To become Landlord for the first time is always a daunting experience. To help you prepare for Tenants letting your property here are some practice things you have got to know.
As an overview UK Landlords have a number of responsibilities, to include:
repairs to the structure and exterior of the asset
repairs to heating and hot water installations
repairs to sinks, baths and other sanitary installations
safety of air and electrical appliances that you supply
fire safety of furniture and furnishings that you supply
provision of an Electrical power Performance Certificate for the property
protection of your Tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme
Consent to Lease
It may be an objective buy-to-let investment property or it may be your own home. Either way as the owner of this property if your current mortgage is a commercial contract you will need to contact your lender and ask permission for the lender to "consent to lease". Most lenders might happily agree to this, but some may ask for conditions to be attached. Failure to do this is a breach of your mortgage fine print and could lead to the lender terminating your agreement.
Type of Property
Your Landlord obligations can vary depending on the type of property you will be letting. In particular if you are letting rooms or flats within a single property this may be considered a House in Multiple Career (HMO). This being the case you may need to apply for a licence. Regardless of the type of property as a Landlord you must keep your rented buildings safe and free from health hazards and comply with all relevant health and safety requirements.
Health and Safety
Gas Safety Certificates are required for legal reasons and must be annually re-certified. All gas appliances within the property must be tested and approved by a gas protection registered engineer - formerly Corgi. This is to ensure that no appliances or heaters are leaking carbon monoxide, that's undetectable in the environment of the home. This is critically important as tragic results can occur and you as a Landlord would be in charge. You should keep inspection records for at least two years and give copies of the reports to your existing Tenants within 29 days of each check. You should also give copies to new Tenants before they move in. Failure to obtain a Gas Protection Certificate at its extreme may result in loss of life, prosecution, an unlimited fine and imprisonment.
Landlords are responsible for the safety of electrical appliances. A qualified electrician can provide the required tests. At the beginning of each new tenancy, it's best to ensure that electrical installations are safe and well maintained. Any electrical appliances you supply to Tenants (cookers, toasters, kettles etc) should be safe for them to use. As a Landlord you should carry out regular inspections of fixed electro-mechanical installations every five years. You should also arrange, at least once a year, for a qualified electrician to carry out portable appliance testing (PAT); a safety test on all portable electrical equipment you provide for Tenants, such as kettles. The PAT tester will give you a dated certificate and put stickers on the plugs of appliances to show that they are safe.
Energy Effectiveness Certificates (EPCs) are required by law when any residential or commercial property is either sold or rented. A great EPC provides information on a building's energy efficiency shown on a sliding scale from 'A' (very efficient) to help 'G' (least efficient). The EPC also contains a recommendations report showing how you could improve the rating and get the property more attractive to Tenants. The EPC is valid for ten years and can be used for all new Tenants in the period.
Depending on the age and type of your The Avenir it may be a legal requirement to have smoke alarms fitted. In the case of Several Occupation (HMOs) for example , there is a requirement for Landlords to supply a mains operated interlinked smoke alarm system. In the case of older sole family rental properties, technically there is no legal requirement for Landlords to provide a smoke alarm. However , it is strongly encouraged that Landlords do provide at least a battery operated smoke alarm or alarms in their rented properties. The place Landlords do provide battery operated smoke alarms they should have a clause in the agreement making it clear that it is that Tenant's responsibility to check their operation and replace the batteries as and when necessary.
Some companies can provide each of those EPC's and Gas Certificates.
Marketing your property to find Tenants
Deciding on the rental income you think the property can achieve can be carried out by looking at similar properties for rent in your area or looking on-line at property listing sites. You may prefer to engage a traditional letting agent who will value and market the property for you. More Landlords these days are turning to on line letting agents to find Tenants for them, because they offer tremendous value for money in comparison to traditional agents. Of course the Landlord must take on a bit more work, but all services from managing a property to inventory check-ins can be arranged through on the internet agents at very competitive rates.
Viewings can be done by an agent or by the Landlord. The advantage of this is that you really get to meet the Tenants in person and this can provide re-assurance and peace of mind. Some agents offer a virtual viewing service the place they will attend your property, make a short video of the key features and post the video in a YouTube trend format on their site. Tenants can then view your property at any time from the comfort of their own computer.
It can be now much easier to deal with all the legal aspects of letting with a lot of good free advice for Landlords on the Internet, get hold of direct. gov. uk. A tenancy agreement is a property rental agreement, which is a legal agreement in writing that packages out the rights and responsibilities of both Landlord and Tenant in a contract. Landlords can either find the money for a solicitor, estate or letting agent to draft a tenancy agreement, although it is possible to obtain free tenancy agreements and do them yourself. A tenancy agreement as a minimum should include:
the names of all people included
the rental price
the deposit amount and how it will be protected
the property address
the start and end day of the tenancy
any Tenant or Landlord obligations
which bills the Tenant is responsible for
how to pay the purchase
whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
who is responsible for minor repairs
whether the property may be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers
Tenant Deposit Scheme
Deposits by law have to be registered with an correct holding scheme or indemnity scheme within 14 days of the tenancy commencing. This is a legal responsibility for the Landlord. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is free to use and offers very comprehensive dispute mediation if this should occur.
Tenant Credit Test
As a Landlord you will want to make sure that Tenants can pay their bills. The best indicator to find out if Tenants are financially capable to pay their rent is to obtain an assessment of their credit rating. Agents can do this as well as facilitating bank recommendations, employment references and personnel references, although the best assessment will be a credit check report.
It is strongly suggested that Inventory check-ins and check-outs are done. Another top tip is to have the property professionally cleaned prior to the Tenant moves in and they can pay to also have it professionally cleaned when they move out. This tends to avoid any sort of disagreement over how clean the property is expected to be.
