Knights Porter Properties in Southampton

Rent Your Property

We are geared up to market all kinds of property from the lowest to highest price range. This can be anything from period houses to country homes, town houses to waterside properties, studios and flats to penthouses. Furthermore, we offer a choice of services to suit you. This might be Let Only, Rent Collection or complete Property Management. Ask us today for details and fees.

business, eco, real estate and office concept - businessman and businesswoman holding white paper house and keys in office

Property Viewings & Finding a Tenant

Our experienced property negotiators will always conduct viewings of your property. We will keep you up to date with feedback on viewings and any offers at least once a week. Consequently, 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. Therefore, we will do everything we possibly can to secure a let on a property as quickly and efficiency as possible.

The Process Once We Find a Tenant

Once a suitable Tenant has been found for your property, the Tenant will pay a contribution towards the deposit. We will then commence referencing.

The referencing is very thorough and would usually include identity checks, references and proof of address history. If the perspective Tenant is under the age of 25, we would also need a guarantor. Furthermore, the landlord may also want to consider a legal expense cover insurance policy.

Documentation

After referencing, the next step is to set up the Tenancy Agreements. Addionally, we will arrange for any Inventories, Gas Safety Certificates or Energy Performance Certificates to be conducted on your behalf.  The Tenant then signs an assured short hold Tenancy Agreement which will contain all the usual conditions of the let. However, should you have any additional requirements or variance to that agreement please let us know as soon as possible.  Normally, the Tenant will sign the Tenancy Agreements on the day they move in. Copies will be forwarded to the Landlord shortly after, unless otherwise requested. We will also register the Tenant’s deposit in a suitable deposit scheme.

Safety Regulations

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.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All Landlords are legally obliged to protect the deposit levied by the Tenant within 30 days. We can deal with this on behalf of the Landlord and issue the necessary certification to the Tenant.

Tax on Rental Income

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 expenses to submit with your tax return. However, it is possible to enrol 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 Price Promise

Our aim is to offer a competitively priced service to Landlords. This is 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. Therefore we promise to beat any published price from an ARLA licensed member by at least 10%

 

What to Look for in a Letting Agent

Mortgages and Finance - mortgage advisorsMany 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 a balancing act. This is why it’s best to use the services of a professional Letting Agent. It helps 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:

Ensure the Letting Agent Trades From Retail Premises and aren’t home based

This confirms the agent’s establishment. It also gives potential tenants the confidence that they are dealing with a reputable business and not a one-man band. Often home based businesses operate below the radar and may not be compliant with the Local Trading Standards guidelines. Additionally, they may not have adequate professional indemnity insurance.

Ensure the Letting Agent has Considerable Experience

Recently we have seen a purge of Estate Agents stuck for cash flow move into Lettings out of desperation. This is often without any concrete experience in the industry.

Ensure the Letting Agent is Established and has a Decent Sized Managed Portfolio

This in itself will illustrate satisfied customers. A good agent will manage well in excess of 100 properties as well as having a good selection of property available.

Ensure the Letting Agent is a member of a relevant trade association or accreditation scheme. Recognised ones includes ARLA or The Property Ombudsman. As a member of one of these schemes the Agent must adhere to strict codes of practice.

Ensure the Letting Agent is a Member of an Approved Tenancy Deposit 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.Safe Agent - Lettings Direct are Proud members of Safe Agent

Ensure the Letting Agent Advertises in the Right Places

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.

Electrical Safety - lettings DirectEnsure the Letting Agent is up to Date With Current Legislation

Lettings Agents should have good knowledge of legal procedures, as well as access to legal notices. This means 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.

Ensure the Letting Agent has the Support of a Network of Qualified Tradespeople

If something goes wrong with the property, then speed is of the essence. This is especially true when a Tenant is in situ. Therefore it is paramount that the Letting Agent has a network of qualified and trusted tradespeople. Prices should be competitive for maintenance as well as additional services such as Gas Safety Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates. These are legal requirements.

Chose the right Letting AgentChose an Experienced Letting Agent

Ensure the Lettings Agent carries out Inventories, regular property inspections and move-out inventories. So many don’t! It’s paramount that whoever you appoint to manage your property protects your investment.

Advice from Landlords

Another good pointer is if the Letting Agents also owns rental properties themselves. If they do, they will have first hand experience from both sides of the fence. Equally, they will be able to offer guidance on which type of properties, and areas, are the most popular with Tenants.

Types of Investment Property

At Knights Porter, we are here to help Landlords and Property Investors build successful investment property portfolios. We want properties to fit their investment criteria and of course we give all the help and advice we can.

