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Landlord Checklist

Landlords here’s what you need to know - get the most value out of your property assets.

Landlord Checklist

Accurate market appraisal

Having confidence in your letting agent is vital.  We make a point of studying property values in our areas very closely and conducting market appraisals each week.  We will always provide you with evidence of how we arrived at an appraisal. As an experienced letting agent in Cheshire and the surrounding areas, our appraisals are based on our extensive local knowledge along with examples of what has recently been let in the area.

Choosing the right agent

The right agent will make a difference to how you enjoy the experience of renting your property.  We believe in jargon-free, plain English in setting out our terms and conditions.  You’ll get feedback and advice weekly. You’ll get personal, regular reviews on the marketing of your property and the progress of the let.  Our job is to find the right tenant and to protect your interests. We are members of the Property Ombudsman scheme.

Presenting your property

Decoration. We recommend that you keep all walls painted in a light, neutral colour. A new coat of paint prior to marketing the flat will always help it to look fresh and more welcoming.

Flooring. Carpets should be a neutral colour throughout. Wooden or high quality laminate floors are also a good option as they are durable, easy to clean and popular with tenants.

Common Hallways. If possible try to keep these clean and tidy as first impressions are always important.

Garden. If the property has a garden try to keep it well maintained and seasonally appropriate.

Overall. Try to keep clutter to a minimum in order to make rooms seem as spacious as possible. Make beds up fully, even if you are not planning on including the linen with the property. Ensure all lights are working to give the house/flat a light and airy feel. If renting out during the Winter months, make sure the heating is set to come on twice a day, as a cold flat is off-putting.

Furniture and Fittings

If your property is to be marketed as ‘fully furnished’ it would usually need:

Bedroom furniture. Including beds, wardrobes and chest of drawers.

Sitting/dining room furniture. Including sofa, armchair, dining table and chairs.

Kitchen. Including white goods and a set of crockery, cutlery and basic kitchen appliances (e.g. toaster, kettle). A large fridge/freezer is always preferable along with a washer/dryer rather than just a washing machine and also a vacuum cleaner (assuming the property is carpeted).

Marketing your property

With us your property will benefit from both online and offline marketing.  85% of our business is generated via the internet so our website appears on Rightmove, Primelocation, FindaProperty, Globrix and Zoopla.  We make it easy for tenants to see the benefits of your property with extra large photos, school catchment area information and helpful street views. We will prepare particulars, arrange professional photos to be taken and when required arrange an Energy Performance Certificate.

Energy Performance Certificates

New legislation introduced on 1st October 2008 requires all rental properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prior to the property being marketed.  We will be happy to arrange an EPC on your behalf. An EPC advises tenants about the energy performance of a building and the certificate resembles those certifcates now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. This information should be provided to all prospective tenants. All EPC’s come with a recommendation report and will advise on improvements you could make to save money and energy.  An EPC report is valid for 10 years.  There is a penalty for any property that is being advertised after the 1st October 2008 and does not have an EPC.  Please visit the Communities and Local Government Website: www.communites.gov.uk/epbd

Viewings

When we have applicants interested in viewing your premises we will accompany them for a viewing with keys provided by you, or arrange a mutually convenient appointment for them and us to meet you or your current tenant at the premises.

Receiving an offer

When an offer is made to us we will put this to you and guide you through any decision-making that may be necessary.  The offer will be confirmed in writing and once accepted, it is subject to contract and satisfactory references all of which will require your approval. 

References

When an applicant has put an offer on your property, J&H will take up references using an independent Referencing Company and, wherever possible, they will obtain a credit reference report checking the applicant’s financial standing, income and employment. We will also contact the previous landlord (if appropriate).  If the applicant passes the referencing procedure the references will be forwarded to you for approval. Once we have your written confirmation we will proceed with the let.

Proceeding with the let

Obtaining a Gas Safety Certificate, preparing an Inventory and booking a professional clean are required before the commencement of the tenancy. We can provide quotes and organise these on your behalf.

Tenancy agreement

For an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) we will provide you with a comprehensive, fully approved tenancy agreement.

Keys

One set of keys will be required for each tenant.  If we manage the property we will require a set of keys.

