People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether Investors, Companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment. Here’s our guide to letting a property!
Where to start? - find a local agent, they will know the right rental price, the demands within the area and the kind of tenant you can expect to interest based on their comprehensive knowledge of the local area. Having served the area since 1994 Woodland are well placed to give you the right guidance.
Look for an agent who is registered with a nationally recognised network, such as The Guild of Property Professionals, who offers training for lettings agents. As a carefully selected member Woodland is judged to have exceeded The Guild’s exacting Membership criteria. An expert in the local market place we adhere to the very highest professional standards, operating to a strict code of conduct.
Decide what price to let it for – it can be hard to work out what price to put it on for. Woodlands will give you a realistic Letting price. Most estate agents will add 5 – 10% on top of your properties achievable amount to gain wiggle room for offers. Along with a fair commission rate, Woodlands will give you our honest opinion on how long we believe your property will take to sell judging by researching the market.
You may decide to get a number of estate agents to do valuations. We will always approach New Vendors or Landlords with a genuine and honest approach. The last thing you would want to do is over value your Property and leave it empty on the market for months on end.
Prepare your property - Letting a well-presented property will mean the tenants treat it with more respect. Interiors should be fresh and neutral colours and carpets plain. Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality.
An unfurnished property avoids the need for additional maintenance/replacement. If you furnish however, make sure you give everything one needs for daily life. Ensure the exterior is in good seasonal order when it is let, this lets the tenant know how you want the garden to be maintained. Check your security measures are up to date (alarm system, window locks & doors).
Do the appliances work and have you got your manuals, does your property meet the legal safety requirements? Above all else Let the property in a clean condition and have it professionally cleaned, it sets a benchmark for the future.
Instruct Woodland - The house is now ready for viewings and we have a clear plan of action. Time to instruct Woodland, once contracts have been signed and agreed and we have taken care of compliance this is where our work really begins. Woodlands will visit your Property where our in-house photographers will politely direct you in where to tidy and which angles they need to get the best possible shots for Marketing.
We will then prepare high quality property particulars for your approval whilst ensuring the property has an Energy Performance Certificate. We will also give you access to our exclusive Landlords Portal where you can track your property’s marketing response, viewings with feedback and offers.
We will begin our marketing campaign and contact suitable tenants. Each and every potential viewer will be carefully screened and selected prior to recommending them for viewing.
We often get asked whether one should be present at a viewing or not. We always say do what makes you feel comfortable. Let the applicant view the property in their own way, that way you make them feel welcome in what could be their next home.
Accept an offer - You’ve received an offer – hooray! Woodlands are legally required to pass all offers on to you, however near or far from the asking rent. You can be assured that we will have financially verified any offer before bringing it your attention.
If you are not happy with it, you can either reject it outright, wait to see if a better offer comes along or request that we negotiate it upwards. Once you are happy with an offer, you need to formally accept it. You should then instruct us to take the property off the market. At this stage your Landlords Portal changes will then include details of your upcoming tenancy whilst we apply for references and conduct background checks
The final stages of the let would consist of preparing and agreeing contracts, taking balance funds, checking the property prior to move in and preparing the property for move in.
The Move In – With references passed and contracts agreed it is time to get the property ready for handover. Woodland will make sure a cleaner has been arranged, prepare keys and book the inventory whilst ensuring the property is suitable for handover.
Whether furnished or unfurnished, have an inventory carried out, this documents everything from carpets to sofas and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few.
On the day of the move we will even see to any last minute hiccups that occur (the unexpected can and usually does find a way of cropping up!).
Tenancy Management – Letting your property is as much about finding the right person as it is looking after them! Remember you bought the property as an investment, but it is also the tenant's home – try to distance yourself. Respect their privacy and give them fair warning before you visit, if you need to.
Be organised and document everything rather than have verbal agreements. If you’re managing the property yourself, create contingency plans for when you’re on holiday. In a non-urgent situation, how should the tenant contact you? If you want them to call you, do you have ‘office hours’ or a telephone number to call in an emergency?
Set out any policies you have in writing and prepare for the unforeseen. For example, if the rent is overdue are there penalties? If they need a plumber urgently who should they call? It’s all about your tenants: be efficient when it comes to maintenance and get things fixed as soon as possible. This is the most valuable quality you can have as a landlord.
You may not always have the time to see to all of these items, our Management Service can take care of all the above for you giving you peace of mind. For complete peace mind of ask about our Rent Guarantee insurance!
Regulations & Compliance - Whilst renting a property there are certain obligations which must be adhered to as per current legislation. It also crucial you know your responsibilities and legal requirements:
- You must provide a safe space which is free from hazards.
- All gas and electrical equipment should be safely installed and maintained.
- You need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate.
- Use a government-approved tenant’s deposit scheme.
- Check your tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
- Fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
- Follow fire safety regulations for property in purpose-built blocks of flats or houses adapted into flats.
- For a full and detailed list of your responsibilities, visit the government website to find out what each of these means in detail (https://www.gov.uk/browse/housing-local-services/landlords).
- Get your tenancy agreement checked by a solicitor and/or your letting agent. It needs to be legal to protect you.
- Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider/Freeholder (if the property is leasehold).
- Do you have the right insurance in place? In the event of a flood or fire, the right insurance could include re-housing tenants. It can also cover repairing your boiler, or replace keys if they are stolen. This will cover some of the big responsibilities that may arise when letting a property.
- The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue are apt to deal harshly with Landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified Accountant.