Step-by-step guide to letting a property
Accurate market appraisal
Our experienced team have in-depth knowledge of the local area. A rental valuation of your property will be based on, among other things, local comparables, market and economic conditions and the location in relation to local amenities including schools and public transport links, etc.
Choosing the right agent
We pride ourselves on our friendly, sympathetic and professional attitude and believe in plain, jargon-free English as demonstrated in our Terms of Business. We will provide weekly feedback and advice and review the marketing and progress of the let on a regular basis. Our duty is to find you the right tenant at the right rent and to help make the letting process as simple and pain-free as possible. We are members of Propertymark ARLA, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Property Ombudsman Scheme.
Presenting your property
- Ideally keep all walls painted in a light, neutral colour. A coat of paint prior to marketing will help it to look fresh and inviting
- Carpets should be a neutral colour throughout. Wooden or high quality laminate floors are also a good option
- Clean and tidy common parts will help make a good first impression, likewise a tidy garden
- Rooms will look more spacious without clutter
- A fully made up bed – even if you are not including the linen with the property – is far better to look at than a bare mattress
- If you want your property to look as bright as possible ensure all lights are working
- In the winter, set the heating to come on twice a day – a cold property can be off-putting
Furniture and Fittings
If the property is going to be marketed as ‘fully furnished’ it would usually need to include:
- Bedrooms – beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers
- Sitting/dining room – sofa, armchair, dining table and chairs
- Kitchen – white goods and a set of crockery and cutlery. A large fridge/freezer is always preferable as is a washer with built in dryer
- Bathroom – an overhead shower will influence a potential tenant’s decision
- Vacuum cleaner
- Curtains or blinds throughout
- If you are letting your property “unfurnished” you will still need to provide all white goods and curtains or blinds throughout.
Marketing your property
We will prepare particulars, arrange photos and floorplans and, if required, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate which, in most cases, is a legal requirement see “Energy Performance Certificates” below).
The property will appear both in online and offline marketing. We advertise on all the major internet portals – Zoopla, Prime Location, Rightmove and onthemarket.com as well as on our website, with large, clear photographs showing the benefits of your property, local school and amenity information and helpful links to street views.
Energy Performance Certificates
All rental properties need to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prior to the property being marketed. An EPC provides information on the energy performance of a property. Tates will be happy to arrange an EPC on the Landlord’s behalf. An EPC is valid for 10 years.
We will accompany all applicants to your property if it is unoccupied or we will arrange a mutually convenient appointment for them and us to meet you or your current tenant at the property.
Receiving an offer
Offers will be passed to you as soon as possible and will be confirmed in writing. Once accepted, the offer is subject to contract and satisfactory references being obtained, all of which are subject to your approval
We will take up references on your prospective tenant using an independent referencing company and will conduct a credit report checking financial standing, income and employment status. We will also contact their previous landlord if applicable and check their Right to Rent status i.e. their immigration status, which is now a legal requirement. Results will be forwarded to you for your approval and, one we have this, we will proceed with the letting of your property.
Proceeding with the let
The following are required to be carried out prior to the commencement of the tenancy. Tates can provide quotes and organise these on behalf of the landlord. See Safety Regulations below for more detailed information
- Gas Safety Certificate
- PAT Testing (if smaller electrical goods are included in tenancy)
- Professional clean
If the rent is below £100,000 p.a., Tates will provide a comprehensive ARLA Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). The fee for drafting and completing the AST is £250 including VAT.
For Non-Housing Contracts, should a landlord wish to use a tenancy agreement drafted by their own solicitor, Tates must be supplied with a draft at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
One set of keys will be required for each tenant and Tates will require a set if we are to be appointed as property managers.
Tates will hold the deposit on a separate Clients Deposit account. The deposit will be registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and information about this will be given to you together with a copy of the registration document. The deposit will be refunded to the tenant at the end of the tenancy once any deductions for damage or default have been established and agreed between the landlord and tenant.
Client Money Protection
Under the Client Money Protection regulations, we are required to have our client money handling procedures on our website. As a Propertymark protected firm, our client money handling procedures are covered in the Conduct and Membership Rules. The rules are available here.
Furniture and Furnishings
From the 1st January 1997 all furniture in a rental property must comply with the 1993 amendments to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
The safety regulations apply to the following furniture provided in a rental property:
- The safety regulations apply to the following furniture provided in a rental property:
- Beds, Bed bases and headboards, mattresses, divans and pillows.
- Nursery furniture
- Garden furniture which could be used indoors
- Loose, stretch and fitted covers for furniture, scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows.
The furniture items excluded from the regulations are:
- Antique furniture or furniture manufactured before 1950
- Bed clothes and duvets
- Loose mattress covers
- Sleeping bags
Any non-compliant items should be removed from the property prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
It is a criminal offence to let premises with gas appliances, installation and pipework that has not been checked by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. No tenancy can commence until a Gas Safety Certificate has been obtained.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
In October 2015 new regulations came into effect and all landlords are now required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Landlords must ensure that electrical items supplied as part of the letting are “safe”, not dangerous and comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regs 1994.
Instruction manuals must be supplied for all electrical equipment and all equipment should be checked regularly for frayed or damaged insulation, old or exposed wires, poorly fitted or cracked plugs, scorched or damaged sockets, plugs without sleeve insulated pins etc.
Unsafe or potentially unsafe items must be removed.
Rental income is taxable and you must inform HMRC. Some expenses can be claimed against tax so always keep receipts for repairs etc on your property. Tax rules change all the time so seek advice from your accountant or HMRC.gov.uk. You should also be aware that Tates are obliged to submit a return to HMRC on an annual basis including details of all landlords on behalf of whom we have acted, with details of their country of residence.
Taxation for Overseas Landlords
If you are an overseas landlord, you must obtain a Certificate from HMRC in order to receive rent without the deduction of tax. This certificate must be addressed to us as letting agents. If you own more than one property, each property requires an individual certificate. If we are not provided with this certificate we MUST BY LAW deduct tax from any rent we collect on your behalf and pay it over to HMRC
If your tenant pays you directly they must also by law deduct and pay over to HMRC the correct amount of tax before paying rent over to you unless they are in possession of a certificate from the Inland Revenue stating that rent may be paid without deduction of tax.
More information can be found here:
Towards the end of the lease term, Tates will ask you if you wish to renew the tenancy. We will review the rent and advise if we think there should be an increase depending on current market conditions.
You must confirm in writing whether you wish the tenancy to be renewed or notice served.
Tates are required by law to comply with all Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (information on the payer) Regulations 2017 and be aware of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. According to new regulations, clients must be identified and verified, along with the contracting party and any beneficial owners where an agreement is concluded for a “High Value Let” where the letting of land/property for a term of a month or more, and at a rent which during at least part of the term is, or is equivalent to, a monthly rent of 10,000 euros or more.
In order for Tates to comply, all clients must be identified and verified along with the contracting party and any beneficial owners. This also applies to Companies, trusts personal representatives and off shore companies. The above link will take you to a PDF with the required relevant information.