Refine Search

Property Search

  • Get my location

A Landlords Guide to Letting Property

We hope that you will find this guide a helpful introduction to Lettings.

It's our aim to ensure that the letting of your property and the ongoing management, is dealt with in a professional and efficient manner.

Lettings and Management Services

We offer a choice of two services to let your property:

1. Standard Management Service

Colebrook Sturrock provides a property management service to owners wishing to let out their property. The standard fee for the management is taken as a percentage of the gross rents due for the period of the tenancy and a Set up fee will normally be levied at the outset for taking references and arranging the tenancy.

The Standard Management Service includes:

  • Advising as to the likely rental income.
  • Advertising and generally marketing the Property.
  • Interviewing prospective tenants and taking up full references.
  • Preparing the tenancy agreement
  • Taking a deposit from the Tenant, dealing with this deposit under the requirements of Tenancy Deposit Scheme until the end of the tenancy when the Property and contents have been checked for unfair wear and tear and handling any termination issues with the Tenant and the tenancy deposit scheme provider.
  • Collecting the Rent monthly and paying over to the Landlord monthly
  • Arranging with service companies (principally electricity gas & water) for meter readings and advising them of the transfer of service contracts to the Tenant at the beginning of each tenancy.
  • Regular inspections of the Property are carried out on a quarterly basis.
  • Co-ordination of repair or maintenance including arranging for tradesmen to attend the Property and obtaining estimates where necessary, supervising works and settling accounts from rents received.
  • Making payments on behalf of the Landlord from rents received for costs in managing the Property.
  • Carrying out a full property inspection and inventory check at the end of the tenancy and, if necessary, preparing and agreeing a schedule of costs relating to any damage or unfair wear and tear prior to releasing the Deposit.
  • Collecting and forwarding Landlord's mail.

2. Letting Only Service

The Letting Only Service includes:

  • Advising as to the likely rental income.
  • Advertising and generally marketing the Property.
  • Interviewing prospective tenants and taking up full references.
  • Preparing the tenancy agreement.
  • Liaising with a Landlord's mortgagees where necessary with regard to references and tenancy agreement.

Client Money Protection (CMP) provided by ARLA

Colebrook Sturrock is a member of The Ombudsman Services

Presentation Tips

We are all so familiar with the phrase, Location, Location, Location, when it is used to describe the most important factor when purchasing a property but when considering a property to let, the watch words should be:

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation......

Decoration

The quality of the interior decoration of a property will substantially affect the rent achievable. The more appealing the décor and soft furnishings (and furniture if applicable) the more interest you will have in the property and the more likely you are to achieve a higher rental income.

  • Keep carpets and wall neutral. Whites and creams make a cleaner, fresher impression and can help to create a feeling of space.
  • Kitchens should be well equipped and ideally should include, space permitting, fridge/freezer, washing machine and dryer, microwave and if at all possible a dishwasher
  • Bathrooms should ideally have a shower and good ventilation

Furnished or Unfurnished

Usually, the rent achieved for property is not affected if it is furnished or unfurnished. As a generalisation however, smaller properties let well furnished and larger, family homes, unfurnished.

A Landlord has the same legal protection now whether a property is let furnished or unfurnished but furniture, fabrics and upholstery supplied must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988.

An Unfurnished property should include carpets, curtains and white goods.

A Furnished property should include all the furniture and kitchenware ready for a tenant to move in.

A clean, uncluttered, welcoming property will always let well.

Consents Required for Lettings

Prior to letting your property, Colebrook Sturrock require a form of photographic ID i.e. a passport or driving licence copy and proof of homeownership.

Mortgage and Insurance

Should the property for let have a mortgage attached to it, the lender should be advised of the intention to let and their consent given. Some lender may charge an administration fee for issuing a consent letter. Also, there may be a variation in the interest rate level of the mortgage.

Insurance for the buildings and contents (if any) must be arranged by the Landlord and must be in place whether the property is occupied or not.

Tenants will be responsible for the insurance of their own possessions.

Leasehold Properties

If the property is leasehold, the head lease will specify whether or not their need to be permission to sub-let from the free-holder or the free-holder's managing agent.

