Top Tips For Landlords

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LANDLORDS GUIDE TO LETTING PROPERTY

TOP TIPS FOR LANDLORDS

Whether you’re a first-time landlord or own a large portfolio of properties in Brighton, Hove or the surrounding Sussex area there are many things that you should be aware of as landlords.

We’ve created this guide to help residential landlords with tips on how to successfully let their properties.

GET YOUR PROPERTY READY FOR RENT

A good first impression counts. Ensure the interior and exterior of your property to let is well presented (clear your front garden, decorate your property in neutral colours, keep the property tidy and working fixtures, etc.) as all the small touches will make a difference.

Keeping your property immaculate and ready to let can really guarantee a good tenant. Other characteristics should include that they are clean – a tidy property with reasonable fittings and a neutral décor is always popular. If this could also include Wi-Fi, cable or satellite TV these are always preferable.

ALWAYS ASK FOR A GUARANTOR

We find that most tenants can obtain a Guarantor, preferably being their parents, who can then guarantee their rent. This gives you the comfort to make sure that your rental property with a backup in case the tenants don’t pay the rent. It is unusual but it can happen. Where a Guarantor enters into an agreement, he or she will normally agree to meet the full obligations of the tenancy agreement on behalf of the tenant. This will include rent arrears, damage to the property and any other liabilities. This is most important.

DEPOSIT

Collect a security deposit and protect it. Every deposit must now be registered with a scheme within 30 days of receipt. Tenants need to be informed in writing of which scheme is used to protect their deposit. This is a specific form and failure to serve correctly leads to a penalty of three times the deposit. Please refer to our previous article in relation to tenant deposit protection, click here.

TENANCY AGREEMENT

Obtain a proper Tenancy Agreement. To avoid any costly mistakes; our tenancy agreement has been approved by training standards to ensure that there is no miscommunication between you and your tenant.

INVENTORY

Before letting your property ensure that you have a full inventory check. This is a comprehensive document covering exactly what the state of the property is when the tenant took it, including photographs and the condition the property was in prior to your tenant moving in. If you are not sure what you should be looking out for one of our members of staff to discuss this with you. It is critical as without it you will not be able to potentially make any deductions from the deposit at the end of the term.

ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT THE TENANT SIGNS A CONTRACT

We at Harringtons have all our contract’s approved by Trading Standards to ensure the rights of both landlord and tenant.

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR DURING THE TENANCY

Carry out quarterly inspections. Even if your tenants pay rent on time and you have no issues during the tenancy. It is recommended to attend your property to make sure that there are no major problems and that the property is well looked after.

TAKING YOUR PROPERTY BACK

If you need to seek possession, be sure you serve the right notice. If your tenants’ default before the fixed term has come to an end you could serve notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. You could also serve notice under Section 21(1)(b) to get your property back at the end of the fixed term. Always make sure you serve notice in writing.

Please make sure that all the paperwork is correct before you serve such notice as these can often be invalid. Please refer to the Government guidelines in this instance, click here.

CARRY OUT A CHECK OUT INSPECTION

Check your Inventory with the current state of the property. Make sure you have photographic evidence of any damage caused by the tenant in case you need to make a claim from the deposit.

Find out if you need a license.

There are a lot of councils now that have what is known as selective licensing. Many councils have requirements such as fire alarm systems, fire doors etc. These are very much specific to the local authority as well as being across the whole of England regarding licenses. It is important you check with your local authority whether a license is required and also planning. Some councils require planning to be carried out for students etc. They are all very different.

Provide a valid energy performance certificate.

You will need to provide a valid energy performance certificate. This document basically ensures what your property saves a tenant by way of energy.

There are different rules in relation to EPC’s coming in over the years. From the 1st April 2018 your property must be at least a rated E. In the event you do not have an energy performance certificate that is valid then you could be fined. It is important these certificates are up to date and they are required to be done every 10 years.

However, there are new rules coming in over the next few years as these energy performance certificates need to be improved. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss this.

Do your safety checks.

Landlords are legally required to have all gas appliances in the property checked by a gas safe registered engineer every year. They must provide the certificate to the tenants within 30 days of the annual check. However, that doesn’t end their liability.

There has been a change in the law and landlords are now required to make sure all smoke alarms are fitted on every floor from the start of the tenancy. For instance if you have a property that has a door and then a set of stairs straight up to the rest of the flat then you need a smoke detector at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top. You will also need a carbon monoxide detector in any room where there is a solid fuel that is burnt. This includes gas boilers. This is a change from the 1st October 2022. It is now a landlords responsibility. You must have these fitted.

It is absolutely critical that you understand what your legal requirements are in this regard. The rules are forever changing and more will come in in the 1st January 2023.

EICR’s.

Electrical installation certificate reports need to be carried out every 5 years and it needs to be done by a qualified electrician.

These checks ensure that the electrical equipment is safe and lasts for a 5 year period. They have to be served on the tenant within 30 days of being carried out.

Please note there has been some changes under the Human Habitation Bill that may require you to carry out maintenance requests by your tenant within a set reasonable period of time. It is important you do these.

 Get the right insurance.

We often find that landlords don’t appreciate that they have to have specific insurance for their property. Not just a normal insurance that they would have been provided when they purchased the property and were living in it. The insurance is very specific and covers different aspects of the property. Please don’t hesitate to contact our sister company iInsure 365 who will be able to give you an instant quote here.

Understand your property taxes.

When you are looking to purchase a buy to let you need to make sure what your position is regarding the taxes and costs. We often find with landlords that they don’t take this into account when dealing with purchasing properties. It may be that you are a higher tax payer that you want to put it in a limited company it just depends what you are purchasing the property for. Is it short term income or long term investment?

It is always best to speak to an accountant who will be able to help you with this. Additionally, they will give you the correct tax advice.

Why not ask us for a property valuation. If you are looking to invest in property we have an acquisitions department that may be able to help you. Alternatively if you are looking to purchase a property and have already found one we can give you some letting advice. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01273 724000 or admin@harringtonslettings.co.uk

Finally, if you would like to find out more on how to successfully let your property in Hove, Brighton or the surrounding Sussex area, get in touch with Harringtons Lettings today.

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google-review Review
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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