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Landlords

 

We have put together a collection of useful information to enable you to be fully informed before renting out your property.

 

Consent to let

If your freehold property is owned outright then there won’t be any problem with letting it out to tenants but if it is leasehold you will need to check the conditions of your lease and obtain permission to sub-let. If you have a mortgage on your freehold property you may need to obtain permission to let it out from your lender.

Insurance

Your buy-to-let property needs to be insured as do its contents as per your Tenancy Agreement. Let your insurance company know that you are letting the property and check that you are complying with whatever conditions they impose and that they cover you for letting.

Bills

Your tenants will be responsible for utility bills (gas, electricity, telephone and water) and council tax during their tenancy but if you want to make any exceptions or additions these should be itemised in the Tenancy Agreement.

Inventories

At the start of each tenancy agreement a detailed inventory needs to take place to protect you and your tenants because at the end of the term, all property and contents need to be returned in the same condition (apart from expected wear and tear) so there needs to be a record at the start.

Property Management

Marcus Associates Ltd are justly proud of our property management service which takes care of day to day problems such as broken showers, leaks, repairs and those minor inconveniences which require visits to the property, liaising with tenants, quotes and payment. We have access to a wide range of reliable and reasonably priced tradesmen who can be called upon at short notice.

We can also negotiate end of tenancy claims so that you can benefit from favourable contents and building insurance rates.

Improvements

It always pays to keep your property in the best possible condition and our specialist refurbishment team have years of experience and knowledge in this area. We can advise you on how to keep your property in tip-top condition where you will maximise its rental potential whether you own a studio flat or a six bedroom house. This ranges from simple advice to a full project management service with access to contractors and materials.

Lease extension / Buying the Freehold

You may want to extend the lease on your buy-to-let property and recent legal changes now mean that you can buy an extension of 90 years or combine with other leaseholders to buy the freehold. Let our experts advise you on the prices and options. We can also negotiate the price on your behalf or source any other professional services you may require.

Fire

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and the subsequent amendments

It is your responsibility to check that the soft furnishings, beds, mattresses, pillows, cushions, headboards, loose and stretch covers for furniture and seat pads provided in the property comply with the regulations which you can find here.  Note that the following items are not included: curtains, carpets, bed linen, duvets and furniture manufactured before 1950.

Anything purchased new after March 1st 1990 will have a label attached to it to state that it complies. If there is no label, remove it.

Gas

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

It is your responsibility to check that all gas appliances; boilers, cookers, gas fires and associated pipework and flues are kept in fine working order and checked yearly by a registered Gas Safe engineer. You should give your tenants a copy of the gas safety record within a month of the check taking place. You need to keep a copy of it for two years.

We require all properties let by us to be given a safety check before the start of the tenancy and checked annually as per current legislation.

Electrical appliances

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

It is your responsibility to check that all electrical wiring, installations and appliances in the property are safe. To ensure that they comply they will need to be regularly checked and serviced by a qualified electrical engineer. This can be arranged by Marcus Associates Ltd on your behalf. At present there is no legal requirement to prove that this has been done we strongly recommend to landlords that these be on-going and current. Properties managed by us will be required to have a Portable Appliance test (PAT) carried out annually.

Smoke alarms

By law, all properties built after June 1992 have to have mains - operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms on every floor. We recommend that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors/alarms be fitted to all properties regardless of their age.

Tax

Marcus Associates Ltd offers a complete financial service covering the many issues associated with letting property.

Here are some of the main tax issues to consider

Regardless of where you live, the profit you make from property let out in the UK is subject to UK tax. The income and expenses are declared through the Self-Assessment tax return and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for each legal owner of the property and tax calculated on an individual basis.

If you live outside the UK (for 6 months or more) you will need to apply to HMRC to receive your rent without tax deducted under the Non- Resident Landlord Scheme otherwise we will have to deduct tax at the basic rent from the rent you receive and pass this on to the HMRC. If your property is owned in joint names both of you need to apply .You can download the relevant form here

Tenancy Deposit Protection

Since 6th April 2007 deposits collected from a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy have to be held by the landlord or agent in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. In the case of Marcus Associates Ltd this is administered by the Deposit Protection Service.

EPC

Energy Performance Certificates

Since 1st October 2008, all rental properties have to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which gives a rating for energy efficiency and environmental impact on your property using a scale from A to G. New tenants need to see this EPC at the start of their tenancy. Marcus Associates Ltd can arrange this inspection for you if required.

HMO’s

When is a property an HMO?

A building or part of a building is a HMO if it meets one of the following:

a) “Standard test’

b) “Self contained flat test”

c) “Converted building test”

d) Certain “converted blocks of flats”

In broad terms these can be summarised as either:

one building (e.g. a house) or part of a building (eg. a flat) in which live two or more households, comprising three or more people (as their only residence) who share one or more basic amenity and for which rent is paid by at least one person for that occupation.

OR

A building or part of a building, which has been converted into, and consists of, self-contained flats but which was not converted to the 1991 Building Regulations and still does not comply with them AND less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.

 

Mandatory Licensing: Some HMOs are subject to mandatory licensing and you must supply us with a copy of the licence to enable a let to proceed.

An HMO is subject to a mandatory licence if all of the following apply:

1. The building or part of the building (see above) is classed as a HMO, AND

2. The property is three or more storeys (including basements, mezzanines and loft rooms) AND

3. It is occupied by five or more people, who form two or more households, who are sharing one or more basic amenity.

Exemption: If the basement is in commercial use and there are only two residential storeys above.

Additional Licensing: Local authorities have the power to introduce selective additional HMO licensing for HMO properties outside the standard rules of mandatory licensing. In order to introduce the additional licensing, the local authority will have to demonstrate that there is a particular market need to justify such a scheme as part of their overall local housing strategy.

It is a statutory requirement that a periodic inspection report (PIR) is supplied for ALL properties designated as HMOs - WHETHER OR NOT the properties require licensing. This report must be carried out every 5 years. It is an inspection of the condition of all existing electrical installations, to identify in order of priority any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations.

It is the owner/landlord’s responsibility to apply for any required license.

How to show your property

Below are some tips on how to maximise the appeal of your property to potential tenants.

Cleaning your property

  • Windows – clean windows let in more light

  • Beds – make sure that you cover beds with linen or a bed cover so that it looks fresh in photos and too prospective tenants

  • Arrange a professional clean before viewings and before the tenant moves in

Tidying your property

  • Remove all unnecessary furniture and nicknacks to maximise the space

  • Remove junk mail

  • Minimise mail build-up by arranging redirection

  • Arrange for a gardener to tidy the garden front and back in advance of viewings and tenant moving in

Maximise natural light

  • Draw back curtains or open blinds to let in the maximum amount of light

  • Check all light bulbs are working and you have the right wattage to illuminate the room properly

  • Arrange lighting for a homely look

Monitor Room Heating

  • Put on central heating or turn it off depending on time of year and temperature

  • If the property has been empty for a while make sure that you open windows on a weekly basis to allow fresh air in

Painting Rooms

  • Try to have neutral colours in the rooms, especially in dark rooms use light colours which will bounce the light around the room. Although try not to make the property feel sterile

  • Make sure that you have continuity and that the property flows

  • When painting bathrooms use a specialist bathroom paint which will withstand wet conditions

  • When painting a hallway try to use a wipeable, durable paint as this area will see the most traffic, scuffs etc

Water Supplies if the property has been vacant for a while

  • make sure that the taps are run once a week

  • flush toilets once a week

  • turn on showers once a week

By running the water in the above you will eliminate the smell of stagnant water in your property