Landlord Guide

Helping you get the most out of your property

Our Landlord guide is a brief overview of the key points you need to be aware of if you have one or more properties that you wish to rent out.

General Responsibilities

Landlord

  • Provision of basic appliances to safely supply gas, electric and water to the property
  • Provide a correctly installed and maintained kitchen facility
  • Provide a correctly installed and maintained bathroom facility
  • Regular maintenance of central heating boiler and other system components (yearly inspections)
  • Regular maintenance the property electrics and its components (inspection every 5 years)
  • General exterior maintenance of the property and its structural components
  • General maintenance of the interior facilities of the property

Tentant

  • Keeping up to rent payments as per the tenancy agreement
  • Keeping up to payment of utility bills as agreed
  • Paying council tax, sewerage and water charges as agreed
  • General maintenance of the property for the duration of the tenancy
  • To be respectful of neighbours to the property e.g. no excess noise
  • To provide the landlord with access to the property in line with the terms agreed
  • To follow the correct tenancy termination procedure

The Process

Property inspection and valuation

At Virtue we offer a free no obligation inspection and valuation of your property, If this is something you wish to arrange you can either provide your details via our Contact page or get in touch with us by whichever means suits you best.

We would typically meet you at the property at your convenience where we can offer you advice on how to maximise the return on your property and of course discuss what we believe is a reasonable rental valuation of the property. If there is anything you are unsure of about residential letting this is also a good opportunity for you to take advantage of our knowledge and experience.

Agency/Landlord Contract

Before a property can be rented out it needs to meet the required standards for the UK rental market. Virtue can offer advice and guidance to meet these requirements. Once the standards are in place and rental valuation agreed a contract will need to be signed with Virtue.

This will detail the responsibilities of Virtue and you as a landlord throughout the rest of the process.

Marketing

Once terms have been agreed we will then revisit the property to take high quality professional photographs to make sure that your property stands out from the crowd. The property will then be shared across a wide range of property portals to ensure maximum exposure and of course the traditional “To Let” sign with be erected outside the property.

Viewings

Dependent upon the terms agreed viewings can be arranged and facilitated by Virtue Estate Agents or by you as the property landlord.

Application, Referencing and Credit Checks

Again, dependent upon the terms agreed, all prospective tenants, and guarantors (where applicable), will be require to complete an application form containing all relevant information to enable us to complete comprehensive referencing an credit checks to ensure that the tenant is suitable for your property. This is of vital importance as the proper checks and identification of suitable tenants can prevent a great deal of stress and frustration for the duration of the tenancy.

Inventory

This is another key stage of the process as it is a document detailing the condition of the property and its fixtures and fittings (with photographic evidence where required) upon commencement of the tenancy as agreed by all parties.

Tenancy Agreement

Your new tenant will then sign a tenancy agreement detailing the full terms of the tenancy and the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. It is at this stage that they will pay their first month’s rent and the bond as well as completing a direct debit form detailing future rent payments to be made.

Management

If you are utilising our management services we will then manage the property throughout the duration of the tenancy in line with the terms agreed at the commencement of our business relationship. This means that any issues that may arise with the property during the tenancy can be dealt with by us on your behalf, any work completed by our trade partners is always completed to the highest possible standard.

Periodic Inspections (Usually every 6 months) will then take place to ensure that the tenant is keeping up to the maintenance of the property as agree upon commencement of the tenancy.

Termination of the tenancy

Once either party wishes to terminate the tenancy and the correct notice is provided in line with the tenancy agreement we will revisit the property to conduct a final inspection. The purpose of this is to check the condition of the property and its fixings against those recorded in the inventory at the commencement of the tenancy.

* The above is intended as a guide only and is not an exhaustive summary of a Landlords responsibilities.

Landlord FAQ

Why do I need a letting agent?

They can save you a great deal of time, money and stress. Finding the right Tenant for your property could take a long time if you wait for responses from private adverts or rely on word of mouth locally and these methods tend to attract the worst sort of Tenants who are trying to bypass referencing checks. We have access to an enormous pool of quality Tenants via huge internet exposure. Because we vet Tenants so thoroughly, we have fewer problems with rent arrears and other such issues which makes our Letting Fee money well spent. We can also guide you through the maze of regulations which changes constantly to help keep you safe from prosecution.

What services do you offer?

