How to decide how much rent to charge?

When letting your property, it is important to price your property at a realistic level, too cheap and you may not get the best value, too expensive and you will have little interest and subsequently will leave the property unoccupied with a longer void period than necessary.

You can get a general picture of your local marketplace through local newspaper ads and property websites, but Heartwood Homes’ years of experience in differing property markets will give you a more accurate assessment of your rental value.

Your agent of choice

When you are deciding the best agent to use, please watch out for those who suggest over inflated prices, this may seem attractive but can be unrealistic.

Heartwood Homes will personally visit your property and meet with you at a time that is convenient.  The appraisal will typically take 30 minutes to an hour and will include a full inspection of your home with any advice and recommendations to help you achieve the best value and preferred tenant.

You should then decide which service is right for you, based generally on how much involvement you want with the tenancy.

Your choice of Service

  • Let only
  • Rent collect
  • Full property management service

Services can include:

  • Rental valuation
  • Viewings will always be  accompanied
  • Property marketing, offering full updates and advice
  • Thorough tenant referencing;  credit, ID checks and right to rent
  • Legally correct tenancy agreements
  • Tenancy renewals on the best  possible terms
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
  • Fire Safety Legislation
  • Tenancy deposits & correct deposit registration
  • Property inventory & regular inspections
  • Maintenance issues using approved contractors

Preparing your property for let

Tenants will pay more for properties that are well maintained and presented in excellent condition, they will also tend to stay for a longer period.

Presentation is key, here are a few tips for you.

  • Freshly decorate in neutral colours
  • Good quality, clean carpets, again fairly neutral, not too light or laminate/wooden floors
  • Well presented gardens and exterior
  • Good quality curtains or blinds with sturdy fittings

We are often asked whether a property should be furnished or unfurnished, there is no real difference between the achieved rental.  Generally tenants have their own furniture, which usually means an unfurnished property will rent quicker, or the prospective tenants may ask for the furniture to be removed.

Unfurnished property should still include white goods in the kitchen, carpets and curtains.

Viewing and tenant applications

Heartwood Homes always provide accompanied viewings, so you have added peace of mind.  Our staff are trained to point out all the best bits about your property, and ask all the right questions.

Once a potential tenant has applied to rent your property, we will talk you through the details so you can decide whether or not to accept the application.

When you have chosen your preferred applicant, it is time to arrange the paperwork and carry out all the necessary checks to make sure they have the finances in place to afford the rent.  Heartwood Homes will communicate with all parties regularly and draw up the relevant contracts. We can then arrange a moving in date to suit both you and your tenants, and arrange a photographic inspection before they move in.

Consent to let

If you are letting a leasehold property, you must check your lease in connection with subletting and obtain the necessary consent, if required.  If you have a mortgage on your property, consent may also be required, especially if you are not on a buy to let mortgage, please check with your lender.

Insurance

You will need to ensure the property and its contents are fully insured.  You must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let, and check that the conditions of the policy are complied with and that there are no restrictions on letting.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

Annual Gas Safety Checks under the Regulations is the duty of the landlord who owns the property. You are responsible for making sure gas appliances and pipe work are maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person.

The Regulations cover all appliances, and all types of gas i.e. mains, propane or Calor Gas for heating, lighting, cooking or other purposes for which gas can be used.

The landlord is responsible for their own gas appliances and must ensure that each gas appliance is checked for safety at least every 12 months by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.

A Record must be kept of all safety inspections and the results available to tenants’ inspection by law.  The landlord must have a Gas Safety Inspection carried out before a tenant (or tenants) occupies the property and signs the tenancy agreement.

A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant before the tenancy commences.  If the landlord is unable to, Heartwood Homes will provide the certificate at the landlord’s expense.

Maintenance arrangements should normally involve a series of regular inspections and any necessary repairs.  Landlords must ensure that gas pipework is maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances and flues provided for the tenants’ use must also be maintained in a safe condition.  Gas appliances and flues should be serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions but if these are not available, annual servicing is recommended, unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Landlords and/or managing agents can be convicted for non-compliance and the standard penalty is a £6,000 fine for each item and/or 6 months imprisonment.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

As a landlord you are required from the 1 October 2015 regulations to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove).  After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

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