Ultimate Guide to Letting
We at Harry Harper Sales & Lettings can advise you on those small changes that make all the difference to finding the right tenant, and achieving the best rental prices.
What else do I need to consider?
The monthly income from a rental property may be the main motivation behind becoming a landlord, but it’s important to plan for the costs you may incur when letting your property, including:
- Mortgage repayments
- Any expenses involved in bringing the property up to the required standards, both physically and in terms of the regulatory safety standards of furniture, utility equipment and appliances (we can advise you of these)
- Solicitor’s fees
- Letting agent/management fees
- Insurance costs
- Inland Revenue
- Contingency budget for ad hoc repairs and maintenance.
It’s wise to plan in advance and perhaps keep an emergency fund separately, just in case.
Why should I use a letting agent?
The purpose of a letting agent is to alleviate stress for the landlord and to ensure that their property remains a profitable investment, whether the landlord has just one property or a substantial portfolio.
A good letting agent will provide the following services
- Making your property more visible to potential new tenants
- Advising you on the best rental rate for your property
- Managing day-to-day problems
- Preparing your property for tenants’ arriva
- Ensuring legal obligations are met
- Carrying out relevant safety inspections
- Managing deposits
- Keeping an inventory of your contents
- Advise you on compliance
Landlords tend to seek reassurance from agents, particularly if they are inexperienced and require advice on the legal pitfalls and latest legislation. Agents can ensure all paperwork is provided for notices, and for court action for possession if necessary. In these circumstances, to ensure the landlord is fully compliant and to ease any potential worries, it would be beneficial to use a letting agent.
Who is responsible for what?
As a rule of thumb, you are responsible for exterior and interior maintenance. You are also responsible for buildings and contents insurance and any other outgoings. The tenant has a responsibility to show a duty of care to the property and contents and is accountable for any council tax, gas, water and electric accounts.
What if I have Mortgage on my Property?
You should notify your Building Society or Bank if you have a mortgage on your property, that you wish to let. It is usually one of the conditions of your mortgage that you apply for permission to let the property.
If you currently have a residential mortgage, your mortgage lender may apply a wide range of parameters before providing consent. In many cases the following will apply: • You may be charged a higher rate of interest • You may have to pay an administration charge • You may need to show references and tenancies before being granted permission • Your managing agent may need to be an approved member of a recognised body, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Lenders may also set the length of time the property can be let for, and permission will usually only be given if the mortgage account has been managed to the lender’s satisfaction
What if my property is Leasehold?
If the property is leasehold you may need the head Leaseholder or Freeholder’s permission to create a Tenancy. We advise Landlords check with the Freeholder that there are no restrictions or conditions which prevent you from letting the property and that the Tenants must adhere to during the Tenancy period.
What happens about insurance?
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that buildings and contents (if applicable) are adequately insured. A standard household policy will not be sufficient and we would advise that you contact your Insurers prior to letting, to obtain the relevant consent(s). Details of specialist Landlord insurers are available upon request.
How will the value of my property be assessed?
Our lettings experts will carry out a full evaluation of your property, its decorative condition and how it compares to other properties as well as considering local market conditions before advising you on its potential monthly rental value. We will advise on how to maximise your rent so that you are able to make the most of your property, as we know that such a valuable asset needs to work for you.
Should I let my property furnished or unfurnished?
It really depends on what and where your property is as to whether you should let it furnished or unfurnished as the market will determine the ‘preferred’ option. Before you make a decision it is worth speaking to us about demand levels for each type of tenancy in your area and working out which option is best for you.
Can I trust the tenants to take good care of my property?
It is impossible to guarantee that your tenants will look after your home in the way that you would because everyone has different standards, but at Harry Harper Sales & Lettings we pride ourselves on selecting quality tenants for our landlord’s properties. Convinced of the benefits, we focus a great deal of effort on analysing the prospective tenants for each property to let and find that our landlords benefit from far fewer tenant generated problems.