Before a property can be let, there are several things you will need to deal with to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that you comply with the law.
On this page you’ll find information on preparing your property for rental. You also need to know about legal and health and safety requirements for letting out your property.
Preparing the Property for rent
In our experience a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy.
For us this relationship is our job, but it is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their home, and that they are getting value for their money.
Therefore a well presented and maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also getting the best rent possible. Tenants also tend to treat a well-kept property with more respect.
Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at your expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be happy 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 your own risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant’s own use.
Gardens 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. However, few tenants 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.
At the start 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 Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the tenant – for example on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
You 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 advise on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings such as 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 accounts
We 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.
When resident in the UK, it is your responsibility to inform HMRC of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. If you are living outside the UK during a tenancy, you will need an exemption certificate from HMRC before you 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.
It 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 if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, 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 £25,000 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.
We are able to suggest a variety of insurance policies for both landlords and tenants, including the following –
Covers the rebuilding of your property following loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons (including tenants), accidental damage to bathroom fixtures & fittings and glass, lightning, explosion, collision or impact, falling trees and earthquake, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage and loss of rent up to 20% of the sum insured following damage. This also includes property owner’s liability.
Limited Contents Cover
Where the property is let unfurnished limited contents cover is available; this generally provides cover for the following items: Carpets, Curtains, Sun Blinds, Light Fixtures & Fittings, and Kitchen White Goods. Cover an be on a new for old basis and also includes landlord’s liability.
Cover can be on a new for old basis for loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons, lightning, explosion, impact, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage, breakage of mirrors or glass in furniture, replacement of locks following theft of keys, and loss of rent up to a given percentage of the sum insured following damage. This can also includes landlord’s liability.
You may be unable to collect the rent, your tenants may damage or remove your personal possessions, or they may cause a nuisance to your neighbours. All these problems can be resolved by legal action but this is expensive. You can get cover to include all of your legal expenses up to a set figure and even with no policy excess to pay.
This policy provides total peace of mind for landlords. Cover includes the rent you are expecting from your property until vacant possession is obtained for up to 12 months (excluding the first month’s lost rent). Additionally, cover includes 50% of the rent for up to 3 month’s after possession is obtained whilst a new tenant is found. All related legal expenses are included.
Ask us about insurance cover.