These are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about letting property.
I want to let my property. Do I need to tell my mortgage lender?
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.
How do I know what rent to charge?
Ask a letting agent to value your home. At Reeds Rains 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.
How much will it cost me to let my property?
This really depends on how much support you need. At Reeds Rains we offer three main service levels: Tenant Find, Rent Collect and Fully Managed. Each involves a different degree of service from Reeds Rains 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.
Why should I use a managing agent?
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.
What happens to my tenant's deposit?
Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At Reeds Rains 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.
Why should I have an inventory?
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.
Why do I need an EPC?
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 and, from 1st April 2018, the property must have a minimum rating of E on its EPC. It will be unlawful to rent a propert which breaches this requirement with a penalty of up to £4,000.
What are my obligations surrounding gas?
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.
Do I need to get my electrical appliances tested?
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is required to meet the legislation in England. You need to ensure you instruct an electrician who meets the criteria and we can help you with that.
How do I check my furniture is 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.
How do I receive my rental income from Reeds Rains?
If you choose a Rent Collect or Fully Managed service, we will organise for the tenant to pay the rent via standing order or direct debit. We will then transfer the money to your account minus our commission and any outgoings or fees (such as maintenance work fees). You will receive a statement every month.
Will my agent keep my money safe?
If you have chosen a regulated agent like Reeds Rains, then your money will be protected through the Protection Bonding Scheme. Not all agents are regulated, but Reeds Rains choose to be. We are members of ARLA Propertymark and TPO.
Does a landlord need to pay tax on rental income?
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
Can I enter my property during the tenancy?
You need to give the tenant appropriate notice before you enter the property.
Who will pay the council tax - the landlord or the tenant?
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.
Who will pay for the TV licence - the landlord or the tenant?
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.
What is a routine visit?
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.
What if the tenant damages the property?
Either the tenant pays to fix the damage, or the cost for fixing the damage is removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy. However, fair wear and tear should be allowed for.
What if the tenant doesn't pay?
It is sensible to insure yourself against non payment of rent. Reeds Rains rent protection insurance pays 100% of your rent for up to 12 months if your tenant is unable to pay for any reason.
Terms and conditions apply. This information is a summary only. You will receive a full policy document upon application. This policy will set out the terms, conditions and limitations of this product.
What is ARLA Propertymark?
The ARLA Propertymark is the leading professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. ARLA Propertymark is dedicated to protecting consumers by improving standards and professionalism within the lettings industry. Remember, letting agents are not regulated by law. Reeds Rains choose to be members of a regulatory body.
What is TPO?
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.
What is Right to Rent?
The Right to Rent scheme, which helps to make sure that people renting property in the UK have a legal right to be here, was rolled out across England in February 2016. This law means that landlords or their letting agents must carry out identity checks on every tenant before they sign a tenancy agreement. If we don’t currently handle tenant checks for you, we’d be very happy to discuss how we can help you with this.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
Cheap and simple ways to improve the EPC rating of your property are to make sure energy saving lightbulbs are used, and to check that your loft and any cavity walls are properly insulated.
If you have more money to invest you can upgrade your boiler, add modern heating controls like room thermostats, or introduce renewable technologies like solar panels to your property.