Not everyone is confident in both aspects and therefore a strong professional agent can be worth their weight in gold when a problem pops up. The following guide is a brief insight into our advice, and we would recommend a non-commitment meeting to discuss the varying aspects you may encounter when becoming a landlord.
Three questions we ask a landlord are 1. what would you do if your tenant was locked out at 9pm on a Saturday night? 2. What would you do when a pipe bursts at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon?’. 3. If a tenant decides to stop paying rent, what would you do? If there is a pause in answering any of the questions, we advise they consider a professional agent to assist them with their investment. Picking the agent is as key, if not more so, than picking the tenant as without trust in them, you will not be as strong as you need to be going forward. When selecting an agent start with these questions:-
1. What is the agent’s call-out procedure?
2. What marketing strategy will they have for your property?
3. What’s the management structure and also the backgrounds of the team?
4. Ask about all fees – we have seen increasing reports of hidden fees that some agencies charge. Make sure you cover this when you first speak with them.
5. What governing bodies do they below too? (ask about client money protection and property redress scheme memberships)
Having considered the above, if you feel you can move forward alone and handle a tenancy, the next thing to consider is ‘Marketing’. Where will you advertise the flat? A professional agency will use online portals, such as Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket which gives your property a unique marketplace of tenants to showcase the property too. At Moovahome, we advertise on OnTheMarket and Rightmove and as standard include colour floor plans, premium listings, video tours and professional photography at no extra cost.
Once you have found a tenant (or the chosen agency has) you must do some basic checks. To grant a tenancy, you must have conducted a ‘right to rent’ check which taking apart the legislation, means you must ensure the tenant you are granting a tenancy to, has the right to rent a home in the UK. At Moovahome we also do full credit checks which include CCJ Checks, Bankruptcy Checks, Employer and Landlord Reference. Finally, an affordability check should always be considered. After you have done this, you are able to grant a tenancy agreement.
To get the tenancy ready you are advised to do a full detailed inventory (At Moovahome we do a full written one as well as a pictured inventory), a full legally binding Tenancy Agreement and protect the deposit. You must also as a minimum, serve a How To Rent information booklet on the tenant. If you fail to protect the deposit you are open to paying a fixed fine of 3 times the deposit as well as not being able to evict the tenant should it come to that? You will also need to do utility readings as well as giving the tenant a move in pack that contains contact details should they need to contact you and a How to Rent guide (If you fail to do this, and need to evict a tenant down the line, you may have troubles).
Once you have prepared the above you need to understand and get the following documents to be legally compliant
• Gas Certificate – If you have a gas supply to the home, you need one of these from a Gas Safe plumber on a yearly basis
• Energy Performance Certificate – You need one of these, the cost is around £60 + vat and last 10 years
• Right to Rent Check – You will have read about this above
Electrical Safety Certificate (EICR) – These last for five years and become compulsory from July 2020 for new tenancies and all tenancies will need them in place by July 2021.
Moovahome can help with any of the above, regardless of a landlord engaging in management. It is also recommended to do a Legionella Report on a rented property.
Once the above is all done, it’s time to move the tenant in.
Management needs to be taken seriously, quarterly inspections are a must as well as keeping an eye on the rental being paid. Communication is key with tenants, we believe being approachable even in a bad situation is a good thing and limits loses. Should you have a debt or legal action, it is best to speak to a professional agent as a matter of urgency. At Moovahome, we do all debt chasing internally and should the rare tenancy need ending, we will attend Court and deal with this for you (the only charge is the Court fees). Whatever you do, do not panic, as tenancies generally go well, especially if checks are done correctly at the outset.
At Moovahome, we do all of the above for the initial set up fee. On top of this, we offer monthly and yearly statements, as well as 24/7 emergency cover for your property. Our tradespeople offer 7-day call-outs and we never mark up an invoice as our fee covers our wages.
The above is just a small insight into Lettings, to understand it in more detail, please book a meeting with the team. It’s Free, it’s worthwhile and it’s comprehensive