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    Bychoice is one of Suffolk's leading lettings agents, with offices spanning West Suffolk. As members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Association of Residential Letting Agents, you can be sure that Bychoice is an agent you can trust. Our staff are professional and fully qualified, ensuring you receive the highest levels of customer care, and for landlords we can provide a full referencing system to assist with potential tenants.
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    With the rental market becoming more and more popular, becoming a landlord has never been more appealing.

    We have compiled a guide of the important points to remember when considering buying your first investment property, including the implications and potential pitfalls of being a landlord.

    If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact you local office for more information, or for a breakdown of our standard costs, follow this link - https://bit.ly/2LskK34

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    Pick the right property

    Do your research. You'll want to attract the right tenants, achieve the highest rent possible for your property, and avoid void periods between tenancies.

    Ask Bychoice for the best advice, they will tell you the location and type of properties that are highly sought after by tenants.

    Consider regional variance, do apartments let more easily than houses in the area you are looking to buy? Never forget that Buy-to-Let is a medium to long-term investment.

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    Pick the right mortgage

    With Buy-to Let slipping into the mainstream there are an ever increasing number of products to choose from. With more choice, often comes more confusion. Again- Research is the key!

    Specialist Buy-to-Let mortgages hold obvious advantages. Typically lenders allow people to borrow up to 80% of the property's value, and the size of the loan is usually linked to the expected rental income.

    For free, professional advice, please call

    Elizabeth Jones in the Sudbury Branch on 01787 468405,

    Jake Cole in the Haverhill Branch on 01440 768919 or

    Daniel Knight in the Bury St Edmunds branch on 01284 769598

    Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage'

    Fees may become applicable at a later stage.

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    Include "running" costs in any calculations

    When considering a buy-to-let investment and carrying out your financial calculations don't forget all the extra costs incurred when running a second property as a business.

    As a Landlord maintenance remains your responsibility, in a house this might mean decoration between tenancies, in a leasehold property regular service charges or maintenance charges as well as any ground rent are still the concern of the landlord. Don't forget to include costs of annual gas safety checks, buildings insurance and any rent guarantee insurances you might require.

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    The decision whether to have your property managed

    The legal obligations for a Landlord in the current climate is ever increasing. If Bychoice is managing your property we will ensure that you, as landlord, remain compliant with all statutory and contractual obligations throughout the term of the tenancy.

    We will visit your property quarterly to check the tenant is looking after your investment and report back, we will deal with maintenance issues promptly and efficiently.

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    Check out your tenant properly

    Bychoice, like any good letting agent will have access to professional credit referencing services and will use specialist companies to assess the tenants suitability. Decisions are made on credit scores or on the basis that nothing of a bad or detrimental nature shows against the applicant. Where possible references are also taken from an employer, and as a general rule the tenant must have been in continuous employment for at least 6 months and earn at least 2.5 times their annual rental commitment. A tenant assessment would not be complete without references taken from a previous managing agent or landlord where possible.

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    Make sure you are covered

    As a landlord you are responsible for insuring your property, buildings or contents. Many owner occupied policies do not give you the cover you require.

    Leaseholders letting out their flats will often need to inform their management company that the property is let. The management company can then ensure that the buildings insurer is advised.

    If you let a property that was formerly your main residence and you do not have a buy-to-let mortgage you will need to inform your mortgage company to make sure you are not in breach of any terms. Many mortgage companies simply charge a small admin fee to process this information.

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    Is rental income taxable?

    Yes, rental income is subject to income tax, and will need to be declared to HMRC. In addition any profit you make when you sell your buy to let property will be liable to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). As with all tax related matters seek professional advice.

    It's not all bad news, there are a number of expenses that can be offset against the rent you receive to reduce your tax bill, including letting agency fees, mortgage interest costs and maintenance expenditure.

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    Produce a detailed inventory

    The inventory is your only proof of how the property was provided at the outset. It should accurately describe, in fine detail everything within it. Should a dispute have to be settled in court, this document will need to paint a tangible picture to people who have not seen the accommodation so that a judgement can be made. Bychoice are able to produce a Inventory carried out to the Association of Professional Inventory Providers standards and would happily assists you with any disputes at the end of the tenancy if your property is managed by us.

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    Insist on a deposit

    It is usual to insist on a deposit of between one and a half and two months. Holding this deposit will offer protection to you against any damage caused by the tenant or dilapidations. A deposit is not to be used for compensations for general wear and tear.

