There are many things that you should be aware of and do as a landlord. We love to share our expert knowledge with you. If it is mortgaged, ask your lender’s permission to let your property. You might need to switch to a specialist buy-to-let mortgage. Obtain your freeholder/management company’s consent if your property is leasehold.
Get your property ready for rent
Good first impressions count. Clear your front garden, decorate your property in neutral colours. All small touches will make a difference. Try and create a feeling of space by taking
away everything that you are not planning on leaving at the property.
The better the property, the better the tenant
Keeping your property immaculate and ready to let can really guarantee a good tenant. Other characteristics should include that they are clean, a tidy property with reasonable fittings
and a neutral décor is always popular. If this could also include Wi-Fi, cable or satellite TV these are always preferable.
Always ask for a Guarantor
We find that most tenants are able to obtain a Guarantor, preferably being their parents, who can then guarantee their rent. This gives you the comfort to make sure that your property is let with a backup in case the tenants don’t pay the rent. It is unusual but it can happen. Where a Guarantor enters into an agreement he or she will normally agree to meet the full obligations of the tenancy agreement on behalf of the tenant. This will include rent arrears, damage to the property and any other liabilities. This is most important.
Collect a security deposit and protect it. Every deposit must now be registered with a scheme within 30 days of receipt. Tenants need to be informed in writing of which scheme is used to protect their deposit. This is a specific form and failure to serve correctly leads to a penalty of three times the deposit.
Obtain a proper tenancy agreement. To avoid any costly mistakes you should get your agreement drawn up by a letting agent that has been approved by Trading Standards. Our tenancy agreement has been approved by trading standard where many other local agents haven’t had theirs reviewed.
Always have an Inventory carried out to the property. This is a full comprehensive document covering exactly what the state of the property is when the tenant took it, including photographs. If you do not have such a document then please ask Harringtons Lettings to discuss this with you. It is critical as without it you will not be able to potentially make any deductions from the deposit at the end of the term.
Always make sure that the tenant signs a contract
We at Harringtons have had our contract approved by Trading Standards and it is important to make sure that you do not have an unfair contract term. If you do then it can be unenforceable and you could be open to criticism or the contract may be unenforceable. Always make sure that you use a letting agent for a contract.
Things to look out for during the tenancy
Carry out quarterly inspections. Even if your tenants pay rent on time and you have no issues during the tenancy. It is recommended to attend your property to make sure that there are no major problems and that the property is well looked after.
Taking your property back
If you need to seek possession, be sure you serve the right notice. If your tenants default before the fixed term has come to an end you could serve notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. You could also serve notice under Section 21(1)(b) to get your property back at the end of the fixed term. Always make sure you serve notice in writing.
Please make sure that all of the paperwork is correct before you serve such notice as these can often be invalid.
Carry out a check out inspection
Check your inventory with the current state of the property. Make sure you have photographic evidence of any damage caused by the tenant in case you need to make a claim from the deposit. This will help you to make any deductions from their deposit if necessary.