Exquisite Home – Lettings Guide
Every Exquisite Home agent is an extremely proficient and highly professional independent estate agent.
We operate to strict codes of conduct and are dedicated to offering the highest quality service to you. We will assist, advise and inform you through each stage of letting your property.
Exquisite Home’s agents are experts in your local area and an integral part of the communities we serve. We are ideally placed to advise you about the local environment, provide you with accurate rent assessments and notify you of specific market trends affecting local property rental prices.
Whether you would like Exquisite Home to find a suitable and reliable tenant for your property, or you would like to use our full end-to-end service, to manage the entire lettings process for you, Exquisite Home will deliver an unparalleled level of service.
Exquisite Home has both the experience and expertise to ensure that landlords can have complete confidence that their property investment is in the safest of hands and that their financial rewards are fully maximised.
Whether you are an experienced landlord or under taking a property rental for the first time, this brochure will guide you through the lettings process; giving you advice on a landlord’s responsibilities, the legalities of residential lettings and explain how we will find the right tenants for your valuable asset and safeguard it whilst it is being rented out.
Buy to Let Investment – getting the right advice
On average residential property values have doubled every ten years for the last fifty years, making property, one of the most attractive and safest investments that is available.
Over recent years, the market for rental housing has grown substantially. Driven by changes in the housing market and by changes in the nation’s social population, demand for private sector rental properties remains very strong.
The expansion and availability of buy to let mortgages and changes to landlord’s rights means that investing in buy to let properties has become a viable and attractive alternative to investing in the financial markets or leaving capital locked in a low interest savings account.
As lettings experts, Exquisite Home has the experience and knowledge to offer reliable and straightforward advice on potential property investment opportunities. Our in-depth local knowledge means that we are able to offer guidance on factors such as property location, historic and current rent levels and the potential capital growth from your buy to let property asset.
If you are thinking about buying a property which will require renovation prior to occupation, Exquisite Home can advise you on the probable rental values post-renovation, to help you assess the likely rental returns against the costs of remedial works. This can be invaluable information to ensure that you do not overspend on the main renovation work and specify the fixtures, fittings and general finish of the property to a standard which will allow your investment to bring you the most benefit.
Presenting your property
Presentation of your rental property is a key factor in maximising the rental income from the property, it is always a good idea to ensure that your property has been recently tidied and spruced up before potential tenants view the property.
- Walls and ceilings should be painted in light neutral shades.
- Carpets should also be hardwearing and in neutral colours (preferably not too light in colour). Wooden or laminate flooring should be clean and well laid.
- Any unnecessary clutter should be removed prior to both photography and viewings.
- Any areas where there is a chance of water leakage should be checked prior to letting the property. All relevant areas in kitchens, bathrooms and shower rooms should be properly tiled. All grouting and sealing should be checked and made good, to prevent expensive water leaks.
The Lettings Process – The key decisions
The start of the letting process begins with consideration of what type of landlord you wish to be?
- Do you want a long-term rental agreement, or prefer a new tenant every six months?
- Would you welcome families renting your property?
- Would you like to rent to young professionals?
The answers to those questions will also help you to choose the level of service you require from Exquisite Home, and we will be on hand to offer our exper t advice and guidance in making those decisions and decisions on how you want Exquisite Home to manage your property?
- Do you just need help finding and vetting tenants, to ensure they are responsible and financially solvent?
- Do you require Exquisite Home to manage the collection of rent from your tenants?
- Would you prefer a fully-managed service, where Exquisite Home acts as a filter between you and your tenant?
Furnished or Unfurnished?
One of the key things to consider is the question of letting your property as furnished or unfurnished.
Whether you rent out your property as either furnished or unfurnished, it is worth bearing in mind that you have a legal responsibility for the safety standards of anything you provide for the tenant’s use, including the general safety of any electrical or gas appliances provided in the property.
Unfurnished properties tend to be the most popular, as they allow tenants to bring their belongings and furniture with them. It is usual to provide curtains, carpets, fixtures and fittings, plus certain domestic appliances such as a cooker. It might be convenient to provide other white goods such as a fridge, especially if these items are integrated into the existing kitchen.
Furnished properties are more sought after by tenants who are relocating, or perhaps taking a second property for work reasons. A furnished property needs to include everything required for a tenant to move in straightaway, including beds, furniture, kitchen appliances and utensils and possibly bed linen.
Even if you let your property as unfurnished you will need a full inventory preparing prior to occupation. The inventory is an important document as it details both the property’s contents and condition at the start of the tenancy. Exquisite Home can conduct the inventory on your behalf, if required.
Finding the right tenants
Finding the right tenants for you and your property is one of the most crucial elements of the lettings process.
Exquisite Home will work with you to identify who would (and wouldn’t) be acceptable as a tenant in your property. We understand that your property is a valuable asset and that finding the most appropriate and solvent tenant will be our prime concern.
