Tips & Advice for Landlords
When to market your property for rental
Maybe you are considering your first buy to let purchase, or are struggling to sell your property and would like to rent it out; one of the biggest mistakes landlords make is to instruct a letting agent only once the property is ready to market.
Fortunately, we live in an age where supply is outstripping demand. Prospective tenants are always happy to pay a holding deposit on the property they have viewed, and will typically wait for up to 4 weeks to move in - remember, approximately half of tenants moving will have to give one month notice on their current property anyway.
With this in mind, we would suggest marketing your property 4 to 6 weeks before it is ready for occupancy. We can then tie in the move in date as close to the avaialbility date as possible, resulting in virtually no void period for you.
The savings you could make from just this one piece of advice, could potentially cover your management fees for a whole year!
Gas safety: Every rental property in the UK with gas mains must have a valid landlords gas safety certificate - it is Government legislation that this is carried out annually, and for a tenant to have a copy within 28 days of moving in. We recommend to have this done approximately 1 week before your tenants move in. It would not be cost effective to organise this as one of your first jobs as they only last 12 months - if the property is empty due to refurbishment and weeks from being ready, you are cutting into the year void period.
Please click the below link for all information regards gas safety in a rental property:
Electrical safety: There are no specific regulations relating to electrical safety in the same way as there is for gas safety; however, all electrical appliances provided by the landlord must be safe at the commencement of the tenancy. The same applies for other electrical outlets such as sockets and light fittings.
Shocklingly, there are around 30 deaths and 4,000 accidents annually in the UK involving electrics.
For the safety of all tenants, and reassurance for both parties, it is highly recommended that a landlord carries out regular basic safety checks to make sure the electrics and appliances such as cookers, washing machines, fridges and freezers remain in good working order.
Failure to do can result in consequences ranging from invalidated insurance to 6 months imprisonment; it simply isn't worth the risk!
Fire safety: A landlord must also follow all fire safety regulations, including providing accessable escape routes at all times and one smoke alarm per floor of every property. All furniture and furnishings must also be fire safety compatible.
About to buy an investment property? Call us and speak to one of our experts. We can offer free, impartial and friendly advice prior to your purchase regards queries on location, condition, size and - most importantly - price. We are even happy to negotiate with the selling agent on your behalf, potentially saving you thousands of pounds.
When you choosing an agent, there are various points to consider. Your prospective agent should have the following:
Experience: There simply is no substitute for this - it is crucial in our industry. Here at The Letting Company, we have over 30 years combined experience. You may find that recently established agents (including national franchises) do not have the knowledge or expertese to deal with the many issues that can arise. Make sure to ask how long the agent has been in business, and if they can substantiate this.
An attractive website: The majority of propsective tenants will start at the agents website; 95% of all searches for property are now on the web. With this in mind, check your chosen agent has a fresh and modern site that is easy to understand. We regularly invest in our online presence, keeping the site up to date and informative.
Fantastic customer service skills: As the saying goes, this is key. Customer service has to be excellent first time, every time. Bad reputations spread quickly, and are usually based on personal experience. Mystery shop - call a few agents, pose as a potential landlord and/or tenant and see who you felt offered the best service.
Don't be afraid to ask. Once you have your final selection of agents, ask them questions. If they are right for you, they will be able to confidently answer you. Ask the basics:
- How long they have been established
- How many properties they manage
- Which areas they cover
- How they deal with problematic tenants
- Are all tenant deposits protected with a resgietered scheme, and held in a designated client account
- Which training courses does the agent attend to bring them up to date with ever changing laws
- How proactive they are in finding new tenants (an agent should be on hand to do viewings same day, every day seven days a week)