FAQs for Landlords
Take a look at our FAQ’s below answering some of the most commonly asked questions from Landlords.
I want to let out my property. What are the first steps?
The first thing to do is get in touch with your mortgage lender. You’ll need their permission before you can legally rent out the house or apartment to tenants, and they may stipulate some terms and conditions before they agree. After this, you can get in touch with us, we’ll be able to assist with marketing the property on your behalf.
Do I need to get a rental valuation?
At Hotblack Desiato, we can provide you with a free rental valuation. This is an estimate of how much rent you can realistically expect to generate, based on the condition, size and location of your property. Our lettings team have in-depth knowledge of the rental market, so our professional valuation can be really helpful.
How much does it cost to let out property?
That depends on a number of factors. For example, you may need to invest some funds to get the property to a rentable standard. By working with us, we do charge a fee for our lettings services which is dependent on the level of management service you require.
Should I use a lettings/property management agent?
You can rent the property privately, but this means you’ll take responsibility for everything, which can involve a lot of work (and stress). If you choose to work with us, our lettings and property management team take on the hard work for you. They’ll handle things like:
- Collecting the rent
- Dealing with maintenance / repairs
- Regularly inspecting the property
- Sourcing and vetting tenants
- Marketing the property
- Dealing with legal documents (e.g. the tenancy contract)
Most landlords agree that a management service is highly beneficial, and that the advantages justify the costs involved.
What happens to the tenant’s deposit?
The law requires you to place the tenant’s deposit into a government-approved deposit scheme, to ensure that the money is protected throughout the tenancy. Our lettings team can arrange this on your behalf.
Do I need an inventory?
You don’t have to have an inventory, but they certainly come in useful. An itemised list of the fixtures, fittings and furniture provides written proof for the future, should anything get lost or damaged. It’s also recommended that you take photos before your tenants move in.
Do I need an EPC certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate rates the energy efficiency of your property. As a landlord, you’ll need to purchase an EPC, and it must prove that your house has a minimum rating of E. If it doesn’t, you could be fined as much as £4,000.
It’s actually simple to improve your EPC rating; just replacing your loft insulation and light bulbs can make a difference.
Note, your EPC is valid for 10 years.
Do I need a license?
If you’re renting out an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy), you’ll need a special licence, regardless of where the property is situated. Other landlords will need to check with their local council.
What health and safety requirements do I need in place?
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the property is a safe place to live in. This means you’ll need to have the following checked:
- Gas safety
- Electrical safety
- Fire safety
There are other responsibilities too. For example, there mustn’t be any health risk from asbestos, and any furniture provided should be fire-retardant. For further information, please get in touch with us.
How do I receive my rental income?
If you’re operating as a private landlord, it’ll be your job to collect the rent each month. Otherwise, if you use a management or rent collection service your letting agent will collect it on your behalf, then pay it directly into your account.
Does my property get inspected during the term of the tenancy?
If you decide to work with us, our management team carry out regular inspections throughout the tenancy. This is to ensure that any minor issues don’t get neglected, then turn into major problems over time. We’ll also check that the property is being maintained to the appropriate standard.
What bills am I responsible for?
Usually, bills are the tenant’s responsibility, and this includes council tax (unless your tenant is exempt) and the TV licence. However, this depends on the terms of the contract. Some landlords offer to cover the costs of certain bills; a practice that’s more common with student lets, for example.
Can I access my property during the tenancy?
You’re permitted to access the property while a tenant is in situ. However, you must inform them that you intend to do so (in writing) and provide them with at least 24 hours’ notice. It’s also considered good etiquette to have a solid reason for doing so.
As a landlord, what are my responsibilities?
A landlord has various responsibilities towards their tenant. As well as ensuring that the property is safe and habitable, it’s also your job to do the following:
- Maintain the property
- Make repairs where necessary
- Provide the tenant with running water, heating and electricity
- Install appropriate ventilation
- Prevent damp becoming an issue
- Let natural light into the property
What happens if my property gets damaged?
If your property is damaged during the tenancy, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to pay for repairs. If they refuse to do so, you’re within your rights to use part/all of their deposit to cover the damage. Note – reasonable wear and tear over time is not regarded as a necessary repair.
What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay?
If you’re using our rent collection or management service, we’ll chase up non-payments for you, which makes life a lot less stressful. Additionally, you can take out non-payment insurance, which covers the costs if your tenant refuses to pay the rent.
Please note – when working with Hotblack Desiato, it’s very unusual for non-payment to be a major issue. In most cases, rent issues are resolved quickly.
What happens if I want to end the tenancy?
If you wish to end the tenancy, you’ll need to notify your tenant in writing, via a ‘notice to quit’. For Assured Shorthold Tenancies, the date they need to vacate the premises must be no less than six months after their original tenancy started. You’ll also need to give them two months’ notice.
What is TPO (The Property Ombudsman)?
The TPO is an independent agency that focuses on addressing landlords’ concerns if their agent doesn’t resolve the matter in a satisfactory manner. Hotblack Desiato are members of TPO.
What is ARLA Propertymark?
This is the UK’s main regulatory body for letting agents. It protects consumers by ensuring letting agents operate ethically, and to the appropriate standard. We’re members of ARLA Propertymark and take our responsibilities as letting agents very seriously.