The free-holder or his agent may charge for issuing a letter of consent and in some cases special conditions may be imposed.

Permission will also need to be given by any Joint Owner of the property.

Tax Consequences when Letting a Property

Income Tax

Income tax must be paid on the net income from letting a property whether you are a resident or non-resident Landlord.

The letting income on which you may be taxed is the gross income less certain allowable expenses; - Loan interest - Insurance, ground rent and service charges - Cost of providing services i.e. gas, electricity, water, to be included in the rent. - Legal and accounting costs. - Costs of repairs, redecoration and renovation - Agents Fees.

There is also an allowance for wear and tear of furniture and fixture and fittings, should the property be let furnished.

Non-Resident Landlords

Even if you are a non-resident and live or work abroad, you will still be liable to pay tax and any amount of income over the allowable expenses.

The agent responsible for the collection of rent must deduct tax at source, to be paid to the Inland Revenue, unless they hold written authority of exemption.

This exemption must be applied for by the Landlord from the Inland Revenue.

At the end of the tax year, your position must be resolved with the Inland Revenue - usually by submitting a UK tax return.

It is usual for a non-Resident Landlord to have an accountant to act on their behalf

Recommendations

Under no circumstances should you conceal property income from the Inland Revenue. If you are non-resident, ensure you apply for a tax exemption number from the Inland Revenue.

Seek specialist tax advice.

Retain all paperwork for rents and repairs.

If in any doubt - please seek professional advice.

Fire and Safety Regulations

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988

It is an offence to let property containing furniture and furnishings which do not comply with this regulation. If any property is found not to comply the Landlord could face up to six months imprisonment and/or fines of up to £50000.

With effect from 1 March 1993, it became an offence to supply furniture in a rented property which does not comply with the standards contained in Regulation 14 of the 1988 Regulations.

It should be noted that furniture manufactured before 1 January 1950 is exempt from the regulations.

Items covered by the Regulations

Furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including - Children's furniture - Beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa-beds and futons - Nursery Furniture - Garden furniture which is suitable for use inside - Cushions and seat pads and pillows - Loose and stretch covers for furniture

Items Exempt from the Regulations

  • Bed linen, including duvets
  • Loose covers for mattresses
  • Curtains
  • Carpets
  • Furniture manufactured prior to 1950

All new furniture should be labelled to indicate compliance with the safety regulations

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

The regulations place a duty on Landlords to maintain all gas appliances in their property by having an annual inspection and safety check, which must be carried out by a GAS SAFE registered engineer.

A gas safety record must in place prior to the commencement of the tenancy and remain current throughout the tenancy.

Again, it is a criminal offence not to comply with these regulations.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The regulations apply to any electrical equipment between 50 and 1000 volts a/c and require that the apparatus must be safe and will not cause danger. To ensure the safety of electrical appliances it is recommended that a Portable Appliance Test (including a visual wiring inspection) be carried out before the commencement of the tenancy. A Portable Appliance Test should be carried out annually.

Ideally, a full electrical inspection should be carried out and thereafter every 5 years.

All electrical work and testing should be carried out by an NICEIC registered electrician.

It is a condition of our Agency that a current Electrical Inspection Certificate is in place before the commencement of any tenancy.

Smoke Detectors Act 1991.

The Department of Environment introduced a new regulation which requires any new building, built after June 1992; to have mains operated smoke detectors installed. Such regulations do not exist regarding older properties but we would recommend that at least two portable smoke and carbon dioxide alarms are fitted and checked regularly.

Water Industry Act 1999

In properties where the payment of water bills are the responsibility of the tenant, the tenant has the statutory right to have a water meter fitted.

Energy Performance Certificates

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives home owners, tenants and buyers information on the energy efficiency of their property. It gives the building a standard energy and carbon emission efficiency grade from A' toG', where `A' is the most efficient and with the average to date being D.

EPCs are measured using the same calculations for all homes, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties.

