Having the confidence that your property is on the market for the right price, whilst ensuring quality and compliance is absolutely crucial. You need to completely trust the agent, so make a list of as many questions as you like, and actually ask the important questions. A professional agent will happily spend whatever amount of time you need, to reassure you that
Choosing the right agent
Whether you are a portfolio landlord with multiple properties, or a first time landlord looking to let out your family home, it is incredibly important that you have the right team working for you to get the job done properly. After all, who you choose to trust with your property, could be the difference between a peaceful cooperative tenant and a nightmare tenant that you end up having to take legal action against.
Preparing the property
- Keep things simple! Neutral decor, nothing flashy.
- A fresh coat of paint when re-letting a property can always help make the property feel fresh and welcoming.
- First impressions count. Make sure that the front of the property is in good condition, as well as the first room they walk into when they enter the property. First impressions are really important.
- Keep the garden tidy. It doesn’t have to be the Chelsea Flower Show, but a neat garden with cut back grass is important. There are no excuses for overgrown grass and messy gardens.
- Use a proper cleaner. Builders always say they will “clean up” after they have finished, but what you really need is the property to be looking fresh, tidy and presentable for photos and viewings. A local cleaner shouldn’t set you back more than £15 per hour. Would you move into a property that hadn’t been cleaned properly?
Marketing & Presentation - It is a game of numbers! The more people that your advert attracts, the more viewing enquiries you will get. The more viewing enquiries you can get, the more offers you will receive. Simple. The key to high performing marketing is down to the way it is presented. A minimum of 8 professional photos and a floor plan should be considered a bare minimum. Video walk-through tours are also really helpful. The first 21 days your property is online is when it will perform at its peak, so don’t cut any corners.
5 most common mistakes that landlords make when listing their property to let;
Poor quality photos (or lack of photos)
Looking for a new home is a visual thing, and you need to show your property in the best possible light. Listing your property with on 1 outside photos is not good enough, applicants will just scroll right by. Listing your property with poor quality or out of date photos is also not good enough. Tip - put a post on your social media page, asking if anybody can recommend a photographer. You will be amazed how many of your contacts know someone with a decent camera who can come and take some photos for you!
Lack of property description
Think about the nearby hospitals, schools etc nearby that will give your property the edge over another property 3 miles out of time. Go onto Google Maps and have a look at places in the area, and mention them in the description.
Missing compliance (MEES 2018 etc)
As a professional landlord, it is your job to keep up to date on laws, and failing to comply with these could result in very serious consequences. The most recent changes were;
- Rent Smart Wales 2016: RSW was implemented in May 2016 and requires all landlords to obtain a licence if they wish to manage their own properties. Landlords without a licence, must give the property to a licenced agent.
- MEES 2018: MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) was introduced in April 2018, requiring all rental properties to perform to a level E (or above). This initiative was put in place to contribute towards reducing utility bills for tenants, whilst also contributing towards a greener planet.
- GDPR 2018: GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was introduced in May, 2018, and replaced the existing Data Protection Act 1998.
- Tenant Fee Ban 2019: The Tenant Fee Ban came into force in June 2019 (England) and September 2019 (Wales). This means that landlords and agents are now prohibited from charging fees to applicants. Instead, a payment exceeding no more than the equivalent of 1 weeks rent can be taken as a holding deposit, although this sum must form part of their first month’s rent/bond.
It is illegal for you as a landlord, to discriminate against anyone based on the following;
- Gender reassignment
- Sexual orientation
- Race (including colour, nationality and/or ethnicity)
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
Price - too cheap or too expensive
We see this all too often! Landlords massively underpricing or overpricing their properties. Don’t undercut yourself thinking “tenants will stay longer if the rent is cheaper”, because tenants will actually stay longer at market value rent, as long as you look after them. If you are a professional landlord and can resolve maintenance quickly and conduct yourself in a polite and professional manner, don’t compromise on rental income. Also, don’t be greedy! Put a fair market price on your property, you can alway re-evaluate the rental income when the renewal comes up.
Choosing the tenant
One could argue that this is the most important part of being a landlord. The difference between choosing the right tenant and the wrong tenant, is the difference between having a cooperative, reliable, peaceful tenant, and a difficult, non-rent paying tenant of which you end up having to take legal action against. The best way to help you choose your perfect tenant, is to make a list, check it twice, this will help you find out who is naughty and nice. Your list should contain all of your requirements. Sometimes though, common sense and your gut instincts may override what your list says, because it just “feels right”. If this happens, that is absolutely fine, just don’t make any emotional decisions. If your decision is being fueled by your desire to help someone who is struggling, or to do someone a favour, then you will almost definitely get bitten in the very near future.
Tip - don’t ever rent a property to a family member, friend, or someone you know socially. These never go the way you expect them to, and at the end of the day relationships and/or friendships will be ruined.
Informative, friendly and compliant. These three things should be your main focus. It is the first day in their new home, and it is up to you to set the standard of professionalism whilst also setting the tone of how the relationship will continue. You have a professional and legal responsibility to provide certain documents;
- Tenancy agreement: must be signed by all tenants over the age of 18, even non-rent payers.
- Inventory/condition report: claiming from a tenants bond at the end of the tenancy isn’t about proving that something is damaged/missing, it is about providing that it wasn’t damaged/missing when they moved in. A professional inventory company won’t charge you much for a colour, photo based conditional report. It is important that this is signed by the tenants on the day they move into the property.
- Deposit certificate & prescribed information: you have a legal responsibility to register the deposit with a deposit scheme and provide the information required to show that this has been protected, within 30 days of the commencement of the tenancy. The penalties for not doing this are vast, so don’t get caught out.
- Right to rent: you have a legal obligation to check your tenants’ rights to live/work/remain in the UK, even if they “appear British”.
- How to rent guide: you can download this from your local council website or the Rent Smart Wales website. It is a guide for landlords and tenants to read, and advise on what to do in difficult situations. You are legally obligated to provide this.
- Property certificates: you are legally obligated to provide tenants with a copy of the safety certificates. These include;
- GSC: a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate is valid when it includes all gas appliances including gas fires, gas hobs etc and is completed by a competent and qualified Gas Safe Engineer. These are valid for 12 months.
- EICR: An Electrical Installation Condition Report is valid when completed by a qualified NICEIC registered Electrician. Although an EICR is not currently a legal requirement in the private rental sector in Wales, it is thoroughly recommended. These are valid for 5 years, although periodic visual inspections are required by a competent person
- EPC: An Energy Performance Certificate is valid when completed by a qualified EPC Assessor and the certificate conforms to MEES 2018 regulations (E rating or above). These are valid for 10 years.
- Give them the information to succeed: before handing over the keys, compile a folder with all of their documentation and important information, such as: emergency contact, stop cock location, refuse collection etc.
Tip - take a look at our “White Informational Folder” video, showing what we give every tenant on move in day. It really helps tenants act quickly in an emergency.
Day to day management
It is important that you conduct yourself in a professional manner. Most reasonable tenants, just want maintenance etc resolved rapidly.
Renewing the tenancy
Coming soon ...
Implementing a rent increase
Coming soon ...
Ending the tenancy
Coming soon ...
Got a question about something that isn’t covered here?
Request a consultation with our Director, David Morgan-Kane and ask as many questions as you like.