When letting your property, your primary objective is simple – you want to find a reliable tenant who pays the rent regularly and looks after your property as you would yourself.
The reality is usually more complex than this. Letting your property comes with legal obligations and social responsibilities, many of which are unknown to anyone who does not make a point of keeping up with this rapidly changing legislative environment.
It is certainly worthwhile getting professional advice at the outset, not just about how to maximize the likely rent you can expect to receive, but also about how you can avoid the various traps and pitfalls along the way. There has certainly been a steady increase in the number of obligations and responsibilities imposed on a landlord of late.
So during your initial meeting with your chosen letting agent (which if not the case already we hope will be us of course) you can expect your agent to, for example, provide you with advice on any suggested repairs and improvements that may be needed in order to comply with health and safety regulations, letting you know when new legislation comes into force helping you “stay legally compliant”. They can also arrange for safety checks covering gas, electrical and the risk of legionella, as well as explaining why an inventory and property condition schedule is important. In some local boroughs it is now a licensing condition to have a detailed inventory in place.
The agent should also be able to offer sound advice, to both landlord and tenant, in relation to their rights and responsibilities, as well offering the landlord guidance on what action to take if the property is mortgaged and what to consider in terms of insurance obligations. The agent should be thorough in their tenant and referencing checks, especially given the introduction of the new “Right to Rent” rules, which came into force at the start of this month. Im sure no landlord wants to risk a fine of up to £3,000 for non-compliance.
A good managing agent will also arrange to transfer the utilities to the new tenant and then go on to provide regular property visits during the course of the tenancy, again another condition of certain landlord licensing schemes, including the selective licensing scheme operating in Waltham Forest.
Hopefully you have a competent and knowledgeable managing agent taking care of everything for you, whose job it is to stay ahead of the game – after all, it’s what they do for 52 weeks of the year. If you are new to lettings, or currently at the “just thinking about it” stage, please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have.