Guide to letting a property

Our expert letting really understand the lettings market and know that whether you're a first time landlord, or have rented out properties before, getting that property marketed and let, whilst ensuring everything is legally compliant, can be a minefield. With this in mind, we put together our Guide to Letting a Property, arming you with all of the information you need to let a property, from getting that first valuation and choosing an agent, all the way to your new tenant moving in. Guides resources and advice created to help you let in the quickest time, with the least hassle and for the best price.

Letting with a mortgage

In most cases, a buy-to-let purchase is done with a buy-to-let mortgage. This is commonplace, but if you wish to let a property that has an existing owner-occupier mortgage, make sure you receive consent from your lender and insurance provider.

Income v Expenses

Income

The main reason you will probably be considering investing in property is to make money. There are two main ways in which you can do this via buy-to-let, the rent itself from the tenants, and through capital gain of the property value. 

You must consider that through turbulent times, it is possible to lose money if the value of your property decreases, you have long void periods or your outgoing are higher than the rent received. There are financial risks involved so it's worth speaking to an agent about this risk before going ahead. 

Expenses

As with any property purchase there are a range of fees associated with your property purchase you must factor into your budget:

  • Stamp Duty
  • Property Survey
  • Legal Costs
  • Valuation (lender)
  • Mortgage fees
  • Income tax 

As well as those fees paid largely up front before your purchase, you must also consider the ongoing charges you'll have to bear as the landlord:

  • Our fees (fully managed service)
  • Interest on your mortgage
  • Insurance
  • Safety checks
  • Maintenance
  • Rent insurance

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

What is a HMO?

A property is considered a House in Multiple Occupation if: 

  • The property is occupied by five or more people
  • Those people share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom
  • Can form two or more households regardless of number of storeys

What are your responsibilities?

As well as your statutory legal responsibilities as a landlord you must ensure:

  • Electrics are checked every 5 years
  • The property should not be overcrowded
  • Adequate cooking and washing facilities
  • Communal areas and shared areas clean and in good condition
  • Smoke detectors installed

Full HMO regulations can be read here.

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Choosing the right agent for you

There are several things to consider when choosing an agent to value your home and attract the best possible tenants for you. We take great pride in not only meeting but exceeding our Landlords expectations. Choosing a letting agent to either manage your property, or find your tenants, is an important first step, and we recommend starting this research early as there are several different options.

Before booking your valuation you should make sure you find the agent, you believe, can do the best job for you.

Create a shortlist of letting agents

It helps if you can get the list of agents you have to choose from down to three, then invite them out to do a valuation. To do this you should:

·       Ask trusted friends and family – nothing is more powerful than someone you know offering their recommendation from recent experience

·       Compare local agents based on their recent reviews online. After friends and family, other consumers are your next best point of reference

We encourage our lettings agents to work towards their HNQ qualifications from our Hunters Training Academy as well as being members of safeagent (National Approved Letting Scheme) and ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) reassuring you that your money is in safe hands. A rental valuation on your property will help determine the appropriate rent to charge your future tenants.

Our letting agents take these specific factors into consideration when valuing your property to let:

  • Who will rent out your property? i.e. students, couples, corporates or families.
  • Will it be furnished, part furnished or unfurnished?
  • Current state of repair and any works needed
  • Internal decoration – is it presented at its best?
  • Proximity to shops, transport links and schools
  • Is your property type in demand locally and will this change in the future?
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Choosing the right service for you 

Once you’ve chosen your agent, you need to consider how much involvement do you want with your property, tenant, rent collection and maintenance?

Our lettings services are set out in three categories, Fully Managed, Rent Collect and Tenant Find. 

For details on what each service covers, please see the table below.

Our premium Fully Managed product “Inspire Pro” includes all of the above, and:

·       Monthly rent paid for up to a maximum value equivalent to six months

·       Cover provided for breaches of the tenancy agreement by the tenant, including non-payment of rent and expired section 21 notices

·       Legal expenses up to £50,000 to cover eviction costs if the tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement

·       No policy excess meaning your rental payments are covered straight away

We always recommend taking this product, protect you, your investment and don’t take any risks.

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Marketing your property effectively

We want to help you find the perfect tenant who is in a great position to rent your property. We know that there are 3 key factors for landlords:
•    Getting you a quick let
•    Achieving the best price
•    Peace of mind that your property investment is in good hands.
Once the terms have been signed we will:
1.    Instantly prepare your property details, complete with photographs, EPCs and floor plans and advertise your property on the major property portals including Rightmove and Zoopla
2.    We will upload your property to our website. Your property has 3 seconds to make an impression online. We will make sure your property is presented in the best possible way.
3.    Contact our 'Hot Tenants' via phone and email and arrange viewings. We will ask you to share your live property link with your friends and contacts via social media.
You will also be given access to the My Hunters Landlord Portal, where you can follow the progress of your property let, track viewing feedback, access shared documents and see key dates for renewals plus much more.
We make sure your property meets the correct legal safety standards (certified gas inspections) as well as keeping up to date with UK legislations. If there is a possible upcoming change, we make sure this is communicated to our landlords.

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Receiving offers and preparing for your tenants

Our letting agents like to accompany the prospective tenants to view your property so we can point out the great potential it has and how it can suit them, however you do have the option of hosting the viewing yourself. As part of the service we offer, our letting agents can negotiate an agreeable offer between you and the prospective tenant and make sure we get the best possible price for you.

Once this is all agreed and your property is LET, what we will do:

  • Credit referencing of the tenant
  • Prepare inventory with photos
  • Prepare Tenancy Agreement
  • Prepare standing order
  • Arrange a Gas Safety Certificate
  • Ensure the property is ready for the tenant to move in.
  • Getting the property ready for your tenants
  • Gas and electric appliances

At the start of the tenancy you should provide a gas safety certificate. If you do not provide this you cannot evict a tenant using a Section 21 notice. 

It is recommended that all applicances are checked every 5 years and it is recommended you carry out regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on any appliances you provide for the tenant. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Regulation is now in place which requires all landlords to have at least one smoke alarm on each storey. 

These must be working and in addition to this, any rooms with a solid fuel appliance (wood stove) you should also install Carbon Monoxide alarms. 

On the first day of the tenancy, you must check these alarms; after that, the responsibility to check regularly lies with the tenant until their tenancy is over. 

Energy efficiency
Legally, you must have an Energy Performance Certificate registered to the propeerty. In April 2018, regulation came in that meant a legal property must have a rating of E or above.

You must provides tenants with your EPC as early as possible and tenants can ask permission to improve the energy performance of your property and you cannot refust consent. If the tenant is responsible for paying the energy bills, they can choose to have a smart meter installed. 

Water safety
As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenants to make sure your water supply is working properly to protect them from Legionella.

Furniture
There are three ways in which a property can be furnished when a tenant moves in:

  • Unfurnished: This doesn't mean leaving the property empty. Usually curtains, carpets and certain white goods will be included such as a fridge and cooker.
  • Part furnished: Part furnished will usually include curatins, carpets, specific white goods and larger items such as wardrobes, beds, dining table and chairs.
  • Fully furnished: This means the property is ready for move in. The specifics of what winn and will not be included is down to the landlord and tenant to negotiate. 
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Setting up the tenancy & Move in

The Paperwork

The first thing you must do is provide your tenant with a tenancy agreement. We recommend you use our agreement but you may draw up your own, with professional advice. 

Tenants should be given good chance to read and understand the terms of the tenancy, before agreeing to sign.

You should consider who is responsible for utility bills and council tax. In most cases, the tenant will pay for this, but it must be made clear in the agreement. 

Move in

The service level you have chosen will determine how much contact you will have with the property and the tenants once they have moved in. We can offer a Fully Managed service which will help minimise your workload as much as possible.

For a smooth move in process we recommend a neutral decor throughout, the removal of all your personal belongings, leaving instruction manuals for appliances and placing picture hooks for your tenants to use.

During the tenancy period, whatever the length of the tenancy, you have a responsibility to keep the property well maintained and in working order, fit for habitation in line with the Homes Act 2018 and ensure you arrange regular, annual gas safety checks.

You are now a landlord, letting a property for the first time. Congratulations! Get in touch with your local agent to get started.

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Did you find our guide useful?

If you're an existing landlord, or considering letting your property for the first time, we can help