From where to advertise, to creating an engaging listing, getting your marketing right is essential for making your property stand out from the crowd.
Effective advertising generates greater interest in your property, attracting the right target tenants and providing you with a wider tenant pool to choose from.
Here, we share our advice on how to advertise rental property so you can speed up the rental process, find the right tenants and secure maximum returns on your investment.
Where To Advertise My Rental Property?
Let’s start with where to advertise. With the internet becoming the preferred source for property searches, it makes sense for your property to have a strong online presence.
Here are your options;
Online Property Portals
Online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla are very popular as they allow prospective tenants to narrow their search by location, size, price and much more.
Even high street lettings agents are turning to these sites to help get the properties on their books seen by a wider range of tenants.
Here’s a list of some popular property portals;
- Prime Location
- On the Market
Most of these property portal sites don’t deal with private landlords directly. Instead you have two options;
- Enlist the services of a high street lettings agent to post the listing for you
- Use an online estate agent such as OpenRent or Upad
High Street Letting Agent
The benefit of advertising your property through a quality high street letting agent is that they will have the expertise and experience to market your property professionally and will take away the hassle of finding a tenant.
A letting agent will also conduct tenant referencing, property viewings and tenant checks which will save you a lot of time. However, this is often the more expensive option.
Online Letting Agent
When enlisting the services of an online letting agent, they will list your property for you on the relevant property websites and generate enquiries. You will still be able to meet potential tenants, conduct tenant referencing and choose the best fit yourself.
This is often cheaper than using a high street estate agent as there is just one fixed cost.
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms such as Facebook are becoming a popular way of advertising and searching for rental properties, especially when it comes to finding rooms in shared houses.
The benefit of listing your property on social sites is that it is likely to reach wide audiences, as people can share with friends and comment directly on photos.
Lots of letting agents use social media to advertise the properties in their portfolio, or if you operate as a private landlord, you can create your own account. Join local online community groups to get your property seen by people looking for housing in the area and always reply to comments and enquiries.
How Do I Market My Rental Property Effectively?
Now we’ve looked at where to advertise, we now need to find out how. We’ve compiled a list of essential tips and advice to help rent your property to the right tenants, and fast;
Establish Your Target Tenant
The first step in the process is to establish your target tenant. Identifying a tenant profile will help tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to the right people.
For example, if you’re renting to students, make sure you advertise your property as furnished, or if you are targeting families, focus on space and the prevalence of schools in the area.
Calculate Your Rental Price
Next, you need to calculate a price bracket according to similar properties in the area and your target tenant’s income. Make sure you factor in maintenance costs, and any other outgoings.
Tip: When advertising on online property portals, take note of the price brackets of each site, and which price bracket your property will appear in. If you increase or decrease the rental price you could appear in a whole different price bracket and not be searchable to your target tenant.
Identify Your USPs
Your property’s USP or unique selling point is what makes it stand out from the competition, and what makes it attractive to your target tenant. It could be anything from a private garden or parking space to its proximity to local amenities such as schools and shops.
Whatever it is, make sure you highlight it in the description fields.
Include a Detailed Description
When it comes to writing a description for your property, you need to strike the right balance between engaging and informative.
Provide as much detail as you can about the property, including key features, the local area and USPs.
It’s best to start with a short, engaging paragraph describing the property as a whole, focusing on lifestyle aspects and the properties best bits. Then follow this up with a more detailed account of features, rooms and outside areas.
Always include the availability date and any other important details such as if bills are included.
Tip: If the property is furnished with quality furnishings and appliances, it may be worth incorporating some well-known brand names into the description. E.g, The modern kitchen features an LG fridge and Samsung washing machine.
Use Quality Photographs
Professional, good quality photographs are perhaps the most important factor when it comes to advertising your property. Be sure to include photos of each room, the exterior and any outdoor areas, paying particular attention to special features.
Try to take the photos on a sunny day to show your property in the best light and ensure everything is clean and tidy.
To maximise your properties potential, it’s worth investing in 360° property photography. 360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer, bringing your property to life. These images can even be transformed into a virtual tour for remote property viewings!
The main thing to bear in mind is that first impressions count, and the images you provide will be make or break for many tenants.
Provide Details About Your Desired Tenant
As well as providing details for your tenants, it’s also a good idea to indicate what type of tenant you are looking for from the get-go. For example, state whether you allow pets or whether you are willing to rent to students. This will speed up the rental process by ensuring everyone is on the same page.
One you get an enquiry from a potential tenant, act fast. A swift reply will give a good impression and help secure a tenant as quickly as possible.
Ask For Help
Busy landlords have a lot to think about. That’s why it can pay to enlist professional services when advertising your property for rent.
We offer a range of property management services, all designed to help landlords, lettings agents and property professionals save time, streamline their processes and comply with regulations.
From 360° photography to help get your property noticed, to property viewings and comprehensive inventory reports, our teams across the UK are ready to help. Get in touch or browse our full list of property inventory services to find out more.
Usually, landlords don’t have to worry about council tax. However, when it comes to HMO properties and vacant periods, things can start to get confusing.
It’s important to understand your landlord council tax responsibilities so as not to get caught out by any unexpected bills or legal issues. So, who pays council tax? What happens when your property is empty? And what about unpaid tenant debts?
From who is responsible to available discounts and exemptions, our council tax guide covers everything responsible landlords need to know.
Should I Be Paying Council Tax?
All residential properties in England and Wales are liable for council tax. If you fail to pay on time, there could be serious financial and legal consequences.
How does it work? The council tax system works according to a hierarchy of liability. The first on the list to pay is any adult over the age of 18 who is an occupant of the property. The landlord or property owner comes much further down this list.
How Is Council Tax Calculated?
Properties are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and placed within bands A-H according to the location and type of housing. The banding is based on the amount the property could be sold for and the cost for each band varies by council.
Who Pays Council Tax: Tenant Or Landlord?
This depends on the sort of tenancy agreement you have in place. Usually, if you rent the entire property to one or several joint tenants, it is their responsibility to pay. (This includes single occupants, families and shared tenancies) In this case, the bills will be sent directly from the local council to your tenants, leaving you out of the equation.
However, if you rent to several tenants with individual tenancy agreements, you will become responsible for paying council tax. Therefore, if you rent out an HMO property, you will be liable to pay.
Do Landlords Pay Council Tax On Empty Properties?
Yes. During void periods, the landlord is responsible for paying council tax.
The size of the bill depends on your local council. You could be given a discount of up to 50% while the property remains unoccupied. However, this is becoming more unlikely as the number of unoccupied properties grow.
If your property is unfurnished, you may be exempt from council tax for up to 6 months.
