A simple, step-by-step guide
- Establishing Your Property's Value
- Selecting an Estate Agent
- Preparing Your Property
- Furnished or unfurnished
- Fixtures & fittings
- Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations
- Electrical & Safety Regulations
- Tenants’ References
Establishing Your Property's Value
While a general picture of your local marketplace can be built up through local newspaper ads and website property-portals, to establish an accurate rental value for your property specifically, you’ll need the services of an estate agent.
Which is where Location Location can help.
We’ll visit your property and meet with you at a time to suit you. We’ll discuss your specific needs, market forces and current demand, previous rental transactions in your street and activity levels with other property similar to yours.
From this, we’ll be able to advise you on the rental value range applicable to your property and anything we think you can do to increase this value.
We’ll run through our comprehensive marketing strategy, and handle any questions or concerns you have.
Selecting an Estate Agent
When considering which company to use, do watch out for those suggesting inflated values. These initially attractive figures can mask a hidden reality: your property sits on the market for weeks, and you lose valuable rental income. Watch out also for unrealistically low commission. If something looks too good to be true, it generally is.
At Location Location, we believe in realistic rental valuations, upfront charges and absolute transparency. Because it works better that way for everybody.
Our initial rental valuation of your property is free. You only pay commission when we successfully let your property.
You'll always have access to a specialist letting team, so you get the answers you want – fast.
Preparing Your Property
Tenants are usually prepared to pay more to get more. And a property in excellent condition can always be let more easily.
Here are some tips to help appeal to potential 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 no difference between the rental achieved for a property whether it’s 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. At Location Location, we're more than 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, 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 31 October 1994, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 came into force.
Under Regulations 35(2) it’s the duty of any person (i.e. the landlord) who owns the property to make sure a gas appliance and pipe work 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 (or tenants) occupies the property and signs the tenancy agreement.
A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant before the tenancy commences. If the landlord is unable to, we’ll provide the certificate at the landlord’s expense.
The Electrical (Safety) Regulations 1994 And Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994
It’s a criminal offence to supply unsafe electrical equipment with rented accommodation. The maximum fine is £5,000. The 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 before the tenant takes occupation. If necessary, 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.
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 HMRC.
- A non-resident landlord will be able to apply directly or through his UK accountant to the HMRC self-assessment on the tax from the rental income. If granted and confirmed by HMRC 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 HMRC.
- If the landlord is not granted self-assessment, the agent will have to pay to HMRC 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 HMRC.
When considering applications of self-assessment HMRC will look favourably on landlords who have their own tax affairs in order to April 1995.
Once we have a prospective tenant, a holding deposit is taken in order to establish a level of commitment. We engage an independent licensed credit reference agency to take references on the prospective tenant.
These cover employment, computerised credit checks, bank references, previous landlord or character references. We can let you have copies of these references if you’d like, to help you decide acceptability of tenants.
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.
You'll need to make sure 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, and check that the conditions of the policy are complied with and that there are no restrictions on letting.
We’ll arrange to have the inventory checked and signed by the tenant and the keys handed over at the commencement of the Tenancy. We use a specialist firm of inventory clerks and we cannot accept any liability for their omissions or errors.
At Location Location, we like to make things easy. We offer a highly professional management service, designed to take care of any day-to-day problems. We'll 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 an extensive range of competitively priced and reliable tradespeople.
- Liaising with tenants and carrying out inspections.