London Landlord Deposit Disputes Highest In the UK
When it comes to the end of a tenancy and the return of the tenant deposit, there are plenty of things that can go wrong, wherever your property is based.
However, according to a recent report, London landlord deposit disputes appear to be the highest in the UK.
This blog delves deeper into the reasons behind landlord/tenant disputes in London and what can be done to avoid these disagreements altogether.
London Deposit Disputes
According to Property Wire, London is home to the highest cases of rental disputes between landlords and tenants.
This data comes from Ome, a deposit replacement membership scheme, who found that a sizable 37% of all rental disagreement cases last year came from the UK’s capital. London was followed by the South East with 16% of cases and the North West coming in at 11%.
Why London? It could be partly due to the fact that rental prices are far higher, demanding hefty deposits. The greater the sum being argued over, the more likely both parties will want a return on their investment.
Common Causes of Deposit Disputes
The data showed that the number one reason for deposit disputes across the majority of the UK, including London, was poor communication. Whereas, in the South East, the most common cause was cleanliness at check out.
Other common reasons for disputes include;
- Damage to property
- Missed payments
- Inventory discrepancies
Landlord Deposit Dispute: Wear and Tear
What constitutes fair wear and tear is an issue that often occurs at the end of the tenancy, as the definition can vary from person to person. Our guide on fair wear and tear sets out what is considered to be normal and unavoidable wear and tear and how to help tenants prevent further damage.
Landlord Deposit Dispute: Cleaning
Cleanliness at check-out was another common issue when it came to rental deposit disputes last year. This can be avoided through regular property inspections and investing in a pre-check out service.
How to Avoid Deposit Disputes
If you’re a landlord or letting agent in London, minimising the chance of disputes will most likely save you time and money in the long term (not to mention stress!)
Here are some of the ways you can avoid a dispute in the first place;
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Ensure the deposit is protected in a tenancy deposit scheme as this is a legal requirement. Failure to do so could lead to your tenant demanding a full return of their deposit or more.
Tenancy Deposit Return Time Limit
At the end of a tenancy, landlords must return the deposit within 10 days after any deposit deductions have been agreed.
Invest in a Professional Inventory Service
One of the most important steps you can take to avoid deposit disputes is by starting the tenancy right with a thorough and professional inventory.
A professional inventory report will set out the condition of the property and its contents at check-in, highlighting any changes at the end of the tenancy. This vital document provides evidence to support you if you need to deduct from the deposit. For example, if there is damage to the property or furnishings beyond normal wear and tear or if there are items missing from the final inventory.
An inventory report signed by the tenant is your best protection if your tenant decides to raise a dispute over deposit deductions. Without it, you are very unlikely to recover the funds for maintenance and repair.
Consider a Pre-Check Out Service
Another way to avoid a dispute is to provide tenants with a pre-check out service at the end of their tenancy. As part of this service, a property clerk will visit the property and provide advice to tenants on what maintenance needs to be undertaken in order to have their full deposit returned.
The benefits of a pre-check out service include smoother transitions between tenants, less maintenance needed and therefore less chance of deposit disputes.
Regular Property Inspections
Organising regular property inspections to your rental helps to minimise the chance of disputes as experienced clerks can check that the property is being properly maintained by tenants and reduce the chance of damage at check-out.
It may sound obvious, but this is a common problem amongst landlords / letting agents and tenants, particularly in London. A breakdown in communication or negative feedback can lead to a lack of trust and a greater chance of deposit disputes when you reach the end of the tenancy agreement.
To avoid this, it’s best to give a positive first impression to tenants and maintain regular and honest lines of communication.
Landlord Deposit Dispute Advice
If issues can’t be solved through direct and honest communications, it may be worth seeking the advice of a dispute resolution service to resolve the issue. An impartial adjudicator will be able to assess the dispute and hopefully come to an agreement that is acceptable to both sides.
If it comes to this, having a detailed inventory report is vital. At No Letting Go, we provide professional inventory reports to landlords, letting agents and property businesses throughout the UK. With expert local branches around the country and the latest property technology at our disposal, we’re experienced at helping property professionals protect their investment.
Find your local London property inventory service here.
Don’t let a deposit dispute affect your business, explore our property inventory service today.
Is your tenant coming to the end of their tenancy agreement? If so, you might want to start thinking about providing them with some essential information regarding their check-out process.
Investing in professional pre-tenancy checks service can benefit both landlord and tenant. From ensuring smoother transitions, to minimising the amount of maintenance needed, we explain how opting for a pre-check out service can save property professionals time and money.
