Where the property to be let is subject to a mortgage, permission must be granted from the mortgagee in writing. It is sometimes appropriate to re-mortgage with a buy-to-let specialist. Our financial services partners can offer an across-the-market perspective and are happy to provide completely impartial advice.
It is essential that the property and your contents are adequately insured, both while the property is empty and while it is let. Your insurers must be told that the property is to be let since failure to do so may well invalidate cover.
You should ensure you have both buildings and contents insurance in place to cover your investment. Tenants are responsible for insuring their own contents and personal belongings.
Please also note that standard homeowner insurance policies will not suffice once a tenant is in residence and you are not an owner occupier. The policy will need to be specially designed for let property. We can also offer rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance. A quote can be provided once the referencing of your tenants has been completed.
Security systems (locks on windows and external doors, lights, and even full alarm systems) are often considered essential by prospective tenants, and are taken into consideration by all the leading insurance companies when calculating premiums.
We recommend these should be fresh and neutral in terms of colour and style. Higher quality properties will always attract better quality tenants and therefore it is vital that a property is well presented to meet the expectations of a potential tenant.
By far the greatest level of demand from tenants is for properties that are available unfurnished. This traditionally includes just carpets, curtains and a cooker. This has the advantage, from the landlord’s perspective, of avoiding the need for maintenance/replacement.
These should also be of good quality and condition and subject to regular servicing. It is important that full instructions for use are left on the premises to avoid the need to call in an engineer to demonstrate. Gas and electrical appliances must meet legal safety requirements and oil appliances should be tested annually.
It is essential that the property is handed over in a clean condition. We very strongly recommend that the property be professionally cleaned throughout, including all carpets. This creates a benchmark that will be recorded in the Inventory and Schedule of Condition, and will allow us to maintain a high standard through subsequent tenancies. We can provide the names of reputable and economical cleaning contractors.
Three complete sets of keys should be provided in all cases – two for the tenants and one to be retained at our office. We will be obliged to charge for key cutting if insufficient keys are supplied at the outset of the tenancy period.
These must be left connected and we can arrange for their transfer into the tenant’s name via Tenant Shop. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) tenants must be able to control and regulate heating systems.
Gardens should be left in good seasonal order so that the benchmark is set for the tenants, whose responsibility it will be to maintain to the same standard. We highly recommend that relevant gardening tools are provided by the landlord in order for the tenant to continue the upkeep of the outside areas.
If the garden is particularly large, or complicated to maintain, it may be appropriate for the landlord to retain responsibility for maintenance, which will be reflected in the rent. As a landlord, you may already employ a gardener who regularly maintains the garden of the property.
However, we will be happy to help find suitable gardeners for all of your gardening and landscaping needs, should they be on a regular garden maintenance programme or an occasional tidy each season.