Landlords Letting Guide...

This is an invaluable guide for those who are first time Landlords or clients who just want to check up on aspects of the regulations that apply to property to rent here at LettingZone we have produced this on-line resource...

So why let in the first place...

You may be considering letting for a number of reasons...

Perhaps you will be working away and want to retain a stake in the local housing market. Perhaps you see property as a key element of your investment portfolio. Many homeowners find that letting provides them with the ability to make their next home move, whether its relocating or moving up or down the property ladder. Mortgage companies can help by offering replacement ‘buy to let’ mortgage products for this.

Whatever your reason for letting, the private rental sector in the UK gives investors, or those who have acquired second homes or a portfolio of properties, the ability to make a very good return.

“Having used LettingZone for many years we have found them to be both great value and very professional at all times.”

Preparing For Letting...

Various factors need to be taken into account when looking at letting...

The location, condition and size of the property, fittings and present and potential future market forces must all be considered. At LettingZone a representative will visit your property, at no charge, to carry out an initial inspection and discuss all relevant issues with you. This allows you to ask any questions that you have or discuss any particular concerns. This also comes as part of the free initial registration service. It is important to review the condition of the property in this way, as it will affect the speed at which your property can be let. It will also help you to work out the level of return you can expect to achieve.

“We would recommend LettingZone for anyone who wants a stress free solution to renting out their property.”

Letting Your Property...

One of the most important jobs a letting agent does for the Landlord is the identification and referencing of a quality Tenant...

At LettingZone we will extensively promote your property through internet coverage with the major property websites and a wide range of on-line portals and organisations. On-line is now the way most Tenants search for property to let and it has replaced newspapers and more traditional media channels.

Once we find Tenant(s) we will take references on every person over 18 to be named on the tenancy agreement. The credit reports we receive give us the information we need to ensure the applicant is a suitable Tenant and acceptable for any legal or rent protection policies. Our aim is to secure the most suitable Tenant, at the right rent in the shortest possible time.

Managing Your Property...

As part of the LettingZone property management service we can arrange for an inventory and schedule of condition...

The legislation regarding the registration of tenancy deposits has made this an important part of any tenancy agreement and we would advise Landlords to use this facility . Our full property management services include a regular property inspection of your property during the tenancy. After this has been carried out comprehensive feedback will be provided to you and a report held on your property.

Along with Tenant feedback, these regular property inspections will identify any maintenance or repairs that are required. We can then make arrangements, on your behalf, with our local contractors or a contractor of your choice, to carry out any remedial or preventative work.

When Tenants are checked out of your property an assessment is made of any redecoration or minor repairs, which cannot be reasonably accepted as fair wear and tear against the original inventory. We will obtain estimates for any repairs and agree with the Tenant and you, the level of deposit to be withheld. We will arrange for any necessary work to be carried out prior to the next Tenant moving in. We will then arrange to take the necessary deposit off the incoming Tenant. We will collect the rent from your new Tenant monthly and transfer the funds directly to you that month. A detailed monthly statement can be provided to you, and your accountant, giving details of all transactions relating to your property.

Regulations that apply to let properties...

There are a number of very important responsibilities that Landlords have and many are imposed by law...

Failure to conform to these can result in prosecution. Here are the main ones:

