As landlords ourselves and with many years’ experience we know that every landlords needs can be different. Understanding your knowledge of letting property will help us to help you.
We can tailor our approach depending on your experience. Maybe you are a seasoned investor just looking to find a new tenant? Are you expanding your property portfolio and looking to become more hands off? Are you a first time buy-to-let investor looking for advice and guidance throughout the whole process? Are you an accidental landlord, a change in your personal circumstances requires a relocation or you want to sell but it’s just not the right time? Whatever your situation, we are here to help.
Below is a guide to the lettings process.
Our visit will enable us to listen to your specific thoughts and requirements and match these with the range of services we offer and most importantly present you with an honest and professional rental valuation of your property in the current market.
We shall also, if required, provide advice on your responsibilities as the property owner, how best to present your property in accordance with your required tenant requirements and make any recommendations to you regarding works that may be required be it for cosmetic reasons or legal requirements.
Consent to Let
If you are thinking of letting your flat or a property where you have a superior landlord, then you will need to seek their permission to let. Insurance companies, Mortgage lenders and even co-owners will also need to be contacted for permission to let. Without the necessary consents you risk having your head lease forfeited, your insurance cancelled and your mortgage lender demanding an immediate return of the full loan amount.
Overseas Landlords and Income Tax
The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. Non-resident landlords can apply at any time for approval to receive rent with no tax deducted.
If your intention is to reside abroad then we can offer the following services:
- Guide you through the process of registering with the HMRC Non-Resident Landlord Scheme.
- Arrange for annual rental accounts to be prepared by a local firm of chartered accountants and be submitted to the Inland Revenue at the end of each tax year. Details available on request.
Lets with Pets
Establish whether you are comfortable renting to a tenant who owns a pet. Allowing pets will no doubt make a property more desirable to potential tenants and achieve more enquiries/viewings along with encouraging tenants to rent for longer. However, even the best-behaved pets may have an impact on a property over time and you will need to consider this into the wear and tear of the property.
Furniture and Furnishings
Prepare your property – If you are offering your property as a furnished home, think carefully about what you can provide. Remove anything valuable or sentimental – aside from the fact they’re at risk of damage, it can be off-putting to rent a property that is filled with someone else’s belongings. All soft furniture and furnishings must meet appropriate fire regulations. Most modern furniture will meet the required standard and include appropriate labelling but older or imported furniture may not. The standard of safety and furniture labelling is required prior to supplying the tenant with the furniture.
Landlords may be selective in respect of their tenants but they cannot discriminate unlawfully. Such discrimination is a breach of the Equality Act 2010 and can include refusal to let to people of a particular sex, religion, sexual preference, age, race, colour, marital status, pregnancy and disability.
Disabled tenants can ask for non-structural reasonable adjustments, such as handles along the stairs and it would amount to discrimination if the landlord refused the tenant because they asked for the adjustments.
In some cases it may be considered discrimination under the Act to stipulate that a landlord will not consider an applicant/tenant who is in receipt of benefits i.e Universal Credit (UC), Local Housing Allowance (LHA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Once you have instructed PR Lettings & Management we will require you to complete our Terms of Business and Property Information Questionnaire along with ID for all property owners.
Now we can help you with your legal compliance.
Once we have received the complete Terms of Business and Property Information Questionnaire we will arrange to visit the property to prepare accurate marketing details, take photographs and measurements for floor plans (where required).
The photographs are the first part of the marketing that a potential tenant will look at therefore it is important the property is ready with any works completed and the property clean and tidy, internally and externally.
We want your property to look its best and therefore we do not rush this process. We take our time taking many photographs so we can pick the best. We will spend time on the photographs to ensure they are bright and clear, not dull and uninteresting.
First impressions count!
Before marketing your property we will require you to notify us if you wish to offer the deposit alternative scheme on your property. For further information on this scheme please see further below.
When the marketing details and photographs are ready we will market your property on Zoopla, On the Market and our website. We also post your properties on our social media channels.
While the property is being marketed you will be notified of all viewings booked and we will provide you with feedback from enquiries and viewings.
Arguably the most important factor when letting the property is the prospective tenant. The whole success of letting depends on finding the right tenant. All people wishing to book a viewing are asked a variety of questions via a pre-application form to ensure they are a suitable fit for the property and will meet the referencing criteria. This avoids wasting their time viewing the property and going through the application process only for referencing to fail, this helps in reducing the void period.
The references aim to check that each tenant is creditworthy by for example, checking for CCJ’s and arrears and obtaining employer and landlord references. Once references have been received, we will contact you to confirm the results of this and advise of the proposed checking in date.
We will also check all applicants' Right to Rent status.
Once a move-in date has been agreed we will arrange for the Inventory & Schedule of condition and Legionella Risk Assessment (where required) to be carried out.
Tenancy Sign-up and Move-in
Once you have given permission for the tenancy to proceed we will prepare the tenancy agreement and mandatory paperwork. We will also request the payment for the first months’ rent and tenancy deposit (where required) to be paid on the tenancy start date.
After the tenant(s) have signed all the paperwork we will process any funds due to you via our payment system Payprop. We will also provide you with an electronic copy of the tenancy paperwork.
We will notify all the utility providers of the commencement of the tenancy and provide them with meter readings.