Is A Landlord Liable For Unpaid Council Tax?
Not usually. As long as the tenancy agreement stipulated that council tax payments were the responsibility of the tenants, then landlords should be safe if tenants leave with unpaid debts.
If your property is vacant for any time, as the landlord, you will be responsible for paying tax during this period. However, you should not be responsible for repaying leftover bills that should have been paid by tenants while they were living in the property.
Without proof of a signed tenancy agreement, it will be harder to convince the council of your exemption if your tenant moves out early without notifying you.
See our blog on who is responsible for unpaid utility bills for more answers to common questions regarding bills.
Landlord Council Tax Exemption
Some properties and tenants are either exempt from paying council tax or are eligible for a discounted rate.
If you’re a landlord of an HMO property, make sure you check your tenant’s status to find out if you are eligible for any discounts. For example, if there is a mix of full-time students and one adult, you may receive a 25% discount.
Who Is Exempt From Council Tax?
There are certain groups of people who are exempt or eligible for a discounted council tax bill;
- Single occupants of a property receive a 25% discount
- Full time students are exempt
- Live in carers are exempt
- Tenants below the age of 18 are exempt
What Properties Are Exempt From Council Tax?
There are also a number of properties that are exempt from paying council tax;
- Unfurnished properties may be exempt for six months
- Recently repaired properties may be exempt for six months
- Properties occupied by full time students only
- Properties solely inhabited by tenants under the age of 18 receive a 50% discount
Landlord Council Tax Advice
To ensure you stay on top of your council tax responsibilities and avoid any unexpected bills, follow these simple tips;
- Always determine who is responsible for paying council tax in the tenancy agreement
- Keep a signed copy of this agreement on file
- Notify your local authority at each change of tenancy and give the names of new tenants
- For HMO properties where you are liable to pay council tax, ensure you factor this cost into the rent price
- Plan for any void periods in which you may have to pay council tax
- Check for any council tax discounts or exemptions you may be eligible for
- Try to minimise void periods to avoid paying council tax in between tenants
Property Inventory Management From No Letting Go
If you’re a busy landlord looking for help managing your portfolio, we could help. Our wide range of professional property services includes comprehensive inventory reports, vacant property inspections and right to rent checks.
Here’s what else we offer;
- Floor plans
- Smoke and CO reports
- 360-degree property photography
- Property appraisals
- Legionella risk assessments
- Digi Sign
- Check in/check out
- Mid-term reports
For all your property management needs, browse our full list of property services to find out how our friendly team could help streamline your business and protect your investment.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental properties are safe and comfortable for your tenants. One element of this is to make sure that the boiler is maintained and checked regularly.
With the summer coming up, you might think that your usual boiler maintenance checks can take a back seat while it’s not in use. However, it’s important to keep on top of boiler maintenance throughout the summer months to ensure it stays in tip top condition, saving you money in the long run.
To help you stay on top of your responsibilities, Paul Ritchie, Managing Director at All England Gas has an essential boiler maintenance checklist landlords will need this summer.
Run the Heating Once a Month
Let’s get started with some simple boiler maintenance tips;
In the summer, the warmer weather means it’s likely your tenants won’t have the heating on. However, this doesn’t mean you can ignore the boiler completely. Leaving the boiler doing nothing all season can cause some mechanical components to seize up and corrode. To prevent this, you should remind your tenants to run the heating for around 10 minutes, at least once a month throughout the summer.
This short period of time should not significantly affect the energy bill, leaving both you and your tenants happy.
Bleed Radiators at the Start and End of Summer
Even when the central heating system is off, pockets of air can find their way into the system and enter your radiators. This means they won’t heat up as well as they should when they’re switched back on in the colder months.
To prevent this, you should bleed your radiators at the start and end of the summer season to avoid any heating mishaps when it gets cold. This is something you can do as a landlord, but if your tenants have the radiator key, you can advise them to do it themselves.
To bleed your radiators, you or your tenant will need a key that fits into a valve at the top and side of each radiator.
Once you have the key, follow these steps;
- Turn this valve with the key until you hear a hissing sound — this is the air escaping.
- When the hissing stops and water starts to spurt out, this indicates that all the air has gone, and you should turn the valve back until the water completely ceases escaping.
- At this point you will usually notice that the system pressure has dropped and needs topping up.
- You can do this by locating the filling loop, which should be a hose with a valve at either end, and opening both valves to allow cold water to enter the main system.
- This two-stage process of bleeding the radiator and re-pressurising needs to be repeated until all of the air has been removed and the pressure is sitting at around 1.5 bar.
Get the Boiler Serviced
An annual service is essential for boiler safety and maintenance. Since your tenants will need the boiler throughout the winter, it might make sense for you to get it serviced during the colder months.
However, it could be more beneficial to have the boiler serviced in the summer instead to make sure it’s in full working order before temperatures drop. Servicing appointments will be cheaper and more readily available during these months, and you’ll have plenty of time if you need to get anything repaired or replaced.
Top tip: ensure you book a Gas Safe registered engineer for the job.
Read the Manual
If you haven’t already, read through the boiler’s owner’s manual. This will show you how it actually operates, and you might find that any issues that arise the following winter, like leaking pipes, are simple enough for you to diagnose and fix yourself.
For safety reasons, never remove the cover to fix any internal components of the boiler. If you suspect there’s an issue inside the cover, always call a Gas Safe engineer to take a look for you.
During the summer, your tenants aren’t going to be using the boiler quite as much as they would in the colder months. This provides you with the perfect opportunity to conduct these basic maintenance checks and get the boiler ready for the following winter.
Stay Secure with Boiler Cover
It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and your tenants against emergency boiler breakdown by purchasing boiler cover.
Your tenants have a right to hot water, working plumbing and heating no matter the season.
Don’t get caught out! Make sure you have a plan in place for when things go wrong.
Have some more questions? All England Gas offer a wide range of boiler tips and advice to help you keep up with all of your landlord responsibilities.
Protect Your Rental Properties this Summer with No Letting Go
If you go away over the summer, leave your property in the safe hands of the No Letting Go team. With 360 virtual photography you can even check up on your rental properties remotely!
For landlords with student properties, you might find yourself left with void periods over the summer months. To prevent damage and protect your investment during this time, No Letting Go offer vacant property visits and reports to ensure your property is secure and there are no leaks or other maintenance issues.
To discover the rest of our professional property services, including unbiased inventory reports and carbon monoxide safety checks, head over to our services page.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have recently revealed that 93% out of 8.5 million rental homes in the UK are not fit for disabled access, leaving at least 365,000 disabled people in unsuitable accommodation.
