Looking to let a property – your questions answered.
Letting a property can be potentially appear a complicated exercise, particularly if you are not experienced in the process. Here is a step by step guide written to ensure that the experience runs as smoothly as possible.
Obtain an up-to-date valuation
It is important that you understand the obligations placed upon you as a landlord. These apply whether you are planning to manage the property yourself or let it through a professional lettings agency. It is may prove useful to look at lettings agency websites and major portals such as Rightmove or On the market to establish the going rate for similar properties in your area. You then need to obtain an up-to-date valuation. Most agencies will provide these for free, but it is useful to get at least three valuations so that you have a realistic idea of what rental income your property can potentially achieve. It will also assist you in deciding which agency you would like to work with.
Choosing a lettings agency.
Set out below is an indication of what to look for in a letting agent:
- Does the agent have a good knowledge of local area, trends and rental prices?
- Does the agent have a proven track record of letting properties, in a time frame suitable to your needs?
- How many clients does the agent have on their books currently looking for the type of property that you are seeking to let?
- What are the agents opening hours? Do they open at weekends? Are they willing to arrange viewings out of hours or at weekends?
- On which websites or portals will they advertise your property?
- Which marketing methods do they use? These may include social media, email campaigns, newspaper advertising.
- Which mediums do they employ top promote your property? What type of images? Floor pans? Detailed descriptions?
- Does the agent employ a dedicated Property Manager to ensure that your property is managed to a high standard?
- Will they arrange for the Government required Energy Performance Certificate to be in place and ensure that any other legal requirements are complied with? These need to be arranged before your property can be placed on the market.
London Link has a team of experienced staff to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Placing your property on the rental market.
Once you have chosen which agent you are going to instruct, it is vital that you maximise the opportunity to fully market your property, at it’s best. This enhances your chances of an early let. Set out below are some helpful hints.
- You can only make a first impression once. How does the property look from the outside? Is the view from the street an attractive one? Does it look well maintained, clean and tidy?
- Clean the windows, tidy and trim hedges, mow the lawn, carry out weeding if necessary, ensure that any repairs are carried out, repaint if necessary. The overall aim at this stage is to make your property look as attractive as possible to potential tenants.
- Do you currently live in the property? If so ensure that the interior is always clean and tidy. Put things away such as laundry, washing up or general clutter.
- If the property is currently empty, consider visiting regularly, this will not only reassure you that all is well, but also affords an opportunity to remove mail, dust if necessary, open some windows for fresh air.
- Carry out any outstanding work, such as repainting or removing broken items.
- When repainting try to use light neutral colours, giving the room a clean, fresh, light appearance.
- Allow plenty of time before a photographer arrives to take images of the property. This way you can tidy up, maybe buy a bunch of flowers, but generally present your property in the best possible light.
When a potential tenant wishes to make an offer, they need to do it through the agent that you have selected to let your property. This can be done verbally, either by telephone or in person, or in writing, either by e mail or post. At this stage, any conditions around the offer must also be communicated to the lettings agents.
You do not have to accept any offer made. It is up to you to select the offer that best suits your requirements. You can discuss any concerns, and the options available with our team prior to making any commitment.
Once a let is agreed
- London Link will be responsible for the following.
- Providing written communication to all parties to confirm the rent, how regular the rent is paid, any conditions attached to the tenancy.
- Obtaining references in relation to the tenants and a guarantor if this is required.
- Supplying the tenancy agreement which all parties must read and sign.
- Collecting payments owed for the tenancy to start, these may include items such as the deposit and the first month’s rent. All deposits will be registered with a deposit protection scheme.
- Arranging for an independent company to complete an inventory. This will then be supplied to the landlord and the tenant, ensuring that both sides are satisfied with the document.
There are also a few tasks that you, as a landlord, will be responsible for.
- At the start of any new tenancy, you must ensure your new tenants have set up the necessary accounts and transferred names for providers of utilities. They must provide meter readings if requested by the utility companies.
- They will also need to set up accounts or transfer the names for telephone suppliers, council tax and TV licensing.
Once all the formalities are complete, you can arrange a moving day that is mutually convenient to all parties.
If a letting agent holds the keys to the property, you will need to instruct them to release these to the tenants on moving day.
If the property is to be managed by a property management service through the lettings agency, it is important the tenants are given the contact details.