Pre-Tenancy Check Out Procedure for Rental Property
Before we look at the process in more detail, here’s a quick overview of standard check-out procedure for a private rental agreement;
- Notify tenants of their responsibilities at least 2 weeks prior to the end of the tenancy
- Provide pre-check out service
- Tenants return property to original condition
- Provide check-out visit on the last day of the tenancy
- Provide pre-tenancy checks report
- Tenant accepts/challenges report
- Deposit return is negotiated
- Deposit is released
Let’s take a closer look…
What is A Pre-Check Out Service?
The purpose of a pre-check out service is to ensure that your tenant is fully aware that the property must be returned to its original condition as it was found on move-in day.
This service consists of a visit, in which property clerks grade each room of the property and specific items within it with actions ranging from ‘No action required’ to ‘Replacement required’. The original inventory report provides evidence of the state of the property at check-in.
This service provides tenants with a realistic view of the tasks required in order to return the property to an acceptable state and have their deposit returned in full.
Benefits for Tenants
By having all the information and guidance they need at their fingertips, a pre-check out visit arms tenants with the tools to ensure their full deposit is returned.
Often, property professionals find that tenants are unaware of certain tasks that need completing before the end of the tenancy, for example, cutting the grass or maintaining any out buildings.
This information should be accessible in the official tenancy agreement document, however not all tenants remember to read it thoroughly at the end of a tenancy.
Tenant Check Out Responsibilities
Examples of the tasks and responsibilities that could be recommended at the pre-check out include;
- Replace any furniture or furnishings that have been considerably damaged or stained beyond normal wear and tear
- Cut the grass and trim back foliage in outdoor spaces
- Thorough cleaning throughout
- Defrost freezers
- Replace old light bulbs
- Remove all food and personal items from the property
- Replace any items that were present at check-in
- Ensure furniture is in the same position as at check-in
Once these tasks have been completed, tenants are much more likely to have their full deposit returned to them, minimising time-consuming disputes.
Benefits for Landlords, Letting Agents & Property Professionals
Some of the benefits of providing your tenants with a pre-check out service include;
- It makes the transition between tenants quicker and smoother
- It minimises the amount of property maintenance needed between tenancies
- It helps maintain a positive relationship between letting agent/landlord and tenant
- It saves time and money
To sum up, pre-check outs can be very valuable for time poor landlords and property professionals seeking a quick turnaround and minimal maintenance work.
When Is the Best Time to Provide A Pre-Check Out?
We usually recommend supplying your tenant with a pre-check out visit at least two weeks before the official end of the tenancy. This gives them some time to make necessary repairs or replacements before they move out.
Inventory Check Out: Who Pays?
Since the Tenant Fees Act came into play on the 1st June 2019, landlords and letting agents are no longer permitted to charge tenants fees for inventory services.
However, don’t let this change put you off investing in professional inventory and pre-check out services as they could save you a significant amount of time and money in the long run!
Next Steps…Check Out Inventory Report
Once check-out day arrives, either the landlord or the letting agent managing the property will visit the rental in order to complete the check-out process. Everything in the property will be cross-referenced with the original check-in inventory to create the report.
Here at No Letting Go, we use Kaptur property software to record any changes from the start to the end of the tenancy. Covering everything from cleanliness and damage to missing items and fair wear and tear advice- our detailed reports help property professionals stay on top of any maintenance needed.
Do I Need an Inventory Report?
Yes! All successful end of tenancies start with a detailed inventory report. Our property clerks use the original inventory report made at the start of the tenancy to grade the property and advise on what tasks need completing.
A thorough inventory report includes detailed images of each area of the property to ensure everything is returned as it was found. The inventory report also provides valuable evidence if you need to recover costs at the end of the tenancy. For example, if your tenant leaves the property in a damaged state beyond the level of fair wear and tear, the inventory report can help to demonstrate the changes from the start to the end of the term.
Looking for help managing your property portfolio? Our property inventory services provide a clear, unbiased picture, helping you to recover costs and protect your investment.
We also offer;
- Check-in services
- DigiSign automated check-in
- Health & safety checks
- Property inspections
- Check out reports
- Maintenance reports
Discover our full range of property inventory services for landlords and property businesses.
A new year brings with it fresh opportunities to maximise the potential of your property portfolio and grow your business. It also brings new changes to the private rental sector.
So, what will the rental sector look like in 2020? And how can landlords, letting agents and property professionals keep abreast of changing regulations? Our rental property predictions 2020 looks ahead to key events in the industry.
From an overview of regulatory changes in the past year, to upcoming developments, we’re looking ahead to what 2020 will bring to the rental industry.
What Happened in the Rental Sector in 2019?
Before we start looking ahead, let’s catch up on some of the most important changes and updates to the private rental sector over the last year and what effects they’ve had on the industry;
Making Tax Digital
In 2019, the government announced that they would be helping small businesses convert to a new digital tax system to be fully implemented by the end of 2020 called Making Tax Digital.
