Letting your Property?
Guide for LandlordsBefore a property can be let, there are several matters which the owner will need to consider to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that he/she complies with the law. We provide summarised information below. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Preparing the PropertyWe have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is for us to establish and maintain, but it is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and maintained property in good decorative order will contribute towards this, whilst also helping you in achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
General ConditionElectrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlord’s expense unless misuse, or damage caused by the tenant, can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
FurnishingsYour property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property, your own circumstances and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
Personal items, ornaments etc.Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant’s own use.
GardensGardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. Few Tenants, however, are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
CleaningAt the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants’ responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the TenantIt is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
KeysWe will provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing your property we can arrange to have duplicates sets cut as required.
MortgageIf your property is mortgaged, you will need to obtain your mortgagee’s written consent to agree with the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
LeaseholdsIf you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
InsuranceYou should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can provide helpful literature on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required - click here for further details.
Bills and regular outgoingsWe recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accountsWe will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
Income taxWhen resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he/she will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before he/she can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.
The inventoryIt is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete service, we will arrange for an inventory and schedule of condition to be prepared at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.
What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), provided the rent is under £100,000 a year and the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 to 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order.
Health and Safety, and other Legal RequirementsThe following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are managing the property they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the landlord.
GasAnnual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (i.e. an engineer who has an entry on the Gas Safe Register).
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.