The process of finding suitable tenants requires two important elements. Firstly, the promotion of your rental property to the marketplace and secondly to thoroughly vet potential tenants, to assess their suitability.
1. Promoting your Property
Exquisite Home has an extensive database of prospective tenants, we will contact tho se clients whose requirements match with the property you are letting, via telephone and email.
In addition, full colour details of your property will be placed in our window displays and added to the Exquisite Home website. To ensure your property reaches the maximum audience, it will also be added to the most effective and popular property portals; Rightmove, PrimeLocation and Zoopla. If required, Exquisite Home can also erect a “To Let” board at your property.
2. Vetting the prospective tenants
All prospective tenants will be thoroughly screened by Exquisite Home, prior to any rental agreement being signed.
To maximise the security for you and your property, Exquisite Home uses rigorous referencing procedures and background checks:
- Employers’ references
- Bank references
- Character references
- Current landlord references
- Credit checking
The tenancy agreement – protecting your assets
The tenancy agreement is the cornerstone of any property rental.
The tenancy agreement serves to protect the rights of both the landlord and the tenant and ensures both parties are aware of their legal status and responsibilities.
As legislation now tends to be weighted in favour of the tenant, it is vitally important that you have both a comprehensive tenancy agreement and an exhaustive inventory compiled preceding each tenancy.
Exquisite Home has carefully created a tenancy agreement which seeks to simultaneously safeguard the interests of the landlord, control the activities of the tenant and protect your rights to possession and redress, if your proper ty is not looked after by the tenant.
Exquisite Home’s tenancy agreement also complies with the standard requirements of Buy to Let mortgage providers.
Inventory and Schedule of Condition
Exquisite Home can prepare and supply a comprehensive inventory of your property. The contents will be listed and their condition noted and photographed. This provides an easy reference to help resolve any disputes at the end of the rental.
Tenants are responsible for the cost to make good any damage to the property (over and above reasonable wear and tear), which occurs during their tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
It is highly likely that your proper ty rental will be let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST), governed by the Housing Act. ASTs are usually for a period of six months, however shorter or longer tenancies can also be arranged, depending on the landlord’s preferences.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Tenants are required to pay a deposit of at least one month’s rent, to be held against damage and breakages dur ing their tenure. Under the Housing Act these deposits have to be registered with a government approved scheme within 30 days. This has been introduced to give both parties an independent and unbiased route to settle any differences, following the conclusion of a tenancy.
Information for landlords – responsibilities
As a landlord there are a number of obligations and responsibilities, which are placed upon you when you rent out your property.
Exquisite Home’s agents are experts in these obligations and will guide you through all the various aspects of being a landlord, expanding on the information provided here and answering any questions that you may have.
A landlord has a statutory responsibility for the maintenance of the structure and exterior of the property under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Landlords are also responsible for ensuring that heating and plumbing installations are safe and fit for use and also for dealing with other routine repair s, including the treatment of health-threatening damp problems.
The tenant is obliged to take proper and reasonable care of your property, to pay rent on time and to abide by all terms within the tenancy agreement. Tenants are also responsible for the insurance of their own belongings and any furniture they have brought to the property.
Council Tax & Utilities
It is the responsibility of the tenant to register for and pay for Council Tax, Utilities (electricity, gas and water) and telecoms
(telephone and broadband), during their tenancy. Whilst the property is not let, it is the responsibility of the landlord to make these payments.
Mortgage Lender Consent
If you have a mortgage on the property you wish to let, you will need to inform your mortgage provider, who may require you to change to a buy to let mortgage.
Rental Payments & Deposit
Once the Tenancy Agreement has been signed, it is usual for Exquisite Home to collect the first month’s rent and deposit.Depending on the level of service you require from Exquisite Home, we can also manage and collect the monthly rental on your behalf.
If your property is leasehold, you will need to check your lease to see if it possible for you to sub-let your property. You may need permission, under the terms of your lease, from the freeholder or management company.
Landlords with leasehold properties are responsible for the payment of any service or management charges.
Insuring your property
The correct type of insurance and the correct level of insurance is crucial for landlords and their peace of mind. Your Exquisite Home agent will be able to offer guidance and advice on what’s best both for you and your property.
Specific landlord insurance is an absolute necessity for all people who rent out a property. Landlord insurance often covers things which a regular buildings insurance policy does not; such as empty property cover, or cover for loss of rent due to fire or flood etc.
Rental Protection insurance
Rental protection/guarantee insurance acts as a safeguard on your rental income. In the unlikely event that the tenant can’t or won’t pay their rent, this insurance cover would pay the rent to the landlord and provide cover for the legal costs to regain possession.
Information for Landlords – keeping your tenant safe
Landlords also have a statutory duty to ensure that all items provided to the tenant meet the relevant safety standards.
If required, Exquisite Home can advise and assist with the appointment and management of fully qualified contractors to test the relevant appliances and devices at your property, or to provide the Energy Performance Certificates.
Gas and Electrical items
All gas equipment (including flues and pipework) and all electrical appliances must meet legal safety requirements and all such equipment
and appliances should be tested and certified annually, a copy of the safety certificate must be provided to the tenant.
If your property has any oil-fired appliances or equipment, this will also need to be tested and certified prior to any letting.
Furniture & Furnishings
Any furniture and furnishings provided by the landlord must comply with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1999 and carry the requisite kite mark to affirm its safety.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Each floor of a building, where there is living accommodation, must have at least one smoke alarm installed. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in all rooms where there are gas appliances.
All alarms must be checked and in working order on the first day of a tenancy.
Energy Performance Certificates
As a landlord, you are legally obliged to have any residential rental property assessed by a suitably qualified inspector and to provide the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to the tenant upon request.
Marketing your property
Exquisite Home believes that excellent presentation and maximising the exposure of our clients’ properties plays a fundamental role in securing suitable tenants. As a result, we employ a full range of marketing techniques to increase the likelihood of letting your property in the shortest possible time:
- High quality professional standard photography
- Full colour printed property particulars and floor plans
- Local and regional advertising
- Direct marketing and canvassing cards
- Exquisite Home ‘To Let’ boards
- Fully guided viewings to showcase the best aspects of your property
- Full listing on Exquisite Home’s website
- Exposure via Exquisite Home’s Social Media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Syndication of your property on the main property portals (Rightmove, PrimeLocation, Zoopla)
Why use Exquisite Home to let your property?
It doesn’t matter whether you just need assistance in finding the right tenant for your property, or you want to use a professional letting agent to manage the entire letting process for you, Exquisite Home will give you the full benefit of their experience and expertise, to ensure your property rental is as successful as possible.
1. Professional Advice
Exquisite Home agents can guide you through the entire lettings process, giving you comprehensive and considered advice on all phases of letting and managing your property; from in-depth local knowledge, property presentation and a landlord’s obligations – right though to insurance and legal requirements.
2. Professional Appraisal
Agents at Exquisite Home have a wide-ranging and comprehensive knowledge of the local rental market, which is crucial in ensuring that you are maximising the return on your investment. We are able to offer informed advice on the potential rental returns, local demand for rental properties and the availability of potential tenants.
Exquisite Home will present your property to the marketplace using the most modern property marketing techniques available, ensuring that the widest possible audience is aware of your property. This will include printed property particulars and floor plans and access to the most effective on-line property websites. For a full breakdown of the marketing activities we could conduct on your behalf, please view the panel to the left.
4. Property Viewings
Agents from Exquisite Home will arrange and conduct property viewings with potential tenants. Our experience in conducting viewings ensures that we will present the benefits of your property in a highly positive and effective manner.
5. Tenant Selection
In order to protect your property and your financial investment, Exquisite Home will thoroughly screen and vet all potential tenants, using the most effective methods available. This will include financial and employment checks, verifying references and looking into previous tenancies, to ensure that your financial investment is shielded from potential problems with poor tenants.
6. Tenancy Agreement
Alongside the property inventory, the tenancy agreement is the most important document in the lettings process, as it formalises the contract between the landlord and the tenant. Exquisite Home is highly proficient in managing this process, giving you the security that your property is protected and that the obligations of both parties are clearly stated.
7. Protecting your investment
A comprehensive inventory of your property is crucial in protecting the fabric of your investment. Before the tenancy commences, a schedule of condition of the property and its contents must be prepared. This is an essential reference point, as it will illustrate any changes in condition or damage which has occurred during the tenancy and allow any disputes with the tenants to be successfully managed. Exquisite Home has widespread experience in conducting comprehensive inventories on behalf of its clients and would be delighted to under take this on your behalf, if required.
8. Legal compliance
There is a vast array of legislation and other binding obligations which landlords need to be aware of, and to comply with. Exquisite Home agents are fully conversant with these requirements and are ideally placed to offer guidance on things such as: gas and electrical safety regulations, relevant housing legislation, EPC certification etc.
9. Management service
An experienced letting agent, such as Exquisite Home, has the required skills and knowledge to fully manage the tenancy on your behalf, if needed: checking in the new tenants at the property, managing the collection of rental payments, arranging and administering contractors for any required maintenance work, organising and conducting periodic property inspections and finally conducting end of tenancy tasks to ensure your property is
returned in an excellent condition.
10. Peace of mind
Exquisite Home is accredited and regulated by the Association of Residential Estate Agents (ARLA), this gives you the confidence that your property will be managed in a professional and reputable manner, by agents who are members of ARLA In addition, Exquisite Home agents are members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme, which provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between member agents, tenants and landlords.