Frequently asked questions and answers about letting your property
Yes. Your mortgage lender needs to give you permission before you can let your property, and they may impose special conditions. If you are buying a property with the intention of letting it out, you can obtain a buy to let mortgage.
Ask a letting agent to value your home. At Lauristons, we’re experts in the market, so we can tell you how other rental properties are faring in the area, and what kind of yield you can hope to expect.
This really depends on how much support you need. At Lauristons we offer three main service levels: Tenant Find, Rent Collect and Fully Managed. Each involves a different degree of service from Lauristons and the fees we charge reflect this. Be sure you understand an agent’s fees and exactly what you receive for your money when you ask them to conduct a lettings valuation.
Choosing a fully managed service allows you to completely relax. You never have to worry about the let. It creates a professional distance between you and the tenancy, and means you can avoid having to deal with all the bad bits like rent arrears and deposit disputes.
Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At Lauristons we register deposits with My Deposits. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is there to protect the tenant’s money and help to resolve any disputes at the end of the tenancy.
An inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of your property taken before the tenant moves in. It is important that if there is a dispute over damage at the end of the tenancy, you have proof of the original condition of the property and its contents.
An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC for short, is a report detailing the energy efficiency of a property. It gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. All landlords are required to purchase an EPC for a property before they let it.
A Gas Safety Record (GSR) is in place to ensure that all gas appliances, pipes and flues are in safe working order. It must be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer. This needs to be checked every 12 months.
You are required to ensure that any electrical installations and appliances within the property are safe for use. We recommend an Installation Inspection or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
You must ensure that all furnishings comply with furniture and furnishing regulations. All compliant furniture must display standard labels in a prominent position. This is to reduce the risk of fire within the property.
If you choose a Rent Collect or Fully Managed service, we will organise for the tenant to pay the rent via standing order. We will then transfer the money to your account minus our commission and any outgoings or fees (such as maintenance work). You will receive a statement every month.
If you have chosen a regulated agent like Lauristons, then your money will be protected through the Protection Bonding Scheme. Not all agents are regulated, but Lauristons choose to be. We are members of ARLA and TPO.
All landlords could be liable to pay tax on their rental income, whether they live in the UK or are based overseas. Further information can be found on the Inland Revenue’s website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/index.htm
You need to give the tenant appropriate written notice before you enter the property.
The tenant is responsible for the council tax (unless you decide to include this in the rent) but this needs to be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. If the property is standing empty, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay.
Usually the tenant, though this should be stated in the tenancy agreement. However, if the landlord furnishes the property with a TV, they would be expected to pay the licence.
The landlord or the letting agent gives the tenant notice that they will be visiting the property to check it is being looked after, and to check for any potential maintenance issues.
Either the tenant pays to fix the damage, or the cost for fixing the damage is proposed to be removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy. However, fair wear and tear should be allowed for.
The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) is the leading professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. ARLA is dedicated to protecting consumers by improving standards and professionalism within the lettings industry. Remember, letting agents are not regulated by law. Lauristons choose to be members of a regulatory body.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is an independent body to which landlords can refer any complaint should the agent fail to address it to their satisfaction. We are founder TPO members.