Finding the right tenant is the most important aspect of successfully letting your properties. Who will your property appeal to? Size, location, proximity to good schools, local amenities and transport links will be a factor, and the quality of the property is critical.
Well-presented properties usually let quickly and attract the best available tenants in the local area. Kitchens and bathrooms are a major factor, the standard of decor and carpets another. Cleanliness is important and having the property professionally cleaned before marketing will help with the letting process.
Which route you decide to take will depend on your circumstances and preferences. Do you wish to be involved in the day to day management of your property, or would you prefer a letting agent look after the whole process for you?
Using an agent’s let only service will provide access to the online portals, the agents database of applicants, local knowledge and will ensure you comply with legislation. Reputable lettings agents will also complete extensive referencing to minimise the risk and allow you to secure various insurance products. You should expect the agent to complete the check-in process and then the rest is down to you.
By choosing a full management service you avoid the telephone calls, management of maintenance issues and needing to undertake regular inspections. Your agent will have access to good quality trades people who you can trust to deal with issues 24 hours a day. With the ever-increasing legislation your agent will ensure you meet all your obligations. You put your feet up and the rent is paid into your bank account.
Are you aware of the above legislation? It has been a requirement for a number of years to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before marketing a property for rent or for sale. The certificate allows interested parties to compare typical energy costs for properties and suggests opportunities to reduce energy consumption and cost. The ratings range from A to G, A being the most energy efficient and G the least.
The Changes to Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 introduce changes which will be introduced in two stages. The first of these became effective from the beginning of this month.
1 April 2018 – After this date the landlord of a property with an EPC rating of F or G must not grant a new tenancy, or a renewal. It will first be necessary to complete works to bring the property up to at least grade E before doing so.
1 April 2020 – After this date a landlord will be unable to continue to let a property with and EPC rating of F or G. It will be necessary to improve the rating to an E or above.
Will the new regulations affect any of the properties in your portfolio? It would be wise to consider the options now. There are some possible exemptions but the penalties for breaching the regulations are severe.
Thinking of letting a property? There many considerations but here are a few things you should be aware of from the outset.
The first thing to consider is the mortgage. Unless you have a buy to let mortgage then you may have to renegotiate. You should contact your lender who may give you permission to let your property but may refuse unless you transfer to a buy to let mortgage. You should never let without permission, you can end up in serious trouble.
If the property is leasehold then you must ensure that letting is allowed by the lease. You must also obtain permission of the head lease holder. Usually a formality but they will charge you a fee.
You must ensure that an Energy Performance Certificate is available before commencing marketing. The tenants must be presented with a copy of this at the commencement of the tenancy, failing to do so will result in you being unable tho regain possession of the property at a later date.
Any gas appliances must be tested by a Gas Safe accredited contractor. A gas safety check must be completed each year and the certificates retained for at least two years. It is best practice to complete an electrical safety check, although this isn’t a legal requirement at the present time.
Each floor of the property must have at least one working smoke alarm, mains wired are preferable but not a requirement unless the property was constructed since 1992. You must also ensure a working carbon monoxide alarm is fitted in rooms containing a solid fuel appliance. You have a duty of care to your tenant and must ensure that any appliances within the property are safe.
If you plan to offer a furnished property then all furnishings must comply with The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, amended in 1989,1993 & 2010.