We provide a “Letting Service” or a “Letting and Management Service” The Letting Service is geared towards experienced Landlords whose day-to-day business is the management of their portfolio. The majority of our clients choose the Fully-Managed option as this provides a complete service from start to finish, offering you peace of mind and the satisfaction that your property is in capable hands, as well as being completely Tax deductible.

Can I manage my property myself?

You certainly can however many Landlords under-estimate the amount of time and skill that is required to manage a property and Tenant well. For just 12% of your monthly rental, we can handle virtually every aspect and provide a useful buffer between you and your Tenant. You still make all the decisions but we do all the work for you.

How is the rent paid?

Typically, a standing order is set up from the Tenant’s bank account and the rent will be paid in advance. Once the monies have arrived into our account, the rent is paid directly into the account of your choice. A detailed statement is part of our service.

What sort of agreement is used?

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a fixed period of at least 6 months, or 12 months for Students.

What happens if the tenant doesn't pay the rent?

As part of our service, we endeavour to ensure that the rent is paid on time. Having carefully selected the tenant in the first place, there’s unlikely to be a problem. However, people’s circumstances do sometimes change during a tenancy and if the rent is not paid, we’ll advise you on the appropriate course of action. You can insure yourself against loss of rent and legal expenses.

What about a deposit?

We ask tenants for a cash deposit equal to 5 weeks rent. A cash deposit is Secured in a Tenant Deposit Scheme and managed by us and returned when the tenant has given vacant possession of the property and left it in a satisfactory condition, allowing for wear and tear, and complied with his or her responsibilities under the Tenancy Agreement.

What are my outgoings?

These will usually include: • Mortgage • Insurance- Buildings & Contents (as a minimum) • Repairs to the property and contents – unless caused by the tenants • If leasehold – ground rent and service charges • Managing agents fees • When the property is empty, utilities and services.

What about all the various safety regulations that I hear about?

We will keep you advised of any current or future legislation that affects your property and guide you through it. However, the main safety regulations are as follows:
The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988
The Gas Safety Regulations 1994
The Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 1994

What about tax?

You will be liable to pay tax on any profit generated from letting your property. The amount of tax you pay will depend on your circumstances. If you are overseas for more than six months in any tax year, you will be regarded as a non-resident Landlord. The current legislation requires us to deduct tax at the basic rate and pay this on your behalf to Inland Revenue unless we are in receipt of an exemption letter from the Inland Revenue. Once we are notified by Inland Revenue that you are exempt, we will no longer need to deduct tax.

Do I need to tell my insurance company?

Yes, otherwise you may find your insurance is invalid. Your insurer may wish to increase the premiums or be unable to accommodate your wishes. Should you need it, we are able to offer alternative Buildings and Contents insurance cover.

What do I do if my property is leasehold?

The managing agents or freeholders must be advised as a change in the type of occupancy may affect the buildings insurance. You should obtain the freeholders or managing agents consent prior to letting and advise us of any restrictions within the head lease which your tenant should be aware of.

Who looks after the garden?

The maintenance and upkeep of the garden is usually the responsibility of the Tenant. However, should you have a particularly large garden or any precious plants then it may be advisable to arrange for a gardener- the cost of which should be incorporated in the rental value. It is advisable to provide the materials for maintaining your garden even if the property is unfurnished.

Do I have to provide furniture?

Not always, however, it sometimes helps to give tenants the option. Interestingly enough, in most cases, we have found that there is very little difference in rental values between furnished and unfurnished lettings. Virtue will advise you on the most appropriate option for your property. An unfurnished property would require carpets, curtains and usually white goods. The requirements for a furnished property can vary depending upon the style and location of your property.

Are smoke alarms required?

Smoke alarms have to be installed in any new building or conversion. You are required by law to install at least one alarm per floor of your property.

What am I responsible for repairing?

As a Landlord, you have a legal obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to maintain the structure of the building, the sanitation and the supply of services. In addition, should an item in the property require replacing or repairing through fair wear and tear then you would be expected within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to deal with this.

What happens when my property is empty?

You must advise your insurance company in accordance with their requirements regarding empty property. Please check your insurance policy for the relevant details. We only charge you commission on rents that we collect so when a property is empty, we’re losing money too so rest assured we’ll be doing everything we can to let your property.

Do I need to tell my mortgage company that I'm letting my property?

Yes, you’ll normally find that there is a clause in your mortgage agreement which makes this a requirement but it is rare nowadays for your Lender to object to your request.

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