Being or becoming a landlord can be a bit daunting and with over 170 pieces of legislation to comply with. It is important that you understand what you will be responsible for and that you protect your investment at all times by ensuring compliance.
Buying the right property is key to the success of maximising your return on investment and for advice and guidance, you can turn to and rely on the expertise of our highly experienced senior team at Hose Rhodes Dickson to help you make the right choice.
If you are remote from the Isle of Wight and choose to entrust property experts with the acquisition of your investment, Hose Rhodes Dickson offers an acquisition service at a competitive rate.
Advice on financing your purchase can also be sought from Hose Rhodes Dickson’s ‘whole of market’ mortgage advice partner, Jon Shears Mortgage Advice and our dedicated repairs and maintenance team can co-ordinate any degree of a refurbishment programme.
How much rent to charge?
It is important to price your property at a realistic and competitive level, too cheap and you reduce the income potential and risk attracting the wrong type of tenant, but too expensive and you risk your property being placed in the wrong ‘price point band’ on property search websites, which will reduce exposure and interest, which could result in a long void period, during which you are incurring costs without income.
Do you need consent to let your property?
If you are letting a leasehold property, you must check your lease in connection with subletting and obtain the necessary consent, if it is required.
If you have a mortgage on your property, consent should also be sought from your lender.
Do you need to insure the property?
Yes – You will need to ensure the property is adequately insured with a suitable buildings insurance policy.
You must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let and check that the conditions of the policy are met and that there are no restrictions on letting.
You are not legally obliged to provide insurance for any contents, however, we highly recommend that you do if the property is to be let with any contents.
Preparing your property for let
Tenants will make a decision quicker and are most likely to agree to the asking rent when a property is well presented and well maintained. This provides long term confidence in the tenant’s view that the landlord will keep the property well maintained, safe and compliant, which can lead to longer occupancy terms and agreement to annual rent reviews.
Presentation is key and here are some simple things you can do:
UNFURNISHED OR FURNISHED?
We are often asked whether a property should be let furnished or unfurnished.
The greatest demand is for unfurnished and please note that most cases there is no difference between the rental values of furnished and unfurnished property.
Unfurnished property reduces the risk of deposit claims and disputes over such claims.
Should you include kitchen appliances?
If your property has integrated kitchen appliances, these are deemed fixtures and fittings you will be liable for repairs and replacement owing to fair wear and tear.
Where you may have existing freestanding kitchen appliances, unless you agree terms with you tenant to the contrary you will be liable for repairs and replacement owing to fair and tear, however terms can be agreed with the tenant to opt-out of repair and maintenance. Whilst this will remove your liability it cannot be received well by potential tenants and may impact on their decision to apply for a tenancy.
Should you buy freestanding appliances for your property?
Whilst these may make your property more desirable to those potential tenants that do not have their own appliances, you will not achieve any more rent by providing freestanding appliances and you will be liable for the cost of repair and replacement owing to fair wear and tear.
Should you provide curtains and blinds?
We recommend that if you wish to provide any such window dressings, good quality blinds of a neutral shade are preferable over curtains.
Vertical blinds and low quality Venetian blinds and prone to be easily damaged and we do recommend fitting these.
All prospective tenants are ‘qualified’ to ensure that in principle those viewing your property fit your tenant profile.
The more restrictive your tenant profile is, the narrower the available market is and whilst we understand the fears and concerns landlords have, the advice is to create a broad tenant profile that allows to consider each prospect on their own merits.
Whilst freehold or leasehold covenants can prohibit the keeping of pets in a property, where no such restrictive covenants are set and subject to suitability, we recommend that consideration for a tenant to be allowed to keep a pet should be left to discretion and again each case on its own merits.
Can you claim from the deposit or security bond for any damage caused?
Yes – with the evidence of an inventory and schedule of condition and cleanliness to support a claim for cleaning or remedial works.
Can the tenant be contractually obligated to have the property professionally cleaned if allowed to keep a pet?
No – The Tenant Fees Act 2019 prohibits a landlord from imposing a contractual obligation on a tenant to pay for professional cleaning. However, the landlord may make a claim against the tenant’s deposit or security bond in the event that any cleaning and or remedial works that may be required can be supported with reference to both the property’s inventory and schedule of condition and cleanliness and checkout report.
Will you receive any more rent when allowing a pet to be kept at the property?
Yes – it is now common practice for landlord’s to charge a ‘pet rent’ in addition to the agreed sum of rent payable. On average, the sum levied is £25.00 per pet, per month.
Under the Tenant Fess Act 2019, the sum of a cash deposit that a tenant can be asked to pay is capped to a sum equal to 5 weeks rent. Whereas, before the Tenant Fess Act 2019 landlords could request that tenants pay a higher deposit to provide additional security for the additional risk of a pet being kept at the property. With a pet rent being paid, landlords are now receiving financial consideration for allowing the tenant a concession to keep a pet at the property.
Viewings and tenant applications
Accompanied viewings held by one of our experienced lettings experts will provide you with assurance of the security of your property and with a proactive approach to conducting the viewings, our lettings experts will promote all the benefits and advantages of your property with the view of securing an application from potential tenants who are identified as being the most suitable.
Of those who are considered most likely to prove most suitable, an invitation to apply for a tenancy will be made.
The application process not only collects data and detailed financial information on the prospective tenant, but also allows Hose Rhodes Dickson to complete the Right to Rent check required under the Immigration Act 2016, assuring your compliance and protecting you from exposure to prosecution.
The financial checks will confirm the applicant’s position in terms of both income for affordability and credit history for risk.
Once satisfactory references and a good credit history have been secured, the applicants ‘offer’ to rent the property will be submitted to you for your final decision.
If you accept the offer an appropriate tenancy agreement will be drafted setting out all the agreed terms.
The bundle of documents required to be served on the tenant to comply with the requirements of the Deregulation Act 2015 will be collated and served on the tenant and most vital, evidence of service will be provided. Compliance with the Deregulation Act 2015 protects your interests in recovering possession of your property under the provision of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
A comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition & cleanliness will be produced for the property and this will be agreed with the tenant at Check-in.
Security for the tenancy will be provided by either a cash deposit equal to the sum of 5 weeks rent or by a security bond that will provide a sum of security equal to 12 weeks rent. You will be asked when your property is to be marketed if you would like to offer your property with the option of a security bond and should the tenant opt for the bond, you will be afforded a sum of security equal to 12 weeks, as opposed to a sum of security equal to just 5 weeks rent provided by a cash deposit.
If your tenant does not opt for a bond and a cash deposit is collected and held as security the appropriate deposit protection will be put in place as required.
The rent will be collected from the tenant and only after all of the above has been completed will the keys be issued to the tenant.
The level of letting service opted for will depend on whether Hose Rhodes Dickson undertakes the onward tenancy management, property inspections and coordination of repairs and maintenance.
For details of our range of letting and management services please click here, where you can also download our landlords guide to letting, compliance and property management