Full Property Management
You may want to manage the property yourself, people may wish for this to be done by a third party. Full property management services can be responsible for monthly rent collections together with any maintenance or repairs that may be required during the tenancy. This is especially helpful if the Landlord lives a long travel time from the property or is abroad.
Ending a tenancy
Landlords can end an assured shorthold tenancy everytime usually after six months, but so as long as any agreed fixed term has ended. There is usually a a few months' written notice period for the Tenant of the date you want the tenancy to end.
If a tenant refuses to give, you cannot evict them yourself, but you can apply to the county court for an order to get your property back. For those who have a written tenancy agreement and you have given the tenant notice in writing that you are seeking possession, you can use a great accelerated possession procedure, which avoids the need for a court hearing.
Access to your property
Remember that if at any time you need to see your property then the usual requirement is to give the Tenant at least 24 hours notice. Landlords have no legal right to immediate connection unless there is an urgent necessity to do so, for example a flood or a fire. The key here for positive Landlord and Tenant relations is good, clear communication between the two parties. This will often prevent misunderstandings and trigger a successful rental of your home.
To find the highest possible rent and to attract the best possible tenants you need to know exactly what tenants look for when their searching for a rental property. With this particular knowledge your well on the way to happy investing and with happy tenants.
Location is of major importance to help prospective tenants well before they even give consideration to the style of home or type of dwelling being offered for rent. For those who have already purchased your investment property there is not much you can do about the location. If your still looking for an investment house a few points to keep in mind should be how close or how far away are local amenities such as schools, shops, general public transport, employment opportunities, sporting facilities, hospitals, ocean, water, parks etc . If the property is on a busy road and also in a quiet street or cul de sac and if the property offers any views, breezes or the facet of the property. Careful consideration to these points is most valuable when determining purchasing an investment property.
The rental level will also determine the type of tenants who would look to rent the property. The market rent needs to be fair in comparison to what else is usually on offer in the surrounding neighbourhood. For example a tenant won't pay $500 per week for a property when there are 10 of the exact same property available for rent at $400 per week. One of the benefits of employing a good property management company to regulate your property is they will have prepared a CRA (Comparative Rental Analysis) and will know exactly what is achievable and precisely what is not.
Most tenants are security conscious and they want to know they will be safe in the property and so to their belongings as soon as there out. Things like deadlocks to front and rear doors, security screens to all windows and doors and even an crisis response system provides the tenant with piece of mind. Most tenants prefer properties to be fully fenced to the rear and aspects and to have a gate to the return of the property. This will give them peace of mind knowing their children can safely enjoy in the rear yard of the property and the property is secure.
The property needs to be in good repair and thoroughly clean and tidy which will show prospective tenants you are willing to provide a safe and inviting property that they too may well call home. The maintenance on the property should be considered as an ongoing investment (and not a cost) of being a property trader. This will enable you to achieve a higher rental figure per week and attract great tenants who will treat your home as their own personal. If your property has dripping taps, torn flywire or security screen mesh, needs a paint or has across grown gardens it will be much less appealing to quality tenants. By investing some money in your property you will be surprised how easily your investment can be recouped.
Another important factor is the properties temperature inside and out. Air conditioning and ceiling fans are usually essential in a warmer climate and heating is important in a cooler climate. Tenants will know if they are looking at an apartment or even townhouse and the bedrooms are upstairs they will be hot in summer and cold in winter. They will look for offers like a separate air conditioning unit in the master bedroom or at least ceiling fans. If the main living area in the house has the hot sun conquering in on that side of the house all day long in summer they will probably expect an air conditioner. The same applies to outside the house, is there a patio and if so is it large enough that the tenants can comfortably entertain under and not so small to medium sized they need to sit inside when their relations or friends visit. The home should also be safely ventilated and have more than enough windows to capture the breezes as this will save on their energy costs for tenants as well.
The size of that rooms is also an important consideration tenants are looking for in a rental property. They need enough room to comfortably enjoy require the home. The bedrooms don't need to be the size of Buckingham Palace but they do need to fit more than a bed. Childrens bedrooms need to be large enough for a bed and wardrobe (if there are no built ins) as well as a place to get a desk as most teenagers now have computers or a television in the room. A tenant will also need to see their bar suite and other furniture will easily fit in the rooms provided. The same principal still applies whether it's a small 2 rooms townhouse or a large five bedroom house.
The investment property also needs to be low maintenance and easy to keep up. In a house tenants don't want to be spending large amounts of their weekends mowing lawns, pruning hedges and looking after prize wining rose bushes. They want to be out enjoying themselves so low maintenance gardens are important. If there are backyard garden beds at the property make sure they are edged and mulched. This makes it easier for the tenants to mow and whipper snip the lawn and weed the garden bed. If you do have beautiful gardens and lawns throughout the premises then pay for a gardener to maintain them. Not all tenants will have the same passion for gardening that you may have. If the home has a pool I would strongly recommend employing a pool company to maintain the pool. This may sound expensive but from my own experience it may save you thousands over the long term.
A factor which is becoming more important in today's ever changing world is a environment. With energy costs soaring tenants are now looking for rental properties that will minimise their energy and liquid expenses. Items such as solar or gas hot water systems opposed to electric are becoming more important to tenants. Low wattage or energy efficient light globes installed in the property will also make a difference when tenants are deciding on two virtually identical houses. Another important feature today are rain water tanks as tenants can now be charged for the h2o usage at the home. If a water tank is plumbed into the house to run the toilets and washing machine that will save the tenants a lot of water usage and money.
In summary if you have bought a property already you may not be able to considerably about the location but their should be a few ideas which will help you not only increase the income the property generates but also get a great tenant who will look to stay for a long period and as a result will reduce your vacancy rate.