From April 2019, VAT tax records and returns went digital, affecting landlords with an annual rental income of over £10,000. This change required landlords to use software or apps to keep track of tax records and to update HMRC through a new, digital tax account, if they weren’t already. Hopefully, this has made doing taxes more accurate and efficient for the majority of property professionals.
Letting Agency Fees Ban
February 2019 saw the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, prohibiting many of the fees required by letting or estate agents. From 1st June, letting agencies were no longer able to demand fees for;
- Security deposits over five weeks rent
- Holding deposits over one weeks rent
- Change in tenancy costs over £50
The Letting Agency fees ban raised alarm among some parties, with ARLA claiming that a blanket tenant fee ban would ‘put additional pressures on landlords, with fewer tenant checks and a lower quality of service’.
In 2019 PropTech became the buzzword on the lips of almost everyone in property. But what does the term actually mean? Put simply, PropTech or Property Technology is all about the digital transformation of the property industry, from big data to VR.
Moving tenant checks online and Apps that help landlords manage their property maintenance have been making everyday tasks faster, easier and more secure for professionals in all areas of the property industry.
For example, Kaptur is a digital property inventory system that allows users to manage work flows, reports and inventories all in one place.
This trend for digitalisation shows no signs of losing momentum as we move into 2020.
What’s New for 2020 in the Rental Industry?
Now, let’s turn our attention to upcoming changes that could have an effect on the private rental sector in 2020;
Abolishing Section 21
The new Conservative government has announced plans to abolish Section 21 repossessions in order to protect tenants. This change is likely to be implemented by the end of 2020.
This proposition has caused alarm amongst several landlord bodies, including ARLA, who are concerned that it will make it harder for landlords to regain possession of their properties if needed.
Good or bad, this will result in changes to the way landlords and tenants can legally end tenancy agreements. For landlords, this means following the Section 8 possession process set out in the Housing Act 1988.
Changes to Mortgage Interest: Section 24
By April 2020, tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be reduced to the basic rate of income tax and landlords will no longer be able to deduct any mortgage interest payments from their rental income.
In addition to paying more tax on rental properties, this change could even move some landlords up into a higher tax bracket.
Making Tax Digital
The scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
But what does this mean for landlords and rental property businesses?
In addition to minimising the chance of error, a digital system should allow landlords with multiple properties to stay on top of their taxes more easily. With all the information accessible on a mobile device, you will be able to see how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
However, if you’re not naturally tech-savvy, the new system might take a little getting used to – so you better get started!
Brexit and the Rental Industry
Regardless of your opinion on Brexit, landlords and property professionals may take some comfort as uncertainties regarding the effects on the housing market begin to stabilize.
Although a lot is still up in the air, it looks like we are definitely leaving the EU so landlords can start making long-term plans to grow their portfolio.
The effect of Brexit on the rental industry could even be a positive one, with an increasing number of first time buyers delaying getting onto the property ladder while agreements are being finalised.
Continued Demand for Rental Properties
On the whole, 2020 looks set to be an exciting and prosperous year for the private rental sector.
The number of people living in rental properties in the UK has been steadily growing over the last few years, and this looks like a continuing trend as we move into 2020. Clearly, this is good news for those working in the sector who are likely to enjoy relatively stable returns on investment.
Protect Your Property Investment in 2020
Keen to maximise the potential of your property portfolio in 2020? That’s where we come in.
Ensure your investment stays protected, attract the right tenants and encourage long-term tenancies with the help of our varied property services including;
- Property inventory reports
- 360 virtual photography
- Right to rent checks
- Mid term reports and inspections
- Property appraisals
- CO and Smoke reports
- Check in/check out reports
Want to find out more? Browse our property inventory services to get started.
With several types of tenancies out there, the variations can get confusing for new tenants and landlords. So, what is a periodic tenancy?
Periodic tenancies can offer great benefits, including increased flexibility and less paperwork. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks.
That’s why we’ve created this guide on the risks and rewards of periodic tenancies, to help you make an informed decision before drawing up a contract.
What is a Periodic Tenancy Agreement?
A periodic tenancy is a tenancy that runs for a certain period of time, most commonly month to month. Periodic tenancies can also run on a week to week or quarterly basis, although this is less common.
Unlike fixed term tenancies, periodic tenancies work as a rolling contract which can be terminated by landlord or tenant by giving notice.
Types of Tenancy Agreements
Tenancies can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, here are the most common types of tenancies you’re likely to come across;
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common and apply to most private rentals with a tenancy date starting after 15 January 1989. Most assured shorthold tenancies begin with a fixed period of 6 or 12 months.
