Over the years we have gained wealth of knowledge not just about the Lettings Industry, but also from being Landlords and property investors ourselves. We are certainly very happy to pass on this knowledge and help new or existing Landlords make the right property purchase and build healthy portfolios.
We have listed the following sections for Landlords and Investors, however, we are always happy to help with any other advice you may need regarding Buy to Let properties, Portfolios and Lettings – please feel free to contact us:
We are geared to marketing all kinds of property from the lowest to highest price range: From period houses to country homes, town houses to waterside properties, studios and flats to penthouses. We offer a choice of services according to your needs: Let Only, Rent Collection and Property Management. Ask us for details and fees.
Our experienced property negotiators will always attend and conduct all viewings of your property. We will keep you up to date with feedback on viewings and any offers at least once a week. We often achieve lets within a few days, however if after two weeks we have not found a suitable Tenant, we will reappraise our marketing plan with you. We are very conscious that time is of the essence when looking to find tenants and we will do everything we possibly can to secure a let on a property as quickly and efficiency as possible.
Once a suitable Tenant has been found for your property, the Tenant will pay a contribution towards the deposit and then we will commence referencing. The referencing is very thorough and would usually include identity checks, previous landlord references, employment references and proof of address history. Should the perspective Tenant be under the age of 25 then we would always seek a guarantor who will also be referenced. The added piece of mind, the landlord may also want to consider a legal expense cover insurance policy, please click here for more information.
Once the Tenants referencing has been completed, the next step is to set up the Tenancy Agreements and arrange for any Inventories, Gas Safety Certificates or Energy Performance Certificates to be conducted on your behalf. The Tenant will sign an assured short hold Tenancy Agreement which will contain al the usual conditions of the let, however should you have any additional requirements or variance to that agreement then please let us know as soon as possible. Normally, the Tenant will sign the Tenancy Agreements on the day of move in, copies of which will be forwarded to the landlord shortly after, unless otherwise requested, we will register the tenant deposit in a suitable deposit scheme for the landlord.
We will help you understand compliance with fire and furnishings regulations. And we can arrange safety checks on your property for gas and electrical appliances.
All landlords are legally obliged to protect the deposit levied by the Tenant within 30 days of the commencement of the Tenancy Agreement. We can deal with this on behalf of the Landlord and issue the necessary certification to the Tenant.
If you are based overseas HMRC will require us to withhold tax payable on your rental income. You will need to keep detailed records of income and expense to submit with your tax return. However, it is possible to enroll with the Inland Revenue’s “Non Resident Landlord Scheme” which entitles you to receive the rent without any tax deductions. For more information, please visit the HMRC website or ask one of our staff members.
Our aim is to offer a competitively priced service to Landlords, backed by our experience, expertise and professional standing.
Our rates are highly competitive and start from just £295.00* for a Tenant Find Fee. We are confident in our service and pricing structure and therefore promise to beat any published price from an ARLA licensed member by at least 10%
Letting your property is not always as easy as it may seem, as many Landlords underestimate the amount of work associated with managing a property. Since many Landlords buy property for investment purposes and still have full time jobs, it’s often difficult to find the time to keep up with the day to day events connected with the management of the property. This is why it’s best to use the services of a professional Letting Agent to ensure the tenancy runs as smoothly as possible, whilst ensuring your investment is still making you a profit.
To help Landlords ensure they choose the right Letting Agent, we have listed the criteria that you should check:
Not only give traceability and confirms the agents establishment, but also gives potential tenants the confidence that they are dealing with a reputable business and not a one-man band. Often home operated businesses operate below the radar and may not be compliant with the Local Trading Standards guidelines or have adequate (if any) professional indemnity insurance.
Recently we have seen a purge of Estate Agents stuck for cash flow move into Letting’s out of desperation without any concrete experience in the industry. Again, if a Letting Agent hasnot been around for 5 years or more, then the chances are they have not the experience needed to manage properties and deal with all situations.
This in itself will illustrate satisfied customers. A healthy letting agent will managed well in excess of 100 properties for other Landlords as well as having a good selection of available property. Ensure the Letting Agent is a member of a relevant trade association or accreditation scheme that is recognise in the Letting’s Industry, such as; ARLA or The Property Ombudsman, as a member of one of these schemes the Agent must adhere to strict codes of practice to ensure they are a trustworthy agent.
Since April 2007 it has been a legal requirement that all Tenancy Deposits are registered under a Government approved scheme. The ultimate responsibility for this lies with the Landlord and penalties for not securing a deposit correctly are usually three times the value of the deposit held.