There is a pressing need for more accessible rental properties across the UK and the government is cracking down on landlords who do not make the necessary changes. However, this does mean that there is a large number of disabled tenants looking for appropriate housing.
From entry ramps to chair lifts, there are many ways to adapt a property for disabled access. Adapting a home and renting to disabled tenants could even open your property up to a wider range of potential renters.
Here, we look at ways to adapt your rental property so you can welcome a new target tenant group to your portfolio.
UK Rights for Disabled Tenants
Before you start thinking about adapting your property, it’s important to be aware of disabled people’s rights in the UK.
The Equality Act 2010 set out ways to protect people in society, including the rental sector.
According to the Act, a person has a disability if;
- The person has a physical or mental impairment, and
- This impairment has a substantial, long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Now, let’s look at your responsibilities as a property professional.
Laws for Private Landlords and Letting Agents
It is against the law for a landlord to discriminate against a disabled tenant. For example, as a landlord, letting or estate agent it is illegal to;
- Refuse to rent to a disabled person because of their disability
- Refuse to allow a guide dog or assistance dog under the no pets rule
- Charge higher rent or deposit to disabled tenants
- Refuse access to additional facilities that are available to other tenants (e.g. laundry room or parking space)
- Evict a tenant due to disability or illness
- Give tenants a less secure tenancy agreement
If a tenant feels they are being discriminated against, they could talk to Citizens advice or the EHRC and you could experience serious repercussions.
Landlord Responsibilities when Renting to Disabled Tenants
When renting to a disabled tenant, you are responsible for providing necessary, reasonable adaptations to make your property accessible and suitable to their individual needs. This can include additional services or equipment known as ‘auxiliary aids’.
Auxiliary aids can include;
- Wheelchair ramps
- Written documents and signs in Braille
- Accessible door handles
- Accessible taps
- Special furnishings (e.g. raised toilet seat)
Refusing these changes could mean you’re breaking the law.
How to Adapt Your Property for Disabled Tenants
When renting to a disabled tenant, it’s likely you will need to make some changes to your property in order to make it accessible. These changes very much depend on the individual needs and requirements of the tenant.
Here are some of the ways you may be required to alter your rental property;
Installing Access Ramps
If your tenant uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter and your property has steps up to the entrance or between rooms, you may need to install access ramps at entrances.
Installing Chair Lifts and Railings
For multi-story homes, chair lifts and railings may be required for less able tenants. Railings may also be needed in bathrooms.
Fitting Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom Facilities
Wheelchair users may need lower kitchen and bathroom facilities which are accessible at chair height. Bathrooms may require a wet room and accessible toilets.
Doors and entrance ways may need to be widened to allow for safe wheelchair access. (Usually 750mm)
Raised Plugs and Features
Features such as plugs and light fixtures will need to be accessible to your tenant(s).
Ground Floor Level Access
Some disabled tenants will require ground floor level access. You will need to provide a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen at ground level.
Your tenant may need access to a parking space which is easily accessible from the property.
Written Signs and Documents in Braille
Visually impaired tenants may require all tenancy documents and signs throughout the home to be provided in Braille. This includes features such as fire safety notices. Tenants with learning disabilities may ask for documents provided in alternative formats.
Covering the Costs of Adapting a Property
You may be thinking about the cost of these changes and how you’re going to cover them.
It’s true that some of these adaptations involve significant work, costing around £20,000 to adapt a standard property.
However, there are ways to help cover the costs;
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
Landlords and tenant alike can apply for a disabled facilities grant which provides funds for adaptations. This grant is supplied by the local council and is subject to an eligibility test where an occupational therapist will assess the property and the adaptations needed before making a decision.
The amount you receive depends on the changes needed, but sums of up to £25,000 can be granted.
To apply, contact your local council.
Remember, if you fail to make the necessary changes, it could cost you a whole lot more in legal costs if the case goes to court!
A Helping Hand from No Letting Go
While this information may appear daunting at first, No Letting Go are on hand to help;
- For example, our 360 Virtual Tour and Photography service allows potential tenants to view your property from any location- solving accessibility issues for many disabled tenants.
- Providing a safe, comfortable and accessible home is particularly important when renting to disabled tenants. All of our property services are designed to streamline your workload and ensure your property is fully compliant with current health, safety and legal regulations.
- Once you’ve made these adaptations to your rental property, it’s important to protect your investment. Our professional inventory service helps to safeguard your property by providing evidence of the condition of your property at the start and end of the tenancy.
Discover the rest of our property management services to find out how we could help.
Achieving a high rental yield is one of the main goals for successful landlords. In order to cover the costs of mortgage repayments, repairs and maintenance, an adequate rental yield is essential to stay afloat.
Although you may feel constrained by property location or property prices, there are ways to maximise profits and cut outgoings.
From making simple renovations, to targeting specific tenants, here’s some straightforward advice on how to increase rental yield on your rental property.
What Does Rental Yield Mean?
As a landlord, you’ll be more than familiar with the importance of rental yields. For anyone new to the game or thinking of taking the plunge into property investment, here’s a simple definition.
Rental yield is the annual return on investment you make as a landlord on a buy-to-let property. It’s the remaining amount of money left over after rent, divided by the value of the property and is expressed as a percentage.
How to Work Out Rental Yield on Rental Property
To work out the rental yield of your property, first deduct all annual expenses and outgoings from the annual rental income, then divide this number by the purchase price of the property. Next, times this number by 100 to find the percentage yield.
Alternatively, find a free rental yield calculator online to do the hard work for you.
What is a Good Rental Yield?
In order to comfortably cover outgoings, a rental yield of 8% or more is deemed good.
However, the average rental yield differs vastly depending on location. For example, cities like Liverpool and Nottingham enjoy higher rental yields of up to 12%, while London is more challenging and tends to stay around 4 – 5%.
Decide on a Tenant Profile
Having an ideal tenant profile in mind makes it easier to tailor your property to the needs and desires of tenants. By offering an attractive property to specific renters, you’ll be able to charge premium prices and stand out from the crowd.
For example, if you are renting to young professionals, it’s worth choosing properties in areas with good transport links and furnishing the property with convenient mod-cons.
Whereas families are more interested in space, excellent local schools and extra bedrooms.
It’s impossible to please everyone. Maximise rental yields by catering to a specific tenant group and provide them with what they really want.
Location, Location, Location
As always, location is key when it comes to improving rental return.
Picking an up-and-coming area is a good idea, as property purchase prices are lower and there is potential for increased rental income as the area expands. Somewhere with good transport links, access to great schools and a growing number of bars and shops is a safe bet.
