Useful information for letting your property
Our aim is to maximise the return on your investment while safeguarding your interests. By getting to know you and your property we can ensure we meet your objectives. We have extensive knowledge of the market and many years’ experience in attracting quality corporate and private tenants. We believe that presenting your property in the right way is an essential first step to a successful tenancy. Below we have detailed a few points to consider before marketing your property.
The amount of rent achieved seldom differs when offering a property furnished or unfurnished. However, as a general rule smaller properties should be offered furnished and larger properties or those appealing to the family market usually attract more interest if unfurnished.
Whether furnished or unfurnished tenants are usually attracted by a modern and neutral interior finish. Our advice would be to keep the décor simple and uncomplicated in order to present a spacious and modern living space which appeals to as many potential tenants as possible.
The property should always be presented in the best possible condition. If not organised by a previous tenant we recommend that the property is professionally cleaned before viewings commence as the property is likely to be let more quickly if presented properly. An inventory will need to be undertaken before new tenants move in to ensure the property is returned in the same condition at the end of the tenancy. It is also important to maintain the standard of the property while vacant, e.g. keeping the entrance free of post. Prospective tenants will be presented with a desirable, well maintained property, inspiring confidence from the start of the relationship.
All landlords must ensure that their property has the correct consents before proceeding with a tenancy. These include consents from your lender if the property is subject to a bank loan or mortgage, and permission from the freeholder to sub-let if the property is leasehold. It is also important to ensure you have the correct landlord’s insurance covering the building and your contents.
There are many legal requirements for landlords to consider when letting a property. As a client, we will guide you through the process and ensure you are aware of your legal obligations. Below is a summary of the most important regulations.
Where there is a gas fire or appliance in a rented property it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure the fire or appliance is safe to use. It is a legal requirement to have the fire and appliances checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe Registered engineer and for a Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate to be issued. A copy of the certificate must be issued to the tenant prior to the start of the tenancy.
Landlords have always been obliged to ensure that the electrical installations and electrical appliances in the property are safe to use when the tenancy begins, and that they are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. Since 1st June 2020, "The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020" require landlords to have their property's electrical installation tested at least every 5 years. Landlords must ensure the wiring complies with national safety standards set out in the 18th edition of the 'Wiring Regulations' and that a satisfactory electrical certificate is in place. The regulations apply to new tenancies and renewals of tenancies which commence from 1st July onwards, and all existing tenancies must have a satisfactory certificate in place by 1st April 2021.
This ACOP, often simply referred to as "L8" forms the basis around which the control of legionella related risks are managed. It is enforceable under the following legislation:-
• Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
• Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999
• Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 It is therefore mandatory that all rental properties must have had a Legionella Risk Assessment.
Since the 1st October 2008 an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been required for all properties being let or sold. EPCs rate a property both on its energy performance and its environmental impact. The EPC must be available to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity and certainly when written details are provided or a viewing of the property takes place. It is a landlord's responsibility to ensure an EPC is available but of course we will be happy to assist with commissioning one. Since April 2018, landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.
All properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains-operated smoke detectors on each floor.
As of 1st October 2015 Landlords must ensure a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. In addition to this they will also have to ensure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt. Please note the regulations do not require a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed if only gas, oil or LPG are used. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the alarms are working at the start of a new tenancy, however, during the tenancy it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the alarms work and change the batteries where necessary.
Landlords must ensure that any furniture supplied as part of a new tenancy complies with these regulations. The regulations cover, in general, all upholstery and upholstered furniture, loose fittings and permanent or loose covers. The cover fabric and filling material of the upholstered furniture should be made of fire resistant material and be able to pass the "smouldering cigarette" and "match flame" resistance test and carry a label confirming this. Generally, items manufactured in the UK after 1990 are likely to meet the required standards and display the appropriate permanent label confirming its compliance.
Under the Finance Act 1995 letting agents are obliged to deduct basic rate tax from rental income where landords are resident overseas. This tax must then be paid to the Inland Revenue. However, an overseas landlord may apply to the Inland Revenue for an Exemption Certificate which would then allow us to pay the rents over gross. More information on the Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) scheme and the forms needed to apply for an Exemption Certificate is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk.
All property owners must comply with the latest regulations relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Landlords should therefore, contact the relevant local authority to check if the property requires a licence. Failure to obtain a licence where required can carry a significant fine so it is important for landlords to ensure compliance with the rules.
Local Authorities are introducing Selective Licensing and Additional Licensing schemes. These schemes may apply to any residential property being let and so it is important for landlords to check with their Local Authority to see if any such licensing schemes apply.
Landlords and agents are required to carry out initial Right to Rent checks on tenants and occupiers of rented properties as well as to do follow up checks for any Tenancy commencing 1st February 2016 or later. As part of our Letting and Rent Collection / Letting, Rent Collection and Management services we will complete these follow up checks for Landlords. In the case of our Letting Only service follow up checks will not be completed by Thames Lettings and will be the responsibility of the Landlord. If the follow up check shows the person no longer has the right to be in the UK, Landlords must make a report to The Home Office using www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime. If you wish us to carry out these checks, (and we are instructed on a Letting Only basis), we can do so if requested.