Professional Letting Agents have access to the relevant advertising resources to ensure effective marketing of the property, as well as a large database of prospective Tenants, so properties can be let as quickly as possible. When choosing a Letting Agent ensure they use the correct media for advertising online. Professional Letting Agents use subscription property uploading portals such as ‘Rightmove and Property Finder’. Unfortunately some unscrupulous Agents will try to do things economically and advertise on free website’s which usually attract the wrong type of Tenants.
Most Agents use a Referencing Company to obtain a Credit Check and Reference Report for each prospective Tenant, and guarantor where applicable; this will ensure all potential Tenants are checked for their suitability and rent affordability before they are permitted to sign a Tenancy Agreement.
Professional Letting’s Agents are kept up to date with all the relevant legislation that surrounds the Letting’s Industry and therefore can provide current information to Landlords to ensure their property is kept compliant. Letting Agents will also have good knowledge of legal procedures, as well as access to legal notices, so the Landlord is covered for any eventuality that may occur during the Tenancy. Again, this is often not the case when Landlords deal with home-based operations or Estate Agents new to lettings.
If something goes wrong with the property, then speed is of the essence especially when a Tenant is in situ, therefore it is paramount that the Letting Agent has a network of qualified and trusted tradespeople. If the Letting Agent is established with a large portfolio of managed properties, then prices should be competitive for maintenance as well as additional services such as Gas Safety Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates for example – which again are legal requirements.
Again down to choosing an experienced Letting Agent, but ensure the Letting Agent carried out Inventories, regular property inspections and move-out inventories. So many don’t! It’s paramount that who ever you appoint to manage your property protects your investment.
Another good pointer is if the Letting Agents also owns rental properties themselves, if they do, then all the better as they will have first hand experience from both sides of the fence and be able to understand your needs much better. Equally, they will be able to offer guidance on which type of properties, and areas, are the most popular with Tenants, as well as the rental values the Landlord is likely to achieve.
At Knights Porter, we are here to help Landlords and Property Investors build successful property portfolios to fit their investment criteria and of course give all the help and advice we can. There are many different types of investment properties, at all different price ranges and all different levels of risk, but we have listed below some of the main types:
These are your typical suburb houses, usually with gardens and are generally freehold, ideal for family lets and probably stronger capital growth – read more…
These are the most popular style of investment property, mainly to their ease of purchase or because of their low maintenance – read more…
These can be one of the highest yielding investments and often rental payments are more secure than residential tenancies, especially with guarantors, however the student accommodation market place is changing – read more…
Often an excellent way to make capital appreciate provided the sums are done correctly and the project is managed well from the start.
Once, this was the most sought after property investment – nowadays popularity has pushed prices up, especially if purchasing at auctions, but we still do get a few good opportunities from time to time – read more…
Or to give them the full title, houses of multiple occupancy. This is when the house is shared by different tenants former 3 or more households. Such properties can give a much higher yield but in the majority of cases licenses are required from the local authorities – read more…
Often the excitement of buying property and building a Portfolio is very overwhelming; however as Landlords and Property Investors, we have to key our eyes firmly on the 6 fundamental points of property investment:
Regardless of the Property / Investment you are buying, these points are essential and should always be considered before buying a property.
Another key point is to ensure you are buying with your head and not your heart! Investments. Many costly mistakes are made when Landlords or Property Investors buy a property and furnish / finish it as if they were to live there themselves – read why this can be a mistake.
Ok, so you’ve bought your first property, now what kind of ongoing property costs are you likely to incur throughout the year.
Unfortunately, the Tenant doesn’t pay everything, so we have to budget for the following costs over the course of the year:
There will always be maintenance costs of some sort with all properties, whether it’s exterior, interior or just general repairs and replacement to white goods or furnishings. Generally speaking, Landlords are responsible for maintenance, wear & tear and ensuring the property is in a lettable condition.
Usually only applicable with leasehold properties where fees are payable to the block management company for the up-keep of the communal areas.
Again, usually only payable with leasehold properties and this is the annual fee payable to the freeholder of the property.
If you have a leasehold property, often, the buildings are insured by the freeholder or block Management Company, however if your property is freehold, then buildings insurance is essential. We also advise Landlords to also take out contents insurance, although not a legal requirement, it does often include public liability, which is favourable when renting.
