FILE - HOW
DO I LET MY PROPERTY?
Advice for landlords letting their property
There are several ways to let a property:
it yourself in the local paper
on the Internet
in local shops
a professional Letting Agent
you are instructing an agent consider using one that is a member of one of the
following professional organisations:
of Residential Letting Agents)
(National Approved Letting scheme)
Association of Estate Agents)
(Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)
the letting goes wrong or there are problems receiving your rent, in many cases
if you use an agent that belongs to one of these organisations you can take the
issue up with the relevant governing body. Tenants often feel more confident renting
a property through an agent that belongs to a professional association.
you might want to let it yourself and join a Landlords Association
NLA - National
Landlords Association - The National Landlords Association (NLA) is the leading
independent national organisation for private residential landlords. Established
in 1973 as The Small Landlords Association founded to support residential landlords,
and lobby local and national government. In 2003 Renamed the National Landlords
Association. By 2007 Membership continues to grow – now over 13,000 fee-paying
members. Further information Here
PRESENTING THE PROPERTY – decoration , furnishing, equipment to leave
DECORATION - The quality of the interior decoration may substantially
affect the level of rental achieved.
it is not possible to redecorate your own personal home prior to letting it if
you are leaving for work overseas for example, it is essential that you follow
these guidelines if you are planning on letting an investment property. It is
advisable to follow them as far as possible if you are a returning owner occupier.
Carpets and walls should be neutral. Whites, creams and light pastel
shades and these make a cleaner, fresher impression.
are much easier to maintain than wallpaper. Good quality curtains and carpets
should be provided as they will have much longer life normally which is most important
if you are planning on letting for several years. Magnolia has now become very
dated and should be avoided if possible.
Kitchens should be well
equipped (see follow on section WHAT TO LEAVE) and bathrooms should have
high quality modern fittings, including a power shower whenever possible (overseas
visitors will usually expect one), good lighting and tiled flooring. If you are
refitting your bathrooms, white fittings never really go out of date.
Wood flooring is now very popular and gives the illusion of more
space. Kitchens should be tiled or have vinyl covering and not carpets unless
they form part of a kitchen /diner and the carpet is then suitable for the dining
you are installing wood flooring in an apartment, please check with the freeholder
if it is a new development, as they are not permitted in some developments because
of the noise factor.
Lighting is very important for any let.
Downlight spotlights in Kitchens, bathrooms and other areas help. In furnished
properties, consider providing some table lamps. Don’t forget adequate lighting
outdoors (often with the use of sensors) to have as a safety feature for the property.
If you have bought a property to let, make sure there are toilet roll holders,
towel rails, mirror, bathroom cabinets or shelves in the bathroom.
TO A TENANT
you are showing a prospective Tenant around, the following guidelines should be
property is clean, there are no dirty washing up items about and if there are
any unpleasant odours, open some windows and let some fresh air circulate.
areas should be clean and leave the toilet seat down. Beds should be covered.·
you might be concerned about people walking on your carpet, some tenants are not
too happy about being asked to take off their shoes.
– even in summer we can have some very dull days, so turn the lights on first.
Lights make a property welcoming. If the viewing takes place after dark, make
sure your front door outside light is switched on. ·
– If the curtains are pulled over during the day, pull them back. Just like ensuring
sufficient artificial lighting, natural lighting is equally as important and can
give the impression of more space particularly in smaller properties and rooms.
areas - Make sure the garden is tidy and inviting
of “FURNISHED, PART FURNISHED or UNFURNISHED LETS
Let with curtains, carpets and kitchen equipment – Electrical
goods. (N.B. some electrical goods e.g. washing machines can be rented)
FURNISHED Let with the above plus occasional furniture
– some beds, settee or dining table and chairs etc.
FURNISHED Let with the above, but including all furniture,
china, crockery. & Cutlery etc. Do not leave the property with too much furniture
as the appearance could be cluttered and rooms appear smaller than they are.