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    Renting has become an increasingly common alternative to property purchase and offers some attractive advantages. The most important benefit is flexibility, particularly the ability to relocate quickly and easily for employment. It can also be cheaper as it is the landlord who assumes all responsibility for maintaining the property. At the outset you will need to have your finances in order, including the ability to pay the various up-front fees (for more information, click here), together with references. The following guide sets out the steps to a successful tenancy.
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    Property Requirements

    Prioritise your requirements bearing in mind that renting is not the same as buying. Practicality is generally the most important aspect of renting and you should consider the following:

    • Rent: does it include any bills or service charge? How long is the potential rental contract? Is the rent subject to review?
    • Location: Are there good transport links, easy access to schools and amenities?
    • Do you require furnished or unfurnished accommodation?
    • Security: Is the property adequately safe and secure?
    • Do you need a garden? Remember you will need to keep it tidy.
    • Do you need to accommodate pets or children? Do you smoke? Are you in receipt of housing benefit? There may be restrictions which you will need to consider.
    • Safety: Does the property comply with Fire and Furniture Safety Regulations? Are there smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted? Is there a clear means of escape in the event of a fire? Are the electrics safe?
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    Property Search

    There are numerous ways to find property to rent including searching the classified advertisements in newspapers, creating your own "wanted" ads for notice boards and local shops, researching the internet and "To Let" boards. Visiting estate and letting agents is probably the most fruitful. They will be able to arrange and accompany you on viewings, answer any queries you may have and guide you through the process.

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    The Tenancy Agreement

    The most commonly used tenancy agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which is for a period of 6 or 12 months. Beyond this term the tenancy becomes a periodic contract. The landlord is required to give 2 months' notice to terminate the contract, and the tenant is required to give one month's notice. The tenant's responsibilities are laid out in the tenancy agreement and generally include the following:

    • To keep the home clean, warm, free from damp and in good order inside and out.
    • To promptly report any breakages or malfunctions.
    • To attend to minor maintenance such as replacing smoke alarm batteries and light bulbs.
    • To respect the rules of the tenancy regarding pets, smoking, sub-letting etc.
    • To allow reasonable access to the landlord and his workmen.
    • The landlord assumes responsibility for insuring the property and for attending to maintenance issues.
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    Renting Costs

    There are up-front costs to consider when renting:

    • There will be varying charges for drawing up the Tenancy Agreement, preparing the Inventory, and undertaking a credit reference check. There will be an administration fee. The charges are not normally refundable if you fail the credit reference check. For a very small fee you can check your own credit rating via an agency such as Experian or Equifax.
    • Holding/Reservation Deposit: This may be required to secure a property and is normally deducted from the first month's rent.
    • Deposit: Usually one month and a half months rent payable in advance. This should be held in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The deposit will be returned in full at the end of the tenancy agreement, providing there have been no damage or breakages.
    • You will also be responsible for insuring your personal possessions, utility bills, telephone and broadband, council tax, T.V. licence and any other services you choose to subscribe to.
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    Moving In
    • Ensure you have the contact details of the managing agent and/or the landlord in case of malfunction.
    • Carefully check the details of the Inventory. If there is no inventory, make your own for your personal records.
    • Check the landlord gas safety certificate and make sure the electrics are safe.
    • Take meter readings and inform the utility companies.
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    Checking Out
    • Make a note of the final meter readings.
    • Be present for the inventory check out. Your deposit should be returned in full providing the property is returned in the same condition as when you moved in. In the event of a dispute contact the deposit scheme administrator. Obtain a signature when you return your keys to the property.
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Sudbury Office
  • Team Member

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    Harriett Bloomfield MARLA MAPIP - Lettings Manager
    Contact Harriett on 01787 468408 or harriett.bloomfield@bychoice.co.uk
  • Team Member

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    Richard Gosling MNAEA MARLA - Director
    Contact Richard on 01284 769598 or richard.gosling@bychoice.co.uk
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    Testimonials from Landlords

    • Landlord Testimonial

      "I found our meeting much more informative than ones with other estate agents and it gives me confidence that you will do your best to find the best tenant for my property. I also believe you would be easy to approach if I had any issues in the future. "
    • Landlord Testimonial

      "I would just like to say how pleased I was with the efficient service you provided, finding a suitable tenant for my apartment and dealing with the deposit and tenancy agreements. As this is my first buy to let property, you gave me helpful guidance and assisted in moving in my tenant within days of having the property ready. I was really pleased with speed and efficiency you provided and would highly recommend Bychoice Letting Agents."
    • Landlord Testimonial

      "Lettings at Bychoice have provided me with fantastic service for over four years. Always professional in their approach, to landlords and tenants alike, they are a pleasure to work with."
    • Landlord Testimonial

      "Bychoice Lettings have provided an excellent service guiding us through all the issues relating to the renting of our property. We would have no hesitation in recommending their services to other landlords."
    • Landlord Testimonial

      "We have used Bychoice Lettings for the passed 2 years, we have been very satisfied with the very friendly way they deal with us"
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