Non-Assured Shorthold Tenancy
If your rental property demands less than £250 or more than £100,000 in rent per year or it is used as a holiday home, it won’t be eligible for an assured tenancy. This means you don’t have to enter the tenant’s deposit into a protection scheme or serve a section 21 notice to evict tenants.
It is unlikely you’ll need an assured tenancy these days unless you are a housing association. This type of tenancy gives the tenant longer-term stability.
Sometimes referred to as a license, excluded tenancies are for tenants who lodge with their landlord and share communal areas.
If a tenancy started before 15 January 1989 it may be a regulated tenancy. The difference being that tenants have enhanced rights when it comes to eviction and ‘fair rent’.
When renting to companies, different rules apply in terms of deposit protection and eviction notices.
Fixed Term Tenancy
A fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, depending on what is set out in the tenancy agreement. Usually this will be 12 months.
Short-Term Fixed Tenancy
A short-term fixed tenancy lasts for 90 days or less.
A periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis with no fixed end date. E.g. month by month.
What is a Statutory Periodic Tenancy?
A statutory periodic tenancy occurs when an assured shorthold tenancy comes to the end of its fixed term and the tenant stays at the property without renewing the contract. If the tenant continues to pay rent and it is accepted by the landlord, the tenancy will continue on a periodic, rolling basis.
This transition from fixed term assured shorthold tenancy to statutory periodic tenancy is automatic.
What is a Contractual Periodic Tenancy?
A contractual periodic tenancy differs in that it is agreed in the tenancy contract as opposed to automatically transitioning from a fixed term into a periodic tenancy. This can either be agreed upon at the start of the tenancy or shortly before the fixed term contract expires.
It is also possible to enter into a periodic tenancy from the outset by setting the initial term as one month or week.
How Does a Periodic Tenancy Work?
While a fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, a periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis, from month to month or week to week. It doesn’t end until one party gives notice.
In a periodic tenancy, the period depends on when the rent is paid by the tenant. So, in a monthly period tenancy the tenant would pay rent each month.
Shorthold tenancies become periodic tenancies after the fixed term agreement expires and if there is no new contract drawn up with the remaining tenants. The assured shorthold tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy as long as the tenants do not change, and they are happy to retain the same contract. The same conditions will apply and there is no further action needed by the landlord or tenant.
Ending a Periodic Tenancy
To end a periodic tenancy, there are several legal processes that can take place;
- Both landlord and tenant mutually agree to end the tenancy
- The landlord decides to evict the tenant
- The tenant gives notice
- The landlord gives notice
Periodic Tenancy Notice: Tenants
To end a periodic tenancy, tenants will need to give the right amount of notice depending on the terms stated in the tenancy agreement. They also need to ensure it ends on the right day. For example, if a monthly periodic tenancy began on 1st January it will need to end on the last or the 1st day of the month. From this date, they will no longer be liable for rent payments.
Statutory Periodic Tenancy Notice
If it is a statutory periodic tenancy, tenants must give at least 1 months’ notice for a monthly contract or at least 4 weeks’ notice for a weekly contract. The notice must end on the first or last day of the tenancy period.
Periodic Tenancy Notice Period: Landlords
Landlords must give tenants a written ‘notice to quit’ which must end on the last day of the rental period, give the minimum notice period and include legal information.
For statutory periodic tenancies, it is also possible for landlords to issue a section 21 notice as long as the landlord gives the tenant at least two months’ notice and the last day is the last day of the tenancy period. If the tenant does not move out on this date, landlords have the right to request a court order to regain possession. However, changes to the law regarding section 21 notices now require a landlord to give their reasoning, alongside relevant evidence.
Benefits of a Periodic Tenancy for Landlords
A periodic tenancy can have wide-ranging benefits for both landlord and tenant, including;
- Increased flexibility. If you suddenly need to regain possession of your property, a periodic tenancy speeds up this process as you don’t have to wait until the end of a fixed period.
- Attracting tenants. For some tenants, this flexibility is a bonus. If your tenant moves a lot for work or often needs to relocate suddenly, a periodic tenancy becomes appealing.
- Reduced letting agency fees. Periodic tenancies can dispel the need for renewals and the administration costs that come with them.
- If for any reason you need to increase the rent, this is made a lot easier by periodic tenancies. Revisions to rent payments can be made much more quickly when operating on a month by month basis.
- If you are having issues with a particular tenant, a periodic tenancy may be in your favour as you are better able to evict problem tenants as a last resort.
Risks of Periodic Tenancies for Landlords
With these advantages also come risks. If you’re thinking of entering into a periodic tenancy, watch out for the following potential dangers;
- Naturally, periodic tenancies are more likely to attract tenants looking for shorter, more transient leases. If it’s stability you’re after, you may want to think twice.
- Similarly, shorter term tenants can cost more in terms of marketing and vetting potential new tenants to replace them.