TO LEAVE – Basic Requirements for a Furnished Letting
a let is in central London, Bedding, towels, TV’s, Videos are not included. However,
you might be requested to allow the tenant to erect a satellite dish.
is recommended that all items of sentimental or real value be removed as even
the most careful of tenants have accidents. If you are a returning owner occupier
It is important if personal possessions are stored in a secure area or with friends
If you are storing the items at the property, the storage
area should be secured and keys left at the managing agents offices or with a
relative or friend who can be easily contacted.
Emergency access should not be denied
to a tenant in respect of gas/electricity/water mains and storage cisterns. N.B.
be careful how you store your belongings. Attic areas can become very hot in the
summer and garages can become very damp in the winter.
–Each room must have adequate furniture for the Tenants’ need and we list below
the minimum for an average 4 bedroom property. Some wall pictures can be included.
– Three piece suite, or two sofas, or four lounge chairs, coffee table. Occasional
Room – Dining table, chairs sideboard/dresser/storage.
– Modern cooker, fridge/freezer or separate units, washing machine, tumble
dryer, (in an apartment consider a washer/dryer) Microwave – not essential, but
becoming more popular.
Kitchen equipment – Crockery,
cutlery, glasses, cooking knives, chopping board, saucepans, frying pan, wok,
electric kettle, toaster, coffee/tea mugs/cups/saucers, colander, baking tins,
bottle and can opener etc.
– Beds (complying to Fire and Furnishing regulations), with mattress protectors,
wardrobe, bedside table, bedside lights, chair, chest of drawers/dressing table,
adequate storage for the number of occupants.
Bathroom/shower room – shaver
point, wall cabinet, toilet roll holder and towel rail.
equipment-Vacuum cleaner and tools, brushes, dustpan, ironing board & iron.
equipment- Unless you are providing a gardening service, you should supply
a lawn mower (that is capable of cutting long grass if the tenant misses some
cuts), spade, fork, rake, shear, hoe, wheelbarrow, ladder etc. You might also
like to consider supplying garden furniture.
Make sure there are sufficient TV& telephone sockets around the property Most
tenants usually have a computer these days and require Internet access.
TYPE OF PROPERTY IS SUITABLE FOR LETTING ?
Almost all types of property
are letable, provided they are in good condition and well presented.
to good rail and road communications
there is a large garden, it is maintained
rental price is suitable to market requirements
is parking with the property or very close by
are not too many landlord restrictions
MUCH RENT CAN I ASK ?
Many factors determine the rental value of a property.
These include the size of the rooms (a two bedroom apartment with two good size
bedrooms will command a higher rent than one with an average size bedroom and
a box room size bedroom – this type of property will attract two individuals sharing
who want similar size accommodation).
standard of the décor and furnishing, the location of the property and current
market conditions. Usually there is no difference in rental levels these days
if the property is let furnished or unfurnished, but there may be a bigger demand
for a furnished one/two bedroom apartment opposed to an unfurnished comparable.
the other hand executive corporate family lets usually look for very good six
four/five bedroom, three reception, two/three bathroom houses with a double garage
that are unfurnished.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FIND A TENANT ?
This will depend very much on the market conditions at the time the property is
being marketed and if the property is on the market at a realistic price. It can
also depend on the type of property and the time of year.
IS THE TENANCY FOR ?
This will vary according to a Tenant’s requirements.
In general most agreements are drawn up for a minimum of six months or one year
with a break clause for the tenant to give two months notice at any time after
four months. (Please note that you will not normally have a break clause in an
agreement and will have to add it yourself or your agent will have to do this
before the start of the letting.)
corporate type lets will require a property to be available for a minimum of three
years, but the tenant will want the right to break the agreement. For this type
of letting it is usual to have a rent agreed for the first year with an option
to extend for years two and three at a slightly higher rent usually linked to
inflation. You should also ensure that a modern easy to understand English language
tenancy agreement is used.
HOW IS RENT PAID?
If you use an
Agent for a management or rent collection service, the rent will be paid to the
agent and then passed over to the Landlord less the agent’s commission each month
(or agreed period).
you are using an Agent’s Tenant introduction service the rent should be directly
paid into your bank account. You should check your bank statement a few days after
the rent has been paid to make sure that it is in your account.
there are problems receiving it then, you can rectify the situation quickly by
contacting the Tenant or agent.
