1st Field provides a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. As members of The Property Ombudsman, NAEA, RICS, TDS and Zoopla, you can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible service.
Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been resurgence in the lettings market.
People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether Investors, Companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.
As a result, Landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the Agency they choose to act in their interests.
WHERE TO START?
1. Local Lettings Agent – we would suggest you find a local agent who is associated to a Trade Association such as ARLA (the Association of Residential Lettings Agents). In choosing us, you have come to the right place.
ARLA is an independent organisation solely concerned with the letting market. It ensures that its affiliated agents meet specific professional standards and fulfil other strict criteria such as provision of a separate client account for collection of clients’ money and availability of a bonding scheme to protect the client in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds.
The agent may also be a member of NALS (the National Approved Letting Scheme) which is a government backed accreditation scheme providing peace of mind to both Landlord and Tenants through the knowledge that firms within NALS offer high levels of customer service.
2. Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare you property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible Tenants; you must present your property in the most effective way.
- Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain
- Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality
- Animals and their odours should be eliminated
- The front door should be clean and the Entrance Hall clear of any obstructions as first impressions are important
- The entire property should be clean and well-aired and the garden tidy.
- If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened
- For any other advice contact your Agent
3. Other important considerations for Landlords before Letting
- Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider/Freeholder (if property is leasehold).
- Your Insurance Company must be notified that the property is to be rented out and appropriate insurance obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to assist you.
- The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue are apt to deal harshly with Landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified Accountant.
- Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
- Further copies of keys will need to be provided, at least two if you have Management Agents acting for you.
- Utilities such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & Council Tax will have to be transferred to the successful Tenant.
- An Inventory and Check In should be drawn up. This is an important legal document which forms an integral part of the Tenancy Agreement and, as such, it is a false economy to prepare your own in most cases.
The Inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the Tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the Tenant.
In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the Courts and arbitration but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory.