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Information for Landlords
Choosing a letting and management agent is as important as choosing any other professional
such as your solicitor or accountant. The demand for property to rent has attracted
many firms and individuals to setup as letting agents. Many of them unregulated having
little or no experience, do not operate bonded client accounts or are bound by any
code of practice. Our guide takes you step by step through the process of letting
your home. To view a relevant topic, simply select the relevant heading. If you would
like more information on this subject, please contact our office.
Why use an Agent to let my property?
Although some landlords let their own property many have discovered that for peace
of mind it makes sense to use the professionals. The professional Agent will have
experience in marketing property, selecting the most suitable tenant, procuring essential
references, advising on all safety aspects, drawing up tenancy agreements, preparing
inventories, transferring services into the name of the tenant, and ensuring receipt
of cleared funds. It is vital that the utmost care is taken to select the most suitable
person to rent your property for once a tenancy has commenced it is too late to discover
that a mistake has been made. This is where the experience and expertise of an established
professional agent is invaluable.
Why is it necessary for my property to be managed in my absence?
Landlords may consider that a relative or neighbour would be able to look after their
property especially if they know someone who can take care of maintenance. Property
management however covers a wider area than may be immediately obvious to an inexperienced
person. This involves collecting rent on a regular basis and ensuring that rent continues
to be paid for the duration of the tenancy which may sometimes involve sending demand
letters and invoices. Visiting the property on a regular basis to establish that
the tenants are taking care and checking for any general maintenance which might
be required; arranging for any necessary repairs to be carried out. Ensuring that
trusted and qualified contractors are used and settlement of accounts; renewals of
tenancies; advising on tax matters and allowances. An experienced agent is familiar
with dealing with such matters and will also know how to deal with any problem tenants
who might try to make deductions in the rent, or not pay the rent.
How do I locate a reputable Agent ?
As there is no regulation governing Letting Agents at present it is essential that
Landlords exercise the greatest care when selecting an Agent. Anyone can set up in
business and claim to be a specialist in this field. Many Estate Agents, with no
experience of Property Management, decided to enter this field when the property
market slumped. As property is a major investment, personal recommendation from someone
who has either used or is using a particular agent would be of great assistance in
this respect. Members of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) are
thoroughly vetted and must abide by stringent rules with regard to clients money.
Client monies are also covered by Fidelity Bonding for extra security. The Association
has over 1,200 member offices throughout Britain and will assist landlords to find
a reputable Agent in their area. Please visit our separate section with details of
Why use an ARLA Agent?
Please visit our page about ARLA with details of the Association and the benefits
It is preferable to let my property furnished or part furnished?
Previously, most properties were let fully furnished but this trend is rapidly changing,
except perhaps for Central London. The majority of property now coming onto the rental
market tends to be part furnished i.e. offered with carpets, curtains and some white
goods in the kitchen. The rentals achieved for part furnished property are also equal
to those for fully furnished rentals. Tenants, especially those wishing to make a
home of the property, generally prefer to use their own furniture. Many prefer to
sleep in their own comfortable bed and sit on their own sofa. The other main reason
for the swing to part furnished property is the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations
Must I notify my Mortgage Lender that I am letting my property?
Under the terms of your loan, there are restrictions regarding letting and permission
must be granted before the property can be let. It is rare however for lenders to
refuse permission. Generally they will give permission for a limited period of say
three years initially. If you let without permission, the lender may have the right
to repossess the property, evict the tenants thereby leaving yourself open to an
action by the tenant for lack of peaceable enjoyment of the property. If the Lender
has given permission, they will not be in a position to evict the tenant if you do
not pay your loan before the permitted time has expired.
Am I responsible for maintaining my property?
Generally yes. The structure, services and heating are the landlord's responsibility
under statute. The remainder depends on the Tenancy Agreement but normally landlords
maintain the property and contents unless it can be shown that the tenant has caused
damage. Tenants must be allowed 'fair wear and tear', but they must also look after
the property as they would their own home.
What arrangements can be made for the property to be insured?
The landlord insures the building and the landlord's contents and should have insurance
to ensure that they have public liability cover on both buildings and contents. Tenants
are advised to insure their own possessions.
What safety regulations must be complied with?
There are the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations which state that all upholstered
furniture supplied in let property must comply accordingly. Any furniture and furnishings
that do not comply must be removed prior to letting. Gas Safety Regulations state
that ALL gas appliances must be checked for safety at least once every twelve months
by a CORGI registered engineer; a record of that check must be made and handed to
the tenant. The Electrical Regulations are less precise but essentially all electrical
goods supplied in a let property must be safe and not cause danger. Electrical goods
must be checked at some time by a competent person. Properties built since 1992 must
be fitted with mains interlinking smoke detectors on each floor.
Are services included in the rent?
No. Tenants are responsible for electricity, gas, oil, telephone, water, sewerage
and council tax. A professional agent will deal with the closing of all accounts
in the client's name and the opening of these accounts in the tenant's name.
What fees should I expect to pay?
Please apply for our brochure by e-mail, fax, telephone, or letter.