Short Guide To Letting

Here you will find important information about the best way to Let your property, we have tried to break the information down into manageable sections. It would be advisable to go the through the process in more detail, so please make an appointment here and we’ll be delighted to share our knowledge with you.

 

You can print this page or download the guide in pdf.

Structure

We recommend carrying out a thorough inspection of the property to ensure that the structure, roof, plumbing, wiring, etc is in good order.

We can do this as part of our property management service and make sure that any repairs required are carried out before the property is let.

We can also make sure that your property is maintained throughout the tenancy, in line with the terms of the Tenancy Agreement.

Décor & Fittings

A property that is in good decorative order, preferably in neutral colours, will let faster and is likely to be better looked after by the tenants. The kitchen and bathrooms should be equipped in a way that is suitable for the area.

We can advise you what equipment will help you achieve the best rent. As part of our management service we will have the property professionally cleaned, including windows, prior to letting.

Appliances

As part of our management service we will have all appliances, including the central heating system, checked and serviced. We usually recommend taking out maintenance contracts so that any problems that occur during the tenancy can be dealt with quickly and easily, although this depends on the equipment and we will advise you accordingly.

It is advisable to give the tenant operating manuals and guarantee cards if there are warranties for any appliances so that the manufacturers can be contacted if necessary.

Upholstery & Soft Furnishing

It is important that all upholstery, soft furnishings, etc comply with the 1993 Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.

Failure to do so can result in six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 or both. We can advise you in order to meet these stringent regulations.

Smoke Detectors

We recommend installing smoke detectors throughout the property and can arrange for this to be done on your behalf. As part of our management service we recommend they are checked regularly, especially if they are battery operated.

By law, all homes built after June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors on every floor.

Gas

If your property has a gas appliance, you must ensure that the pipework and installation of each appliance is checked by a CORGI registered engineer and complies with Gas Safety Regulations before letting. This check has by law to be carried out annually. This is an important aspect of safety and breach of these regulations is a criminal offence and could result in a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment.

As managing agents, we arrange this and keep the required record of all safety inspections, which we will provide your tenant if requested in due course.

Garden

The garden should be in good condition, the lawns cut, shrubs and trees pruned and flowerbeds tidy. As managing agents we can arrange for a gardener to visit regularly.

However, if the tenant is maintaining the garden it is best to provide the tools needed to do this.

Inventory

As part of our letting service, we will arrange for an independent firm to prepare an inventory and prepare a schedule of condition of the exact state and contents of the property. This will then be used at the end of the tenancy to ascertain any damage and wear and tear.

Insurance, Ground Rent & Service Charge

As owner of the property, it is your responsibility to pay any ground rent and we can do this on your behalf if instructed. We can also arrange insurance for the property and contents, including for public liability and make sure the insurers know that the property is to be let.

Utilities & Council Tax

As part of our letting service we arrange for all utility accounts (such as phone, gas, electricity and water) to be transferred to the tenant's name. However, you are responsible for all utility bills when the property is not let. If we are managing the property we can pay these on your behalf.

Keys

Tenants will require a set of keys each. You should provide keys for internal doors, patio doors, window locks, cupboards, electricity, gas and water meters or mains in the property, clearly marked. If we are managing the property we will make sure this is done.

Burglar Alarm

The tenant will need clear instructions on how to operate the burglar alarm. If the alarm is linked to a central monitoring system or to the police, they will need to know the password.

It is usual for the tenant to pay for any call outs and to reactivate the system. It is advisable to take out a maintenance contract so that any problems can be resolved quickly and easily. Arranging all this is part of our management service.

Redirecting Mail

If mail addressed to you is likely to be delivered to the property, it is advisable to set up a mail forwarding service with the Post Office to redirect it.

We would be pleased to arrange this for you and to redirect mail sent to previous tenants as part of our management service.

Authorisation & Approval Of Tenant

The landlord signing the Tenancy Agreement must have the legal right to do so. The tenants or their solicitor may require proof of such authority. If you are not available to approve the required documents, it is best to appoint someone to do so on your behalf and if necessary give them Power of Attorney to sign the Tenancy Agreement.

Consent To Letting

It is important to obtain the necessary consents, such as from the head lessor, mortgage lenders, etc, preferably well in advance of letting the property.

Status Of The Landlord

We will need to know your status as a landlord, for instance owner-occupier or resident landlord, as set out in the Housing Act 1988, or whether you own the property as an investment.

We require this information in order to protect your position as much as possible. In certain instances the tenant can obtain protection under the Housing Act and enjoy security of tenure.

However, depending on your status we may be able to help you avoid this possibility, usually by entering into an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), which applies to individuals only, not to companies or embassies:

- The tenancy must be for a certain term, of not less than six months.

- The prescribed notice informing the tenant that they are entering into an AST must be served on the tenant before signing the Tenancy Agreement and taking occupation.

- The landlord must not be able to terminate the tenancy before six months.

- If the landlord requires possession at the end of the tenancy, a prescribed notice must be served on the tenant at least two months prior to the end of the fixed term.

Deposit & Dilapidations

The tenant will pay a deposit equal to no less than six weeks' rent. If we are letting the property but not managing it, we will pay the deposit to you on the first statement of account.

If we manage the property we will hold this in our client account. At the end of the tenancy, as soon as we receive details from the inventory firm, and providing there are no disputes, we will deduct the cost of any dilapidations from the deposit and return the balance to the tenant. If the dilapidations are extensive, we will obtain estimates and agree the deductions with the tenant.

Once you and the tenant have agreed details, we will allocate the money accordingly. In the unlikely event of not being able to reach agreement with the tenant, we recommend resolving the issue through ARLA's arbitration service.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is no longer payable on a Tenancy Agreement not exceeding 364 days. If the tenancy is for longer but less than seven years, the duty payable is 1% of the average rent over one year plus 50p on the counterpart. We will advise you if any Stamp Duty is likely to be payable.

Rent

If we manage the property, the rent is paid into our client account and then forwarded to minus any disbursements.

If we are not managing the property we will arrange for the rent to be paid by standing order directly into your bank account.