Part of the EPC is a report which will list the potential rating that your home could achieve, if you made the recommended changes. The report lists:

  • suggested improvements (such as fitting loft insulation)
  • the approximate cost
  • possible cost savings per year if the improvements are made
  • how this would change the energy and carbon emission rating of the property

You can use this information to:

  • cut your fuel bills
  • improve energy performance in your home
  • help cut carbon emissions
  • help you choose a more energy efficient home to rent or buy

You do not have to act on the recommendations contained in the recommendation report. However, if you decide to do so, then it could make your property more attractive for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient.

The EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent.

If you are a landlord, you'll need to make an EPC available to prospective tenants the first time you let a home after 1 October 2008. An EPC is only required for a property which is self-contained, and is valid for 10 years.

An EPC isn't required when a tenant rents a room and shares facilities.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into force on the 6th April 2007.

Deposits are protected to ensure:

  • tenants get all or part of their deposit back, when they are entitled to it
  • any disputes between tenants and landlords or agents will be easier to resolve
  • tenants are encouraged to look after the property they are renting

When a landlord or letting agent takes a deposit from a tenant, the deposit must be protected in a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme.

This new rule applies if the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy.

At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, the tenant pays their deposit to their landlord or agent as usual. The landlord or agent must then ensure it is protected.

Landlords and agents have a choice of three schemes providers, offering two types of scheme to protect the deposit.

Custodial schemes

Money is held by the scheme until it is time for it to be repaid at the end of the tenancy. The custodial scheme is free to use. The landlord simply puts the deposit into the scheme at the beginning of the tenancy. There is one custodial scheme provider.

Insurance-based schemes

Under the insurance schemes the landlord keeps the deposit, and pays the insurance scheme to insure against the landlord failing to repay the tenant any money due to him. There is a choice of two insurance-based schemes.

Within 30 days of taking the deposit, you must provide your tenant with details of how the deposit is being protected including:

  • the contact details of tenancy deposit scheme
  • the contact details of the landlord
  • how to apply for the release of the deposit
  • information explaining the purpose of the deposit
  • what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit

Tenants have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition they took it on.

At the end of tenancy the condition and contents of the property should be checked against the agreement made at the start of the tenancy. The landlord or agent then agrees with the tenant how much of the deposit will be returned to them. Within 10 days the agreed amount of the deposit will be returned to the tenant.

If no agreement can be reached about how much of the deposit should be returned, there will be a free service to help resolve disputes offered by the scheme which is protecting the deposit.

Landlords Check List

  • Consent If applicable, ensure your lender or head lessor, have given consent.
  • Insurance You are responsible for insurance of the tenanted property for buildings and contents and public liability.
  • Mail Arrange for the redirection of your mail with the Post Office.
  • Accountant Employ a tax consultant of accountant if necessary.
  • Terms of the Tenancy Discuss the terms you require with your agent.
  • Inventory Arrange an inventory of the property before the commencement of the tenancy. This is essential to help asses any damage of loss at the end of the tenancy.
  • Furnishing Regulations Ensure all soft furnishings comply with the regulations.
  • Contractors Should you have contractors you would prefer the agent to employ on your behalf for the maintenance of the property, supply them with their contact details.
  • Property File The tenant will need information relating to the use of any appliances in the property and also manuals for the central heating. It is also useful for the tenant to supply contact details for local doctors, schools and amenities.
  • Keys Please ensure that there are sufficient keys for the property: A set for you, one for the agent and two for the property.
  • Gas Safety Check Organise a Gas Safety Inspection and issue the tenant with a current certificate.
  • Electrical Check Organise an Electrical Safety Check on all wiring and appliances in the property and keep a record of this.
  • Cleaning The property should be cleaned to a professional standard, prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Garden The garden should be in good order for the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Chimneys Ensure that all working chimneys are swept before the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Smoke Alarms Ensure that smoke and carbon dioxide alarms are fitted and in working order.
  • LPG Gas and Oil Tanks These should be full at the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Telephone There should be a working telephone line to the property.
  • Risk Assessments Have Risk Assessments completed for both Legionella and Asbestos.

Our Fees

Please find details of our fees for landlords here.