Go Green for Tenants
With sustainable living becoming increasingly popular, improving insulation and making green changes to your rental property could strengthen the appeal to certain tenants.
Improving the energy efficiency rating of your property not only saves you money on energy bills,but is also a big deciding factor for potential tenants.
Think About Facilities
Equipping your property with high quality, time-saving facilities such as dishwashers, driers and high-speed Wi-Fi will attract more tenants and place your rental property ahead of the competition.
Think about what your ideal tenant profile wants out of a rental property and go from there.
Can You Add Another Bedroom or Bathroom?
Adding a second, third or fourth bedroom to your rental property is a guaranteed way of boosting rental yield.
If a property has a large living space that isn’t entirely necessary, turning it into a bedroom could drastically improve cash flow! Just take care to comply with bedroom regulations, especially if you plan to turn it into an HMO property.
A second bathroom is another way of adding value. Although this requires a little more upheaval, the results can be well worth it, especially in larger properties.
Keep Things Fresh
If larger scale renovation is out of your budget, simple, affordable updates such as new tiling in the bathroom or a fresh lick of paint can work wonders in attracting the best tenants.
The more you can do to make your property attractive to potential tenants, the more rent you can responsibly command.
Maximise Space for Maximum Yields
Another way to add value and appeal to renters is to maximise every inch of space in your property.
This doesn’t have to mean adding extra bedrooms. It can be something as simple as providing inbuilt cupboards and clever storage spaces. This is especially important if you’re targeting growing families.
Consider Allowing Pets
Flexibility is a trait highly valued by prospective tenants. From allowing minor aesthetic alterations to saying yes to pets, remaining open to tenants helps grow your yield in the long run.
Rental properties which allow pets tend to be few and far between which means they are able to command more rent- another easy way to increase your rental yield!
Avoid Vacant Periods
Naturally, extended vacant periods will have a negative impact on your rental yield.
Asking current tenants what their plans are well in advance of the end of a tenancy is one way you can avoid this. Early preparation means you can start advertising for new occupants quickly.
In the case of an extended void period, it may be worth lowering the rent requirements to encourage tenants and minimise losses.
Make Regular Rent Reviews
It’s important to keep up with the rest of the property market. Keeping a finger on the pulse and raising or lowering rent as needed is essential for maintaining and increasing rental yield.
Factors such as a new school in the area can dramatically increase rent prices, so don’t miss out on opportunities to cash in on your property investments.
Assess Your Outgoings
Taking a regular look at all of your outgoings is an important part of managing your finances. You may find that a few simple changes could be surprisingly profitable.
Mortgage rates, for example, are always changing, and it’s possible to find good deals on property insurance on comparison websites.
Keep your eyes peeled for deals to cut costs and improve rental yield.
Keep Up to Date with Regulations
Part of being a responsible landlord includes keeping up to date with current health and safety regulations. Good maintenance of your rental property results in long-term tenancies and increased interest from renters.
Save Time and Money with A Professional Property Service
Instead of spending your time as a property manager, answering queries and sorting out viewings and check ins, allocating tasks to property professionals can help streamline your business, saving you time and money.
No Letting Go provide comprehensive property reports and essential services such as inventory management to help landlords protect their investment and increase yields.
For more information on how No Letting Go could help, visit our services page here.
Letting out your property can be a daunting thought for many. How can you ensure your next tenant will be a good tenant?
Answer: with a tenant reference check.
But, many landlords are still in the dark about what the vetting process involves. So, what is it and why is it worth doing? Time to take a closer look.
What is a Tenant Check?
A tenant reference check is simply a way of determining whether a prospective tenant is reliable, and able to keep up with monthly rent payments.
Of course, there’s no way of guaranteeing how someone will behave in the future. However, tenant checks can give you an insight into who you’re letting your property out to.
Tenant Referencing – What Do They Check?
So, what do landlords check for?
Remember – this is about safeguarding both you and your property. You’ll want to ensure a potential tenant is who they say they are, and that they can keep up with their contractual obligations.
For this reason, the vetting process looks at a number of different areas, which can include:
Proof of Identity
Photo ID is usually preferable, such as a driver’s license or passport.
If this isn’t available, other forms of identification are sometimes accepted, such as a signed bank card. It’s up to you what to accept during the rent check.
Most landlords’ primary concern is whether a potential tenant will be able to keep up with their monthly rental obligations.
Checking their background allows you to see proof of this. Usually, this part of the referencing process includes:
- Proof of employment – such as a contract, a letter from an employer and/or recent payslips
- Bank statements (particularly if someone is self-employed)
- Proof of benefits claims (if applicable)
For a landlord, a tenant credit check is often seen as essential. However, when it comes to poor credit history, only CCJs and bankruptcy are public.
For this reason, their current financial situation is much more telling than a tenant credit check. Just because someone has fallen into rent arrears in the past doesn’t mean they will do now!
Unless, of course, their recent circumstances prove otherwise.
Right to Rent
It’s essential that your future tenant has a right to rent in the UK.
There are fines issued for private landlords who let to those not legally allowed to rent.
If you’re concerned that a certain tenant may not be able to afford their rent, you can ask for a guarantor. This is particularly prevalent in student properties, for example.
Sometimes, you can ask the guarantor to agree to a credit check. It’s also common to ask for recent payslips to ensure the rent can be paid should the tenant fail to do so.
If no guarantor is available, you can ask for a higher deposit upfront to cover any potential problems that may arise.
A Previous Landlord Reference
Ideally, you’re hoping for a reference that demonstrates that the tenant is reliable and trustworthy. This not only includes paying rent on time, but also respecting both the property and the landlord.
Questions to ask the landlord include:
- Did the tenant have any outstanding rent?
- Did the tenant cause any damage to the rental property?
- Did the tenant have any problems with the neighbours?
- Did the tenant receive their deposit back? If not, why?
- Would they rent to this tenant again?
If a prospective tenant is unwilling to provide the necessary contact details, this may send alarm bells ringing.
Details of Previous Address
You may also want to see proof of previous addresses, to ensure the tenant is who they say they are.
You may also like: Landlord Deposit Rules: What You Need to Know
How to Run a Background Check on a Tenant
Some landlords are happy to ask for the necessary information themselves.
This can be a time-consuming process, as you’ll need to gather a number of relevant details, such as guarantor information. You’ll also need to reach out to the employer, establish whether the potential tenant has any current debt and interview them.
Questions you may want to ask the tenant include:
- Will they be renting with pets?
- Will they have any family or friends staying with them regularly?
- What’s their working schedule like? Do they work night shifts?
- Have they read the tenancy agreement?