- With 1 month or less notice periods, you don’t have a long turnaround time if a tenant decides to move out unexpectedly. You will need to have end of tenancy cleaning and maintenance processes finely tuned so as not to lose out.
- If your tenant moves out during a ‘notice to quit’ period, you may be liable for paying council tax for the property. To avoid this situation, make sure you have a contractual periodic tenancy agreement in place to ensure this remains the tenant’s responsibility.
Periodic Tenancies: Good Idea?
Periodic tenancies can be a good idea as they offer increased flexibility for both landlord and tenant and can reduce the number of administrative tasks needed throughout a tenancy.
However, to protect your investment, we recommend;
- Always drawing up a contractual periodic tenancy agreement. This way you have all the agreed terms in writing and won’t be liable for council tax payments if your tenant moves out unexpectedly.
- Getting your property marketing up to scratch to attract new tenants and avoid extended void periods.
- Making sure you have all the processes in place for a speedy turnaround to avoid any losses. This includes;
- A detailed and fuss-free inventory report is vital when you’re dealing with potentially shorter tenancies. Having a streamlined process in place will help protect you against loss or damage and help recover any costs without going through lengthy disputes.
Be Prepared with No Letting Go
The easiest way to protect your investment and maintain a happy landlord/tenant relationship is to entrust a comprehensive, unbiased inventory reporting service.
Here at No Letting Go, we provide a tailor-made service, including everything from check-in to property visits.
Find out more about our property services to see how we could build them into a package that suits you.
As a landlord, you’ll understand the importance of finding reliable tenants that pay the rent on time. One way to secure this is through comprehensive tenant reference checks. But what happens if a potential tenant fails their credit check?
Renting to tenants with bad credit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. If the tenant ticks all the right boxes, there are ways to get around this issue and protect yourself and your investment.
What Is A Tenant Reference Check?
A tenant reference check helps landlords and letting agents decide if a tenant is likely to be reliable and pay each month’s rent on time.
In addition to a credit check, tenant referencing can look for;
- Proof of identity
- Proof of employment
- Current salary
- Bank statements
- Proof of benefit claims
- Right to rent in the UK
- A previous landlord reference
What Is A Credit Check?
A credit check looks at the tenant’s credit report and financial history, spotting any times they have missed bill payments or have fallen into arrears. This is analysed to produce an individual credit score.
A credit score can range from around 0- 900 points, depending on the score system used. A good credit score could be anything above 750 points.
What’s The Minimum Credit Score A Landlord Should Accept For A Tenant?
An acceptable credit score will be dependent on the scoring system used, as they differ between referencing agencies. However, when a tenant’s credit score comes back as poor or very poor, you may want to think about asking some further questions.
What Causes A Bad Credit Scoring?
A poor credit score can be caused by a number of issues, some more concerning than others when it comes to potential tenants.
Here are a few of the more serious reasons for a poor credit rating;
Naturally, being in debt can negatively affect a tenant’s credit score as it suggests that they struggle to manage their money and are not financially stable. If this issue is uncovered by a credit check, you may think twice about entering into a tenancy agreement.
Being Declared Bankrupt
This should set major alarm bells ringing for landlords as it suggests the tenant has had difficulty managing repayments in the past.
County Court Judgements
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is when a tenant is forced to repay a debt by the courts. If this shows up, it’s not a great first impression.
Late Credit Card Or Loan Repayments
If a tenant has struggled to pay credit card repayments in time, this doesn’t bode well for rent payments.
There are also a number of issues that can affect credit scores that don’t necessarily mean a tenant will struggle with their finances;
Not Having A Credit History
One reason for a poor credit rating that is particularly common among younger tenants and students is not having a credit history at all. If the tenant has never taken out a credit card or loan and has never paid bills from their bank account, they won’t have a credit trail to check, resulting in a low score.
This is a likely occurrence if you rent to students or young adults who have just left home and doesn’t necessarily mean that the tenant will be bad at managing their money.
Only Making The Minimum Credit Card Repayments
Credit scores can be affected if the tenant only makes the minimum repayment on their credit card each month. The assumption is that they are struggling to keep up with all their outgoings, however this isn’t always the case.
Not Being On the Electoral Roll
Not updating addresses and personal information can affect credit score, as can not being on the electoral roll. This step is easily forgotten when moving house and doesn’t prove the tenant will be unreliable.
No Proof Of Address
If a tenant hasn’t been responsible for paying bills at their previous residence or were not named on the tenancy agreement, it can be difficult for the referencing agency to determine proof of address.
How Important Is Good Credit?
As we explored above, good credit isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to finding a good tenant. Equally as important is whether they fit your target tenant profile.