RESTRICTIONS ON TENANTS
can put restrictions on the tenancy, e.g. no pets, non smokers etc, but the more
restrictions you impose the harder it can be to let a property.
and more executive families working in this country want to have a pet – cat or
dog and with the opening up of pet travel from the Passport for Pets programme,
a landlord should consider this issue very seriously.
deposits can be taken, clauses put into the tenancy agreement stating all the
carpets and curtains (and furniture if provided) has to be professionally cleaned
at the end of a tenancy.
disputes with tenants often involve the condition of the property at the end of
the tenancy. It is well worth considering using an Independent Inventory Agent
to carry out this work, as they are specialists in this field.
letting agent may have an “in-house” inventory service or use an Independent company.
If you are letting the property privately, you can still find Inventory companies
listed in the local telephone directories.
inventory should show a list of all the contents of the property including curtains,
carpets, kitchen appliances and will also state the state and condition of the
walls, windows, light switches etc.
will be checked in with the Tenant at the beginning of the tenancy and at the
end of the tenancy checked out. At the check out the Inventory Agent will assess
the state and condition and prepare a schedule of dilapidations (damage, breakages)
if any taking into account fair wear and tear, the length of the tenancy and the
state and condition of the property when it was let.
If you are letting
unfurnished, it is still advisable to have a professional inventory prepared and
checked in and checked out. Inventory fees vary according to the size of a property,
whether it is unfurnished or fully furnished.
you leave numerous items that have to be included in the inventory e.g. books
in a bookcase, the contents of a garage and workshop, then obviously the costs
of preparation will be much higher.
letting Agents will not arbitrate in any dispute between Landlord and Tenant and
the final decision remains with the professional inventory agent or a professional
TRANSFER OF SERVICES Including Council Tax
your tenant will be responsible for the payment of Council Tax, Water, Electricity,
Gas, TV Licence, oil and Telephone. Between lets you will be responsible for these
(except TV Licence if unoccupied).
agent or owner should write to the local authority and service providers advising
of the change of occupier. British Telecom quite often will not transfer a service
without the current subscriber agreeing to this.
note the telephone number at a property is for a current subscriber and if you
want to retain your existing number, you must make arrangements with BT or Telephone
service provider to hold your number in “suspense”.
Most Agents will take up Credit Search references using Letsure or Homelet
Referencing. or similar types of company. Provided the references are satisfactory
you can for an annual premium subscribe to their Legal Protection insurance plan. See
the tenancy requires a Guarantor, the credit search company will advise and referencing
will have to be taken up on that person. Company lets will also follow the same
From experience the Landlord
will normally know how equipment operates, where the stopcock is, when the dustmen
call and where the nearest school and pub are located.
should prepare a ring binder that gives notes about the working of the property,
the location of meters and the property’s postcode etc. You should also include
photocopies of instruction manuals for the washing machine, cooker, vacuum cleaner,
water softener etc.
INSURANCE & LEGAL EXPENSES INSURANCE
You must advise your insurance company that the property is being let. This should
cover the buildings policy and contents. You should also check to ensure you have
sufficient public liability cover.
people who let unfurnished do not insure their contents. Contents insurance for
let property is really not expensive. If for example you had a burst pipe in the
attic and water damage penetrated through to the kitchen. The buildings policy
would normally cover replacing the ceilings, decoration, but not your carpets
or curtains that were damaged as a result of this accident.
is normally responsible for insuring his/her contents and this will not cover
your belongings. It is possible to take out insurance to cover the legal costs
of pursuing claims against the tenant arising from a breech of the terms of the
tenancy, including the costs of obtaining repossession.
information on insurance services go to Rental
Property Insurance for Landlords & Tenants
Because of the Regulations on the sales of Landlords & Tenants insurance policies
no advice can be given and you must contact Letsure, Homelet or any other provider
for advice on policies.
The income derived
from letting your property is subject to UK tax. The position can vary depending
if you are a UK resident or a UK non-resident. It is money very well spent to
use an accountant.