If you’re using a letting agent, they should arrange the vetting process on your behalf.
Should You Use a Tenant Referencing Service?
To ensure the background check is as thorough as possible, it’s recommended to use a professional tenant referencing company. For example, the National Landlords Association can run a check for you.
While these won’t be free, they will help minimise the risk of rent arrears or other potential issues that may arise.
For many, the extra cost is worth the peace of mind.
How Long Does Tenant Referencing Take?
The length of the process depends entirely on each individual situation.
Sometimes, if everything runs smoothly, your referencing company can complete the check in around 48 hours.
But, this isn’t always the case. The process can be delayed by a number of factors, such as:
- If a previous landlord drags their feet about giving a reference
- If a potential tenant takes a long time gathering necessary financial details
- If a potential tenant is unemployed, or a freelancer
- If a potential tenant cannot get a guarantor
A tenant reference check gives many landlords peace of mind. We can also help remove the stress of letting your property, with our professional inventory management services. We’ll ensure you’re compliant with all regulations, protecting both you and your property. Find out more about our services here.
A landlord’s main responsibility is the tenant. But, do landlords have a duty of care to neighbours?
In short: yes and no.
It’s difficult to hold landlords legally responsible for their tenants. Unless, that is, the landlord is deliberately encouraging antisocial behaviour.
However, even without law involvement – neighbourhood disputes are never good for a landlord’s reputation.
Let’s settle this once and for all! Time to dig a little deeper…
Types of Problems Tenants Can Cause
So, in the eyes of a neighbour, what constitutes a problem tenant?
For many, when they hear the phrase ‘difficult tenant’, noise is often what first springs to mind. This is for good reason!
Noisy tenants are a huge nuisance. Particularly if these disruptions continue late into the night, it can cause problems for all neighbours living nearby.
What is classed as noise nuisance? Let’s dig a little deeper:
- Late night DIY
- Parties/ large gatherings with loud music
- Uncontrolled pets
- Children allowed to play in the communal areas of flats
Noise, caused by any of these reasons, can be a serious grounds for a dispute.
With noise nuisance – time of day is essential. Most neighbours will forgive being loud before it gets dark, within reason, of course!
‘Inconsiderate behaviour’ is a broad term, as it encompasses many different things.
But, here are some of the worst offenders:
- Parking across other drives
- Refusal to empty bins
- Leaving on bright lights that disturb others
- Invasion of privacy
- Abusive behaviour
If a tenant is displaying one or more of these habits, neighbours might have a lot to say. Is it fair for landlords to be held responsible?
A Landlord’s Duty of Care
Landlords have a number of responsibilities, most of these concerning the tenant. Similarly, a letting agent’s duty of care is to the tenant.
However, landlords will often find themselves in the firing line should the neighbours complain.
Landlord negligence cases don’t often relate to neighbours, simply because it’s difficult to proceed against landlords for the actions of their tenants. You can’t blame one human being for the actions of another!
However, is this always the case?
When is a Landlord Liable for Tenant Negligence?
In some cases, private landlords are liable for tenant negligence.
Often, this occurs when the landlord encourages the nuisance, or deliberately turns a blind eye.
Also, if the landlord deliberately let the property out with knowledge of a nuisance, this makes them liable. For example, leasing the property for use as a music venue.
Particularly if these problems are frequent, those living nearby may hold the landlord responsible.
Landlords do have a duty of care to neighbours to some extent!
You may also like: A Guide to the Best Tenant Referencing Companies
How to Deal With Noise Complaints
Of course, noise complaints aren’t the only reason for disputes. However, they are the most common.
If you have knowledge of a recurring antisocial tenant behaviour, you must be shown to do something about it. Reduce your risk of being liable by being seen to change your property management practices. Ensure you haven’t authorised actions that might constitute a complaint!
Difficulties with neighbours can harm your reputation, dissolve relationships and cause you a lot of hassle. If possible, avoid this at all costs!
The only problem is, how is this done?
Ensure Neighbours Have Your Contact Details
Many neighbours wonder how to get a landlord’s contact details. You must ensure they have yours!
There are many things that go into being a good landlord – availability is one of them. Do yourself a favour and find out who your neighbours are!
Put yourself in the position of those living near your tenants. Wouldn’t you wonder how to find a landlord’s details?
Talk to Your Tenant
The first step is always to talk to your tenant open and honestly. Try not to automatically look to them as the cause of the anti-social behaviour in private housing.
Go about things differently! Being receptive and able to talk about problems with your tenant is hugely important.
Don’t pick a fight deliberately, instead, ask their opinion on what the neighbours have been saying. Explain the problem, and ask how they’re going to rectify it. Offer some suggestions of your own.
It’s important to build a good relationship with your tenants, so ensure you listen to their side of the story!
Use the Tenancy Agreement
If problems persist, use your secret weapon.
The tenancy agreement should have set out a ‘nuisance’ or ‘noise’ clause. Refer to this if you discover your tenant is behaving problematically!
The agreement will have clearly laid out rules and regulations, which must be adhered to. Explain exactly which ones they’ve broken and why.
Of course, don’t threaten with eviction immediately. However, do explain that while you’re upholding your duties, their responsibility is to follow the tenancy agreement.
If they refuse to listen to your warnings, consider taking further action. But, this should never be your first step!
Inspect the Property Regularly
You can’t deal with the problem if you can’t see it!
There are rules surrounding landlord inspections, of course. However, particularly if you’ve been made aware of certain problems, it’s essential to visit your property regularly.
The likelihood is that tenants will be on their best behaviour around you. But, it’s a good opportunity to show your neighbours you’re taking steps to resolve the issue. Plus, it may ‘scare’ your tenants into changing their behaviour.
Involve the Neighbour
Don’t let your tenant’s actions reflect badly on you!
If possible, arrange a meeting between them and the neighbour. This can give them a chance to talk and, hopefully, clear the air.
Your tenant might not fully understand the impact their actions are having on their neighbour.
Take Serious Action
If nothing else works, take further action as a last resort.
This can come in many forms, such as:
- Contacting your local council
- Seeking legal advice
- Serving them with a section 21 notice (this allows landlords in England and Wales to evict tenants)
- Calling the police
The final option should only be used in extreme circumstances, such as abusive or aggressive behaviour.
Problem Neighbours in a Rented Property – Is it Your Tenant’s Fault?
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot.
What if your tenants aren’t the problem?
When it comes to neighbourhood disputes, landlords are between a rock and a hard place. As much as it’s important to keep up good relationships with the neighbours, you don’t want to alienate your tenant.
Particularly if you’re trying to encourage a long-term tenancy, you may feel as though you have to be on your tenant’s ‘side’.
