Becoming a Landlord – Things you need to know.
There are quite of lots of things to consider when deciding how to proceed with the letting of your property. To get started, many Letting Agents can provide a free of charge with no obligation assessment of your property. This will assess the location, size and condition of your property and current market forces; so that you can evaluate your potential rental value and any remedial works required before letting.
Make an Inventory.
You will need to decide whether you want to rent out your property on a furnished or unfurnished basis. Landlords must prepare an inventory and Schedule of Condition for their property. This can usually be done by a Letting Agent if you are using one. This will enable you to claim recompense if at the end of a tenancy any damage has been done to your property or furnishings. This is crucial as carpets and curtains can be very expensive items to replace.
A few points on presenting your property in order to attract potential tenants;
- Remove all clutter
- Neutral decor is best
- Gardens should be neat and tidy
- Professional cleaning is recommended
- Painted surfaces are easier to maintain than wallpaper
- If furnished, then pick modern contemporary furniture.
The tenancy agreement.
You will need to have a tenancy agreement prepared. It is possible to buy a preformatted form but in most cases it is preferable to have one prepared by a Letting Agent or other professional to ensure that it is legally correct. It is usual to start off with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for a fixed period of 6 months. Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act gives Landlords the right to reclaim their property at the end of the fixed term. A note on this; under the much cited 1988 Housing Act, landlords have certain rights to retrieve their rental property from tenants. A landlord is permitted to terminate a tenancy agreement without provision of any reasons however generally private tenants can only be asked to leave if the landlord has followed the stipulated legal procedures. These procedures usually start when a landlord gives a tenant a Section 21 notice asking them to vacate the rental property at the finish of an AST or rental period.
The tasks that the Letting Agent can do on your behalf are; to market your property, locate potential tenants, vet tenants, obtain references on the tenants named in the tenancy agreement and arrange the moving in of your tenant. Therefore a Letting Agent is highly recommended for this stage.
Finally a few obligations on the landlord requiring further reading;
- Energy Performance Certificates. All properties for let must have an EPC.
- Tenancy Deposit Protection. Compulsory for new ASTs.
- Repairs and Maintenance. Landlords are responsible so you must budget for this.
- Buildings Insurance. Landlords are responsible for the buildings however if furnished they should also consider the contents.
- Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors.
- Taxation of Rental Income.
- Gas Safety Regulations.
- Electrical Safety.
- Council Tax; if empty.
- Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.