Whilst Tenants will usually pay the utilities, Landlords are responsible for utilities charges when the property is empty. If the property is leasehold, sometimes the water rates are charged as part of the management fees – so worth bearing this in mind!
Again, usually paid by the Tenants; however this is the Landlords responsibility when the property is empty. If the property is unfurnished, then in most cases the council will issue exemption certificates for up to 6 months in a rolling year.
If you use a Letting Agent, then the Lettings Costs need to be considered – this will vary from Agent to Agent, but generally there will be charges for managing the property as well as find a tenant, registering the deposit and ancillary costs such as inventories and check-outs etc.
If you have gas in the property, then you will need an annual Landlords Gas Safety Inspection – prices vary, but range from £60 – £80 – this is a legal requirement for all properties with gas.
A legal requirement for properties that are either on the market for sale or rental, but an EPC lasts for 10 years, costs vary but usually around £69.00
Dependent on the type of property, but often HMO properties do need a license to operate and usually a fee is payable to the local council for this. Landlords should note that it is a criminal offence to operate a HMO property without the correct license. In many areas, this also includes Student Houses.
A leasehold property is usually a flat or aparment where another person called the Freeholder owns the exterior and communal areas of the building.
The Leaseholder would be granted a license when the property was new or converted and this would be for a set number of years, usually for modern properties this would be 125 years however, some leasehols can be for up to 999 years.
When the property is subsequently sold, the remaining period of the lease is carried over to the new leaseholder. Within the lease agreement, the Leaseholder will usually have many clauses within the lease that outlines what can and can’t be done at the property. The Leaseholder would also be required to pay Ground Rent to the freehold as a anual amount.
Currently and unlike sales, the Lettings Industry is not regulated and only the more professional agents choose to be self-regulated.
We have been in property and Lettings for over 20 years and seen many things in that time, most of which are a result of people or agents cutting corners when it comes to finding Tenants and managing properties. Everyone loves a deal, but don’t compromise on the quality of the Letting Agent you use as this could be very costly if things go wrong – please don’t be fooled by cheap fees or flashy adverts.
To help, we have listed what we feel are the 10 most important ingredients to a successful let are:
Ensure the Agent is registered with either ARLA or The Property Ombudsman – this ensures not only rigid guidelines, but also compulsory professional indemnity insurance. Avoid the work from home agents or the Estate Agents who have gone into Lettings for cash flow as often is the case that neither have the experience or knowledge when things go wrong – read more about choosing the right Letting Agent…
The general rule of thumb is rent the property in a good clean condition and expect it back in the same – the worse the property is, then this will reflect on the tenant willing to take it. Read more about End of Tenancy Cleaning…
There are certain certificates you need to rent out a property:
a) Energy Performance Certificate
b) A valid Gas Safety Certificate (if the property has gas)
Both of these are legal requirements and copies should be given to the Tenant when they move into the property.
Ensure the Agent does fully reference the prospective Tenant and credit checks are conducted. Read more about Tenant Referencing…
Ensure the Letting Agent uses a very comprehensive Tenancy Agreement and it fully covers your position as a Landlord – this is an area which we see so many times where the Agent has an old, off the shelf type tenancy that doesn’t really cover the Landlords position, especially if there are any none standard conditions to the property or the letting agreement. Read more about Tenancy Agreements…
The legislation surrounding Tenancy Deposits makes the Inventory probably one of the most essential items in letting the Property. An inventory is the basis of how the Tenant should leave the property at the end of the Tenancy; therefore this document should be detailed with photographic support and of course signed and dated by the Tenant as their acceptance. Read more about Property Inventories…
This is a legal requirement – all deposits have to be registered in a Government approved scheme and the tenant furnished with a certificate. If it isn’t done, the Tenant could sue the Landlord for an automatic 3 x the value of the deposit. Read more about Registering Tenancy Deposits…
Again, essential to ongoing management of the Property & Tenant, we would usually recommend a property visit at least once every 3 months, followed up with documentation, especially if there is any damage or misconduct spotted during the visit. Read more about Routine Property Visits…
Should you need possession of the property or to impose a rent increase, then this has to be done correctly and the correct notices served on the tenant – these are date sensitive, so extreme care needs to be given. Read more about more about legal notices and gaining possession…
This should be conducted in conjunction of the original inventory and the cost of any damage or additional cleaning needed to the property should be borne by the Tenant. Again this needs to be communicated in writing and in accordance with the guidelines of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme used. Such works should be carried out before the new tenant moves in to ensure the property is always reinstated. Read more about end of tenancy Check-outs…