Letting Advice in Leicester, Leicestershire
The Accommodation Agency in Leicester, Leicestershire, can advise you on the steps before, after, and during letting your property. Our letting advice has been honed over more than 50 years, so you can trust our guidance and recommendations.
A Guide to Letting Your Property
You must discuss the letting of the property with your building society or bank before entering into a tenancy agreement. It is best to advise them that you are dealing with a specialist in the field of rented accommodation. The lender will usually contact us, setting out any requirements they need when the property is let. It also assures that the letting is being handled professionally. If a lender has not been informed, they may class the tenancy as void.
You will need to inform your insurance company of both the buildings and contents cover that the property is due to let, they may alter the policy to include public liability if this is not included initially. We can assist you in finding landlords insurance at a very competitive rate.
We strongly advise that personal items, especially if they are valuable or sentimental, are removed from the property before it is let. Any ‘luxury item’, such as a video or Hi-Fi equipment, should be removed prior to letting. If the property is to be let unfurnished, we do recommend that carpets and curtains are provided.
All soft furnishings to be left in the property should comply with the current fire and furnishings regulations, if they do not, they cannot stay in the property during let. For further details on the regulations, please see safety regulations later down the page.
All gas appliances within the property must have a current Gas Safety Certificate by a Gas Safety Registered engineer. A copy of this certificate must be given to the agency before a letting commences. The agency can arrange this safety check on your behalf if required.
It is advisable to have all electrical appliances checked by a qualified electrician and a certificate issued, a copy of which should be given to the agents. We also strongly advise that the wiring is checked every four to five years. We can arrange for our electrician to check the appliances should you not have your own qualified electrician.
Repairs remain the responsibility of the landlord, however, repairs that are required following a tenant(s) misuse or wilful damage are the tenant(s) responsibility.
We can recommend that before a property is presented for a letting it is in good, clean, decorative order with the garden cut and tidy. This is not only in order to attract a tenant(s) as quickly as possible, but to try to ensure the property is returned to you in the same good condition when the tenant(s) vacate.
An assured shorthold tenancy is for a fixed period - normally for six months. When you want the tenancy to be brought to an end, at least two months’ notice must be given on the prescribed forms. If you opt for management services, this will be done for you at an additional cost. Our tenancy agreement is very comprehensive, written in plain English, easy to understand by both the tenant and landlord, and is fully compliant with current housing laws.
Income tax is payable on any money earned from letting of the property, however, any expenses, e.g. commission on rents, administration charges, property repair, and certain insurances, can be offset against tax. If a landlord is living abroad, we are bound by law to deduct tax at the current rate, which we hold against any subsequent tax liabilities - unless we are in receipt of an exemption certificate issued by the Inland Revenue. If you require further advice on the matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What to Do Now
If you decide to go ahead with the letting of the property, we ask you to sign our contract and return it to us. Please note, that if you want us to show prospective tenants around the property, we shall require a set of keys. If there are any queries you have regarding letting, please get in touch.
The Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) Safety Regulations 1998 (Amended 1993 and 1996)
These regulations state that all soft furnishings provided within a let property must be fire resistant and have a permanently attached label stating that the item has passed the necessary match and cigarette tests. All furniture purchased after 1st March 1990 should automatically comply, anyone found breaching these regulations face heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
Furnishings affected include any items with foam or soft filling interiors, such as some bed bases, mattresses, sofas, chairs, cushions, headboards, futons, and garden furniture.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Amended) 1996
The electrical equipment supplied in a property must be safe, so if in any doubt, it should be checked by an N.I.C.E.I.C registered electrical engineer. The fixed wiring in a property should be checked every 4-5 years.
Energy Performance Certificates
As from 1st October 2008, the government requires each rented property to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is a certificate that shows tenants how energy efficient the property is. The EPC will grade each property from A to G (A being the most efficient and G being the least). Current running costs of heating, lighting, and hot water will also be shown on the certificate, plus, they will also be recommended some energy-saving improvements. These will be carried out by an official Domes Energy Advisor, who will visit the property to assess the age, construction, and look of the property, as well as its fixtures and fittings, such as heating systems, insulation, and double-glazing. It is recommended that you look at obtaining this certificate as soon as possible, as you could incur a fine for non-compliance should you let without a certificate. Each EPC will remain valid for ten years.
Measures You Can Look at Improving Now
Make sure your property is adequately insulated in the loft, preferably with cavity wall insulation.
If your boiler is more than 15 years old, it may be time to replace it. It is recommended that you look at a Combi boiler which saves space, plus, you do not require a hot water tank. If you have a water tank, ensure it is insulated.
Double-glazing may also be a consideration, as although it is expensive, it improves the property and will reduce overall heating costs and noise levels. The property will be easier to sell - when and if the time comes.
When you buy a new cooker or fridge for the property, make sure it has the energy efficiency notice on it.
We understand that there may be grants available under certain circumstances which you may wish to enquire about.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (Amended) 1996 and 1998
Since 1st November 1994, all let properties must have a current Gas Safety Certificate. This must be issued by a Gas Safe Registered plumber or engineer. The regulations state that all installations and maintenance of gas fittings, appliances, meters, pipework, ventilation, and flues are checked for their safe use. The certificate must be renewed annually with a copy supplied to both letting agent and tenant(s). It is illegal for a plumber who is not Gas Safe Registered to install gas appliances or carry out a Gas Safety Certificate.
Fire Safety Recommendations
We recommend all landlords to install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets into their properties for the safety of the tenant(s).
We strongly advise landlords to ensure their property is secured to a standard requested by most insurance companies, A night latch (Yale Lock) and mortise deadlock should be fitted to entrance doors, and window locks should be fitted to all opening ground floor windows. This is the general standard required for a tenant to obtain contents insurance.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
A deposit is any sum of money paid by the tenant to the landlord as security in connection with a tenancy. By law, a deposit taken in relation to an Assured Shorthold tenancy in England and Wales must be protected. The deposit must be protected in a government-approved scheme within 30 calendar days.
Inventories and rent payment records can be crucial in the event of a dispute.
Any landlords who do not protect the tenant(s) deposit, risk severe penalties. The Accommodation Agency is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and our membership number is G08058.
Approved Membership Schemes
The Accommodation Agency prides itself in being members of The National Approved Letting Scheme and the Property Ombudsman Scheme for Residential Lettings. The National Approved Letting Scheme Membership number is A3029 and the Property Ombudsman Scheme Membership number L00549.