Deposit

We will hold the deposit under a fully approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) scheme and you will be provided with information about the scheme and a copy of the registration document. This deposit is held in a separate client account and is refundable to your tenant at the end of the tenancy once any deductions (if necessary) have been made. At the start of the tenancy we will carry out a fully inventory of the property to check the contents and decorative condition. The tenant and landlord will receive a copy of this report to sign and approve. At the end of the tenancy this document will be checked against the actual state of the property after the tenancy  leaves and any discrepancies will be highlighted in the Checkout report. This report will be sent to the tenant and landlord to agree any dilapidations that may be recorded.

Should there be a dispute and agreement cannot be reached the deposit is held in the TDS. The landlord and tenant will be able to apply to the TDS in order to reach a conclusion and arrange the return of the deposit.  Further information on this can be found at www.thedisputeservice.co.uk

Safety regulations

Furniture and furnishings. The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1997 require the cover fabric and filling material of the upholstered furniture be made of fire resistant material and be able to pass the “smoldering cigarette” and “match flame” resistance test and carry a label confirming this. Most furniture made after 1990 is compliant with these regulations and has the appropriate labels permanently affixed to these items.

The regulations apply to:

  • Sofas, armchairs. cushions, seat pads and bean bags.
  • Beds, padded headboards, mattresses and pillows, convertible sofa beds, and futons.
  • Loose and stretch covers for upholstered furniture.
  • Nursery furniture and garden furniture suitable for outdoor use.

Furniture exempt from the regulations include:

  • Antique furniture or furniture made prior to 1950.
  • Carpets and curtains.
  • Pillow cases, duvets, bed linen and loose covers for mattresses.
    Any item not complying should be removed from the property prior to the commencement of a tenancy.

Gas

It is a criminal offence to let a property with gas appliances, installation and pipe-work that have not been checked by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. No tenancy can commence until we are in receipt of a valid Gas Safety Certificate. The Gas Safety Regulations Act 1994 applies to all gas appliances and equipment including mains, propane or calor gas.

It requires that:

The landlord must have a check carried out prior to the commencement of the tenancy by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer qualified to work on the specific type of appliances and systems.

The check will relate to:

  • Adequate ventilation and fleece
  • Operating pressures
  • Heat output
  • Flame combustion
  • Escape of gas or dangerous fumes
  • Any obvious defects

Where appropriate, the provision of adequate instructions for use of equipment or appliances. A copy of the gas certificate must be given to the tenant.

Electricity

You have an obligation to ensure that any items supplied as part of a property letting are “safe” and comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

You are responsible for providing instruction books for all items of electrical equipment and for ensuring that all electrical appliances within the premises comply with the above regulations.  You should also ensure that all electrical installations are safe and have been checked regularly.

Equipment deemed to be unsafe includes defects such as:

  • Badly frayed or damaged insulation
  • Old or exposed wires, poorly fitted or cracked plugs
  • Scorch marked or badly damaged sockets
  • Plugs without sleeved insulated pins

Anything identified as being potentially unsafe should be replaced immediately with equipment complying with BS and EC standards.

Taxation

As a landlord, you will be liable for tax on rental income and you must inform the Inland Revenue that you are letting the premises. There are a number of allowances that you can claim against on your rental income. You should seek advice on these allowances from your accountant or from the Inland Revenue website which can be accessed on www.hmrc.gov.uk. You must also keep all your invoices for six years for tax purposes.

Taxation for Overseas Landlords

The Inland Revenue has special rules regarding the collection of tax on rental income if you are a landlord who is resident overseas, or you subsequently move abroad. If this is the case it is your responsibility to obtain a tax approval number from the Inland Revenue. The relevant form and guidance notes can be down loaded from www.hmrc.gov.uk. Until the Inland Revenue gives the approval number to us we are legally obliged to deduct tax from your rental income at the prevailing rate that is currently 20%. This money is forwarded to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis. If the tenant pays you direct and he has not received approval from the Inland Revenue to pay the rent gross he must deduct tax and forward that to the Inland Revenue on your behalf. No person is exempt from this scheme.

After two failed attempts with local estate agents, over 18 months, I put my house on the market with Jordan Halstead. They sold it in less than an hour. This is a first class estate agent, they kept me informed at all stages of the sale, and I appreciate all they did for me. They even sold the house belonging to the people who bought mine.
Alfred Gilzean via Google
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