However, sometimes it’s the neighbours that are the nuisance. Let’s have a look at why:
Can Neighbours Complain About Noise During the Day?
Some complaints, such as noise disputes, are simply unfair. It might be that your neighbour is being particularly pedantic.
For example, if your tenant has guests round during the day for a barbeque, this is not grounds for a noise complaint, unless it goes on until the early hours.
Be realistic. Your tenant is likely to have guests round sometimes! But, ensure this doesn’t contravine the tenancy agreement.
Is the Neighbour Lying?
If the complaints seem vague, or the neighbour ‘can’t remember’ the time of the day your tenant was loud, this should send alarm bells ringing.
Consider your tenant also. Do they seem like the kind of person they’re being painted out to be? Do they fulfill all their other tenant obligations?
Trust your instincts. The relationship between landlord and tenant is important!
It might be that your neighbour has problems with your property being let out, for example, to students.
Is the Neighbour Being Disruptive?
Perhaps it’s your neighbour who’s the nuisance. Landlord negligence has many forms, so don’t ignore your tenant is they come to you with a complaint about a neighbour.
Think of private tenant’s rights and noise disturbance. Do they deserve to live near rowdy neighbours?
Here’s what to do:
- Ask your tenant to keep a record of the problems
- Talk to the neighbour
- Use a mitigation service
- Contact your local authority
- Take legal action
Follow these steps in that order, keeping communication with your tenant at all times. Never jump to legal action first!
We understand that being a landlord and managing your property can be tough. But, we’re here to help. We provide professional property inventory services, so you can avoid the pains and hassle of doing it yourself. Find out more about our services here.
It’s time to talk deposits…
These are a source of protection for landlords, ensuring they have a safety net should anything happen to their property.
But, this doesn’t mean they’re without their own complications!
Deposit disputes are common. If a landlord withholds money for any reason, this is an obvious conflict of interest between both parties.
Let’s ensure that doesn’t happen. Here are some important landlord deposit rules to remember.
The Government Approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme
These ensure a deposit is protected, and that tenants receive the full amount back if they meet the terms of their tenancy agreement and maintain the property as agreed.
TDS disputes are very uncommon, as the deposit is looked after by an unbiased, regulated third party.
Some landlords can be confused by these schemes, as in England and Wales there are two options. So, let’s straighten it out:
The Insured Scheme is where the landlord or letting agent keeps hold of the deposit throughout the tenancy, while paying a fee to the TDS.
This fee operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, meaning you don’t pay after the tenancy has finished!
With the Custodial Scheme, the landlord or letting agent doesn’t have to pay a fee, as the TDS looks after the deposit.
The TDS will then release the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
Both tenancy deposit protection schemes have their benefits, so it’s important to work out what works for you.
When are Tenancy Deposit Deductions Allowed?
There’s no hard and fast rule when tenants ask, ‘what can my landlord deduct from my deposit?’ as this varies depending on the individual circumstance.
However, there are some common reasons why deposits aren’t returned.
Reasons for these deductions must be stipulated in the tenancy agreement, for example cleaning deposits. If you require the property to be returned in a certain way, for example the carpets cleaned, ensure this is clearly communicated.
After the tenant leaves, landlords are allowed to make deposit deductions for the following reasons:
There are numerous reasons why tenants may not be able to afford rent.
However, while some circumstances are out of their control, missed or withheld rent is a justifiable reason not to pay back some, or all, of their deposit.
Many landlords prefer to deduct money from the deposit rather than serve their tenant with a Section 21 eviction notice.
If your tenant owes more than the deposit amount, you can take legal action, and a court can order them to pay the full amount back. This will incur it’s own legal fees, so you’ll need to work out if it makes sense financially.
Serious Damage to the Property
Whether it’s to the property itself, such as smashed windows, or broken furniture, damaging the property contradicts the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Therefore, landlords are allowed to deduct the appropriate amount from the deposit.
Recklessness is something you can take seriously!
However, it’s important to remember that this mustn’t count as fair wear and tear.
Lost or Broken Items
One main reason for landlords not returning deposits is missing items. The cost of these can be deducted at the end of the tenancy!
The inventory will have set out what items were included with the property, and their condition. So, in the interest of reassurance for the landlord, a detailed inventory is essential.
In the world of tenancy deposit disputes, cleaning can be a huge source of disagreement between landlords and tenants, largely because we all have different definitions of what is ‘clean’.
However, it’s a common cause of deposit deductions. For example, if it was negotiated in the tenancy agreement that the tenant would pay for a professional carpet clean after keeping pets in the property, they must uphold this.
If they fail to do so, landlords can pay for the cost of the clean from the deposit. For a landlord, cleaning is the tenant’s responsibility!
General maintenance can be difficult because it’s a vague term.
But, misuse can result in a deposit deduction. For example, if any appliances have been deliberately neglected, the landlord will have to pay to repair these before the start of the next tenancy.
Damage Caused By Pets
Landlords and pets have a strained relationship. However, with half the UK’s population owning a pet, and nearly 1 in 5 of us renting our home, landlords have had to make compromises.
Before the tenancy starts, those with pets often agree to pay a higher deposit or the cost of a professional clean. But, this doesn’t make any damage caused by pets acceptable!
Many tenants find it difficult to understand why their landlord has kept their deposit. But, when you consider the cost of repairing damage, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable.
If a tenant takes it upon themselves to redecorate the property without asking you first, this may be in breach of their tenancy agreement. As a result, you might be able to deduct money from their deposit to get the room back to its prior condition.
Alternatively, if you allow a tenant to redecorate, but they do a poor job, you can claim for redecoration costs also.
When Can Tenants Dispute Deposit Deductions?
But, it’s important landlords understand what they can’t claim for. When can landlords keep deposits, and when can’t they?
Tenants have many responsibilities, such as keeping up with rent payments and taking care of the property. But, for landlords, unfair deposit deductions are simply unacceptable.
Tenants are always asking ‘can my landlord withhold my deposit?’ The answer is yes, but, within reason.
Let’s put the issue to rest. Landlords cannot refuse to return the deposit for:
General Wear and Tear
As mentioned previously, reasonable wear and tear isn’t a reason to withhold tenants’ money.
The definition of normal wear and tear is a difficult one, so it’s essential to consider the tenancy itself, such as the amount of tenants and the time of occupation.
For landlords, what is considered normal wear and tear can be a grey area. So, you’ll need to justify any deposit claims you make. Your property will have been lived in for a certain amount of time, so, while there are no rules for what is ‘reasonably acceptable’, you can’t expect it to be completely fresh at the end of the tenancy.
