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Guide for Landlords

Letting out a house or flat can be a great investment, but there are a few things to look out for. We can help you find tenants, get the right price and manage the paperwork.

Sit back and let us take you through how it works.

Step 1: Make your property looks its best

We’ve found that when a place just feels right, the first few minutes are often all prospective tenants need to decide.

This means that making your property look its best could be the difference between a quick rental and a long slog with an empty house or flat on the market. Letting property doesn’t have to be hard work.

Presenting to rent

  • Be objective – don’t overlook flaws just because you don’t mind them
  • Reduce clutter – get rid of everything but the bare essentials
  • Decorate neutrally – tenants should be able to see it as their home, not yours
  • Keep it light – clean the windows and use light colours to decorate
  • Outside and in – fresh paintwork and well cared for outside spaces make a great first impression

Step 2: Get a valuation from a letting agent

A little research can give you an idea of what the right rent is for your house or flat. Ask yourself

  • What’s the going rate in your area? Check with Knight Lettings or search this site for similar properties
  • How much do you need to cover your mortgage and other expenses?

If you want a professional opinion on where to set your rent, get in touch with us and we’ll value your property for free and without any obligation to use us for letting or management.

To arrange a free valuation by one of our experienced local letting agents use the request a valuation link or give us a call on 01442 216216, We can usually make an appointment for the next day.

Step 3: Find your tenants

If you decide you’d like us to let your property, just give us a call and we’ll put you in touch with one of our local letting agents.

You’ll deal with a local agent who will know the area well. It’s their job to know everything about your rental. They’ll keep you up to date on letting your property, from who’s interested in renting, to when tenants are looking round and what they think of the property.

We’ll advertise your property on the weband in print, making sure it gets seen by as many potential tenants as possible.

We’ll show prospective tenants around on your behalf and we’ll make sure it’s convenient for you and for any current tenants. It’s always best to show off a property in daylight, but evening viewings are no problem: we’re open until 6pm. We can show people round at the weekend, too.

Step 4: Get the paperwork done

When you’ve found the right tenants and they’ve agreed to move in, there’s some paperwork to be done before the tenancy can start. We’ll take care of this and send all the documents to you and your tenants.

We call this stage “let agreed”, and it starts with checking credit references. We’ll request credit checks on your tenants, follow up references and talk you through any potential problems.

Next we’ll draw up a tenancy agreement. That sets out exactly the terms of your contract with your tenant, including any special requirements you have. We’ll send you and your tenant copies to sign, all you have to do is check it, sign it and send it back to us before the tenancy starts. We will forward a copy of their signed agreement to you and your signed agreement to the tenant.

Finally, the inventory. records the contents and condition of your flat or house at the point when your tenants move in. Because it’s so important that this is impartial, we recommend a specialist inventory company.. They will give you and your tenant a copy of the inventory, and will do another inspection at the end of the tenancy to check that nothing’s missing or damaged.

Step 5: Taking a deposit and moving in

Before the tenancy starts, we’ll collect the deposit and the first rent payment on your behalf. As soon as this money clears, your tenants can move in.

The independent inventory clerk will be there to check your tenants in, and we’ll make sure they get the keys.

Letting your property is now complete and you are now a landlord.

Management Service

We understand that as a landlord your income depends on finding the right tenant and keeping your property well maintained to protect its long term value.

This is why we offer a property management service, to help you look after your long term investment.

Let our management team deal with the time consuming and often stressful day to day running of your property, leaving you free to concentrate on other things.

We are proud that many of our clients, big and small, choose to stay with us year after year and that word of mouth recommendations continue to account for much of our new business.

How we can manage your property

Our property management service can be utilised whether or not your property has been let by us. As part of our property management service, we will:

  • Visit your property twice a year and make sure it’s in top condition. If we think any work needs doing, we’ll let you know
  • Arrange day to day maintenance, redecoration and repairs on your behalf
  • Give you advice on how to make the best of your property and enhance its value
  • Keep you informed on changing safety regulations to ensure you keep your property compliant
  • Handle the accounts and keep you up to date on rent payments and any maintenance spending

Our service is charged and calculated as a percentage of the rent.

To find out more about how we can help you, contact our property management team.

What are a landlord’s obligations?

As a landlord you’ve got certain responsibilities and legal obligations to your tenant. These are the main things you have to do.

Look after the building
Keeping the exterior of a property to let in good condition is a landlord’s obligation. Make sure you maintain the roof, drains and gutters.

Have the right insurance
You should insure the property to let and the contents that are included with it. Your tenants are responsible for insuring their own possessions. Make sure your insurance covers you as a landlord, for renting your property and carries Public Liability insurance - normal household buildings and contents cover probably won’t.

Make sure services are available
It is also a landlord’s obligation to make sure that the property to let is supplied with services like gas, electricity, water, sanitation and heating.

Leave your tenants in peace
A 'covenant of quiet enjoyment' is part of most tenancy agreements. It means a landlord mustn't interfere with the tenants. For example, you must not:

  • Go in to the rented property without their consent, except in an emergency
  • Do anything that affects the tenants’ rights, for example cutting off services to force a tenant to leave

A landlord’s legal obligations

There are a number of safety regulations that govern the letting of residential property to which landlords must comply. The penalties for failing to do so are severe and could result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment. As your letting agent, it will be our duty to advise you of your obligations, the implications of the safety regulations and to assist you in ensuring you are fully compliant.

Just some of the regulations include

  • Gas equipment like boilers and ovens must be annually inspected by a person qualified to undertake testing. These engineers must be registered with and qualified by Gas Safe (formerly CORGI). Then as a landlord you must give the safety record to the tenant.
  • All electrical appliances must be tested by a competent person such as a NICEIC qualified electrician.
  • It is an offence to let a property containing furniture and furnishing that do not comply with safety regulations. This includes beds, sofa beds, futons, garden furniture, pillows, and nursery and children’s furniture.
  • All new homes available to rent must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors, installed on every floor and interlinking. For older properties, it is advisable to install at least battery operated devices.

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