First-time landlord? Here are the top tips!

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  • First-time landlord? Here are the top tips!

Despite the pandemic and various tax and regulatory changes of recent years, being a landlord remains a very profitable form of investment when done right.

In times of crisis, as has been the case for the last year and a bit, bricks and mortar is often seen as a safe investment, being a tangible asset that brings in regular income.

Rental demand has remained high, even soared, during the last year as priorities have changed and people have been looking for different kinds of homes – typically with more space and gardens.

All this bodes well for someone letting out a home. But if you’re doing it for the first time, or you’ve become an accidental landlord during the pandemic, the lettings landscape can be quite scary, complex, multi-layered and confusing.

With this in mind, it helps to have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the market before you enter it.

Trade body ARLA Propertymark recently outlined its top tips for those landlords renting out property for the first time, to help people get to grips with the ever-increasing number of laws governing the private rented sector and ensure that nobody falls foul of landlord legislation.

Get your property tenant-ready

First, work out whether you want to let the home furnished, part-furnished or with no furnishings at all. Even if the home you’re letting is non-furnished, you will still be expected to provide basic white goods.

If you opt for the furnished approach – which could have appeal to younger tenants, in particular, who want a ready-to-move-into home – it’s a good idea to remove anything valuable or sentimental. This’ll not only prevent these items being damaged, it’ll also prevent tenants feeling awkward about renting a property that is filled with someone else’s very personal belongings.

It’s important to remember, too, that less is always more – clutter and over-the-top furniture won’t go down well – while all upholstered furnishings must comply with the fire and furnishings act.

Additionally, it’s advisable to think about the type of tenants you want to target. For example, if you’re hoping for a family who will stay put for a few years, they may have their own furniture already and won’t want your stuff. They’ll be keen to put their own stamp on the home. By contrast, university students are highly unlikely to have accumulated enough belongings to furnish a house and will be glad of a furnished home.

Lastly, there are legal implications to consider when it comes to letting property – is it in an area with licensing? Is it an HMO? Are you complying with the Tenant Fees Act 2019? Is the property freehold or leasehold?

It’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations in your local area – as well as things like council tax bands – before you allow tenants in.

Employ a safety-first approach

As a landlord, you have a legal and moral duty to keep your tenants safe. With this in mind, smoke alarms are required on all floors of your property and it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that carbon monoxide detectors are installed in any room where solid fuels are burnt (including wood, coal or biomass).

You must ensure these are tested and working correctly before the first day of the tenancy. Up-to-date gas safety and electrical certificates must also be in place as a priority, as copies of these must be provided to tenants along with a copy of the EPC. The rules around electrical safety have recently changed, to ensure that all electrical installations are inspected at least every five years by a competent person.

Establish whether you want to let with pets

A big topic of debate at the moment, with an increasing number of tenants seeking homes which allow pets. There are upsides and downsides to permitting pets in rental properties.

The vast majority of landlords don’t (only around 7% do, according to government estimates), because of worries over damage, mess, noise pollution and other issues. But the pandemic has seen a dramatic spike in pet ownership. Particularly among the younger generations who are more likely to rent. In addition, families who are making the PRS their home.

Allowing pets could make your home more desirable to a wider pool of tenants. Encouraging renters to rent for longer. But, it’s important to remember that even the best-behaved pets are likely to have an impact on a house.

Check if you need a landlord license 

You must check if you need a landlord license from your local council before your property can legally be rented out.

In 2006, legislation was introduced to ensure landlords maintain their rental properties to a good standard. By working closely with a reputable, experienced letting agent, you’ll be able to tell if you need a license or not.

Make sure you protect renter deposits

Landlords who take a deposit from their tenants must protect it in one of the following deposit protection schemes. The Deposit Protection Service (DPS). MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

You will also need to protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving it. Providing the tenant with both the deposit protection certificate and completed ‘Prescribed Information’.

If you fail to do this, it could result in you not being able to evict your tenant. Plus the full return of the deposit and a fine of up to three times the value of the deposit.

Sort an EPC 

As a landlord, it’s a requirement that you must serve your tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), to give them an indication of how energy efficient your property is. Under rules introduced a few years ago, your property must be at least an E on the EPC band.

Arranging a new let without making sure your property is up to these standards, could result in a fine.

Conduct regular inspections 

While this has been more difficult during Covid-19, any good landlord should carry out regular inspections of their property to ensure it’s being looked after well and to nip any potential maintenance problems in the bud.

It’s important to remember that you must not enter the property without the tenant’s permission. This is considered trespassing and is illegal.

Lockdown is easing, but you must strictly adhere to the Covid-19 safety measures. Even when carrying out any inspections by you or your agent. You must give tenants 24 or 48 hours written notice. This will be written down in your tenancy agreement with them.

Make sure your insurance is correct

As a first-time landlord, you might not give insurance too much consideration. But, you risk invalidating your policy if you do not inform your buildings insurer that you’re renting the property out.

Most standard buildings insurers don’t provide the protection you will need as a landlord. You should take out specialist landlord insurance. Look for policies which cover loss of rent, damage, legal expenses and liabilities. Again, your letting agent will be able to point you in the right direction.

Choose the right agent

Which leads us nicely onto this, one of the most important parts of any successful tenancy – choosing the right agent. Make sure that any agent you use has Client Money Protection. While being part of a respected redress scheme is another bonus. They should also be on all the major portals. Ensuring your home is advertised to the widest possible tenant audience.

To find out more about letting your home successfully as a first-time landlord, please get in touch with us at Harringtons Lettings. We aim to provide landlords and tenants with a comprehensive and efficient service.

We cover a wide area across Sussex, including Brighton, Hove, Portslade, Shoreham, Worthing, Lewes, Peacehaven, Seaford, Newhaven and Eastbourne. Also able to offer management across the whole of the UK, if required.

What’s more, we are members of The Property Redress Scheme and the Client Money Protection Scheme.

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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