Income earned in the UK is subject to taxation
under self-assessment. This means that the landlords will receive their income
from an agent less any bills the agent has settled on their behalf.
tax implications will be between the landlord and Inland Revenue. If you are a
UK resident you will receive the usual personal allowances applicable to your
circumstances, which may be offset against all your taxable income.
from letting a property is subject to income tax at the basic rate on profit.
Profit is assessed after deducting expenses from the rent received; examples are:
a) Any water, electricity, gas charges paid by the Landlord.
Premiums related to the cover of the buildings, contents and loss of rent.
c) Repairs – but not improvements.
d) Letting Agents, accountants and legal
fees- including VAT.
e) Mortgage interest payments.
f) Maintenance contractors
e.g. gardening contractors
If you are going abroad (outside UK
abroad will include Isle of Man, Channel Islands), it is essential that you apply
for your FICO (Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office) number through
the Inland Revenue as quickly as possible. The Inland Revenue has further information
and you can download information including a FICO application form at
note until an Agent is informed by the Inland Revenue of a FICO Approval
number that they are not able to pay over the rent without holding back an amount
for tax. If the certificate is not received or approved, they will have to retain
money for tax and pay this over to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis.
would also make an administration charge to cover their time in carrying out this
work. If you are collecting the rent direct, your tenant should withhold a percentage
to cover any tax liability, so it is essential that a) You obtain a FICO
approval and b) you employ the services of an accountant.
an Agent is acting on a Tenant introduction basis and you are going overseas you
must still obtain a FICO approval number as otherwise the tenant living
at the property would be responsible for the paying of tax and most tenants would
not want this inconvenience. The Letting Agent would also be duty bound to advise
them of the situation.
Properties - UK TAX
you invest in overseas property you must declare the profits in the UK. Unless
you are classified as non-UK domiciled, you are taxed in the UK on all your income
and gains wherever these profits arise. If you let your overseas property you
should inform the tax authorities where the property is located, which will sometime
mean completing a tax return in that country.
income and expenses from your foreign property must be listed on the foreign income
pages of UK tax return.Any foreign tax you pay on that income can normally be
off-set against the UK Tax duew where a double taxation agreement exists between
the UK and the country where the property is situated. Remember other countries
have different rules for tax deductible expenses. Take professional help.
KEEPING FOR PROPERTY OWNERS
a Landlord you are required to maintain complete records of all expenses incurred
and the income received from your properties. This means that you must
hang onto every relevent receipt and keeping details of any personal assets you
used for the property business. An example of this would be to note down the details
of all journeys you make concerning your property's business, the portion of your
home used tp process related paperwork and time spent on your computer carry out
work for the property.
should retain all bank statements and all records have to be retained for five
years after the tax return filing date. Any receipts regarding property improvements
should be kept for six years after the end of the tax year in which the property
is sold. If you don't keep tax related records you could face a UK fine of £3,000.
LEASEHOLD PROPERTY/ CONSENTS TO LET
If you have a mortgage,
you should gain consent from the lender prior to lending. If you do not you will
be breaking the mortgage covenant. Most lenders will give consent provided they
have seen and approved a tenancy agreement and that satisfactory references are
taken up on a given tenant.
In the case of a Leasehold Property, a consent
to underlet may be required from the Freeholder under the terms of the head lease.
You may also have to pay for a consent to underlet a leasehold property. You might
be required to provide a copy of the Lease to be incorporated into any tenancy
agreement that is prepared.
Most Agents will
prepare the appropriate Tenancy agreement is written in modern day user friendly
legally approved language. If you are letting the property yourself you may consider
using the services of a Solicitor.
When an Agent is rent collecting or managing a property they will normally hold
the deposit in separate clients account. You should find out if your agent is
a member of a professional body like ARLA, NALS etc and maintains separate clients
accounts. On average a rental equivalent to six weeks rent should be held.
a tenant will stop the final payment of rent and suggest that you have the deposit
instead. In the event of this happening when there is only a months deposit held,
there will be no money for end of stay dilapidations or cleaning etc.
will be occasions, e.g. some Military and Corporate lets where the company or
country will guarantee the deposit and will not therefore physically pay a deposit.
