What does a letting agent do?
A letting agent’s job is to find suitable tenants for a property on behalf of its owner. The agent begins the process by visiting the property to determine its potential rental income. Once the landlord and the agent have agreed on the rent, the agent will advertise the property. The agent will usually show the property to prospective tenants and inform the landlord of any interest shown or offers made on the property. Agents can act as a go-between during negotiations before a tenancy agreement is signed. Once the landlord and the prospective tenant have come to an agreement, the agent will provide a tenancy agreement, a legal contract, for both parties to sign. Further services include tenant references, inventories, rent collection and different levels of property management. See our ‘Packages’ page for a list of our services or give us a call to speak to a member of our team.
What is the difference between your services?
We offer a range of different services depending on our Landlords’ needs, from sourcing a property, finding tenants, to fully managing the property. See our ‘Packages’ page for a breakdown of what we can offer you.
I want to let my property - do I need to tell my mortgage lender?
Yes. Your mortgage lender needs to give you permission before you can let your property, and they may have special conditions which you have to adhere to.
What are my responsibilities as a landlord?
The primary role of the landlord is to provide accommodation that is of a decent standard and ‘fit for purpose’. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their property and to keep it well maintained. This applies to the whole structural part of the property as well as interior fittings, furnishings and appliances. It is a landlord’s obligation to make sure that the property is supplied with services like gas, electricity, water, sanitation and heating.
How do I know what rent to charge?
Ask Horizon Lets to value your home. We are experts in the market so we can tell you how your property compares to others in the area and what kind of price to expect.
Why should I use a management agent instead of doing it myself?
Having a management agent means you can completely relax! It creates a distance between you and the tenants which mean you avoid having to deal with all the bad bits like rent arrears and disputes.
How much will it cost me to let my property?
Our monthly management fee is 10% of your achieved rental figure.
Do I need to have an inventory?
An inventory is a details document containing the contents and condition of your property which is done before the tenant moves in. It is important that if there is a dispute over damage at the end of tenancy you have proof of the original condition of the property and contents.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?
Yes, an EPC is a report detailing the energy efficiency of a property. It gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. All landlords are required to purchase an EPC for a property before they let it and the property must have a minimum rating of E. Renting a property which breaches any requirement will carry a penalty of up to £4,000.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
There are a few easy and cheap ways to improve your property’s EPC rating. Ensuring all your lightbulbs are energy savers is a simple change. Check your loft insulation is at least 270mm, and if you have cavity walls ensure these are filled with insulation. More expensive ways to improve your property’s EPC rating include replacing an old, inefficient boiler, adding modern controls like room thermostats, or adding renewable technologies like solar panels to the property.
Am I responsible for the gas?
A Gas Safety Certificate must be in place before a tenancy begins to ensure that all gas appliances, pipes and flues are in safe working order. It must be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer and needs to be renewed every 12 months.
Do I need my electrical appliances tested?
You are required to ensure that any electrical devices within the property are safe for use before the tenancy begins and obtain an electrical inspection condition report. We also recommend an Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
How do I receive my rental income from my letting agent?
We will organise for the tenant to pay rent via standing order and will then transfer the money to your account minus our commission and any outgoings or fees for maintenance. You will receive a statement each month.
Do I have to pay tax on my rent income?
All landlords are liable to pay tax on their rental income, whether they live in the UK or overseas.
Who arranges insurance?
The landlord/owner is responsible for arranging building insurance for the property. The leaseholder is responsible for arranging their own contents insurance for the duration of their tenancy.
Can I enter the property during a tenancy?
Yes but only if the tenant has been given the appropriate notice according to your tenancy agreement.
Will my tenants arrange an end of tenancy clean?
Your tenants are required to leave the property in the same condition as noted in the inventory check-in at the start of the tenancy.
Is a check-out report necessary?
It is best practice to complete an inventory check-in and check-out report. This record of the contents and condition of your property would then be supporting evidence for managing the end of tenancy and deposit process.
When should my check-out take place?
A check-out report should be completed on the last day of the tenancy.
Do I need to attend the check-out?
You don’t have to be present at the check-out, however, you can attend if you want.
Can I use my outgoing check-out for my new tenancy check-in?
Ideally, each tenancy should have its own unique inventory check-in and check-out report. In the event that you wish to make deductions against a tenant’s deposit best practice would be to have a unique inventory check-in and check-out report for that tenancy.
Who settles the utility bills?
Your tenants will need to settle any outstanding utility bills they are responsible for with the provider directly as part of the moving out process.
What happens if the tenant damaged my property?
The tenant will have to pay to fix the damage if they do not pay then the cost of the damage will come from the tenant’s deposit at the end of the tenancy.
What is fair wear & tear?
At the end of the tenancy when considering any potential deductions from the tenant’s deposit caused by damage, the principle of fair wear and tear is used.
What if the tenant doesn’t pay?
It is advised to insure yourself against non-payment of rent.
What is a service charge? (N/A unless rental property is an apartment)
A service charge is a charge that you are liable to pay under your lease – it represents your share of the cost of maintaining and insuring the building and development in which it is situated.
Typically this may include such costs as the cleaning of communal areas, ground maintenance, lift maintenance, repairs and maintenance within the communal areas and which may also include sections of the building that you do not directly benefit from the use of. Your lease will detail the specific items which are included in your service charge.
Service charge amounts vary from year to year and will be based on predicted expenditure. Once the financial year is over and the service charge accounts have been formalised any surplus or shortfall will be dealt with in accordance with the lease.
If I buy a property which is leasehold do I have to pay the service charges for any period prior to purchasing the property? (N/A unless rental property is an apartment)
Your solicitor should make sure that service charge payments are up to date before you complete the purchase.
What is a lease? (N/A unless rental property is an apartment)
The lease is a legal agreement between the landlord and leaseholder (or in some cases the management company). It explains the rights and responsibilities that the various parties have.
What is ground rent?
The lease agreement will usually contain a requirement for the leaseholder to pay ground rent to the landlord. The ground rent must be paid in accordance with the lease, subject to the issue of a demand by the landlord or their agent. Ground rent is not the same as service charge, they are separate payments.
Here at Horizon Lets, our qualified and experienced team are happy to help you with any advice or questions that you may have.
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