Landlords here’s what you need to know – get the most value out of your property assets
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 every week, and we 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 really make a difference to how much you enjoy the experience of renting out your property. We believe in jargon-free, plain English when setting out our terms and conditions. You’ll get feedback and advice from us weekly, as well as personal, regular reviews on the marketing of your property and the progress of the let. Our job is to find the right tenant for you, and to protect your interests. We are also members of the Property Ombudsman scheme, to help provide you with peace of mind.
Presenting Your Property
Presenting your Property
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, understandably, off-putting to potential tenants.
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 sofas, armchairs, and a dining table and chairs.
Kitchen furniture and appliances, including white goods, a set of crockery, cutlery and basic kitchen appliances such as a toaster and kettle. A large fridge/freezer is always preferable along with a washer/dryer, rather than just a washing machine. If the property is carpeted, you should also include a vacuum cleaner.
Marketing your property
With us your property will benefit from both online and offline marketing. 85% of our business is generated online, so we have a strong presence 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 for professional photos to be taken and when required arrange an Energy Performance Certificate, to give potential tenants the best first impression of your home.
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 are happy to arrange an EPC on your behalf. An EPC advises tenants about the energy performance of a building and the certificate resembles certificates 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 you on improvements you could make to save money and energy. An EPC report is valid for 10 years, and there is a penalty for any property advertised after the 1st October 2008 and does not have an EPC. Please visit the Communities and Local Government Website for more information.
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.
When an applicant has put an offer on your property, J&H will take up references using an independent referencing company and, wherever possible, will obtain a credit reference report checking the applicant’s financial standing, income and employment. We will also contact the tenants 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.
We will hold the deposit under a fully approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). We will provide you 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 full inventory of the property to check the contents and decorative condition. The tenant and landlord will both 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 tenant 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.
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, 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 Includes:
Any item not complying should be removed from the property prior to the commencement of a tenancy.
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. This act 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:
A copy of the gas certificate must also be given to the tenant.
- 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.
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:
Anything identified as being potentially unsafe should be replaced immediately with equipment complying with BS and EC standards.
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.
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 your rental income. You should seek advice on these allowances from your accountant or from the Inland Revenue website. 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 if 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 downloaded 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 (currently 20%). This money is forwarded to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis. If the tenant pays you directly and they have not received approval from the Inland Revenue to pay the rent gross, they must deduct tax and forward that to the Inland Revenue on your behalf. No person is exempt from this scheme.
Get in touch
Contact our team today and enquire about our free valuation & find out how much your home is worth.