Remember if you hold the deposit, it is not your money and should be kept in separate
From April 2007 under the 2004 Housing Act Landlords will no longer be able
to hold deposits with AST tenancies unless they have them registered with a specific
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
You should consider paying The post Office to
redirect your post for you. The Post Office charges for this service, but you
should receive your post quickly. Although a tenant might initially send on the
post to the agents or Landlord, this can delay matters.
from arranging the redirection via the post office, you should also leave your
forwarding address in the Property Manual with a note requesting them to cross
through your address and forward it on. (It does not cost anything in the UK,
but it will if the item has to be sent overseas). You should also write to your
bank, Credit Card Company, insurance, mortgage company, friends and give them
your new address
You should leave sufficient
number of keys for the number of people renting the property. Some Agents will
retain a set at their offices. You should label up all the keys at the property.
e.g. garage door, French windows, front door, windows etc.
If you have an alarm system make the Tenants (and Agents if applicable) have
the appropriate access codes. It should be clearly defined who actually pays for
alarm maintenance – Landlord or Tenant.
SAFETY GAS, ELECTRIC, FIRE
& FURNISHINGS, SMOKE DETECTORS
Gas: The regulations were
introduced to ensure that appliances are properly installed and maintained to
avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. At the commencement of a letting,
a Landlord is required by law to hold a current Gas Safety Record. See
Gas Safety in Rental Properties
tenant must be provided with a copy of the record prior to occupation. The gas
safety record must be renewed annually and must cover all gas appliances in the
property. An authorised CORGI registered engineer can carry out the Inspection.
N.B. A standard annual service would not be sufficient to comply with the requirements
of the regulations
At present there is no specific statutory requirement to prove
that the appliances supplied are regularly checked or tested; the Landlord does
have a duty of care. Dangerous wiring, flexes, exposed cable and damaged sockets
must all be replaced. Appliances must be fitted with a sleeved insulated plug.See
also Part "P" Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)
england and Wales Click
& Furnishings: From the 1st January 1997 any furniture supplied as part
of a new letting that commenced after 1st March 1993 must comply with the regulations.
They do not apply to Antique furniture made before 1950, carpets, curtains, pillowcases,
duvets, bed linen or loose cover for mattresses. Generally they apply to all other
furniture that has a cover fabric and filling including cushions, padded headboards,
loose covers, beds and pillows etc. If your items do not comply and have appropriate
safety labels, they should be removed from the property. The independent inventory
agent will normally note down the compliance on the inventory.
Detectors: These are compulsory in all new homes built since June 1992 and these
have to be fitted via a mains feed on each floor. There are no specific statutory
regulations stating these have to be put in older buildings (unless it is a registered
House in multiple Occupation), but it is advisable to fit a battery detector in
stairways and halls/landings. You might also like to consider providing a fire
extinguisher and blanket for the kitchen.
Before a Tenant moves into your property that it
is professionally cleaned throughout. If you have not had your carpets cleaned
for a while, they must be professionally cleaned and you might like to consider
having a protective coating put on them by the cleaning contractor. Windows should
be clean inside and out.
You should make sure that your chimneys and
flues have been swept. In many tenancy agreements, a clause states that tenants
should do this during the tenancy, but they must also be done prior to the tenancy
It is often normal practice to have a clause in the tenancy
agreement stating the gardens have to be maintained in a satisfactory condition.
Over the last twenty years, the lifestyle of a tenant has changed. You do get
some enthusiastic gardeners, but the majority of tenants are working long hours
and when it comes to a weekend want to pursue other activities rather than gardening.
We would suggest whenever possible:
You have a gardener to attend to hedges, shrubs and trees at least twice a year
Include this together with regular maintenance of lawns and flowerbeds. A tenant
who knows that they will not have to look after a garden will be happier to rent
You will find that most Letting Agents will not be responsible
for a property between lets and that you have to agree a fee for checking the
property. You should also check the terms of your property insurance regarding
During the winter months if the property is empty that either
you have the water system drained down professionally or leave the heating running.
