Landlord guide

Landlord Guide

Maybe you need an agent for convenience as you live far away, maybe you already know the game but want to know what makes us, us, but if you're new to renting or just want to know what property management includes, then this is for you. We've broken things down so you can see things you'll need to consider if you're let-only and what we can take care of as property managers. Our services are more than worth what we can save you in time and stress, especially since management issues have a knack of happening at the most inconvenient time. This guide highlights that there's so much more to renting out a property than fixing a broken boiler once in a blue moon.

  • Advice on the best way to maximise the amount of rent you can get, market conditions or anything else you're not sure of.
  • Property marketing; professional photography to capture the space 'on its good side' (we're talking angles, good lighting, the stuff of selfies), floorplans to give potential tenants a feel of the place and various channels of online exposure all of which help your property reach a wide audience and get it rented out faster. See our to rent page for examples.
  • There is so much legislation required before a tenant moves in, all of which we can help with; EPC, gas safety certificates, right to rent, deposit protection (saves you from being fined and makes a resolution easier if needed), professionally referenced potential tenants or the need for a guarantor.
  • The convenience of having maintenance issues taken care of 24/7
  • The confidence that you have access to a redress scheme should you not be happy with any aspect of service via The Property Ombudsman
  • A buffer to help diffuse minor relationship issues with tenants and prevent them becoming a rental dispute. Having the rent collected by a professional agent also gives you confidence that should that there be any delay or issue with payments, we will take the appropriate steps to protect you legally and give you the best opportunity for recovering the rent or regaining possession of the property. Happy tenants = longer tenancies = less void periods = more income
  • Once notice is given from either end, we will act fast to get your property back on the market.

Do you have the time to be a landlord? Be realistic about how much available time you have in your existing schedule to manage tenancies (and whether you're happy attend to tenants getting locked out etc). We have a 3 tier plan to cater for a hands on or off approach and our fees are simple and upfront.

Just because you've established long term trust with an agent doesn't mean you should tolerate poor performance. If they have failed to move with the times or aren't competitive enough, they aren't doing the best by you or your buck.

On the other hand, don't overexpose your property by listing it with several agents. If a tenant notices, they may think there is something wrong with the property or that the landlord is desperate which makes them suspicious. The amount of attention you will get from your agent is also dictated by how committed you are to them, if they think that that there are 10 agents showing the property, it is likely to go to the bottom of their priority list.

Don't over-furnish your property, focus on the essentials. Tenants want to be able to make it feel like their own home. Ensure the property looks attractive; keep decor and furnishings neutral and fairly simple so they appeal to as many people as possible. We can advise you with decorating works and furnishings

  • Lighting: Spotlights in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas help to make a property look brighter and more appealing. In furnished properties, consider providing some table lamps to create a more homely atmosphere. Adequate lighting outdoors, often with the use of sensors, can be an important safety feature.
  • Living area: A comfy sofa which complies with fire regulations is a must.
  • Dining Room: A simple dining table and chairs.
  • Kitchen: You'll need a modern cooker, fridge/freezer or separate units, washer/dryer, and perhaps a microwave.
  • Bedrooms: Beds (complying to Fire and Furnishing regulations), wardrobe and chest of drawers/dressing table, bedside table and maybe bedside lights
  • Bathroom/shower room: Shaver point, wall cabinet, toilet roll holder and towel rail, stand-alone shower or one over a bath, mirror.
  • General Household equipment: not necessary but you could provide a vacuum cleaner/mop/brush

Why don't you book a free valuation with us for an idea of the kind of rental price your property could achieve.

Will you accept:

  • Pets?
  • Smoking?
  • Students?
  • Families?
  • DSS (housing benefits)?

For obvious reasons, you cannot discriminate on gender, race or disability

First impressions count and people often don't notice the small things, but they do notice when they're not there. We can help arrange services to keep your property clean and well-presented. Not only does it help to set the standard of the property, but a viewing is the only chance tenants have to envisage themselves in the space, so keeping it looking the part can help secure a fast let.

It's normal to receive an offer below asking price. Before rejecting it consider how long they are prepared to take the property for and their financial position. Perhaps the market has slowed and viewings are sparse, making a deal could minimise a void period. Remember you can counter-offer with a higher price or increase the minimum term on the tenancy agreement.

We take care of this starting with the viewing. We're able to get a feel of potential tenants as we chat, asking; why they're moving, who they're moving with, how long they want to rent for, where they currently live and what they do for living. If we like what we hear, they'll then have to submit:

  • Proof of identify and current address - photo ID and utility bills/bank statements
  • A work reference - their employer will be able to verify how much they earn and their length/terms of employment
  • Landlord references - from at least one previous landlord
  • Credit check

We have a legal obligation to carry out Right to Rent checks on all adults (aged 18+). This is regardless of what we believe their nationality to be and includes everybody who will live in the property even if they aren't named on a tenancy agreement. To establish this, we need to see their original ID (and visa if they need one to be in the UK) and take a copy within 28 days of granting a tenancy. Ongoing checks are completed, either annually or on the expiration of the visa, whichever is longer.

Alongside traditional deposit schemes, you may want to consider Zero Deposit. This is an insurance backed guarantee that's fully FCA regulated and offers the same protection as a traditional 6 week deposit. Disputes are resolved by the TDS and Zero Deposit guarantees to pay you within 2 working days of that decision. If you are interested, more details can be found at www.zerodeposit.com/landlords.

Deposits must be registered, by law, with a government deposit scheme. We use Deposit Protection Service (DPS) who make this hassle free and protect both you and your tenants when it comes to returning the deposit.

Want your property returned to you how you let it? Of course you do!

How do you do it? With an inventory. We create and maintain an inventory for you, complete with photos, to ensure everything is protected against damage or loss. The tenant will review it too within 7 days of moving in to agree the items conditions.

Our Gold Package offers six-monthly inspections on top of this to be sure any problems are nipped in the bud.

(If we manage your property, we take care of these for you)

  • Ensure that any necessary repairs and replacements are done. Touch ups are an added bonus and leaving the property clean and tidy makes it welcoming as well as setting a standard of upkeep
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order on move in day. It's also worth recording in the inventory
  • Check the Gas Safety Record and provide it to tenants on moving day
  • Check keys work and leave practical and contact instructions for your new tenants

(If we manage your property, we take care of these for you)

  • Extending the AST can be done with a simple rolling contract, under the terms of the original contract, with the tenant or landlord serving notice to end it or with a new contract with updated rent price etc. Otherwise, we would contact you two months prior to the tenancy end date and ask if you wish to renew your tenant tenancy we will also suggest any rental increases depending on the market at the time.
  • Ending the AST requires a full month's written notice from the tenant to allow for viewings and minimise void periods. Landlords must give two months minimum written notice to the tenant. This cannot be served within the first 4 months of the tenancy and at no point do you have the rights to remove a tenant by force.
  • Evicting a tenant is an exception and usually arises from a tenant's failure to pay the rent properly. A notice is served to advise the tenant of the problem and states a time frame for them to resolve the issue before the matter will be taken to court by the landlord.
  • Budget roughly 10% of the yearly rent to replace worn out furniture/fittings etc and factor in redecorating every few years
  • Maintenance and repair costs can be unexpected but arise for everyone
  • Buildings insurance including furniture (let your insurance company know it's a rental property) and as a professional landlord it can be worth considering public liability insurance
Has your property's value increased?