a series of bans on fees and charges that landlords can request from tenants. Duplicating old templates or downloading free templates online might expose you to inclusion of illegal clauses, such as cleaning fees.

2. Guarantor Agreement

Depending on the rental market you are targeting you might also require a guarantor agreement. This type of agreement is common for student rentals or where a tenant does not have a fixed income or salary. A guarantor, in essence, promises to pay the outstanding rent if the tenant defaults on payment. Unlike an AST, a guarantor agreement must be executed by deed meaning that it must be witnessed and it must state its nature.

3. Tenancy related letters

When letting out your properties you will want to ensure that you have clear and accessible letters to send to tenants in certain circumstances which allow you to make amendments to the tenancy or request outstanding payments.

Most commonly, landlords that have long-term tenants will need to issue a rent increase letter to ensure that their buy to let business is making the profits it should be. Equally, if tenants are in arrears it is important that you have the correct mechanisms in place in order to recover missed payments and clear rent arrears letters are the first step in any process for the recovery of rent.

4. Notices

Alongside being able to communicate with tenants about their existing tenancy you will also want to have the correct documents in place to ensure that you can end the tenancy when you are contractually entitled to. It is important that you understand how notices work and how different notices apply in different circumstances. For example, a section 21 notice is used for ‘no- fault’ evictions when you want to recover the property whilst section 8 notices are typically used when the tenant has been in breach of the AST.

5. How to Rent Guide and Certificates

Alongside having a robust AST, clear letters and the right notices available to you, your buy to let business also needs to make sure that it follows certain procedures and sends its tenants certain documentation when it enters into a tenancy agreement with them.

Firstly, landlords are required to provide their tenants with the Government’s How to Rent guide that gives the tenant information relating to tenancies. Secondly, and alongside the How to Rent guide, landlords are required to give their tenants certain documentation relating to the energy efficiency of the property and safety. These documents include:

As you are legally required to provide these documents, it is prudent to get a tenant to sign each document to ensure you can prove that the documents were received by the tenant if disputes in the future were ever to arise.

Conclusions

Having incorporated your buy to let business you will be able to begin your investment journey and start to rent out your properties. However, it is important that you pay close attention to the content of the necessary agreements to ensure that they are up to date and legally compliant.

Without experience, editing and tailoring online templates is risky and on the flip side a lawyer might be too expensive at this stage of your buy to let company.

Fortunately, Legislate is a contract creation and management platform that allows you to create, sign and manage lawyer-reviewed legal documents in a controlled and safe way. To create any of the legal documents in this article for only £9.95, sign up to Legislate today!

The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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Essential Contracts for your Business

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Once you have incorporated your new company you will be keen to get things running as soon as possible. However, before you hit the ground running it is crucial that you source robust contracts to protect you and your business so that it can grow quickly and safely. In this article we discuss what business contracts you will need for your growing business or startup and some of the essential clauses you should look out for.

Employment agreement and offer letter

The first and most obvious contract for your business is an employment contract. Having incorporated your business, you will likely want to engage staff to help you manage your business needs. Having robust employment contracts is crucial to protect your business and your business’ interests.

The core features of a contract of employment for a new employee include:

  • The employer’s name and address;
  • The employee’s job title and brief job description;
  • Place of work;
  • Date of agreement;
  • Start date and duration;
  • Hours of work (such as whether it is full time of part time) and holiday entitlement;
  • Termination, notice periods and dispute resolution or grievance procedures;
  • Optional benefits, such as sick pay, and;
  • Intellectual property (IP), personal data and non-compete clauses.

It is a legal requirement that companies provide employees with a written contract. Whilst you can find free templates online that might serve this purpose they probably will not offer you the flexibility or protection that your business deserves and needs.

Consultancy and Independent contractor agreement

Another essential type of contract is a consultancy, or contractor, agreement. These types of service agreements might be more appropriate for your business model than taking on employees as they are responsible for their own pension and national insurance contributions. A consultancy agreement is used for a variety of reasons, most commonly to appoint a self-employed consultant to provide services.

A consultancy agreement should contain similar basic information as employment agreements, such as: start date, duration of work, termination and notice. Whilst written agreements like an employment contract are obviously not legal requirements in these circumstances, confidentiality clauses and IP clauses are particularly important when taking on consultants, especially if you have hired them to design something for your business. Under a consultancy agreement, a consultant is obligated to provide the services as prescribed in the contract, invoice the client as per the payment terms in the contract and have professional liability insurance. You might also wish to specify the nature of the services and any deliverables the consultant is expected to provide within your consultancy agreements for clarity.

Confidentiality Agreements

Protecting your business’ confidential information is extremely important but you will need to share information about your business to certain individuals in order for your business to grow. Your employees are an obvious example and in your employment agreements it is prudent to ensure that you have a clause that relates to the handling, processing and sharing of confidential information both to protect your trade secrets but also to ensure that your business does not breach GDPR regulations.

It might also make sense for your business to partner with other businesses in order to scale growth quickly. Typically, in order to see whether two businesses are a good match they will need to share information about their user base and strategies. In these situations it is key that you have access to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure that the information you do share remains confidential and, if you decide to officially partner with a partnership agreement, you want to ensure that there are also relevant clauses relating to confidentiality in this new agreement.

Company Policies

Alongside contracts, you also want to ensure that your company has clear policies. For example, you will want to ensure that you provide your employees with a staff handbook to supplement your employment agreement and outline company procedures in the case of illness or grievances, for example.