  • The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 - These regulations make the Landlord responsible for checking all the electrical appliances supplied in the let property are safe for use. Since 1st January 2005, most work carried out on the electrical system must be certified under Part P Building Regulations. All electrical appliances within a let property should be regularly checked. Failure to comply can lead to imprisonment and/or a fine up to £5000. We can arrange for the necessary electrical inspections to be carried out.
  • The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 - This regulation places the obligation on the Landlord to ensure that all mains or bottled gas appliances supplied in a rented property have a certificate of safety. This includes central heating boilers, gas fires, gas water heaters, gas hobs and cookers etc. Each year, all gas appliances must be serviced by an engineer who is registered with CORGI (Council of Registered Gas Installers) and a safety record provided with a copy issued to the Tenant and the Landlord. The appliances must be properly maintained and the safety record must be reviewed annually. Non-compliance with these Regulations could result in a heavy fine up to £5000 and/or imprisonment. As these provisions apply to the managing agent as well as the Landlord we are unable to accept and/or retain a property that does not comply with these regulations.
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) - This European Directive has been implemented into law in England and Wales by the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (2007/991). Basically any building which is rented out must have an EPC. This must be issued by a qualified and accredited assessor. An EPC is valid for ten years. The certificate is accompanied by recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency, but these do not have to be implemented. From 1st October 2008, whenever a rental property is let to a new tenant, an EPC is required. We can help you to get the EPC required for rental properties. From 2018 there will be further restrictions we can advise you on.
  • The Furniture And Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amended) Regulations 1988 - Upholstered furniture and furnishings supplied in rented properties must pass the ‘cigarette test’ and any furniture not complying must be removed before the tenancy commences. If not the Landlord can face a fine up to £5000 and/or a maximum six months imprisonment. Generally, most furniture purchased after March 1990 should comply with regulations and will be labelled accordingly.
  • Smoke Detectors - The law requires that all new houses built after June 1992 and all properties in ‘Multiple Occupation’ (flats and apartments) must have electronically linked, mains operated smoke detectors installed on each floor. In older properties smoke detectors must be installed on each floor of a rental property and we also insist on a C02 monitor.

Do I Have To Pay Tax On My Rental Income?*...

The short answer is ‘it all depends’...

You will be liable to pay income tax on your net income from the property, that is the gross income less allowable expenses which are incurred from letting the property. The situation with mortgage relief is about to change and due to the potentially complex nature of this and other issues, we suggest you speak to your accountant who will be able to give you more advice.

You also need to be aware of the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme if you live part or all the time overseas, we can advise you and help with this.

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What Permissions and Insurances Do I Need?...

If your property is mortgaged you must advise your bank, building society or other lender that you propose letting your property and obtain their written consent.

An administration fee may be charged for issuing a consent letter.

If your property is leasehold, the head lease will state whether or not you require permission from the freeholder to sublet. You will probably find that your lease will contain a clause that says you must obtain consent but that such consent should not be unreasonably withheld from you. If necessary we will be pleased to liaise with your leaseholder.

We can arrange any insurances you may feel you require to cover your legal costs and any loss of rental income. We can also supply buildings, services and even contents policies. These are arranged through our brokers with insurers who are specialists in providing policies for the rental market.

Utilities...

Gas, electricity and water companies etc, should always be advised whenever the property is empty or when there is a change in occupation...

The meters can be read and final accounts prepared, even if this is for a short period of time. LettingZone will do this for you for the initial letting and also each time there is a change of tenant. During the void periods the utility services will be transferred back to you but the Tenant is responsible for the bills during the tenancy, including standing charges. It is important to note their liability clearly finishes on the date their tenancy ends. It is the Tenant’s responsibility to arrange re-connections of the telephone and internet. They must also meet any costs associated with the line rental and service charges.

Furnished or Unfurnished...

We often get asked should you choose to have your property furnished or unfurnished?...

There is relatively very little difference in the rental values between the two. Unfurnished is usually the option that Landlords go for as it minimises your risk and makes property management and re-letting easier. If you wish to go down the furnished option we can advise you on the amount and type of furniture required for your particular property to provide the best possibility of a let.

Other Items to Note...

There are a few other points that you should be aware of:

  • Council Tax - This is a property based tax and payment is the Tenant’s responsibly whilst the property is let and the Landlords when it is not. An exception to this is if the property is let on a room by room basis, to students for example. In this case no council tax will be payable as long as all the Tenants are exempt
  • Gardens - The maintenance and upkeep of the garden is usually the Tenant’s responsibility. You need to provide gardening tools for the Tenant to use but these items would be included on the property inventory and subject to replacement, if damaged. If the property has a large garden we can arrange for a gardener to visit during the tenancy and cover this cost in the rental.
  • Storage – Some Landlords want to store items in the property. We would advise against this as Tenants cannot be held responsible for any stored items. However if there is a secure area then this can be used, but at the Landlords risk. Be careful not to store any dangerous materials that could cause a fire or bio-hazard, paper items in a loft area are not a good idea

Still Have Some Questions?...

If you want to know more about letting in general or need more details on our property management services, please call us on 01482 576000, email us at or contact us using the contact form below.