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Where the property to be let is subject to a mortgage, permission must be granted from the mortgagee in writing. It is sometimes appropriate to remortgage with a buy-to-let specialist and our mortgage advisors, who can offer an across-the-market perspective, will be happy to provide completely impartial advice in this regard.
Security systems (locks on windows and external doors, lights, and even full alarm systems) are often considered essential by prospective tenants, and are taken into consideration by all the leading insurance companies when calculating premiums.
We recommend these should be fresh and neutral in terms of colour and style. Higher quality properties will always attract better quality tenants and therefore it is vital that a property is well presented to meet the expectations of a potential tenant. Furnished or Unfurnished? By far the greatest level of demand from tenants is for properties that are available unfurnished. This traditionally includes just carpets, curtains and a cooker. This has the advantage, from the landlord’s perspective, of avoiding the need for additional maintenance/ replacement and for annual testing of electrical appliances.
It is essential that the property and your contents are adequately insured, both while the property is empty and while it is let. Your insurers must be told that the property is to be let since failure to do so may well invalidate cover. We can provide details of competitive insurance specifically for rented property, if required.
Gardens should be left in good seasonal order so that the benchmark is set for the tenants, whose responsibility it will be to maintain the same standard. We recommend that relevant tools are provided by the landlord. If the garden is particularly large, or complicated to maintain, it may be appropriate for the landlord to retain responsibility for maintenance, in which event this will be reflected in the rent. We will be happy to help find suitable gardeners, be it for a full maintenance programme, hedge/ lawn cutting, pruning or an occasional tidy.
These should also be of good quality and condition and subject to regular servicing. It is important that full instructions for use are left on the premises to avoid the need to call in an engineer to demonstrate. Gas and electrical appliances must meet legal safety requirements and oil appliances should be tested annually.
These services should be left connected and we will arrange for their transfer into the tenant’s name. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, tenants must be able to control and regulate heating systems.
It is essential that the property is handed over in clean condition. We very strongly recommend that the property be professionally cleaned throughout, including all carpets. This creates a benchmark that will be recorded in the Inventory and Schedule of Condition, and will allow us to maintain a high standard through subsequent tenancies. We can provide the names of reputable and economical cleaning contractors.
We will notify the local council tax office of each change of occupier and of any void period between tenancies.
Two complete sets of keys should be provided in all cases – one for the tenants and one to be retained at our office. We will be obliged to charge for key cutting if insufficient keys are supplied at the outset.
If a telephone line is installed at the property you should instruct the provider to put a temporary stop on the line, when you vacate, and send you a closing account.
It is important that you comply with any insurance requirements during vacant periods, especially during the winter months.
Looking to sell but not sure how much is your house worth? Property valuation is a crucial part. Book a free valuation with one of our local property experts.