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Landlord Guide

We outline on this page a basic, quick guide and overview for Landlords, to explain what is typically involved with letting property. If you need any further information or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Establishing Your Property's Value

You can a general idea of your property’s rental potential by looking at similar properties in your area for let as advertised on through local newspaper advertisements and website property-portals. However, to establish a more accurate and realistic rental value you will need the services of an estate agent, with experience in your local market– such as us, George Property and Financial!

To provide you with a FREE professional valuation click here or simply call us on 02920 811511 and arrange for one of our property consultants to meet you at your property a time that suits you. At the appointment, we will assess your property and advise you on the potential rental income your property could generate, anything we believe you can do to enhance its value, and how best to market it to attract the right kind of tenant. To reach our assessment we will take into account your own specific needs, and base the valuation on factors such as market forces and current demand, previous rental transactions in your street and activity levels with other property similar to your own. We will also be happy to respond to any questions or concerns you might have about lettings, or related matters.

 

Selecting an
Estate Agent

Having established the rental value of your property and decided to go onto the market, you will need to choose an Agent to act for you. At George Property and Financial the initial rental valuation of your property is free. You only pay commission when we successfully let your property and you'll always have access to our specialist letting consultants.

 

Preparing Your Property

Tenants are usually prepared to pay more to get more – and a property in first-class order can usually be let more easily. The following features appeal to most tenants:

  • Fresh decorations - light colours, such as white or off-white, are always acceptable.
  • High quality carpets of the same colour throughout. These should be light and neutral - biscuit/beige colours are popular, as are wooden floors.
  • Attractive, good-quality, well-lined curtains or blinds.
  • Well-maintained exterior and tidy, well-planted gardens.
  • Furnished or unfurnished

There's often not much difference between the rental achieved for a property whether it is furnished or unfurnished.

  • 'Unfurnished' is normally defined as being fully carpeted (or with wooden floors in the reception areas), fully curtained and with white goods provided in the kitchen.
  • 'Furnished' is usually defined as being a property ready for someone to move into. The furniture needs to be good quality and the property should be uncluttered. George Property and Financial will be happy to advise you on what should be left and what should be removed.

 

Fixtures & fittings

All fixtures and appliances should be serviced before the start of the tenancy and in good working order. If you have instruction booklets, please make them available or write out clear instructions for use. Your property should always offer:

  • A modern and well-equipped kitchen. Ideally there should be a washing machine and separate dryer (or combined machine to save space), dishwasher, large fridge/freezer and microwave.
  • A modern bathroom with an effective power shower, modern fittings and good lighting. Tiled floors are preferable to carpets.
  • Good wardrobe space in the bedrooms.
  • An efficient central heating system and plenty of hot water.

 

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994

On 31st October 1994 the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 came into force. Under Regulations 35(2) it is duty of any person (i.e. Landlord) who owns a gas appliance and pipework is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person. The Regulations cover all appliances and all types of Gas i.e. mains propane or calor gas for heating, lighting, cooking or other purposes for which  gas can be used. The owner (i.e. Landlord) of any gas appliance must ensure that each appliance is checked for safety at least every 12 months by a qualified gas engineer, e.g. an employee of British Gas or a CORGI registered person. A record must be kept of all safety inspections and the results open to Tenants inspection by law. The Landlord must have a Gas Safety Inspection carried out before a Tenant(s) occupies the property and signs the tenancy agreement. A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant before the tenancy commences. Click here to Instruct a George Property and Financial Gas Man.

 

The Electrical (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994

It is a criminal offence to supply unsafe electrical equipment with rented accommodation. The maximum fine is £5000. The above Regulations apply to portable electrical equipment such as:

  • Electric heaters, lamps, televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners, irons, toasters, microwaves and other kitchen equipment.
  • Built - in electrical goods such as cookers and certain storage heaters are not covered by the Regulations, however, Landlords should be aware that any person injured by the Landlord's property could sue for damages.
  • Electrical items must be examined by a qualified electrician prior to Tenant's taking occupation and if required we can instruct an approved contractor to carry out this check on your behalf. The portable appliance test must be undertaken for each new set of Tenants.
  • Click here to instruct a George Property and Financial Electrician.

 

Accounting for Tax

Current legislation governing the collection of tax on rent income for non-resident Landlords came into effect from April 1996 under the 1995 Finance Act. The main changes affecting non-resident Landlords are as follows:

  • The act will not affect the Landlord's actual tax liability but it will affect the way in which monies are collected by the Inland Revenue.
  • A non-resident Landlord will be able to apply directly or through his UK accountant to the Inland Revenue self-assessment on the tax from the rental income. If granted and confirmed by the Inland Revenue this will enable the agent to release the rent gross without making a tax retention thereby easing the Landlord's tax flow. Joint owners must each apply to the Inland Revenue.
  • If the Landlord is not granted self-assessment, the agent will have to pay to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis the appropriate income tax percentage of the net rentals. The calculation of tax paid by the agent will not include mortgage interest, depreciation or other Tax-deductible items. Any overpayment of tax will then need to be reclaimed at the end of each year by the Landlord submitting a statement of accounts to the Inland Revenue.

When considering applications of self-assessment the Inland Revenue will normally look favourably on Landlords who have their own tax affairs in order to April 1995.

 

Tenants References

Once we have secured a prospective tenant, a holding deposit is taken in order to establish a level of commitment. We then engage an independent licensed credit reference agency to take references on the prospective tenant. These cover employment, computerised credit checks, bank reference, previous Landlord or character references. If you wish we can present copies of these references to help you decide acceptability.

 

Consents

If you have a freehold property with no mortgage on it, there should be no barriers to letting it out to tenants. If you have a leasehold property however, you must check your lease in connection with sub-letting and obtain the necessary consent if required. If you have a mortgage on your property, consent may also be needed from your lender.

 

Insurance

You will need to ensure both the property and its contents are fully insured. This is normally provided for in the Tenancy Agreement. You must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let, check that the conditions of the policy are complied with and that there are no restrictions on letting. Get in touch with a George Insurance Adviser who will help you with finding the most appropriate policy for your requirements.

 

Inventory

George Property and Financial can arrange to have the Inventory checked and signed by the Tenant and to hand over keys are at the commencement of the Tenancy.

 

Management

George Property and Financial offer a professional lettings/property management service, designed to take care of any day-to-day problems. We can help you with:

  • The new rules and safety regulations governing residential lettings
  • Arranging all types of repairs, at very short notice if necessary
  • Rent collection
  • Access to a range of competitively priced and reliable trades-people
  • Liaising with tenants and carrying out inspections

 

Whether you are looking for an agent to simply find you a reliable and suitable tenant, or whether you require a fully managed service, George Property and Financial have a letting service solution that can help. Please click here to learn more about our various letting services and options.