The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 every landlord or letting agent that takes a deposit for an Assured Short-hold Tenancy in England and Wales must join a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The new regulations came into effect from April 6, 2007. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure good practice. The secondary purpose of the new regulations is to try and keep disputes between landlords and tenants out of the courts by encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In 2006 three companies were awarded contracts by The Government to run Tenancy Deposit Schemes:
- The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)
- The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
Insurance backed schemes
- Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) (now trading as My Deposits)
- The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
- The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)
Deposit Alternative Scheme - Reposit
We are pleased to announce that we are now partnered with Reposit.
Demand for alternatives to cash deposits has rapidly increased and our research concluded that Reposit has the best offering on the market for landlords and tenants. Our new partnership now gives you access to the following benefits:
- 8 weeks' worth of cover - Reposit gives you 60% more protection than a cash deposit. This is the most cover available compared to other similar products on the market.
- Increased demand, fewer voids - Properties advertised with a 'deposit free option' have been shown to attract 26% more click-throughs online, and will typically let quicker - helping you to sustain rent levels and reduce voids.
- Faster dispute resolution - If a tenant raises a dispute at the end of the tenancy, Reposit will obtain a final verdict within 14 days, much faster than the traditional cash deposit schemes, which can take 6 weeks.
- Free of charge for landlords - If Reposit is chosen by the tenant, they will pay Reposit a service fee equivalent to one weeks' rent. Reposit is absolutely free for the landlord.
The Reposit cover is valid for any combination of rent arrears, damages, removals and cleaning - It is essentially a direct replacement for a traditional cash deposit.
At the end of the tenancy, Reposit will handle the collection of all valid end of tenancy charges and ensure payment to you. Please note that Reposit mediates the entire end of the tenancy process, so landlords do not need to interact with the insurer directly to make a claim.
Of course, making sure you get paid at the end of the tenancy is one of our key concerns. We have selected Reposit as our partner because they are FCA regulated and FSCS protected. Their product is built upon a robust insurance structure in which you, the landlord, are the beneficiary. This means once the Reposit is set up, you are directly and legally entitled to cover for all valid end of tenancy charges. As such they have ensured reliable pay-outs, even in the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Please Note: Even though we can offer tenants the deposit alternative scheme we must also offer them the option of a traditional cash deposit. Tenants must have the choice of which scheme they would like to use and this decision cannot be dictated by the landlord or agent.
What happens next?
This will depend on what service level you have chosen. Please see our Landlord Fees & Summary of Services.
Important safety & Legal Requirements
Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs)
All new tenancies require an Energy Performance Certificate. Their purpose is to determine how energy efficient homes are on a scale of A-G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A. The certificate uses the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save money and help the environment.
Any properties with a rating of F or G are no longer permitted to be rented until improvements are made to increase the rating to E or above. A property cannot be marketed without an EPC.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 & 2018. It is compulsory throughout England for landlords to have gas appliances checked annually. These checks must be carried out by Gas Safe approved engineers and a copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
A gas safety check must be carried out and be satisfactory before a tenancy can commence.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. It is now compulsory in England for landlords to have every fixed electrical installation at the property inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. This is called an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Where the most recent EICR requires an inspection and testing to be at intervals of less than five years, it must be at the intervals as specified in that report.
A valid satisfactory EICR must be in place before a tenancy can commence.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Private sector Landlords are legally required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire, wood burning stove). We also strongly recommend that a carbon monoxide alarm is provided in the room where the boiler is located.
Landlords must ensure that all the alarms are tested and in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
All properties built since June 1992 must have interlinked mains-connected smoke detectors/alarms on each floor of the property.
The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is compliant with Health and Safety Executive form ACOP L8 ‘The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems’ at the start of and throughout a tenancy. This is done by properly undertaking a legionella risk assessment and, if necessary, making any required changes to the water system.
Properties should be fire safe and should include an adequate means of escape in case of fire. Landlords should carry out fire risk assessments and should provide tenants with written instructions on how to operate any fire safety equipment (where provided).
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010) sets minimum fire resistance standards for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery that remain in a dwelling during the course of a tenancy.
These include any of the following which contain upholstery:
- furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children's furniture
- beds, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size)
- sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
- nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling
- scatter cushions, pillows, seat pads and loose and stretch covers for furniture
The Regulations do not apply to:
- furniture made before 1950
- sleeping bags
- bed-clothes (including duvets)
- loose covers for mattresses
For items that do apply, a suitable label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a tenant of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease.
- The Deregulation Act 2015 placed more pressure on property standards. If a landlord is served with a notice under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which requires the property to be improved or allows the local authority to do work itself then the landlord will not be able to serve notice under a section 21 for the next six months. In addition, if a tenant complains to a landlord in writing about the condition of the property and then complains to the local authority who take enforcement action under the HHSRS then any section 21 notice served on the tenant between their initial complaint to the landlord and the enforcement activity will be invalid.
- The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 has also placed even more pressure on property standards. This replaces section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985), in England, with the purpose of improving living standards in the private and social rented sectors and is a very complex Act. Under the Homes Act 2018, landlords must ensure properties, including common parts where they have an estate or interest, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of the tenancy.
Tenants will now be able to take direct legal action if their landlord does not comply with the Act whereas previously a tenant had to rely solely on the action of the local authority. Property checks will no longer be needed by a local authority enforcement officers before being taken to Court by a tenant. The ‘hazards’ used in the Homes Act, are the 29 listed in the HHSRS. It is recommended that the hazards identified in the HHSRS are checked and recorded prior to the commencement of a tenancy. Where a tenant seeks redress under this Act through the Courts, this does not exempt the landlord from local authority enforcement.