Letting and Property Management

By 2025 more than half of those under 40 will be living in properties owned by private landlords. These private landlords can range from experienced investors with large portfolio’s to an “unplanned lord” with one property and therefore their requirements are different and their approach to tenants may be different too.

The residential letting industry in the UK is massive now and, while the concept of renting a property is relatively simple, growing legislation and market demand, in an unregulated industry, means that there is a lot to consider before you put your home on the market.

Letting a home involves a complex series of tasks from deciding on the right rental income figure through to effective property marketing to management to move out.

Rental Valuation / Returns

You must have a realistic idea of what rental figure you can achieve. There are many ways to achieve this including a rental valuation, which most agents will provide for free, but it is recommended that you reach the figure using several methods to get a true idea of the market and achievable rent.

Once you have a rental figure then you need to deduct any costs that will be involved with the property like any marketing costs; maintenance costs; contracts; monthly fees etc and this will give you the net yield that you will achieve from your property.

Getting the property ready for marketing and tenants

You must ensure that your property meets health and safety regulations and that any required certification is in place. You must also make sure that you adhere to marketing regulations and provide the required certification and have the correct permissions to rent the property.

There are also many simple things that can be done, pre tenancy, to the property to make it a more attractive rental property and therefore assist with the successful and fast rental.

Marketing

There are many places that your property can be marketed and in the growing digital age, these are no longer limited to the large property portals dominated by agents. Realistic photos and truthful descriptions are vital but there are lots of new social media sites that can now be utilised.

Student and professional marketing can also be very different and there are different peak advertising periods and possibly different methods/ forums in different cities especially relating to the student market.

Lots of tenants (and landlords) are trying to avoid administration fees and the constraints of high street agents so new types of letting agent, marketing forums and structure to the industry are emerging.

Viewings

The viewing is the opportunity to present your property and “sell” it to the prospective tenant. There are rules to follow about access if the property is currently tenanted and lots of recommendations to ensure the property is presented well – declutter; viewing while the current tenant is in / out; viewings in the light; allow out of hour viewings etc. These are very simple techniques but failure to do them could result in a long marketing period.

Paperwork

The tenant referencing is one of the most important aspects of renting a property. Ensuring that you have good tenants who can pay the rent properly and look after the property should negate issues during the tenancy. There are a lot of firms offering the chance to outsource referencing which you must be very careful of as they will not support you if there are problems later on.

There are rules on paperwork in relation to the marketing and tenanting of the property. The latest change to legislation was Oct 2015 and the new rules are very strict and, failure to adhere will result in fines or serious issues with the tenancy and re possession of the property.

Property Safety

You have a legal responsibility to let a home that tenants can live in safely. Some of the legislation is specific like you must have a Gas Safety Certificate, smoke alarms and CO2 alarms in place, but some of it is more objective and it may be a good idea to get some advice on what are the best things to do to ensure a safe environment is provided.

Tenants Move in

Providing a comprehensive “Move in” service which includes how appliances work; when the bins are collected and any other useful pointers to living in the property should ensure that your tenants are happy and therefore look after the property better and potentially stay for longer.

A photographic and written inventory is a must, protecting both you and the tenant, and you must adhere to regulations regarding the inventory and also the deposit security if you take one.

Property Management

There will always be issues during a tenancy and these can range from broken appliances to unruly neighbours to pests to problems with rental payments. Reacting quickly to any problems normally means they can be contained and solved but remember that tenants believe that everything is an emergency and therefore clear communications and timescales explained to the tenant are vital.

Renewing a tenancy

There are rules that govern the type of tenancy and length and what needs to happen for possession or continuation of the tenancy. You must ensure that these are adhered to avoid mistakes that may result in being unable to remove the tenant. You must also be careful of the advice that you are being given by agents who command fees for renewals and fixed term contracts that you may not want if you were aware of your options.

Tenant Move out

Once notice has been given and accepted a “move out” appointment is recommended. This allows opportunity to check the property against the original inventory.

We recommend a “pre move out” check a few weeks before the tenant leaves as this means that if there is damage or problems then either the tenant can rectify before the final check or you can have time to make arrangement to rectify as soon as they do.

You should also check the property during the tenancy periodically so there should be no surprise work at the end of the tenancy that may delay a new tenant moving in, but remember there are rules that govern access that you must be aware of.

This is a short overview of the process and a few recommendations on how to avoid problems when renting out your property and how to maximise

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Using contractors to carry out works on behalf of landlords

In recent years, the UK property sector has undergone massive changes due to the massive increase in popularity of “buy to let.” Not only have many more people bought properties to rent out, but also a whole section of the economy based around various contracted-out tasks has seen the benefit. For landlords, there can be many positive reasons to use various contractors to do work on their behalf, but there are also some common pitfalls that must be avoided. Multiple properties For those with only one or even two properties, a “hands-on” approach can be a practical way to get things done. However, some people will not have the time to do everything necessary, and if you are lucky enough to have a growing portfolio of properties, then there comes a point when it is simply unrealistic to think you can manage everything on your own. What do contractors do?...
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Special Offer: Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Free P&P

  The lovely people at Corgi are giving away free carbon monoxide alarms. Did you know that each year in the UK, around 50 people die from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. 4,000 people go to A&E (Source: Gas Safety Trust) due to the effects of the gas and 200 are hospitalised (Source: NHS, 2014). Not a very nice statistic! As landlords from the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. You can register here for a free carbon monoxide alarm The new legislation states: A Carbon Monoxide alarm is required in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire, wood burning stove).  (a) a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and (b) checks...
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The Importance of Property Portfolio Insurance

Investing in property often involves years of hard work and canny decisions to build up a diverse and successful portfolio. Something so precious should not be left unprotected and vulnerable to loss or damage by the whims of fate. Property portfolio insurance offers a straightforward means of protecting ones assets against risk and loss and helps to provide peace of mind concerning ones future financial security. What is Property Portfolio Insurance? Property Portfolio Insurance is sometimes also known as Landlords Insurance and like any typical insurance, its primary purpose is to protect your hard earned assets from potential risks. The key benefit of this insurance is that multiple properties across an entire portfolio can be consolidated into one policy, making the organisational logistics more straightforward and simpler to manage. Different policies cover differing circumstances and there are certain criteria that must be met to qualify, depending on the chosen insurer. With...
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Landlords – Get Switched on NOW

Article by Paul Shamplina There are so many new changes in the world of buy-to-let, making it increasingly difficult for self-managing landlords to keep up with current legislation. The Deregulation Act, which introduced new regulations on 1st October 2015, means that landlords and agents arranging new tenancies or renewals after this date now have more obligations to contend with prior to commencement of a tenancy. A ‘How to Rent’ guide must be issued to tenants so that they understand their renting responsibilities.  Landlords must also provide up to date Gas Safety, Energy Performance and Smoke Alarm certificates, and ask tenants to sign receipt of these. My advice is to get this done at the same time as signing the tenancy agreement. If you fail to do so and the relationship with the tenant breaks down for any reason, a tenant may make it difficult for you to gain access, which...
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