If you decide to let your property, you’ll naturally have a lot of questions. Our expert staff are happy to advise you through the process, but in the meantime we’ve listed the questions we’re frequently asked by our landlords regarding property letting and ongoing management.
There are some key parties you must first check with to ensure that you are permitted and able to let out your property. These are as follows:
- Mortgage lender: if you have a mortgage on the property which is anything other than a ‘Buy to Let’ product then you must first contact your broker or lender to ensure that you are permitted to let the property. Even if you have a ‘Buy to Let’ mortgage, we still recommend that you check the terms to ensure that the tenancy adheres to all the conditions.
- Freeholder: if you own a leasehold property then you need to check your lease to see if you are required to give notice to, or obtain consent from, the Freeholder or Superior Landlord. It is very rare to find restrictions preventing the letting of a property out in London, however some do require each tenancy to be registered and often apply a fee for doing so.
- Block management: whether a leaseholder or a freeholder, if the property is managed by a block management company (typically only applicable to blocks of flats, estates or larger developments) you need to check what their procedures are for tenancies. Again, block managers may require registration of a tenancy which may carry charges.
- Insurance: check that letting out your property doesn’t invalidate or compromise your cover, and ensure that you’re suitably covered. As well as buildings insurance we recommend that you have landlord’s contents insurance (especially if you are going to let your property fully furnished), landlord’s public liability cover, and you may want to look at rent and legal expense protection.
Crompton Estates offers a free, no obligation review and can offer both rental and sales appraisals. What’s more, we can also advise on changes which could be made to the property to improve its rental yield, capital value or both.
Here at Crompton Estates we’ve always aimed to be transparent as a company, and that applies to our fees too. Our fees are ‘all inclusive’ so everything we do as part of our standard property management service is included in that fee – no admin or contract charges or additional fees which so many other agents apply.
The only additional charges applied by us are those of third party suppliers such as inventory clerks, cleaners, contractors, etc.
We would recommend that you market a property unfurnished but are flexible to the needs of tenants and are open to discussions on the property being furnished.
What exactly you should have in place will depend largely on the property itself and its location, however we can advise you on this. However, it’s worth noting that an ‘unfurnished’ property will still be expected to come with all major appliances in the kitchen such as a fridge / freezer, washing machine and drier, oven, hob and extractor and most expect a dishwasher.
Many landlords shy away from the idea of pets in their property, but many people see their pets as an extension of their family and having a pet does not always make them bad tenants. With the right level of expectation, agreed by both parties, this may not be an issue. Letting a cat or small dog live in the property could help you find a more reliable tenant, and you can always agree a higher deposit to cover any pet-related issues.
Any property advertised for letting must have an EPC or energy performance certificate. An EPC demonstrates the energy rating and efficiency of a property and is valid for 10 years. It gives landlords and tenants information on how energy efficient the property is and gives a standard energy and carbon emissions rating from A to G, with A being the most efficient. Unless there is an exemption on the property, it will need a minimum rating of E.
Households in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) define a property where certain conditions apply. A basic HMO will occur when three or more unrelated people (including children) occupy a property. Such properties do not require a licence but will need a satisfactory electrical certificates.
A licensed HMO will occur when five or more non-related people occupy a property. Such properties need to be licensed by the local authority and comply with its conditions for the licence, which last for 5 years. There are heavy penalties if you let an HMO without a licence when one is required. Some local authorities also have selective or additional licensing schemes and set their own licensing requirements.
Letting your property
All viewings are undertaken by a Crompton Estates member of staff, although in some circumstances they may ask you to conduct the occasional viewing. There are no charges for this regardless of how many viewings are needed to get a suitable offer. Our staff has excellent property and local knowledge, and will use this to inform tenants and get the best offer for you.
Our viewings are typically during office hours, but we understand that people work long hours so we do our best to work around timetables of potential tenants to ensure they see your property as quickly as possible.
We don’t need you to be present at any viewings and in fact tenants often feel more relaxed when the owner is not present. We would need a full set of keys and access codes throughout the marketing period, and please let us know of any important points about the property in advance, whether these are quirks and issues or key features and benefits.
You will receive regular feedback on viewings, via email, throughout the marketing process. If the property is currently tenanted, or you currently live there, we can give the relevant notice in whichever format is easiest for you (call, text or email) so all parties are constantly informed of which viewings are taking place and when.
More than 90% of our tenants are either employed or self-employed professionals working in or based in London or the surrounding area. The remaining portfolio of our tenants is usually retired professionals or students from financially secure UK or international families.
Before moving into a property, reference checks are carried out for all prospective tenants to confirm that they have previously rented without any major issues and are in employment. In all cases references are subject to landlord approval.
Reference checks are carried to ensure that prospective tenants can afford the monthly rent and have no serious adverse credit history, obtaining bank details and the contact details of the tenant’s previous landlord and employer. We also request last 3 years’ address history, passport or driving licence and 3 months’ utility bills from their current address.
Almost all of our tenancies are issued using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) as is standard in the UK for long-term tenancies. The only exception would be in the instance of a company let in which case a Company Tenancy Agreement would be used.
Crompton Estates also offers the option of ‘company let’ tenancy agreements. We can reference established companies and provide detailed reports, provide applicable tenancy agreements and paperwork, and take care of all relevant aspects. We usually request additional security by asking company directors to be personal guarantors to the tenancy.
Although Inventories are not a legal requirement they are an absolute necessity for landlords. Without a professional inventory it will be very difficult to support a disputed claim regarding deposit deductions at the end of a tenancy. As such, without an inventory, your property and its contents are almost completely unprotected by the deposit.
During the tenancy
We recommend that all tenants set up a standing order mandate to our rent account 10 days before the rent due date. This helps ensure late payments are avoided when coinciding with weekends, public holidays etc.
All rents are processed and transferred to you within 3 working days of the rent being received, although nearly 98% of all rent payments received are processed on the date received or rent due date.
Rents are transferred using our online banking system and are usually instant within the UK. International payments can also be made, however any bank charges must be covered by the client and these payments usually take 3-5 days to clear into a client’s account.
We require all of our tenants to pay the rent in one single payment and that is how you should receive it unless the property is owned by more than one party.
Unless you advise us otherwise, council tax, gas, electricity and water rates will always be paid by the tenants throughout the term of their tenancy.
Some developments apply water charges as part of the service charge account. If this is the case you need to decide if this is a cost ‘included’ in the tenancy. If you want the tenants to cover this expense, this will need to be detailed in the tenancy agreement if not billed directly to the property.
If you supply a TV with your rented property (which we typically advise against) you are obliged to provide the suitable TV licences. Otherwise it is the responsibility of the tenants to take out and pay for any applicable TV licences.
Ground rent and service charges are always the liability of the landlord and are not charged to the tenants. However, some developments apply water charges or have communal facilities such as heating or hot water charged to the account. If you want the tenants to cover these charges this must be noted during the advertising of the property and must be listed in the tenancy agreement.
If you opt to have Crompton Estates manage your property we can make these payments on your behalf directly from the rent received with no extra charges applied. These costs are then included on our account statements making your end of year accounting that much easier.
If you continue to pay these directly yourself, make sure you update the relevant companies with your new contact information. It is standard practice for bills and important letters to be sent to the actual property and you don’t want to incur any late payment charges or worse because you didn’t receive a bill.
We ensure the contractors on our panel are appropriately qualified and insured to carry out the works they are instructed to do. However, if you have a preferred contractor, as long as they are suitably qualified and insured, we are happy to add them to your client file.