Landlords Guide


If you decide to let your property you need to take the following steps:-

  • Apply for mortgage lenders consent.
  • Notify insurance companies.
  • Obtain a gas safety certificate. Make sure electrical equipment is safe and in good condition. Any other central heating system should be checked annually and records kept. You must leave instruction manuals for all appliances and central heating systems and if these are not available then clear instructions preferably typed are required. Since 1 October 2008 there is a legal requirement to Landlords to provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate. This can be arranged through John Francis who provide this service at a competitive rate.
  • Decide what fittings and furnishings you intend to leave in the property. It is not wise to leave televisions, video/dvd players or other personal items. It is not usual to leave bedding. You must ensure that furnishings comply with fire regulations.
  • Undertake any outstanding repairs and make sure the property is in a safe condition.
  • Make sure the property is clean and tidy and ready for suitable tenants.
  • If you are an overseas Landlord apply for tax exemption certificate.
  • If you have lived in the property yourself then arrange re-direction of mail and advise your telecom supplier you are moving.
  • Provide John Francis with sufficient number of keys for the property (at least 2 full sets).
  • Please let John Francis know if you wish us to arrange rent and legal protection and/or buildings and contents insurance on your behalf.

FAQ

Q. If I let out my property who do I need to inform?

A. Obviously all owners of the property must be informed and agree to letting out the property but in addition to this you should obtain the permission of your mortgage lender and inform us of any special conditions that they impose. We will require written evidence of this. You should also inform your buildings and contents insurer and again we may need written evidence that you have the appropriate cover for this. The principles for lettings are the same as for sales in that properties should be: clean, not decorated overly brightly with preferably light or neutral décor. Floor coverings should be in good condition and hard wearing. Whilst there are no guarantees in life the simple adage should be that if the property is well presented then the likelihood is the tenant will look after it. If the property is poorly presented don’t be surprised if the tenants show a lack of care and respect. Externally can be the most telling area in letting and is rare for a tenant to look after gardens and grounds. You may therefore wish to consider engaging someone to weed patios and cut the grass and trim hedges regularly.

Q. Do I Choose My Tenant?

A. Landlords are very welcome to meet prospective tenants but invariably this is not possible. Every care will be taken to ensure that your tenant meets your individual requirements and we carry out stringent letting procedures in obtaining credit checks, employment references and previous landlord references (where applicable and possible). These of course are only historic checks and nothing can predict the future but is the best and only guide available.

Q. How Long Are Tenancies?

A. The type of tenancy we offer are Assured Shorthold Tenancies which last for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum length of 3 years. The length of the tenancy agreement is agreed before the Tenancy Agreement is drawn up by the landlord and the tenant. After the fixed period tenancies may be extended for another fixed term or can automatically run on a periodic contract which by that we mean month by month. Standard notice periods are usually 2 months for a landlord to serve notice upon the tenant and 1 month for the tenant to serve notice upon a landlord. This notice will run from the anniversary of the day of the month the tenancy started. Notice cannot be served to end a fixed term tenancy early unless there are other breaches of the tenancy agreement.

Q. Deposit - What Happens With These?

A. We collect a deposit from the tenant which will be registered in an approved scheme such as the Tenants Deposit Scheme. If we do not manage the property for you then we will forward the deposit on to you directly so you can register the deposit with your chosen scheme within the first 14 days of the tenancy.

Q. What Happens If My Tenant Does Not Pay The Rent?

A. You can take out an insurance policy to cover such an eventuality but often such policies have a one month’s excess. Bond money held can be retained in lieu of rent not paid but there is always an element of risk in letting a property of unpaid rent and bills and costs if necessary in obtaining vacant possession.

Q. Do I Need An Inventory?

A. To comply with the government deposit scheme rules it is essential that you have an inventory or else you cannot make legitimate deductions at the expiry of the tenancy of monies from the tenant’s deposit. It is the landlord’s obligation to prove the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy so that deductions can be taken from the deposit for repairs other than for fair wear and tear.

Q. How Do I Receive Rent?

A. Payments will be made directly to your account or otherwise as directed by you within 10 working days from receipt of rent.

Q. How Much Deposit Is Usually Taken?

A. We would recommend a minimum of 1 month’s rent plus additional amounts if pets are to be allowed in the property.

Q. Why Do Portable Appliances Need To Be Tested?

A. This is because landlords have a legal duty of care to take precautions against the risk of fire, injury or even death caused from appliances they have provided. It is therefore in your best interest to have these appliances tested regularly.

Q. What Happens When Repairs Are Needed?

A. Our staff would assess who is liable when a report of repair is lodged and a qualified contractor would then be instructed to carry out the repairs. Our agreements confirm that all payments should be made from rental monies though if any cost is over £200 these need to be agreed directly with the contractor. John Francis Lettings Services are not liable for these costs.

Q. Do I Need An Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate?

A. It is a legal requirement on all landlords that rental properties should have an EPC where they are to be let. These certificates are valid for 10 years but you may wish to consider updating them if improvements are carried out. It is a legal mandatory requirement that all properties have a current gas safety certificate. This must be carried out on an annual basis by a Registered Gas Safe contractor.