INVESTMENT PROPERTY – BUY TO LET
property can be an attractive investment. Many people are now purchasing property
as part of their pension arrangements. Investors should be aware that it is best
managed as a medium or long term proposition.
are a host of factors that may influence the type of property that is acquired
as well as the geographical area that is chosen. It is always best to seek professional
advice in each instance before deciding on a property and we would be happy to
assist you and you take into consideration the following:
of lease, if leasehold
charge and consents to let from freeholder
level if you are purchasing an apartment
type – 4 bedroom property should have at least two bathrooms etc
to be spent on the property – New bathroom & Kitchen, decoration levels
LETTING SERVICE DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR AGENT?
Many UK agents offer
three types of service:
INTRODUCTION: The Agents find a tenant, take up credit search references,
prepare the tenancy agreement *, arrange the check in of the tenant * and advise
the gas, electricity & water companies & local council of change of occupier.
After that the rental is paid directly to the Landlord and all management is carried
out by the Landlord The letting fee is payable once the tenant has been installed.
RENT COLLECTION: The Agents find a tenant, take up credit search references,
prepare the tenancy agreement *, arrange the check in of the tenant * and advise
the gas, electricity & water companies & local council of change of occupier.
The Agent collects the rental and pays this over to the Landlord each month less
their fees. The Landlord carries out all management.
The Agents find a tenant, take up credit search references, prepare the tenancy
agreement *, arrange the check in of the tenant * and advise the gas, electricity
& water companies & local council of change of occupier. They collect
the rental and pay this over to the Landlord each month less their fees &
manage the property. This involves dealing with enquiries from the tenant, arranging
routine maintenance e.g. washing machine repairs, plumbing repairs etc and visiting
the property approximately three times a year for a property inspection. If major
works are requested by the Landlord, e.g. decoration, new carpets, insurance claim
work etc, they would usually make an additional charge.
additional charges are normally payable for Tenancy Agreement preparation &
independent Inventory Agents charges.
Stamp Duty on Tenancy Agreements:
From the 1st December 2003, Stamp Duty has been abolished and replaced with Stamp
Duty Land Tax. The starting point for this is £120,000. This means that the vast
majority of Tenancy Agreements will not attract SDLT. When this tax has to be
paid it will be the Tenant’s
below is a summary of points that need to be addressed prior to the tenancy starting:
Get permission to let from your Mortgage Lender
PROPERTY Obtain consent from the Freeholder if you are a leaseholder
Review Buildings and Contents insurance You can do this via Homelet
by going to Rental
Property Insurance for Landlords & Tenants
Arrange for the redirection of mail with the Post Office
INSTRUCTIONS Prepare a Property Manual with instructions for appliances, location
of stop cocks and an information guide for Tenants – local schools, neighbours,
SAFETY CHECK Organise a gas safety check & appropriate certificate
CHECK Make sure that all appliances are compliant and that wiring and sockets
/ FLUES Make sure that these have been swept prior to letting
DETECTORS Smoke & CO detectors are in working order
& FURNISHING Only furniture & soft furnishings that meet the current
regulation should remain
COCKS Label up internal stop cocks
GAS BOTTLES Make sure these are full at the tenancy commencement
TANKS Make sure that these are full at the tenancy start
TANKS Ensure that these are emptied at the start of the tenancy
Label up any keys you leave at the property or bring to our offices indicating
the doors/windows they are for.
ITEMS Ensure that all personal and valuable items are suitably securely stored
Ensure that there is a line installed and that you have requested a closing account
Provide the agent or Tenant with a full list of contractors (if we are rent collecting
or offering an introduction and you want the tenant to arrange for his/her own
Make sure the property is in good decorative condition
Ensure the garden is suitably maintained and if a gardener is
being provided with the let make arrangements for this
CLEANING The property should be professionally cleaned
prior to the let Provided the instruction is in writing the agents can arrange
& COUNCIL TAX You should advise the service companies of the new tenants
names and take the gas & electric meter readings(and water if on meter) and
write to the companies and local authority.
This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without
the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed
at. ©jml property Services 09-04
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