If you have a mortgage secured against your property, you should obtain your mortgage lender's written consent allowing you to let out the property before it is advertised for rent. They may require you to include additional clauses in the tenancy agreement. If this is the case, you must inform us of those changes. If you are unable to get your mortgage lender's consent, we can refer you to our partner agency who may be able to assist you.
Sub-letting is usually prohibited unless the tenants have written consent from you. Should you agree to allow sub-letting, we will require written confirmation of your consent.
You should ensure that your buildings and contents insurance provides suitable cover for a rented property. Your policies may be deemed invalid if you fail to inform your insurance providers that the property is now rented. If required, we can refer to you our partner agency who will give you professional advice and recommend a suitable policy specifically designed for landlords.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for your regular outgoings to be paid by standing order or direct debit, for example, your mortgage payments, service charges and maintenance contracts.
When a tenant is occupying the property, it is their responsibility to pay the council tax. During tenancy periods and tenant changeover, we will advise the council on your behalf of the change in occupier as well as providing forwarding addresses for outgoing tenants.
During vacant periods, the council tax charge reverts to you as the owner. Councils may offer a discount of up to 50% on vacant properties. This is at the discretion of your local council and you should contact them directly to confirm the discount available to you.
In order to provide a complete and efficient service to you, we will draw up an inventory of contents and detail the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy period; this helps us to avoid misunderstanding and disputes at the end of a tenancy period.
Without such safeguards, it will be impossible to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or its contents. With the exclusion of "fair wear and tear", the tenant's security deposit will cover the first instance of damage to the property. Extensive damage would be covered by the relevant insurance policy, assuming appropriate insurance is in place.
If you are a resident in the UK, it is entirely your responsibility to inform the HMRC of any rental income received through renting out your property, and to pay any tax that is due.
If you are not a resident in the UK, we are obliged to retain an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from the rent received, less certain expenses, and forward this to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, unless we have the appropriate exemption certificate. An application form for exemption and further information can be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
Preparing the property for letting
In our experience, a good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers, maintaining that relationship is our job, but it is important that the tenants feel comfortable in the property and that they are receiving value for their money. Our policy of offering a service of quality and care therefore extends to our tenant applicants too, and we are pleased to recommend properties to rent that conform to certain minimum standards. Quality properties attract quality tenants.
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office's redirection service. Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal. It is not the tenant's responsibility to forward mail. Likewise, at tenancy completion we recommend the mail redirection service to the tenants, since it is also not your responsibility to forward their mail.
Information for the tenant
It is helpful for you to leave information and manuals in the property showing the tenant how to operate the central heating, hot water system, washing machine and alarm system for example. Details on refuse and recycling collection schedules is also helpful.
You should provide two sets of keys for the tenant and one set to us. We would also recommend that you retain a set of keys yourself in the event of an emergency. These keys should include all access doors, garage and windows.
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at your expense unless we are able to establish misuse.
Third party service contracts are often a good idea, since they usually include cost of parts and labour. The older the property, the more attractive these policies can become. If you have a preferred contractor for a certain type of repair, please notify us on our property details sheet and we will attempt to use these contractors first. If they are unavailable or unable to respond to an emergency repair quickly, then we would pass the repair job to one of our reputable contractors.
Appliances in the property such as washing machines, fridge-freezers, cookers and dishwashers should be provided in adequate working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the your expense, unless we are able to establish misuse. We generally don't recommend leaving televisions, video recorders, DVDs or HiFis in a property, unless specifically requested by the tenant. If you choose to leave these items in the property, it is important to remember that if one of those appliances fails, the tenant is perfectly within their rights to ask for a replacement or a repair, since they were deemed "included" when the property was viewed and the lease was signed.
We recommend that you leave only minimum furnishings in the property during the tenancy. These should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items left are in the property during viewing periods.
We recommend that you avoid dark or bright interior decorations (ie walls, tiles, floorboards and carpets) and keep everything in the property quite neutral and light. You should consider redecoration every few years to maintain the property is in good condition and therefore be appealing to prospective tenants.
Personal items, ornaments etc.
It is not recommended that you leave personal possessions, ornaments, pictures and books in the property, especially those of real sentimental value.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and free of refuse. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools to do so. However, few tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish to arrange regular visits from a gardener. We can help you to organise this. Where the garden area is shared, your factors fee is likely to cover the cost of garden maintenance.
When the tenancy commences, the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition. At the end of each tenancy period, it is the tenant's responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition to how they entered it. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Shortly before the end of a tenancy, we re-iterate the conditions that are expected and required in order to return the full amount of security deposit; cleaning is a major consideration here.
Important Safety Regulations
PLEASE NOTE: The following safety requirements are your responsibility as Landlord.
Where we are providing a Fully Managed service, and you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, the legal requirements also become our responsibility. Therefore in this instance, we will ensure compliance at your expense.
The Housing Act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996)
Your property shall be let in accordance with this act and all leases and notices are prepared under the terms of this act.
Energy Performance Certificates
Since 1st August 2007, all domestic properties being offered for rent are required by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that shows the energy efficiency of the property. The certificate is valid for 10 years and must be carried out by a qualified surveyor. If you do not have an EPC, we can arrange this on your behalf.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations 1988, 1989,1993 & 2010
You are responsible for ensuring that all upholstered items in the property, for example bed frames, mattresses, sofas, arm chairs, pillows and cushions, must have a fire resistant filling material.
The Gas Safety (Installation and use) Regulations 1996
This act places duties on gas consumers, installers, suppliers and landlords. By law all landlords are responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe for use and are regularly maintained to ensure that they remain in good working order. As a minimum, the gas installations in a property must be checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer at least every 12 months. Tenants should be provided with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate and the landlord is legally obliged to keep a record of the gas safety checks.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations 1994) and plug and sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994
These regulations require that all electrical equipment must be safe. It is important that the fixed electrical installation, i.e. the mains wiring and any supplied appliance and other equipment, are safe and tested by a qualified electrical engineer. Unlike the gas safety regulations there is no statutory annual testing interval, however it is recommended that all fixed installations are tested prior to any initial letting period and all portable appliances are tested on an annual basis. If we are to organise these works, they will be carried out by an electrical contractor who is registered within current safety guidelines.
Assuming that the correct insurance policies are in place, problems such as late rent payment and damage to the property can be covered. This can minimise any cost in repair and also ensure that the potential loss of rental income is reduced to a bare minimum. We will only refer to insurance policies available from our insurance partner, although there are other plans available from other sources. Be aware that letting insurance is regarded as a specialist policy and many mainstream insurance providers will not provide insurance cover. This is why it is essential to inform your insurance company of your intention to let, since letting the property may invalidate your current policies.
Insurance can be broken down into three areas:
- Rent guarantee and legal expenses schemes
The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the building is insured at all times. It is recommended that both the landlord and tenant have contents insurance, although usually the landlord has a minimal contents insurance policy. This is to ensure that either party is covered for damage to the other's property. Various levels of insurance cover are available, please ask for advice when choosing these policies.