When it comes to investing, it will hardly come as a surprise to learn that increasing numbers of people are opting for bricks and mortar. After all, many stock market options carry significant risk and in the current climate, they can be very unappealing.
As such, if you’re one of the many that have decided to dip your toe in the water with investing in property, the team at Hunters Northfield have taken the time to put this short guide together for you. That way, when the time comes to fill in the paperwork, you’ll find the whole process a little easier to fathom.
We’ve included the two main documents and some guidance on current property prices in the area. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact and we’ll be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.
Your starting point will often be the tenancy agreement. This legally binding document must be signed by each party and with list all the conditions of the let.
While there are a number of types of tenancy agreement, the most utilised is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement or AST. The document will list all relevant aspects such as commencement date, length of agreement and the date rent should be paid.
Despite the name ‘short tenancy’ the agreement does not restrict the length of the tenancy to a specific period. In reality, the agreement can be for as long as both parties are happy, with the only condition being that any period over 3 years must have an accompanying document written by a solicitor.
Again, there is no specific minimum period other than to add that the tenant has the legal right to stay in the property for a term of no less than 6 months. If you then decide you’d like the tenant to vacate the property, you will be required to give 2 months’ notice to the occupier.
The most important information that the AST will contain includes the following:
Landlord’s full name
Tenant’s full name
Address of property
The date when the tenancy will commence
The duration of the tenancy
The amount of rent payable, including details of how and when it should be paid
What other payments are expected of the tenant, including utilities bills and Council Tax
This document pertains to the contents of the property and the condition that the property and its contents are in. If you are letting a furnished property you should list every item in the property.
Once the document is complete it is important to go through each item with the tenant to ensure you are in agreement before signing. You should then both retain a copy for reference should there be any disputes or damage to your property when the tenant vacates the premises.
While certain damage may come under wear and tear, such as reasonable wear on the carpet, it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that when the tenancy is over and the keys are returned, everything is in the condition it was when the tenancy began.
Most landlords will require a deposit when letting their property and this is to be expected. The deposit has a dual purpose. Should the tenant vacate the property with any rent arrears, the landlord will have the deposit to fall back on. And secondly, in the event that the tenant leaves the property in need of extensive cleaning or in need of repairs, there is sufficient funds to cover unexpected costs.
As the landlord, it is your responsibility to provide a receipt for any deposit paid, clearly stating the purpose of the deposit.
It may come about that due to any of the reasons given above, you feel that it is justified to retain part of the deposit. If this is the case, you should notify the tenant as soon as is reasonably possible stating the reasons you are withholding money. You should also include receipts for any quotes or payments that you have made for work that has been carried out.
If you are happy with everything at the end of the tenancy, you should return the deposit within a reasonable time. This should be within one month.
For further information on providing health and safety documentation see our Lettings Guide.
Property Prices in Northfields
The current average house price in the Northfields is £720K
By property type, the average values of Harrogate houses break down like this: