You’re about to become a property Landlord!

So you have a property that you are looking to let out, the question is how do you go about choosing which agent to organise the letting? You may also be asking; should I get an agent involved to help at all?

We at Bradleys will advise all landlords that this is a speculative venture however, if you instruct us we will ensure we will take the required steps to minimise any risk for you. With increased legislation in all property transactions and particularly lettings, it would seem a wise choice to employ a professional company to ensure you remain compliant within the laws and requirements of being a landlord. There are many advantages of being a landlord and by employing us, it will allow you to enjoy the rewards available without the stress or hassle that many private landlords encounter.

If you would like to arrange a visit from one of our experienced valuers, simply click here. If you would like to look over our fee options you can do so here.

Where to start?

We have created a step by step guide to letting for the first time, which we hope will help you co-ordinate the letting of your property and avoid any mishaps that many first time Landlords may encounter.

STEP 1

Do your research

Before jumping in you should do some research into the marketplace so that you can form an idea of the activity and also the competition your property may face when you launch it. You may also want to track a few properties to see whether they let quickly or not.
Do your research

It is a good idea to get a feel for the marketplace and the quickest and easiest way of doing so would be to use the internet. Alongside this site, the two big portal websites (Rightmove and Zoopla) will provide you with the widest choice of properties and therefore provide you with the insight you need.

Looking at similar properties to yours and monitoring how long they take to secure a tenant will give you a feeling as to the speed of the market and also the price at which they are being marketed at. This will give you a feel but there is no substitute for getting a professional agent, like us, to give you a detailed account of the market which will be based on actual results and statistics rather than ‘guestimating’ by what you have observed online.

You can arrange for a free lettings valuations here or contact your local branch to discuss your position.

STEP 2

How to choose a professional letting agent

To protect your investment you will want to ensure you instruct a professional company with a good reputation. Thankfully there has been an increase in regulation but unfortunately there are still companies that don’t follow the letter of the law and so you need to know what to look for. A good start will be ensuring you use an ARLA (Association of residential Letting Agents) registered agent like us at Bradleys.

In addition to being ARLA registered, we are members of various additional trade bodies that will provide reassurance to our clients that we act professionally and keep up to date with the latest regulations such as; TPO (The Property Ombudsman for lettings), NFOPP (National Federation of Property Professionals).

All residential tenancy deposits must be registered with a government backed deposit scheme of which there are three recognised schemes in place. The one we use is the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme).

In addition to any membership of trade bodies you may want to see what previous clients have had to say about our service or that of any other letting agency. The independent review website allagents is considered the ‘tripadvisor’ of estate and lettings agents and will feature thousands of reviews so you can form a better picture of the service provided by us or any other company.

STEP 3

Arrange an Free Valuation

You have done your research and so it’s time to get the experts around to find out more about how we see your property being received and the rental income they would expect to achieve as well as looking at advice on letting unfurnished/furnished.
ACCURATE FREE VALUATION

Whether you choose to visit us in our office, call us or email us or perhaps even a combination of all the above, this will give you an idea of how potential tenants are received when contacting us and will allow you to form a first impression of our company.

When letting you may have a preference for letting unfurnished/furnished and so aspects like this will be discussed at the valuation and we will be able to guide you through what is involved either way and also what is in demand.

Arrange a free and accurate valuation

STEP 4

Which service is right for you?

In addition to finding out the expected monthly rent, we will discuss the two different services we provide to Landlords. As a first time Landlord, it would be advisable to instruct us on a managed basis in order to avoid any mishaps.
Which service is right for you?

Most letting agents will offer a range of letting services to suit different Landlords. For example, we offer a comprehensive Fully Managed Service or alternatively a Tenant Find Service for some Landlords. With increased regulation it is becoming more popular for a letting agent to deal with all aspects of the letting and therefore the fully managed option is most popular.

View our management packages

STEP 5

Before you start marketing

A couple of other parties you will need to check with before you start marketing your investment would be your mortgage lender (if applicable) and also any management company (if applicable).
Do I need a Survey?

If you have a mortgage on your current property it is a requirement to ensure you have permission to let your property out, unless you have a specific buy-to-let mortgage. Most lenders are open to this and will have procedures in place that you will need to follow and so it is always best to contact your lender before committing any further. Should you have Management Company involved with your property, you may want to check there are no restrictions on letting or conditions attached that you need to consider.

STEP 6

Arranging Landlords insurance

There are specific insurance products for Landlords and it is important that your property is suitably covered for the future letting.
Do I need a Survey?

We are able to provide you with a quote for Landlords insurance and then proceed very quickly. We will need a few simple details about the property and we can out into place. To obtain a quote from our Insurance Department or find out more on our insurance click here.

Obtain a quote

STEP 7

Instructing an agent

You have done the research and checked with any third parties so you can go ahead and get the property marketed. The next step is to arrange a suitable time for us to run through getting the property marketed with you.
Instructing an agent

When we receive instructions we will want to run through our agreement terms and conditions, take some details from approved identification documents for the Landlord(s) and also access the property to take full property details, photographs and produce a floor plan for marketing. We understand that it is not always possible to meet you in person and so we are able to do most aspects via email, telephone and post in order to be compliant and should this be the case, simply contact your local Bradleys office to discuss making the arrangements.

If you haven’t already, you can arrange a free valuations here. To contact your local Bradleys branch to make arrangements, here is a list of our offices.

STEP 8

Rent protection and legal expenses cover

We are delighted to offer all new Landlords that instruct us on a fully managed basis a free 6 month policy covering the rent protection and legal expenses.
Rent protection and legal expenses cover

To avoid the expense of legal action against a tenant and the inconvenience of loss of rent, you may decide to protect yourself with Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses Insurance. We have arranged specially negotiated rates for their Landlords with providers Van Mildert including a free 6 month period.

You can find out more information by contacting your local office or by visiting our Landlord Services page.

Find out more...

STEP 9

Check you have a valid EPC

Before tenants move into the property, it is the law that you must have provided an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to the tenants. An EPC provides information on the property’s energy usage and ways in which it can be improved and is valid for 10 years once created and we recommend this is created before marketing the property.
Check you have a valid EPC

The principle underlying an EU Directive from 2007 and the regulations is to make energy efficiency of buildings transparent by using an energy performance certificate (EPC), to show the energy rating of a building, when sold or rented out, and recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency.

You can check if your property has a valid EPC by visiting www.epcregister.com or when you have an estate agent to value your home, they will be able to find this out for you.

Should you require an EPC, you can arrange for one of our qualified Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA’s) to visit the property and produce one for you. This can then be used as many times as is required for a 10 year period. Should a property have any changes to the key areas that affect an energy rating it would be beneficial to get an updated certificate created to reflect the improved efficiency particularly with the proposals in place relating to letting homes within certain energy rating bands.

More guidance on this can be provided by our staff and if required, one of our many qualified DEA’s. Should you wish to order an EPC for your property simply request an EPC.

Request an EPC

STEP 10

Marketing Your Property

Demand for quality rented accommodation is high at present for property when priced competitively so we will revisit the price to launch your property and then get marketing.
Do I need a Survey?

Your property will then be advertised in our local offices, on our very busy website and extensively on all major property portals, such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Radarhomes. Full property details are also circulated via our applicant register and to any major institutions such as colleges, local firms, relocation companies, H.M. Forces that we are in contact with. A striking ‘To Let’ board will be erected outside the premises to ensure maximum exposure.

Prospective tenants will be accompanied around your property following an initial interview to establish their suitability in the first instance.

View our marketing packages

STEP 11

Securing a tenant

Following the marketing we will be in contact with details of a prospective tenant/tenants to discuss the potential application before running our pre-referencing.
Securing a tenant

At the point an applicant wishes to proceed with a tenancy we will carry out a pre-reference check which should highlight any obvious issues. Not many agents will do this and would rather take the tenants money and run a full reference. The reason we undertake this process is to provide us with a quick overview of the affordability and identification without the time of running a full reference only to find out that they may not be suitable. Subject to the pre-reference check being ok, we will then run a full reference check by an independent and established tenant referencing company to carry out all reasonable steps to thoroughly research their background. The Van Mildert tenant referencing process can be seen on their website www.vanmildert.net.

Following the pre-referencing having been successful the local office will instruct The Move-in Team to deal with legal and technical aspects of the application.

Find out further details of our dedicated Move-in team

STEP 12

Moving in dates

Once the applicants have passed the reference checks, our Move-in Team will be in contact to discuss suitable dates for the tenants to start their tenancy at the property.
Moving in dates

It is important we try to accommodate both your wishes and the tenants whilst also allowing for the fact that we will need to create a schedule of condition before the tenants can move in. This would need to be done as close to the start of the tenancy as is practical to ensure the condition is the same as when the tenancy would start. This will also include details of the utility suppliers and readings at the start of the tenancy and allows us to contact them to ensure the billing dates/readings are accurate.

Upon the signing of the agreement the tenant will pay rent in advance and a deposit of at least one month's rent plus one hundred pounds. This deposit is registered with the TDS and held to cover any breach of tenancy covenant on the part of the tenants. The tenancy agreement will then be forwarded to you for signing and then in turn back to us to hold on file. Once all of this is completed, the tenants can collect the keys and start enjoying their new home.

STEP 13

Rental income

The tenants are in occupancy and so we will start forwarding the rent payments on a monthly basis along with a detailed Statement of Account when we have clearance from our bank.
Rental income

Very occasionally, delays in payment are experienced as a result of tenants making a late payment or in the case of a returned cheque or payment. In both instances we would immediately pursue the tenant for the debt.

In the rare event that our structured debt collection fails it may be necessary to issue court proceedings for possession of the property and/or arrears. There are seventeen legal grounds for possession relating to Assured and Shorthold tenancies that cover many different issues, not just arrears of rent. Our specialist staff will advise you specifically on points of law as required at the time and will ensure the correct legal procedures are adhered to.

This is dealt with by our experienced Accounts and Arrears Management Team who will work closely with the other departments to ensure we keep on top of the position. For further details on this specialist department click here.

STEP 14

Ongoing service

We will contact you should an issue arise with the property, subject to your instructions at the start of the agreement, and also following inspections of the property with a brief report on the inspection.
Ongoing service

Most of the time we do not need to contact you and will be able to deal with most aspects of the tenancy and you will simply receive the inspection reports to ensure the property is being looked after in the manner we would expect or indeed to nip any issues in the bud.

Should some works or repairs be required the tenants have the ability to report them 24/7 via our online reporting system and we can then deal with them accordingly. The Maintenance Team will take into consideration your instructions to us at the outset regarding any works/maintenance.

Should you wish to find out more about our Maintenance Team you can click here. click here

STEP 15

What happens if the tenants give notice?

Whether it be 6 months down the line or 6 years, the tenants are required to give notice in writing at least 1 month before they intend to end the tenancy. We will contact you to inform you and review the options with a view to re-marketing as soon as you would like us to.
What happens if the tenants give notice?

You never know when or why a tenant may wish to give notice but we are able to use the notice period to ensure we review your options including both sales and rental valuations of the property. Should your instructions be to re-market the property we are able to put this in place almost immediately maximising the chance of securing another tenant and therefore ensuring a swift changeover from one tenant to another and reducing any period the property remains empty.

From the moment the tenant provides us with notice our specialist Vacate Team are informed and will oversee the tenants vacating the property. We will revisit the property following the end of the tenancy to carry out a check-out inspection, using the original schedule of condition to note any changes whilst allowing for wear and tear. We will then report back whether there have been any issues or hopefully that all is fine and then we can focus on moving your next tenants in.

For further details on the Vacate Team and the role they play click here

STEP 16

Deposit resolution

Following the tenants having vacated and the check-out inspection having been carried out we will advise whether the deposit should be returned in full or whether there are any damages which will require some of the deposit to be retained.
Deposit resolution

It is inevitable that with any persons living in a property, there will be a level of wear and tear which we must allow for. Should there be any signs of this being taken too far or even damage to the property we will communicate the findings to you and investigate the costs of this being rectified should you wish us to do so. We have a duty of service to the tenants which includes keeping them informed of the position. Once all parties have confirmed they are happy we can refund the full deposit to the tenants (or reduced amount if applicable).

On the rare occasion there is a dispute between our findings and suggested actions and the tenants view point on part of or the whole deposit being retained then the TDS (Tenancy Dispute Scheme) would get involved in order to determine the actions. Our Vacate Team would continue to deal with this until resolved keeping you informed each step of the way.

Time to move your next tenants in ……

Free Valuation

Contact us to find out more...