What should I do to prepare to let a property?
- If there is a Mortgage on the property you need the written consent of your mortgage.
- If it is a Buy2Let Mortgage you need to check if there are any restrictions on the type of tenants you may let to.
- Your Bank or Building Society may want to see the Tenancy Agreement and occasionally they will ask for clauses to be amended or added.
- If you do not own the freehold you may need consent from the management company or holder of the head lease.
- Check in advance with your insurers. You must tell your insurer in writing that you are letting your property. You may find your contents insurers will impose certain restrictions on your insurance cover for things you leave in the property whilst it is not occupied by you, failure to do so may invalidate your insurance.
- There are numerous specialist insurers who can insure your building, the contents and even protect your rental income. We can arrange insurance for you on request.
- Contact us for a FREE Rental Valuation.
- Be honest with your rental income needs. You need to cover your expenses (mortgage, insurance, agency fees etc) and have some left over for routine maintenance and repairs as required.
- How soon do you need a tenant? Occasionally prospective tenants may offer a lower rent than that advertised. If you need to let quickly then it may be wise to take the lower offer rather than wait for the full rent. We will help negotiate the best rent for your individual circumstances.
Property PreparationOur experience indicates that during a tenancy most tenants do not always immediately forward letters addressed to client landlords sent to the property. Bearing in mind the number of properties we manage it is impossible for us to become involved in passing on mail. We therefore strongly recommend that you obtain the relevant form from the post office and pay the small fee involved to have your mail re- directed for 6 or 12 months.
We sometimes find that shortly after a property is let and occupied tenants advise us that they are unable to operate, say, the central heating boiler or an electrical appliance, dishwasher etc. This can lead to the landlord bearing the cost of us calling out a contractor only to find that the problem is due to unfamiliarity in use of, or a strange 'quirk' of, the item or equipment in question. In order to help try to avoid this, it is essential that you leave a folder in the property containing photocopies of original operating manuals or detailed, clearly written instructions for the use of alarm systems, all the main appliances, central heating and hot water controls etc.
In order to maintain a good control over the care of your property whilst it is being let and to achieve a happy and successful tenancy, it is in your interest to do as much as possible to ensure that the property is properly prepared for letting. With years of experience in letting we have found that if the property is handed over to the tenants in good decorative order, furnished to a good standard and in a thoroughly clean condition, the tenants are more likely to take good care of it during the tenancy.
Should you be unable to adequately clean the property before your departure, we would ask that you arrange for contract cleaners to complete the job. If however, you do not have time to arrange this yourself we will arrange it for you.
Before putting your property on the market you need to attend to the little jobs that need doing; for example:
- Make sure light switches are clean and not cracked; don't forget to clean the lampshades too!
- Touch up any paint chips or scratches.
- Fridges and / or freezer should be defrosted and left with the doors open and cleaned thoroughly. Cookers or ovens and hobs should be thoroughly cleaned and left in good working condition
- All cupboards, cupboard shelves and drawers to be wiped down. Any loose hinges to be made secure
- Clean the carpets. It is worth having carpets professionally cleaned as the results can often be quite surprising! We can recommend cleaners if required - contact us for details. Any carpets that are frayed should be replaced, if possible, or made good
- Wipe down the paintwork, removing finger marks etc
- Any wallpaper seams that have lifted should be treated accordingly. If the wallpaper has been damaged/torn it would be better to redecorate than to leave it as it is
- Kitchen & Bathroom tiles should be well grouted, polished and clean. Sealant around sink and bath areas should be redone where necessary
- If you are taking away pictures or other wall mounted items but not replacing them, it is better to leave the picture nails/screws in situ so that tenants can make use of the nails because they are not allowed to hang their own pictures without prior permission from yourselves
- The garden should be left in good condition, lawn recently cut, borders and shrubs maintained. The tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the garden but you must leave appropriate garden tools at the property, especially a lawn mower. The tools will be listed in the inventory. We are able to recommend a good gardener who can maintain the garden whilst the property is empty
Furnished or Unfurnished
- If the property is your own home and you want to leave the furniture then it should be advertised as furnished. However, if you have any items that are especially valuable or of great sentimental value, then we would recommend that they be either put in storage or given to relatives/friends for safekeeping.
- If the property is unfurnished and you do not intend to furnish it then it will be advertised as unfurnished or part-furnished as appropriate.
- If it is unfurnished/part-furnished but you could furnish it then we would include that option in the details.
- Some new landlords rush out to buy new furniture and this can be a mistake, particularly if the new tenant does not want the furniture. Do you keep the furniture and lose the tenant or keep the tenant and get rid of the furniture? Be flexible! It is easier to add furniture than take it away.
- If there is Gas in the property you need a Gas Safety Certificate before any tenants move in. For further information click here. We can arrange a Gas Safety Certificate for you - contact us for details.
- Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 and some other regulations, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be safe.
- Although (unlike gas) no safety certificate is legally required, and therefore it may be adequate to perform a visual check of electrical equipment, fittings and leads, it is recommended that a qualified electrician be engaged for this purpose. Click here for further information.
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistant standards.
- The Regulations apply to domestic items of furniture only. Regulations cover the following items which contain upholstery: beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa-beds, nursery furniture, garden furniture which can be used indoors, furniture in new caravans, scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows and loose and stretch covers for furniture.
- The Regulations do not apply to sleeping bags, bed-clothes (including duvets), loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains and carpets. They may come under the General Product Safety Regulations.
- All relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items that comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1st March 1990 are also likely to comply. Click here for further information.
- The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 apply to new and second- hand consumer products, except products that are covered by specific European safety legislation.
- Products covered include (but are not restricted to) clothing, medicines, primary agricultural and horticultural products, DIY tools and equipment, food and drink, household goods, nursery goods, chemicals and pesticides and motor vehicles.
- The Regulations place a general duty on all suppliers of consumer goods to supply products that are safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use.
- The day-to-day enforcement of the Regulations is the responsibility of Local Authority Trading Standards Departments. Click here for further information.
- During a tenancy, the tenant will normally be responsible for all services used, e.g., gas, electric, oil, mains water and sewerage, telephone/broadband charges and the Council Tax unless you specifically agree something different.
- During any period when the property is vacant before, after or between tenancies, the liability for utilities and responsibility for the property remains that of the landlord.
- Please remember that we do not manage empty properties without specific prior agreement in writing.
Landlords Repairing ObligationsUnder the landlord and tenant act 1985 a landlord has certain repairing obligations to which he agrees when he signs the tenancy agreement.
In general the landlord has an obligation to maintain the property throughout the period of the tenancy and brpl, as agents, are required to act on his behalf, if we are managing the property which includes:
- The structure and exterior.
- Repair of the installation for the supply of water, gas and electricity.
- Repair of space heating and water heating.
May we take this opportunity to remind you that you are embarking on a speculative venture with a slight element of risk and that some tenants, not having your love and affection for your home may not always adopt the same standards of care and attention that you would as an owner/occupier. At the end of any tenancy allowances have to be made for 'fair wear and tear' taking into account the original condition of an item, the length of tenancy and the number of occupants.
Therefore, we recommend to all landlords that they should be prepared to undertake redecoration of all exterior parts every five years and all interior rooms every three/four years to maintain the condition of the property. Otherwise the property will suffer from wear and tear and will as a consequence devalue the potential rental income and/or sale price.