Keep it clean
If your property is clean, tidy and has a reasonable standard of decoration it will be more attractive to good quality tenants and easier to achieve a good level of rent. Light , neutral decoration is best, which is easy to maintain
To furnish or not to furnish
Property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Unfurnished tends to appeal to a wider audience. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings.
It is a false economy to choose the cheapest letting agent if it doesn't adequately credit check the tenant/s or use the correct documentation. Remember that letting agent fees are tax deductible so you should be choosing on best service and ability to maximise the rental achieved with strong marketing.
Why getting warranties on white goods is important
Put electrical appliances and boilers under extended warranty and choose a letting agent that can offer you access to emergency repair services with approved contractors. This avoids the issue of not being able to get things fixed quickly. You want to avoid tenants stopping paying the rent because of delayed repairs; under The Landlords & Tenants Act (1985) there are certain areas where tenants may be able to withhold rental payments.
Provide good information
You should provide details of emergency phone numbers in a tenant's handbook which could also give details on how to use the household appliances, how the boiler and heating is operated and details regarding the local authority, such as the amount of council tax payable, car parking, and when refuse and recycling is collected.
What to expect from your agent with viewing feedback
Feedback from viewings and potential tenants are, in most cases, honest, valuable and up to date. Your property will not be everyone's cup of tea, but be open minded to their comments - and if the same things keep being mentioned then it could be time to make a change. It's often the simple things that make the biggest difference.
Properly protect your investment
You must inform your insurance company of any proposed letting as your cover and or premiums may be affected. Failure to tell your insurers might mean they refuse to pay any subsequent claim. You will need to ensure that your policy covers you for third party/ public liability so that you are covered for claims against you following accidents etc. due to defects at your property
Make sure you get an inventory?
A suitably detailed Inventory (Schedule of Condition) for the property and its contents is absolutely essential. The inventory should be provided to the ingoing tenants on the commencement date of their tenancy. Ideally the tenants should check, sign and return a copy of the Inventory to confirm their agreement with it. Without a good inventory a landlord is, legally, in a very vulnerable position if he subsequently tries to deduct money from a tenants deposit for alleged damages.
Tell your lender that you are letting your property?
If you have a mortgage bond or loan on the property you must inform your lender in advance of any letting and, in some cases, get their consent. If you do not do this you may breach your mortgage bond conditions with potentially serious consequences.
I have been massively impressed with Castle’s service over the past few months. They have been exactly what I wanted in an estate agency, consultative, knowledgable about the local market and wider UK housing trends, honest and hard working… I couldn’t recommend then highly enough- Ricky Yates