If you’ve been struggling to rent out your property or think the tenant will make a good fit, there are ways to get around bad credit.
How To Rent to Tenants With Bad Credit
Poor credit rating alone doesn’t mean you should give up on a tenant if they tick all the other boxes. Here are some ways to minimise risk;
The first thing to do when a potential tenant’s credit check comes back as poor, is to find out why. If it was down to late or missed payments it may be best to steer clear, however if it’s something as simple as a lack of credit history then it needn’t stop you from going ahead with the tenancy.
Ask To See Previous Rent Payments
Seeing proof of regular, timely rent payments for a previous rental arrangement will help to ease your concerns about their responsibility as a tenant.
Charge a Larger Deposit
If a tenant has a low credit score, it’s likely they will be prepared to pay a slightly larger security deposit to make up for it. This will give you extra leverage when it comes to recovering costs at the end of the tenancy.
Ask For A Guarantor
One of the best ways to protect yourself if a tenant has poor credit is to ask for a guarantor. A guarantor will be able to cover any costs if the tenant is unable to pay, giving you extra protection.
The guarantor will need to sign the tenancy agreement along with the tenant and have secure financial status.
Ask For A Previous Landlord Reference
One sure way to find out if a tenant is reliable is to ask their previous landlord.
Here are some questions to ask;
- Did the tenant pay rent on time each month?
- Did the tenant look after the rental property?
- How often did the tenant raise issues with the landlord or letting agent?
- Were any complaints received from neighbours regarding the tenant?
- What condition did they leave the property at the end of the tenancy?
- Would you feel happy renting to the tenant again?
Ask For Rent Upfront
While this may be a lot to ask and not always in scope, a tenant with a high risk credit score may be prepared to pay rent upfront. Paying the first six months of rent upfront will ease any initial worries and give the tenant time to prove their reliability.
Receive Payments By Direct Debit
Asking for rent payments via direct debit is common practice these days and is especially important if you’re concerned about a tenant’s financial responsibility.
Shorten The Tenancy
If you’re worried about the reliability of a tenant, setting a shorter, probationary rental period in which the tenant has time to prove their responsibility could be a good idea. If you experience late payments or other issues, you can terminate the tenancy early.
Talk To The Tenant
You can tell a lot from a frank, face-to-face conversation. If your potential tenant willingly discloses their credit issues and can provide a reasonable explanation for the low score, you will be much better placed to make an informed decision.
How To Organise A Tenant Reference Check
Although credit checks aren’t the only way to choose the right tenant, it is important to perform tenant referencing so you aren’t caught out further down the line.
As a busy landlord, you may want to delegate this task to a professional tenant referencing company. Placing this responsibility in the experienced hands of a recommended referencing company will minimise any risks and help the process go smoothly.
Protect Your Property With No Letting Go
In addition to choosing a reliable tenant, a comprehensive inventory is one of the best ways to protect your rental property.
At No Letting Go, we offer unbiased property inventory reports to help safeguard your property against damage and recover essential costs at the end of a tenancy. All the way through from Schedule of Condition, to check in and property visits, our property clerks are there to simplify the rental process and save you time.
Interested in hearing more? Head to our website to discover the full range of property management services we offer.
If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of providing a furnished or partly furnished property for prospective tenants, you’ve come to the right place.
Letting a furnished property has plenty of benefits, including quality tenants and longer tenancies. However, furnishing your property can get expensive and cause issues down the line if not done properly.
Here, we discuss how to furnish a rental property with tips and tricks on making the most of your portfolio.
What’s the Difference Between Fully Furnished and Partly Furnished?
Let’s clear this up before we get started.
Usually, a furnished property will come with essential electrical appliances, white goods and basic furniture. In short, everything a tenant needs to move in straight away.
A partly furnished property will only include white goods, lighting and essentials such as curtains and kitchen cabinets. It may also include some other furniture items at the discretion of the landlord or letting agent.
An unfurnished property will come with only the very basics- light fittings, carpets and essential appliances such as an oven.
Should you Furnish Your Rental Property?
Furnished or unfurnished? It’s a tricky question. While renting unfurnished properties may seem like the easy option, providing a furnished property comes with attractive benefits;
You Can Charge Higher Rent
A well-furnished property may affect the amount of rent you can charge.
With a lack of quality, furnished properties on the rental market, tenants searching for a ready-made home are prepared to pay a little more for the convenience.
Good quality furnishings that make your property look welcoming will attract tenants and help your property stand out.
Attract the Right Tenants
A well-furnished property will attract a wider pool of renters, allowing you to pick and choose to find the right tenant for you– whatever that might look like.
Secure Longer Tenancies
A home that feels well cared for and inviting will encourage tenants to stay longer term.
Who is Your Target Tenant?
