Landlords can also be reassured by our membership of the Homes Sale Network, a division of Cartus the premier global relocation service, as only the best independent agents in the area are selected and invited to become members.
Once you have your property to let, it is worth remembering that it could take several weeks for a suitable tenant to be found.
There are a number of issues to consider before you are able to put your property on the market for let.
Once you have decided to let your property you may decide to employ a letting agent to put your property on the market.
A letting agent will discuss the best way to let your property and the rental income to expect from the let. You will need to sign a contract with the letting agent marketing your property.
Once you have found suitable tenants for the property, you will have to agree the terms of their let which will involve some negotiation. On agreement, it is highly recommended that formal documentation be signed between the landlord and tenant setting out the terms and conditions of the let.
Whether you have let a property before, or this is the first time, when you let a home there is a lot to think about:
If the rent on the property is less than £25,000 per year and you rent your property to private individuals, the tenancy automatically becomes an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). An AST usually lasts for 6 to 12 months, unless you agree a fixed term for the tenancy in advance with your tenant.
When the fixed term of the tenancy has expired the landlord is able to gain back possession of the property provided they give two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property you can apply through the court to seek a possession order.
Under new legislation you are advised to ensure that your property is covered for Tenancy Deposit Protection, which will require all deposits to be covered under a scheme from 6 April 2007.
Before you let your property you must make sure by law that it and its contents comply with various safety regulations, including:
Landlords are required to produce certificates meeting these regulations where appropriate and should ensure that a Portable Appliances Testing (PAT) for all electrical appliances is undertaken.
You can advertise and manage your property yourself, but it can be a lot of worry and hassle. Many landlords use an agent to market / or manage their property. Make sure you get written confirmation of the agent’s terms, conditions and costs for acting on your behalf before signing anything.
Most tenants look for properties through letting agents. In general, a letting agent will:
Once you have your property ready and if you have employed a letting agent to undertake the letting for you, they will discuss the best way to let your property, whether this be to multiple or single tenants.
The letting agent will also discuss the rent to expect from the let, taking into consideration the type of property, age and the fixtures and fittings to be included in the let.
The letting agent will offer advice on the best way to find tenants for your property and will advertise the property on your behalf in order to find suitable tenants. The agent will undertake the viewings and ensure that the property is let.
If you employ an agent to undertake the letting, you will need to sign an agreement with them which outlines their charges and the length of the contract. It is important that you understand the contract before you sign as you don’t want to sign into a lengthy tie-in.
Once you have found suitable tenants for your property you will need to agree the terms and conditions of the let with them. Essentially, it is at this point that you must determine who is responsible for what. Who looks after the property and its tenancy will depend on the terms of the tenancy agreement you have. But here are a few of the more usual responsibilities:
Get written references for the prospective tenant. Usually these include:
Here’s a brief summary of the various costs to consider when letting your property:
You will need to ensure that you have tested all gas and electrical appliances to ensure they comply with current safety standards. This will need to be undertaken by a qualified professional and there will be charges made for this service.
Our partners Mortgage Advice Bureau work with Legal & General to provide you with buildings insurance for your buy-to-let property, designed to give you peace of mind at every stage of your life, from buying your first property to expanding your portfolio.
You will be insured against loss or damage to your buildings from many causes, including but not limited to:
The insurance will also cover your legal liability to third parties up to £2 million and can be extended to cover accidental damage, legal expenses and rent guarantee (this option covers unpaid rent for up to a year whilst trying to gain vacant possession). Conditions and exclusions apply, full details are available on request.
There are likely to be fees incurred for employing an agent to undertake the administration and management of your property. Charges vary from one agent to another, so it’s worth checking on fees in your area.
Any repairs or maintenance that is required on the property will need to be paid for by the landlord.
You may have to put some of your furniture and furnishings in storage if the tenant brings his/her own belongings. The costs of storage will need to be covered by the landlord.
Landlords are liable to pay tax on gross income received from rent. Further information can be obtained from the Tax Office.