Landlord Guide to Letting

When you become a landlord it can feel like you have a minefield of information to get through. Even if you are an experienced landlord, legislation changes and reforms within the industry have been extensive over the past few years, therefore it is always wise to make sure that you are appropriately informed. 

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BEFORE YOU RENT

  • graphic_tenants-step3-imageFind a letting agent that is accredited through a professional body like NALS, SAFEagent, TPO to make sure that they are an independent complaints scheme member and offer client money protection.
  • Explore affordability: what monthly rental income you can expect to achieve? Consider expenses such as insurance and mortgage payments. Arrange a free of charge valuation by clicking HERE
  • Obtain permission from your mortgage lender. If the property you intend letting is mortgaged, you must first apply to your lender for permission to let as you may be in breach of your mortgage agreement if you don’t.
  • You are responsible for insuring the buildings, your fixtures, fittings and contents. It is advisable to check that your insurance company are aware of your intentions to let the property and obtain consent.  It is also advisable to check what void period clauses are within your policy.
  • Should the property you intend letting be a leasehold property, you must get permission from the freeholder before allowing tenants to occupy the property. If permission is not gained you may find yourself in breach of the conditions of the lease. You will also be responsible for any ground rent and service charges levied on the property during the tenancy, not the tenant.
  • Consider a Landlord Homecare plan with your utility company that will maintain your central heating system and boiler, it may be a more cost effective way for you to maintain your system.
  • By law, you will need an EPC (energy performance certificate) for your rental property to allow the marketing of it. We are able to help you organise this or alternatively you can check if there is already one available on your property. CLICK HERE to check
  • Rental profit is liable to tax whether or not you live in the UK. Several items of expenditure can be offset against rental, but this does need to be a consideration when you are thinking of renting. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified accountant as tax status does vary.  Overseas landlords are required to complete a Non-Resident Landlord form (NRL1)
  • Letting a property comes with legal and moral obligations and it is the responsibility of the landlord to meet certain safety standards. Make sure that you are familiar with such obligations and responsibilities.

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PREPARATION OF THE PROPERTY

  • graphic_tenants-step2-imageIn terms of decorating and soft furnishings, keep it fresh and neutral. We recommend a thorough clean every two years and a fresh lick of paint if possible. A well-maintained, clean property will attract good tenants.
  • Make sure the property is cleaned thoroughly and that the exterior is as low maintenance as possible. You may consider employing a gardener but usually the tenants would be expected to do the garden maintenance.
  • The landlord is responsible for making sure that the rented property meets safety standards. Failure to do so may affect your ability to serve notice to the tenants so it is important that you are always up to date with the requirements. These comprise of:-
    • Annual Gas safety certificate
    • Electrical test
    • PAT test
    • Legionella Risk Assessment
    • Installation and checking batteries of smoke alarms (one per each level of property)
    • Supply of Carbon Monoxide monitors where solid fuel is used
  • All upholstered furniture and soft furnishings (mattresses, cushions, sofas, beds, soft garden furniture and so on) manufactured after 1950 must comply with the Fire Regulations 1998 (as amended) and are required to be fire resistant. (Furniture which can be shown to be manufactured before 1950 is exempt because dangerous materials were used more before 1950).
  • Inform the agent of any guarantees of works and leave instruction manuals at the property.
  • Inform the utility companies and local council that the property is to be let and give authorisation to them for your managing agent to deal with void period bills.
  • It’s a really good idea to get a professional inventory taken at the start of each tenancy as it can help with any disputes that may arise when a tenant moves out. This is included in our full management service as standard and is in line with Deposit Protection Service guidelines. This offer can be extended to letting only service for an additional fee.
  • Make sure that there are enough sets of keys for each party. We recommend three sets; one for yourself or the agent, and two sets for the tenants if joint tenancy.

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DURING A TENANCY

graphic_landlords-step3-imageOur full management service offers a ‘no fuss’ approach and we will handle all day to day dealings regarding the property. This includes collecting rent, liaising with the tenant directly, liaising with yourselves if required, liaising with contractors to make sure that your statutory obligations are met, inspecting and reporting back to you the condition of the property. CLICK HERE for a comprehensive list.  If you prefer to manage the property yourselves, then you may need to consider the following points.

  • An AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) is the most common type of tenancy agreement and is a contractual arrangement that gives you some important rights but also some responsibilities. This will be drawn up for you by us subject to satisfactory referencing.
  • Protect the deposit – As part of the Housing Act 2004 the Government introduced tenancy deposit protection for all Assured Short Hold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. This was implemented on 6 April 2007 and all deposits paid under an AST must be protected within 30 calendar days of receipt by the landlord.
  • Keep a comprehensive ledger of rents received and expenses made against the property. This will assist you when you are due to conduct your self-assessment returns.
  • Factor in an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses that may happen within the property.
  • Think about the safety of the tenant:-
    • GSC (Gas safety certificates) is a statutory requirement and must be conducted annually.
    • LRA (Legionella Risk Assessments) are a statutory requirement and are to be conducted every two years.
    • PAT (Portable Appliance Test) is recommended to show your duty of care as a landlord and it is recommended that you conduct these annually or certainly per tenancy.
  • Allow tenants to live in the property without being disturbed. You must give 24 hours’ notice to enter the property for any purpose other than in an emergency situation.
  • Conduct regular property inspections making sure that you give the correct notice to enter the property and with fair consideration to the tenants living habits. Highlight any areas that you feel need attention and make sure that you are maintaining your property internally and externally including the service of the boiler and other appliances if applicable.
  • Communicate with your tenants and encourage them to communicate with you regarding property matters.
  • If you continually fail to carry out necessary works, it may affect the way in which you are able to serve notice to your tenants to gain possession. Click HERE for further information

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END OF A TENANCY

graphic_tenants-step5-imageOur full management service offers a ‘no fuss’ approach and we will handle all day-to-day dealings regarding the property including that of the move out process and making sure the property is then ready to re-let.

  • The tenant must give you one months’ notice in writing unless other terms are laid out in the current tenancy agreement and they must be within the last month of their fixed term tenancy agreement.
  • You as a landlord must give two months’ notice in writing to your tenants to gain possession. This must be done correctly by serving a section 21 notice.  It is important to note that there are certain restrictions on serving this notice so professional advice should be sought.
  • Make sure that rent payments are up to date and communicate with the tenants regarding any shortfalls or apportioned amounts due.
  • Conduct a pre-move out inspection to highlight any areas that may need attention.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the deposit release process.
  • You become liable for the utilities and council tax during the void period. If not on full management service, take closing meter readings and inform the relevant utility companies and local council.
  • Revisit the Preparation of the property stages (see above) to make sure that the property is ready to re-let

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  • Terry M
    Terry M

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 2 weeks ago

    I've rented through Stuart's for 5 1/2 years and Colin and the team have always been friendly and helpful. Any maintenance required was dealt with quickly and efficiently and I was always kept informed if anyone needed access when I was away from the flat.

    I have recently left the flat which has been my home for the past 5 1/2 years and the leaving process was hassle free and simple and my deposit returned without delay.

    Thanks to everyone at Stuarts for making my rental a pleasant and enjoyable one.

    Katie Davies
    Katie Davies

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 2 weeks ago

    Stuarts property services are an excellent company. Their customer service delivery is exceptional. All of the staff are friendly and professional and are clearly passionate in what they do. I cannot rate this organisation highly enough!!

    Alice Brooks
    Alice Brooks

    5 out of 5 stars

    posted 1 week ago

    Just moved into a property let by Stuarts and they have been so helpful. Excellent service and Clare was willing to go the extra mile to make our move easier.