Redecorating the Property
You can’t charge outgoing tenants for the price of redecorating the property simply because you feel it needs a facelift.
If you’re only trying to give the place a freshen up in the hopes of charging higher rent, this must come out of your own pocket.
Preparation of the Dispute
If a deposit dispute has arisen, you can’t claim for the cost of any evidence gathered or legal paperwork drawn up.
Even if the dispute goes in the favour of the landlord, the tenant’s deposit doesn’t pay for it.
Cost of Re-Letting the Property
Costs involved with re-letting the property cannot be claimed for.
The end of an old tenancy and the start of a new one are completely separate!
Anything that Contradicts the Contract
If your property has failed to live up to the standards tenants expect and deserve, you can’t claim the cost of fixing this before the next tenancy.
For example, deposit deductions aren’t allowed for repairing appliances that have failed to work throughout the tenancy.
Just as the tenant has to keep to their contract, so do landlords!
Repair to the Structure of the Property
Structural damage, such as roof repairs, cannot be deducted from the deposit.
The tenant has a right to live in a structurally safe and well-built property, therefore any repairs are the responsibility of the landlord!
Claiming for More than the Deposit
You will have set the deposit amount at the start of the tenancy. At the end of this tenancy, it cannot be changed.
If you have grounds to ask for more money, you’ll need to go through the appropriate legal proceedings.
Giving Notice About a Tenancy Deposit Dispute
Feel you have grounds for a claim? You’ll need to provide notice of this.
So, when should a landlord return a deposit? A tenant cannot expect to receive their deposit back before the end of the tenancy. However, under normal circumstances, the landlord pays it back within 10 days.
When you need to make a claim, you must write to your tenant and explain why you’re not returning the full amount. Resolved deposit disputes don’t occur without your reasons in writing.
Previously, they’ll have needed evidence that you placed their deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. If you’ve failed to provide this, you may find it difficult to make a claim.
How to Make a Deposit Claim
If you’re making a claim, ensure you write to the tenant and explain exactly why. They’ll need to understand your reasons behind it. Tenancy disputes need to be clearly communicated between both parties.
If they agree with your reasoning, you won’t have to go through a dispute service. However, it’s likely that they’ll disagree.
A dispute service will be provided free of charge by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme you’ve used. It can often be difficult to find a dispute resolution, however, using a professional service ensures it will be fair.
Required Evidence for Deposit Claims
Feel you have the right to make a claim?
Evidence is key. Here’s a closer look at exactly what you’ll need:
If you have evidence of any serious damage, ensure you have photographs to prove this.
Photos are also useful to back-up any points made in the inventory, showing the before and after state of the property and any particular items.
Inventory and Schedule of Condition
However, photographs aren’t the only piece of evidence you’ll need.
A detailed, comprehensive inventory will be invaluable when make a deposit claim against a tenant. Within this report should be photos, used to support the written details within.
Naturally, this will have needed to be compiled at the start of the tenancy. The more evidence, the better!
While many landlords choose to carry these out themselves, a professional inventory will provide more clarity than a DIY one. This is thanks to the independent, unbiased third party who compiles the report!
What was laid out in the tenancy agreement? How was it stated the property must be maintained?
One important landlord deposit rule to follow is to use the tenancy agreement as a piece of armour. It will protect you from any untrue claims made by the tenant, as they will have signed it.
Have you kept hold of any important emails between you and your tenant?
If you’ve visited the property during the tenancy and found it’s not being maintained as you’ve agreed, ensure you’ve followed this up in writing.
This will be valuable evidence when it comes to making your claim!
You’ll need to show you’ve communicated any issues you’ve had with your tenants, as this will prove whether or not they took action to fix them.
Need to repair something, such as an appliance?
Ensure you’ve kept a receipt or invoice of its original cost, as you can use this when working out how much to deduct from the deposit.
Landlords withholding deposits isn’t a decision made lightly. But, if you feel you have grounds to make a claim, ensure you can support it with evidence.
How to Win a Dispute Between Landlord and Tenant
How can you ensure you’ll be granted your deposit deduction?
Don’t Be Unreasonable
A property will never be returned to you in a completely shiny and new condition. This needs to be allowed for.
It’s likely that, if you make an unreasonable claim, you’ll end up wasting the time and effort on the claim for no reward.
Don’t negate your claim by making unfair or ridiculous statements!
Keep Communication Open
Communication with your tenant is key.
When you inspect your rental property, keep an eye out for any damage and follow up with your tenant. This might be able to be fixed before the end of the tenancy.
However, if you do feel you need to make a claim, communication will be essential here also. Sitting down with your tenant and clearly explaining where the claim has come from will make it less likely that they’ll dispute it.
Here’s where your evidence will be vital. If you present all the facts in front of them, it will be difficult for them to dispute it.
Have a Detailed Inventory
When it comes to landlord disputes, a detailed inventory will be the most useful piece of evidence. Better still, it may even be able to prevent them completely!
Just as the tenancy protection scheme is in place to protect both parties, so are inventories. When landlords lose disputes, this often is down to a poorly put together, insufficient inventory.
The inventory should be used as comparative evidence, showing every detail of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This is where detail will become so important, as it will provide clarity.
Claims from tenants such as ‘my landlord won’t return my deposit’ or accusations of unfair treatment will be stamped out with the help of an inventory.
Want to protect your investment? No Letting Go provide professionally compiled, unbiased inventories that will help to provide clarity throughout the tenancy. Interested in finding out how we can help you? Browse our full range of services here.
Landlords have many health and safety obligations. One of these includes carrying out Legionella risk assessments.
But, many landlords are still in the dark about how to go about this.
What is Legionella? What harm can it cause? Should you carry it out yourself, or hire a professional?
Here’s a closer look at the importance of a Legionella risk assessment.
What is Legionella?
Firstly, it’s important to identify the cause of the issue. Many of us, including landlords, are unaware of what Legionella is, let alone what harm it can cause.
Legionella is a type of bacteria found in water systems, such as pipes, as well as central heating systems and air conditioning units.
What Harm Can Legionella Cause?
The bacterium causes Legionnaires’ disease, which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.
The bacterium presents a threat to anyone, however those who smoke or suffer from existing health conditions, such as heart disease or a weakened immune system, are particularly at risk.
Legionella can also cause Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever, which also pose health risks.
Therefore, it’s easy to see why, when it comes to Legionnaires’ disease, landlords need to take it seriously.
Where Can It Be Found?
Legionella can be found naturally in freshwater, such as rivers. However, when found here, it rarely causes humans any harm.
