How to let my property

Do I need a letting agent?

There is nothing stopping you from letting a property yourself and our guidance below can help you if you wish to take this route. As you may expect though we believe there are many good reasons to work with us on some or all of your requirements!

  • Advertising: The vast majority of tenants find their property online; through our website we are setup to access key property portals – increasing the chances in terms of the quantity and as a result the quality of the tenants you can find.
  • Referencing: Our referencing procedure is extremely thorough, using checks such as credit scoring and CCJ searches which are difficult to access as a private landlord.
  • Time: Do you have the time for the viewings before the property is rented, inspection viewings during the tenancy (that are key in a successful rental) and also the general queries and maintenance issues that occur.
  • Inventory: We believe that a thorough and professional inventory in partnership with a compatible tenancy agreement is crucial in protecting your valuable asset. This is something worth spending significant time on and we can help with this even if you would like to handle the rest yourself!


What do I need to do to prepare my property to let?

  • Furnishings: Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
  • Personal Items: Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books (etc), should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant’s own use.
  • Gardens: Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by a gardener.
  • Cleaning: At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, as at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants’
    responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
  • Information on the Property: It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant. Where to find – stopcocks, gas valves, meters. How to operate – central heating, the hot water system, washing machine and alarm system. When to expect – waste and recycling collections. Handy tips – is there any specific advice that will prevent headaches down the road! We can help you collate this information and provide it in a professional / helpful manner to the Tenant.
  • Keys: You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing the property we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.


What else do I need to organise?

  • Mortgage: If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgage company’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
  • Insurance: You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can provide information on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.
  • Bills and regular outgoings: We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or
    direct debit.
  • Council tax and utility accounts: We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
  • Income Tax: it is the Landlords responsibility to inform Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. It is recommended that professional advice is sought from an accountant.
  • The inventory: It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to
    provide a complete service, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition.
  • Tenancy: It is important to carefully consider your tenancy document and that this and, importantly, the required notices are served in the correct manner. Even if you decide to manage your property yourself we would recommend that you seek our help in this area.


What Health and Safety Legislation do I need to comply with?

Over the years there have been several specific acts that relate to letting a property:

  • Gas safety (Installation and use) Regulations 1998
  • Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Furniture and Furnishings (Fire & Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1993)
  • Building Regulations 1991 (Smoke Alarms)
  • Smoke Detectors Act 1991


What do these regulations actually mean to me?

You as the Landlord are responsible for (we will ensure compliance if we are managing the property):

  • Gas: All gas appliances and flues must be checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must be maintained in a safe condition at all times, records kept for at least 2 years, and a copy of the safety certificate given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences.
  • Electrical: Appliances should be serviced and in good working order. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all Houses in Multiple Occupation) it is highly recommended.
  • Fire: Furnishings within your property must meet minimum fire resistance requirements. This applies to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. In addition, fire resistant labels should be visible.
  • Smoke Alarms: All properties built since June 1992 are, by law, fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms. It is generally considered that for properties built prior to June 1992, that the common law ‘duty of care’ means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).


Is there any other legislation to consider?

    • Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?: If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority.
    • The Repairing Standard: In Scotland according to the housing act 2006, you as the landlord need to carry out a pre-tenancy inspection of the house to identify work required to meet the Repairing Standard (Further detailed information can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk). To meet the Repairing Standard you need to ensure:

 

      • The house is wind and water tight and reasonably fit for human habitation.
      • The structure and exterior of the house (including drains, gutters and external pipes) are in reasonable repair and proper working order.
      • The installations in the house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in reasonable repair and proper working order.
      • Fixtures, fittings and appliances provided under the tenancy are in reasonable repair and proper working order; any furnishings provided under the tenancy are capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed.
      • There is satisfactory provision of smoke alarms.

 

  • Tenancy Deposit Protection: All deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
  • The Disability Discrimination Act 2005: Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs): In Scotland EPCs for rental properties have been required since January 2009. The certificates provide prospective tenants with a ‘snapshot’ of the property’s current ratings for energy efficiency and insulation.


Landlords Insurance

As appointed agents for an insurance broker we are able to offer landlords insurance to all of our landlords. Protect your investment, the property and it’s contents with NIL excess.

  • Landlords Buildings & Contents Insurance
  • Landlords Emergency Assistance Cover
  • Rent Guarantee Insurance

Further details are available on request.


The above is a brief summary of landlords’ responsibilities and of the laws surrounding tenanted property. We hope that you find it useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.