There are many different types of investment properties, at all different price ranges and risk levels. These are some of the main types:

Residential Houses

These are your typical suburban houses with gardens. They’re generally freehold and ideal for family lets They are likely to offer stronger capital growth – read more…

Flats & Apartments

These are the most popular style of investment property, mainly due to their ease of purchase. They are also low maintenance – read more…

Student Properties

These can be one of the highest yielding investments. Often rental payments are more secure than residential tenancies, especially with guarantors. However the student accommodation market place is changing – read more…

Refurbishments

Often an excellent way to make capital appreciate if done well.

Repossessions

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…

HMO Properties

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…

 

What Makes a Good Investment?

The aim of the property game is always to make good investments, but this isn’t always easy. 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:

More Considerations

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.

What Costs Will you Incur Once the Property has Been Purchased?

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:

1) Maintenance

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.

2)  Service Charges

Usually only applicable with leasehold properties where fees are payable to the block management company for the up-keep of the communal areas.

3)  Ground Rent

Again, usually only payable with leasehold properties and this is the annual fee payable to the freeholder of the property.

4)  Insurance

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.

5)  Utility Charges

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!

6)  Council Tax

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.

7)  Lettings Costs

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.

Energy Performance Certificates with Lettings Direct 8)  Gas Safety Inspection

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.

9)  EPC – Energy Performance Certificates

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

10)  Licensing

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.

Leasehold Properties

What is a Leasehold Property?

A leasehold property is usually a flat or apartment where another person called the Freeholder owns the exterior and communal areas of the building.

There would be a license obtained when the property was new or converted. This would be for a set number of years. Usually for modern properties this would be 125 years, however, some leaseholds can be for up to 999 years.

On selling, the remaining period of the lease is carried over to the new leaseholder. Within the lease agreement there will usually be clauses that outline what can and can’t be done at the property. Ground Rent is collected as an annual amount by the Freeholder or Block Management Company in addition to Service Charges and such.

To find out more about leasehold properties or for any further advice, please do contact us. We’re here to help.

Lettings Advice & Tips for Landlords

Chose the right Letting Agent Lettings Guidelines

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. Problems arise when people or agents cut corners. This is especially true when it comes to finding Tenants and managing properties.

Everyone loves a deal. However, it’s not worth compromising on the quality of the Letting Agent you use. Don’t be fooled by cheap fees or flashy adverts.

To help, we have listed what we feel are the 10 most important ingredients in a successful Let:

1)   Choosing the Right Letting Agent

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. It’s often the case that neither have the experience or knowledge when things go wrong.

Read more about choosing the right Letting Agent.

2)   Ensuring the Property has been Cleaned

The general rule of thumb is to rent the property in a good clean condition. Then expect it back in the same condition. Furthermore, a property in bad condition will reflect on the tenant willing to take it.

Read more about End of Tenancy Cleaning.

 3)   Ensure the Property is Legal and you Have a Current Certification

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. The Tenant keeps copies when they move into the property.

4)   Thorough Referencing of the Prospective Tenant

Agents should fully reference the prospective Tenant and conduct credit checks.

Read more about Tenant Referencing.

5)   Comprehensive Tenancy Agreement

Ensure the Letting Agent uses a very comprehensive Tenancy Agreement. This will cover your position as a Landlord. We have come across many Agents who have an old, off the shelf type of tenancy. This doesn’t really cover the Landlords position, especially if there are any none standard conditions to the property or agreement.

Read more about Tenancy Agreements.

 6)   Ensure there is a Full Property Inventory

The legislation around Tenancy Deposits makes the Inventory 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 have photographic support and of course signed and dated by the Tenant as their acceptance.

Read more about Property Inventories.

7)   Registration of the Deposit

This is a legal requirement. All deposits have to be registered in a Government approved scheme and a certificate issued.

Read more about Registering Tenancy Deposits.

8)   Routine Property Visits

Again, essential. We would usually recommend a property visit at least once every 3 months. Documentation should support any damage or misconduct observed.

Read more about Routine Property Visits.

9)   Issuing of the Correct Notices on the Correct Dates

Should you need possession of the property, or to impose a rent increase, the right notices need to be served on the tenant. Notably, these are date sensitive.

Read more about more about legal notices and gaining possession.

10)  Comprehensive Check-Outs once the Tenant Has Vacated

This is part of the original inventory. The cost of any damage or additional cleaning needed at the property should be borne by the Tenant. Communication should be in writing in accordance with the guidelines of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme used.

Read more about end of tenancy Check-outs.

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