But, when found in man-made water systems, conditions such as maintained temperature allow the bacteria to grow rapidly.
It can then become airborne, for example in water vapour or mist.
How Can You Get Infected?
People get infected with Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling the droplets of water containing Legionella.
Recirculated or stored water is particularly at risk from developing the bacteria.
What is the Law Surrounding Legionella Testing?
In 2014, the Health and Safety Work Act 1974 was revised to include testing of Legionella in all domestic properties.
While the risk in domestic properties is less compared to public buildings, such as businesses, an assessment still needs to be carried out by all duty holders.
But, landlords can do this themselves unless they feel uncomfortable or are unsure how it’s done. As it’s one of the most important landlord’s responsibilities, it’s recommended to seek professional help when undertaking the Legionella assessment.
If a landlord does choose to carry out the Legionella test themselves, they need to provide evidence of this and show proof of their findings.
Failure to comply can result in a serious fine.
How Can You Control Legionella?
There are many ways you can control and prevent the spread of Legionella. These include:
• Replacing or removing any faulty or needless pipework
• Preventing any dirt from entering the water system, for example by fitting a tight lid
• Flushing the water system between each tenancy
• Ensuring the temperature of any water tanks are set high enough (60°C is the optimum temperature, while 20°C- 45°C are often the right conditions to develop the bacteria)
• Make sure water cannot stagnate anywhere in the system
• Treat the water to control growth of any bacteria
As the landlord, the responsibility of Legionella testing lies with you, whether you use a professional or do it yourself, to identify any risks and deal with them accordingly.
What is the Responsibility of the Tenants?
Your tenants do not have to keep your property free from Legionella. However, it’s important to inform them of the risks so that they can help reduce them.
You tenants should be:
• Cleaning shower heads regularly
• Not changing the temperature of the water systems once you have set them
• Informing you if they find debris in the water
• Telling you if the water system isn’t working
• Telling you if the hot water temperature is too low
• Turning on any less frequently used water systems at least once a week
However, while tenants can play their part, the responsibility falls with the duty holder. This is where property visits come in.
The Dangers with Vacant Properties
Void periods between tenancies are a nightmare for landlords for a variety of reasons. But, losing rent isn’t the only concern.
Extra attention needs to be paid to the water systems of vacant properties, as the water will stagnate more easily.
For example, if your property is rented out to students and is empty during the summer, you’ll need to schedule regular visits to run the water. If the property is vacant for prolonged periods of time, it may be necessary to drain the water system completely.
Always flush the water system before new tenants move in.
Evidently, Legionella tests are vital. To take the stress and hassle out of carrying out one yourself, as well as ensuring it’s done correctly, we recommend using our professional Legionella risk assessment service. We’ll ensure your property is safe and that you’re compliant with regulations. These form part of the many services we offer for landlords and letting agents. Find out more about our property services here.
Do you have a property that you are hoping to let out? If so, you might be looking to take on a letting agent.
Whether you’re new to the world of buy-to-letting or not, you may be asking yourself ‘Which letting agent should I choose?’
To try and help, we’ve put together our advice on choosing a letting agent.
Why go with a letting agent?
While some landlords choose to manage their property alone, letting agencies are still hugely popular. Whether to choose an agency or not is down to the individual situation.
What is the role of a letting agent?
The role of a letting agent varies, depending on what you’re looking for. Their role can range from simply providing a tenancy agreement to full-on maintenance of the property.
Most letting agents will offer to collect the rent and deposit on behalf of the landlord, while many letting agents also offer extra services.
These extra services can vary from tenancy vetting’s to full-on maintenance and ensuring any damage costs are reimbursed.
What are the advantages of choosing a letting agent?
While a letting agent will entail fees, there are numerous advantages alongside this.
1. Firstly, letting agents will be regulated. Ensure that the one you choose is a member of a trade association, such as NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) or ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
2. Secondly, a letting agent will have a full understanding of the buy-to-let market. If you’re a first-time landlord, it’s likely that you will benefit from this knowledge! This expertise should result in the process running more smoothly.
3. Finally, choosing a letting agent will mean that you won’t have to navigate the world of buy-to-let alone. An agency will have a dedicated team in place to manage any property related issues.
You may also like: Landlord Responsibilities – A Guide to Health & Safety Obligations
How to choose a letting agent
Once you’ve decided to go with a letting agent, it’s important to detail what service you’re looking for. There are many other factors that should go into your final decision.
You’re entrusting your property to a third party, so it’s not an easy choice to make!
Marketing and advertising
It’s important to remember that using a letting agent will cost you money.
Therefore, when considering the question ‘Which letting agent should I choose?’ you should look closely into their marketing strategy.
If their advertising is effective and they are proactive in their marketing, you will know they’re more likely to find you a tenant.
Enquire into which newspapers they advertise in.
Also, ask them to show you which potential tenants they have on their books. They should prove that they will make it their mission to see your property let out!
Listen to recommendations
An important factor in choosing a letting agent is their location. Our advice is to choose an agency in your property’s area, so you can take advantage of their local knowledge!
When choosing a letting agent, it’s important to ask around for recommendations. Listen to those who live in your area, for example other landlords, who can be found through a local landlord association.
Word-of-mouth can be a reliable source of information!
Understand their fees
You need to be clear on how an agent’s fees are organised. You don’t want to be caught out with any unexpected costs!
An agent’s fees tend to be organised either as a fixed fee, or as a proportion of rent. Fees are completely dependent on each agency itself.
One way to ensure that a letting agent is reputable is by checking that they have insurance. An agency should be able to prove they have CMP (Client Money Protection) in place.
Also, ensure that you have landlord insurance, to protect you in the unlikely event of the misappropriation of money.
In understanding an agency’s fees, you need to understand what is meant by ‘guaranteed rent’. While this sounds appealing at first, it has its drawbacks.
If an agency offers guaranteed rent, it’s likely you will receive a lower price. However, you will also avoid periods of no rent at all.
Make sure you fully consider your decision!
Check the contract
While this sounds obvious, it’s essential.
Checking the contract can help avoid some costly surprises.
You need to be clear on everything from cancellation periods, to whether there are any vacant property charges.
Aside from the fee for when new tenants move in, do they charge commission also?
Make sure you understand all the clauses within your contract.
Your letting agency should detail whether they will run safety checks, for example annual gas readings, or if this is down to you.
Consider routine repairs. Will there be any extra costs for the general maintenance of your property?
Being a landlord can be tough! As your property is your livelihood, we believe in protecting it. With No Letting Go inventory services, we can help you safeguard your property. Our full check-in and check-out service can ensure a hassle-free and impartial inventory check. Find out more about how we can help you here.