17 Apr Preparing your property for let
When letting out a property, there are many important factors you need to consider. Here are just a few things we have come up with…
When the property to be let is subject to a mortgage, permission MUST be granted from the mortgagee in writing before proceeding forward. In some cases, it is appropriate to re-mortgage with a buy-to-let specialist. Buy-to-let mortgages are for landlords who want to buy property to rent it out. It works differently to a standard mortgage in which you plan to live in permanently. A buy-to-let mortgage requires you to have a bigger deposit compared to a standard mortgage and you’ll also face higher fees, as well as paying a higher rate of interest.
When letting out a property, it is essential that both the property and the contents within are adequately insured, both while the property is empty and while it is let. Furthermore, your insurers must be told that the property is to be let since failure to do so may well validate your cover.
On the other hand, you’re NOT responsible for the contents and personal belongings of the tenant staying at your property. However, it is still very important to ensure both buildings and your own contents are insured to cover your investment.
You MUST also note that the standard homeowner insurance policies will not suffice once a tenant is in residence and you are not an owner occupier. The policy will need to be specially designed for a let property. We can also offer rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance. A quote can be provided once the referencing of your tenants has been completed.
Decorations and Carpets:
When decorating a property, you need to consider what most people would want to see as opposed to yourself. Therefore, we recommend that you should be fresh and neutral in terms of colour and style. Higher quality properties will always attract better quality tenants and therefore it is vital that a property is well presented to meet the expectations of a potential tenant.
Through our many years of experience, we can identify with ease what tenants are looking for based upon conversations with them and feedback. By far the greatest level of demand from tenants over the years is for properties that are available unfurnished. This is due to the tenant wanting to make the place feel like home. An unfurnished property traditionally includes just carpets, curtains and a cooker. This has the advantage, from the landlord’s perspective, of avoiding the need for maintenance or replacement.
Another important factor when letting out a property is Council Tax. For the majority of residential let property the Council Tax liability falls to the tenant. However, in regard to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlords are liable. When determining tax, the local councils use a list called the ‘hierarchy of liability’ to decide who will be liable to pay the Council Tax. In a case where a property is self-contained, the tenant is normally liable for Council Tax. However, when there are two or more tenants living together on a joint tenancy, they will be jointly liable for Council Tax. Watsons always notify the local council tax office of change of tenant occupier and of any void period between tenancies.
Security systems (locks on windows and external doors, lights, and even full alarm systems) are often considered essential by prospective tenants and are taken into consideration by all the leading insurance companies when calculating premiums. Furthermore, by having a safe property, tenants will have more peace of mind and will therefore, increase the overall tenancy period at your property. A security system is particularly attractive to those with young children.
Gas, Electricity and Water:
At your property, gas, electricity and water must be left connected and we can arrange for their transfer into the tenant’s name via Tenant Shop. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) tenants must be able to control and regulate the heating systems.
When letting a property out, it is essential that you handover the property in a clean condition. If your property is clean, it becomes more attractive to possible tenants. We very strongly recommend that the property is professionally cleaned throughout, including all carpets. This creates a benchmark that will be recorded in the Inventory and Schedule of Condition and will allow us to maintain a high standard through subsequent tenancies. We can provide the names of reputable and economical cleaning contractors.
Upon tenancy, three complete sets of keys should be provided in all cases – two for the tenants and one to be retained at our office. We will be obliged to charge for key cutting if insufficient keys are supplied at the outset of the tenancy period.
Your domestic appliances should also be of good quality and condition and subject to regular servicing to ensure it is both safe and in good working condition. When letting out a property, it is important that full instructions for use are left on the premises to avoid unnecessary phone calls to an engineer to demonstrate. By law, your gas and electrical appliances must meet legal and safety requirement. Also, oil appliances must be tested annually.
Gardens should be left in good seasonal order so that the benchmark is set for the tenants, whose responsibility it will be to maintain the garden to the same standard. We highly recommend that relevant gardening tools are provided by the landlord for the tenant to continue the upkeep of the outside areas.
If the garden is particularly large, or complicated to maintain, it may be appropriate for the landlord to retain responsibility for maintenance, which will be reflected in the rent. As a landlord, you may already employ a gardener who regularly maintains the garden of the property.
However, we will be happy to help find suitable gardeners for all your gardening and landscaping needs, should they be on a regular garden maintenance programme or an occasional tidy each season.
You can contact our Lettings Teams on:
Norwich – 01603 751555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cromer – 01263 514256 or email: email@example.com