Whether you are an experienced portfolio landlord or you unwillingly find yourself becoming a landlord (for instance if it isn’t financially viable for you to sell), 3Keys Property have a wealth of experience in Lettings & Property Management and have put together this guide to assist you on your journey as a landlord.

Financial Considerations

It is important to factor in the day to day running costs of a property into your calculations:

  • Letting Agent’s fees
  • Mortgage interest
  • Redecorating
  • Insurance
  • Safety checks on the boiler, electrics etc
  • General building maintenance & repairs

Preparing the Property

By setting the standard at the outset, generally speaking a well-presented quality property will attract quality tenants. Take the time to prepare your property for rental paying attention to:

  • Exterior; pathways and gardens should be clear & easy to maintain
  • Interior;
    • Properties should ideally be neutrally decorated
    • Carpets professionally cleaned
    • Oven professionally cleaned
  • Repairs; take care of any repairs before putting your property on the market
    • Fix loose doors, drawers and cupboards
    • Replace light bulbs
    • Fix leaky taps / re-grout / re-seal baths where necessary

Don’t forget! Get spare keys cut! Prior to the let taking place we will need at least 3 x full sets of keys, 2 x for the tenants (more if there are more occupants) and a set to retain for management.

The Lettings Industry is heavily weighted with legislation and whilst it is near impossible for you to know every single piece of legislation inside out, it is imperative that you are aware of and understand the legal obligations which are imposed on you when choosing to rent your property out.

Legal Responsibilities

As a landlord you cannot ‘opt out’ of these responsibilities, you have a lawful obligation to adhere to requirements in respect of:

  • Gas Safety Checks
  • Electrical Safety Checks
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Legionella Risk Assessment
  • Smoke Alarms & CO2 Detector
  • Right to Rent checks
  • Deposit Protection

With heavy penalties for non-compliance to the regulations.

See the ‘Safety, Landlord Obligations and Requirements’ section of our website for full details.

Tenant’s Rights

One of the most frequent causes of frustration we have found from our years of experience working with hundreds of landlord clients comes down to a lack of understanding of the legal position over Tenant’s Rights, here are some examples of landlord belief vs reality:

Landlord Belief Reality
‘I want my property back so I’m just not going to renew the tenancy agreement’ By law, to regain possession of a rented property a landlord must always serve a notice of possession; there are a number of pre-requisites and restrictions imposed by the government, so if you are considering this please ask for advice way in advance. For instance:

  • You cannot serve Notice of Possession in the first 4 months of an initial AST.
  • You cannot serve a Section 21 (Form 6a) Notice of Possession, if you have not served your tenant with a ‘Local Authority How to Rent Guide’, valid Gas Certificate and valid Energy Performance Certificate at the start of their tenancy.
  • You cannot serve a Section 21 (Form 6a) if you have not correctly protected your tenant’s security deposit.
‘The tenant hasn’t paid their rent so I’m just going to ‘kick them out’’ Tenants are protected under the provisions of the Housing Act, if you wish for notice to be served on your tenants there are procedures to follow, summarised very briefly:

  • Notice of Possession
  • Court Order
  • Eviction / Bailiffs

As landlord you will be responsible for meeting the costs of the Notice of Possession, Court Order & Eviction / Bailiffs if necessary, and can look to recover your costs from the tenants once possession has been returned.

‘The tenant isn’t responding – can’t you just knock on the door’ No. We do not offer a ‘door knocking’ service, we will guide you how to correctly handle the situation however you must be mindful the tenant has the right to ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ of the property for as long as they remain a tenant. As such, we or indeed you cannot be seen to be harassing them.

The harsh reality which many agents omit to advise their landlord clients prior to gaining instruction is that tenants have rights. Lots of rights. As a landlord you should ensure you have the financial means to cover the mortgage on your rental property (in addition to your personal outgoings) for at least 6 months, should your tenant fail to pay.

This is a worst-case scenario and is a very, very rare occurrence however, we like to ensure we are fully transparent and have covered all eventualities with our clients. 3Keys Property will conduct full profile referencing on our tenants and seek your approval to confirm you are happy with the tenant based on the information we have prior to granting a tenancy. We take every step we can to ensure you enjoy the fruits of your investment & hassle-free tenancy; however, we cannot be held liable for the actions once a tenancy has commenced.

Please rest assured our expert team has a wealth of knowledge on Residential Letting Practice, we have hundreds of smooth-running tenancies, many of our tenants are long-term and have been resident in their properties for 5 years+, we even have clients who have been tenants at the same property for over 10 years. By way of further assurance at the time of writing 97% of our managed rental accounts are up to date with just 3% demonstrating tenancy arrears.

For further advice or guidance contact our Lettings Team on 01302 867888.