The tenant group you’re targeting should be the biggest consideration when deciding whether to furnish your property. Well established families or older professionals are likely to have their own furniture they want to bring with them.
Whereas students or young professionals may be looking for convenience and a place they can move in straight away.
What Does a Landlord Have to Provide in a Furnished Flat?
When providing tenants with a furnished home, there are certain items they will expect to be included;
What to Include
A furnished property should include;
- White goods (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer etc.)
- Dining table and chairs
- Sofas and chairs
- Wardrobes, chest of drawers and cupboards
- Light fittings
What Not to Include
However, there are a few items landlords are not expected to provide;
- Bed linen, duvets and pillows
- Cleaning supplies
Furnishing a Buy to Let Property: Top Tips
To make things easier for yourself at the end of the tenancy agreement, we have some tips and advice on how to furnish your rental property;
Choose Easy to Clean Furniture
Wear and tear is inevitable, but to keep your property in good condition, easy to clean appliances will encourage your tenants to keep things well maintained.
When it comes to personal taste, we’re all different. Let your tenants choose the little details so they can feel at home. Similarly- neutral colours work best.
Choose Easy to Replace Items
This way, if things get broken, they can be replaced with a ‘like for like’ item without too much bother.
Replace Furnishings as Needed
Old, stained carpets will do nothing for your properties appeal. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme recommends replacing most items of furniture after 7 years.
Provide Basic Tools
Providing basic tools will encourage tenants to take care of minor issues themselves, taking one more thing off your plate.
Follow Safety Regulations
As a responsible landlord, you need to follow fire safety laws when it comes to soft furnishings.
Choosing the Right Furnishings
Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of furniture to include in your rental property, room by room.
Living Room Furniture
Basics to include:
- Sofa(s) or armchairs
- Coffee table
Best Sofas for Rental Properties
Here’s a few of our top picks of the best sofas to buy for your rental property:
This modern 2-seater sofa in a neutral grey will work well in slick apartments for young professionals and is pretty easy on the budget too!
A sofa bed is a big plus among tenants, and this one is great value for money. This simple, classic style will work well in most interiors and families will love the extra storage space.
The Quality 3-Seater
If you’re trying to attract professionals willing to pay high prices for the right home, a quality sofa is essential. This one comes from an esteemed brand and the elegant style will have mass appeal.
Kitchen/Dining Room Furniture
Basics to include:
- Kitchen cabinets
- Essential appliances (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle etc.)
- Table and chairs
Best Dining Tables for Rental Properties
A dining table is the hub of any home and getting the right one is important.
This handy piece of furniture features built in storage and a fold-out table design. Perfect when letting properties with small kitchens.
The Extendable Table
The simple, modern design of this table will fit neatly into any interior, and the extendable section can accommodate extra guests. It’s also budget-friendly!
Basics to include:
- Chest of drawers
- Bedside table
Best Mattress for Rental Properties
A mattress is perhaps the most important piece of furniture for your rental property. A considerate investment, you need it to be durable and long lasting. Here’s our top picks;
This mattress from the Memory Foam Warehouse makes quality memory foam affordable. Starting at under £100, you’re unlikely to find anything cheaper.
Buying a mattress for your rental property is only half the battle. The next job is delivery. Opting for a bed in a box mattress means the mattress can be delivered straight to the property in a convenient sized box.
Once you’ve invested in a mattress, it makes sense to protect it. A mattress topper can prolong the life of a mattress and guard against stains to keep it looking fresh at the end of the tenancy. This memory foam mattress topper is a cheap but comfortable option.
Protecting Your Furnished Rental Property: Inventory Management
Once you’ve gone to the effort of furnishing your rental property, you need to ensure it’s protected.
The easiest way to do this is by investing in a comprehensive inventory report delivered by unbiased professionals. A property inventory helps guard your property and its contents against damage by providing full details of its condition at the start and end of a tenancy.
At No Letting Go, we provide landlords and property professionals with comprehensive services and reports to protect their investment and streamline processes. Browse our full list of inventory management services to find out how we can help.
London is one of the world’s great cities and has something for everyone. Living in this city is an ambition of many people; however, with the cost of buying a home in the capital is more than many people can afford; therefore, renting is the best option. However, once you have made the decision to rent, how on earth do you find somewhere suitable? London is a huge city and if you are not familiar with the various boroughs, finding a nice property in a good location can prove virtually impossible. Fortunately, we are here to help, so here’s what you need to know about renting in the capital.
Finding a property
London has an abundance of houses, flats, apartments, and bungalows available to rent, so you don’t have to worry about finding something that suits your tastes. What is trickier is finding the ideal property in an ideal area; to do this you will need to consider several factors:
- Time to central London – the chances are you will not find a place right in the centre of the capital, so instead you will need to look for something within close proximity.