Alongside this, you will also need to ensure that you have a privacy policy and privacy notice for handling data under UK GDPR regulations and that you have any necessary disclaimers drafted and published.

Finally, depending on the work that your company undertakes, or intends to undertake in the future, you might want to create anti-slavery and human trafficking policies or anti-corruption and bribery policies as these can be a requirement in certain areas of work, such as work with governemnt departments.

Conclusions

Making sure that you have access to these essential contracts when starting your business is one of the simplest ways you can protect your business from the get go. However, downloading templates online, whilst a cheap option, does not ensure that your contracts are tailored to your specific needs or that they offer your business adequate protection. On the flip side, and as all small business owners will know, the cost of law firms can be significantly higher than their available expenditure.

Legislate is a contract creation and management platform that allows you to create lawyer-reviewed legal documents, such as employment contracts and consultancy agreements, in a controlled and safe way. To create a lawyer-approved contract for only £9.95, sign up to Legislate today!

The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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What is a company credit report?

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What is a company credit report and what it’s used for.

What is a company credit report?

A company credit report provides financial background information about a company. It covers information such as the company’s ownership, subsidiary companies, financial information, risk scores and any liabilities or bankruptcies. It is also known as a business credit report.

Company credit reports generally provide the following information:

  • Business background information to help verify that a company is genuine.
  • Company financial information including a business credit score and potential risk factors.
  • A summary of banking, trade and collection history.
  • A summary of liens, judgements and bankruptcies.
  • Uniform commercial code filings.

A company’s credit report is created based on its business credit score, and is public information. This allows it to be viewed by anyone. 

What is a business credit score?

A business credit score is a score ranging from 0 to 100 that is given to a company based on a set of criteria. The higher the score, the higher a company’s creditworthiness. The business credit score is also called the company credit score.

A variety of different factors determine a credit score for a company. They include business accounts, such as a company’s balance sheet and cash flow, who the director is, how they pay their bills if they have CCJs and much more.

Credit agencies like Creditsafe and Experian start building a business credit record for your company from the moment you start with your business. Each company has their own algorithm for calculations, which is why a score may differ from company to company.

What can I use a company credit report for?

Business credit reports, also called company credit reports, are used to run business checks on potential customers, suppliers and partners. Credit reports provide an indicator of how well a business is performing financially. So they are used to determine how reliable or how creditworthy a company is.

You can also use company credit reports to find information on and monitor your competitors. Similarly, your customers and suppliers may use a credit report to check up on your company before they do business with you.

Company credit reports can also be used as a health check for your own company. Find out how you appear to other organisations by checking your company credit report.

Company credit reports are also used to assess your company’s credibility for business loans. Insurance firms may also use these reports as part of the risk management process for a business.

Why should I run a business check?

When you run a business check using a company credit report, it helps mitigate the financial risk associated with extending credit. It is a part of financial due diligence before doing business with another company. 

Here are some reasons why you need to run a business check:

Find out what potential customers or suppliers think of your business

Running a company credit check on your own company helps you see what potential customers and suppliers see. This will help when you’re pitching for new business and partnerships.

Keeping track of your company credit score will also help you manage and improve your business credit. This can help you obtain the funding you need to expand your business and maintain creditworthiness. It also helps you monitor your report for potential errors or inaccuracies including fraud.

Avoid working with fraudulent companies

You should always check that a company is legitimate before doing business with them. This does not mean just checking their website and telephone number works. All limited companies should be registered at Companies House and will have a company number. You can view scanned copies of Companies House documents to verify a business and check the directors match up to who you’re dealing with face to face. 

Avoid making bad credit decisions

You should always assess the financial risk of doing business with any company whether you are working with or extending credit to them. Company credit reports can help you do this. You will be able to obtain the financial background information on a business, including a company’s payment behaviour, judgements, liens and bankruptcies. 

If you find that the company in question is a financial risk, you’ll be able to make a smarter decision about the pros and cons of moving forward with a potential partnership.

Find and purchase company credit reports now →

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MadeSimple and ANNA Money partner to support new entrepreneurs

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MadeSimple Group and ANNA (Absolutely No Nonsense Admin) Money have announced a partnership to offer a free company registration with a business bank account to support new entrepreneurs.

Together, MadeSimple and ANNA are aiming to boost aspiring entrepreneurs by simplifying the company formation process and helping with the costs associated. The partnership will make it incredibly simple for people thinking of starting a company for the first time to get up and running.

Speaking of the partnership Tom Beston, Managing Director of MadeSimple Group said: “MadeSimple has helped over a million businesses get started and we know they face a number of unique challenges, especially in the current climate. New business owners often don’t realise they need a business bank account to keep their company and personal finances separate. We’re delighted to be partnering with ANNA to offer free formations that include a business account to help even more entrepreneurs start up in the right way.”

Andy Roberts, Head of Partnerships at ANNA commented: “ANNA has a unique offering for small businesses and freelancers with an app that handles financial management tasks such as direct debits and invoicing, enabling clients to focus on other tasks. We are excited to be able to work with MadeSimple to offer entrepreneurs these value added services so customers can focus on doing what they love.”

MadeSimple Group is the leading Companies House approved formation agent that offers business products and services to startup companies and small businesses.

ANNA is a mobile business account, Mastercard debit card and virtual assistant rolled into one aimed at start-ups, freelancers and small businesses

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