2. Insurance and Licensing
The last thing you need is for your tenant to burn down the property and your insurance to refuse to pay. Advise your home insurance company immediately before letting.
Also depending upon the area your property to let is, size and layout you may need a license with the council. Councils will have in place selective licensing ranging from areas to just streets. Also should you decide to split your property into bedsits, HMO, flats etc then a HMO license maybe required. If unsure check with your local council.
Remember you may want public liability insurance. If you perform your own viewing, inspections, tighten a door handle then any accident could be made to be at your fault.
Elite can help and advise you of where selective licensing is placed and when HMO licenses are required. e can also help you fufill your license requirement to optimize your rental income.
We also have our own Public Liability Insurance protecting us from claims and not putting you at risk.
1. Permission on your Mortgage.
If your property is on a mortgage always get the permission off your lender first. Advise them of your wish to let and discuss the best options. This maybe the time to shop around and maybe even release some equity for a second property.
4. Fire Precautions
Your type of letting will decide what fire precautions are needed and where. This varies on number of floors, bedsits or flats, number of tenants and whether the amenities are shared. Get this wrong and best case you get a fine and slap on the wrist, worst case and a life is lost and could mean your imprisonment. The council and/or fire officer will be able to give you the information and record everything.
Items to consider
Fire resistant construction throughout the exit
Fire fighting equipment
Heat and smoke detection
Fire doors and smoke seals
Thumb turn locks
At Elite we recommend using the nationally recognised LACORS guidance to provide you with the correct information in regards to what is required at each of your properties. We can work with you to help design the system (all at no additional cost). Also our team can install everything from fire blankets to Grade A systems.
3. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS protect yourself
As a landlord the impression is you are a greedy, profit making machine with no care to your tenants. With these blame and claim companies consistently prospecting and approaching your tenants, proving you manage your properties safely and pro-actively goes a big way to covering you legally.
At any property you let (ideally purchase to let), perform an initial in-depth property inspection and fire risk assessment to give you a clear picture of the risks and likely hood of these risks and action as appropriate. This provides you big savings in the long run.
At Elite we provide this service FREE for every property you introduce with a copy of risk assessment and Property Inspection provided for yourself, and one on file for us.
8. Periodic Inspections
Once the tenant is in it is very important for your to inspect your let property regular and keep contact with your tenant. Obviously there is a line and the last thing you want is a harassment suit from your tenant. However regular inspection allows you to save and make money.
Regular inspections ensure that any possible damage within the property can be repaired quickly before escalating to a much bigger job.
It allows you to keep a steady contact with your tenant which has shown to improve your relations and therefore reduce un-necessary voids.
It will highlight negligant tenants allowing you to act faster and meaning the tenant can usually correct such behaviour if it has only just started.
You can start eviction proceeding earlier should the need arise minimzing further property damage .
Some letting (example licensed HMO's) require regular inspections and tenant interviews to maintain the license.
We suggest quarterly is usually acceptable and record all your property letting inspections with photographs if necessary.
At Elite we perform your letting inspections every three months, all fully documented with photographic evidence. We follow up with both the tenant and yourselves with reports detailing where changes may need to be made. We also conduct tenant interviews on all your HMO Lettings and keep records should they be needed.
5. Gas Safety and Electrical Inspections
All properties to let should have an annual gas safety certificate with a copy provided to the tenant. This should be perfomed by a Gas Safe (the new CORGI) engineer.
You have a duty to ensure electrical wiring is safe and any appliances provided are safe to use for your tenants. Any electrical work should be undertaken to building regulations Part P. Any appliance in shared areas will need Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).
We have both Gas Safe and qualified Electricians to undertake any inspections and remedial work. We arrange these for you to ensure your covered.
6. Energy Performance Certificate and Duty of Disclosure
Since October 1st 2008 you must provide any potential tenants with a copy of the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This shows the energy efficiency of the letting, and without it a tenant could have grounds to leave within their Tenancy period (leaving you with empty pockets).
Also since October 2013 new rules came into effect regarding the advertising and disclosing of your property.
The following should now be taken into consideration to avoid legal action against you.
Any addtional fees you wish to charge for administration work, referencing, inventories etc must be either dispalyed in the advert or within a link they can be easily accessed by any potential tenant.
You must now disclose anything that maybe deemed relevant to potential tenants. Although this is not specified it is best to be honest and upfront to avoid expensive litigation.
Elite can arrange EPC on your behalf and ensure all tenants and potential tenants receive a copy. We also advertise all our fees and comply with new trading standards.
7. Tenancy Agreements, Inventories and Deposits
Although you legally do not need Tenancy agreements, Inventories and take deposits these allow you some retribution should things go all wrong.
Firstly a well drafted tenancy agreement (in most cases an Assured Tenancy Agreement or AST) will stipulate both responsibilites of the tenant and landlord. It highlight what you expect of your property and give you much more power in the courts should you have to look at eviction.
Inventories are written, photographed and even video documentation of the condition of both the property and it's provided contents when the tenant moved in. The inventory should be signed by both landlord and tenant and any photo/video evidence date stamped.
Deposits can be taken in the case of damage to the property, leaving the property with utility arrears (i.e gas bill) and to collect any rent arrears after the tenant has left. Any deposit taken should be paid into a scheme and not kept in your bank account.
As part of our management package we use concise AST agreements that cover all circumstances. We perform inventories both at the beginning and end of any tenancy period.
All our deposits currently reside with The Depost Protection Service (DPS) as required by the Property Omnibudsman
We have not discussed referencing of tenants in this section but click here for more information.
Knowing is half the battle, and can be very daunting when you first start out. Below is a guide to some of the things you need to consider when letting out your home. Every situation is different so in some places I have generalised but at least it will help to get you started.
Remember our Elite Managing package covers all of this, so if it seems to much to take in, or to much time them let me help. If you have any questions on either section (even if you want to try it on your own, then again gve me a call).