- Transport – driving in London is a pretty stressful task, so you will probably need to look for somewhere that has good transport links.
- Green areas – life in the city is not for the faint-hearted, so having parks and open spaces close by will be beneficial.
- Safety – some areas of London have higher crime rates than others. Safety is paramount.
- Cost – the most important factor. Ideally, you’ll want to find a property that meets all of the above preferences at the cheapest possible price.
With those factors in mind, you can narrow down the search to several areas.
North London is considered an established and trendy area to rent. Within 10 minutes of central London is Highbury, in the Borough of Islington. The transport links here are excellent and there are plenty of restaurants and bars with a real multicultural mix of people. Average rental in this area is around £310 per week.
Battersea (home of the power station and famous dogs and cats home) is south of the River Thames and is considered an up-and-coming place to rent, making it more affordable. This ‘urban-cool’ area is a buzzy place to live and has plenty of pubs and bars to enjoy. Average weekly rent is around £310 per week.
Shoreditch and Bethnal Green
Over in east London, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green blends corporate lifestyle with bohemia, as bankers and arty types live side-by-side in one of the London’s trendiest areas. Given its location, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green is one of the most in-demand rental areas in the capital, with average weekly rent somewhere in the region of £380.
Renting a home
Before you rent a home in the capital, it is essential that you view the places that you like before moving in. With rental and deposit significantly higher than most other places in the UK, it is also wise to request that the landlord carry out a property inventory, or else have one done yourself. There are several property inventory services in London that can provide you with an in-depth inventory, ensuring that any pre-existing damage is flagged.
While we are on the subject of inventories, you should make sure that one is carried out just before your tenancy ends – this will prevent you being blamed for any damages that are not your fault and will simplify the exiting process.
The final thing to do before you move in is sign the rental agreement. A property inventory will also be part of the agreement, so that will need to be signed too. A tenancy agreement should include:
- duration of tenancy
- rental cost
- your responsibilities
- your rights
- the landlord’s responsibilities.
With all of the paperwork in place and the property inventory signed, you will then be ready to move in to your perfect London home!
Photo sources: Julian Osley
Before renting a property in the UK, the landlord you are dealing with will ask you to pay an up-front deposit. This will usually be to the total of one or two months’ rent. The general reason for taking a deposit is to give the tenant an incentive to look after the property; however, while most landlords are trustworthy, as a tenant, handing over such a large amount of money to someone you don’t know has to be seen as a risk. Therefore, it is essential that you know your rights and responsibilities.
Here are some tips on how to protect your deposit when moving into a rental property.
Make sure the landlord is a member of a Tenancy Deposit Scheme
As of 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords must have been safeguarded by a Government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. There are three schemes available and landlords are free to choose which one to use; safeguarding each deposit and informing the tenant of the scheme used within 30 days or receiving the money.
Before handing over any money to a landlord or signing any home inventory, UK residents are urged to check that the landlord is part of a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. It is also essential to keep a receipt of payment as evidence.
Understand the tenancy agreement
Tenancy agreements may seem overly wordy and tedious, but they contain essential information about what you can and cannot do while renting a home. Rental agreements often contain clauses related to the keeping of pets, and certain aspects of the home; if you do not clearly understand these clauses and do not abide by them, you may lose your deposit.
Also essential is a full home inventory. UK-wide inventory company services specialise in providing comprehensive reports into the condition of a property and its contents before a tenant moves in to a home and after they move out. A landlord will generally provide you with such an inventory and it is important that you read and agree with it before signing, otherwise you may be accused of causing damage that was pre-existing.
It can be wise to hire a home or flat inventory company of your own to carry out a report before moving in and out of a property. This will help protect you in a dispute over deposit.
Don’t make changes without permission
If you wish to make any changes to a property, such as replacing doors or painting walls, make sure that you get permission IN WRITING before doing so.
Look after the property
Remember, as a tenant it is your responsibility to look after a property. This means causing no damage and returning it to its original state at the end of the tenancy. Most disputes between landlords and tenants are over the general state of cleanliness. Not keeping a home clean is a silly way to risk losing your deposit.
Only use regulated agents
To avoid rogue landlords, only rent from agents that are regulated by one of the following professional bodies:
- National Federation of Property Professionals (NFoPP)
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
- National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
When hiring a home or flat inventory company, it is recommended that you use a member of the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks).
If you believe that a landlord is wrongly holding your deposit and they cannot be convinced to give you it back, it is possible to have a court settle a disagreement. The court will look at all of the evidence in the case and make a decision on whether a landlord should return part or all of the deposit.
In the event of a dispute, a home inventory will be vital in helping a court decide a case, although it should be said that the evidence contained within inventories often prevents disputes reaching court.