Top Tips for Letting Your Property
If you are considering letting a property that has a current mortgage, you must first seek the lender’s consent to do so. Your lender may ask for copies of the Tenancy Agreement and Rent Indemnity Schemes before granting permission to let your property.
The same applies if the property is leasehold, where consent from the Freeholder must be obtained, which may result in an additional clause being included in the Tenancy Agreement.
You must also be aware of, and comply with, the Housing Act 2004, which contains the following:
- You must protect the tenant’s deposits via an approved Tenancy Deposit scheme.
- The local authority are within their rights to take over a property if it is left vacant for a long period of time.
- You must obtain a Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence. Details of this can be found by visiting www.communities.gov.uk
Health & safety
For every property you intend to use for letting purposes you must conform to all areas of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). These can vary depending on the property and tenant application, but we can advise you on the steps you can take to comply with these regulations correctly and efficiently.
You must also comply with the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Act 2004. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure annual checks are carried out on items such as gas, water, electricity, oil, sanitary, hot water and space-heaters, and that any repairs are completed when necessary. All electrical sockets for items such as TVs, aerials, telephones and all light switches must also be checked on an annual basis.
Failure to do this may result in prosecution, fines and/or imprisonment.
There are a number of Acts in particular that must be complied with, which are:
- Fire and Furnishings Regulations (1988).
- The Electrical Equipment Regulations (1994) and Plugs & Sockets Safety Regulations (1994).
- Smoke detectors must be installed and checked regularly and it is also advisable to install fire blankets.
- Gas Safety Regulations (1994).
Landlords must ensure their let property is adequately covered with special insurance policies, as most standard insurance policies do not protect let property.
The Inland Revenue will regard any income from letting property as unearned income and it will therefore be subject to tax and Stamp Duty.
It is important that you register with the Inland Revenue, while non-resident landlords must apply for a Non-Resident Landlord Certificate before the rental of the property.
Consider your target market
Before undertaking any major improvements to your property, research your target market. This will ensure you make the right decisions and make the changes to your property which will appeal most to your prospective tenants and help you achieve the best rental.
The general maintenance of your property is important to ensure your newly found tenant stays for as long as possible.
The first areas of your property potential tenants might see may be the communal areas or gardens, so ensure they are well presented and clear of any rubbish. The ongoing maintenance of the garden will be the responsibility of your tenant, but you must ensure they have all the necessary tools available to them to do so. Any tools supplied to the tenant must also be checked under Health and Safety Regulations.
Any ponds should be emptied or covered and all surrounding areas must be checked under Health and Safety regulations. The same also applies to swimming pools.
Bear in mind that, depending on the time frame in which the property is let, general wear and tear is inevitable and therefore fixtures, fittings, appliances and carpets are likely to need replacing in the future.
It is also important to be organised when letting your property. This includes advising utility companies of the start and end dates of the tenancy agreement, settling all accounts and the redirection of all mail. During any void periods it is the landlord’s duty to pay council tax.