Students Guide to Renting

For many students their move to university will be their first venture into the rental market and their initial dive into looking for their ideal accommodation can be an overwhelming affair. Knowing how much you should be paying in rent, what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant and what should pay before you move in are all explained in our student guide to renting.

Searching For Accommodation

Of course there are the universal aspects that students typically look for in their living quarters, with a close proximity to the university campus, transport routes, parking and a city centre location all being highly sought after qualities. However, before the search begins there are important considerations that shouldn’t be overlooked.

To some this may sound obvious but when looking for student accommodation with others it is important to establish an appropriate rental price than can be easily afforded. In some cases it may not immediately be clear if the rental price includes bills for utilities such as broadband, electricity and water, so it is essential to also budget for these alongside other necessities.

Additionally, it is essential for first time renters to remember that when they proceed with a tenancy agreement they are singing a legally binding contract they cannot simply back out from. To this end, before you move into the property make sure the terms of the agreement and condition of the property are thoroughly looked over and scrutinised. With this in mind it would be less than ideal to move into the accommodation to only engage in countless disputes with other housemates, or have them abandon the tenancy and leave the remaining students in an uncertain situation.

Student Tenancy Agreements

It is safe to say that the type of tenancy agreement a student will typically have is a shorthold tenancy agreement that expires after 12 months. However, if you are looking at moving into student halls, it is likely that you will be on a fixed term agreement, meaning that you have a rental period that lasts until the end of the academic year, but can be evicted if the terms of the agreement are broken.

The landlord is able to present students with either a joint tenancy agreement, or an individual contract. If the agreement proceeds under a joint tenancy, all occupants will share the collective and equal responsibility of paying any due rent alongside looking after the property and its contents. This type of agreement, whilst favoured by some, can leave students in a perilous financial situation as if a student leaves their course and wishes to move out, the other students in the property will still have to cover the rental payments.

Arguably an individual contract is more suitable for students, leaving them less exposed to paying a higher rent due to other tenants, during a period of their lives synonymous with low income; and also only leaves the student liable for any damage that occurs in their individual living space, with the exception of communal areas.

Do You Always Need a Guarantor?

As mentioned, moving into student accommodation, for many will be their first taste of living away from home. Typically when assessing a tenants suitability for a rental property the landlord will have them undergo a referencing process, with a key aspect being their ability to constantly meet their obligation to pay rent. With students however, the line of what constitutes “affordable” is a little less clear. Many students will not have an adequate credit history and sue to their academic commitments will be unable to maintain an income level typically demanded of tenants. To this end when renting to students, many landlords will request that the tenant obtains a guarantor. When in this position most students will naturally turn to parents or other relatives to fill this role. Essentially the guarantor will become liable for any outstanding rental payments, and potentially any amount required to amend damage to the property. However, it is important to remember that serious legal action can be taken against a guarantor if excessive rental arrears are left unpaid, meaning they shouldn’t be considered as an alternative to paying rent. If the agreement concerns a joint tenancy, the guarantor will also be responsible for the rent in its entirety, not just a single tenant’s portion of the due payment.

How Much Is the Deposit for Student Accommodation?

Whilst this is down to the discretion of the individual landlord, typically a student will be required to pay two deposits before they move into their rental accommodation. Once the student finds their ideal letting opportunity, in order for the property to be taken of the market, essentially being reserved, the student will need to pay the landlord a holding deposit.

Traditionally a holding deposit is not too expensive, something most students will surely appreciate, usually amounting to the equivalent cost of a single weeks rent. Providing the potential tenant proceeds with the tenancy agreement, the full amount is returned to the student. With this being said the amount paid for the holding deposit isn’t directly paid to the student, but rather deducted from any future rental payments made to the landlord.  

Once the holding deposit has been handed to the landlord, and the property taken off the market the student will then have 15 days in which to reach an agreement with the landlord and sign a tenancy agreement. If the student is content with the details of the tenancy and signs the agreement, the holding deposit must be returned to them within seven days.

However, there are circumstances under which the holding deposit will not be returned, allowing the landlord to pocket this amount. If the student fails their Right to Rent checks, provides the landlords of referencing agency with knowingly false or misleading information regarding their identification or renting history, neglects to communicate with the property owner to commence the tenancy, or simply changes their mind about moving forward with the agreement the landlord is permitted to keep the tenancy deposit.  This is intended to act as a financial safeguard for landlords, allowing them to be compensated for their time and the time lost in marketing the rental opportunity.

Tenancy Deposit for Students

Prior to moving into the accommodation students will be required to provide the landlord with a tenancy deposit. Unlike the holding deposit, this larger sum can be retained by the landlord as a safeguard against any costs incurred repairing the property or replacing its contents at the close of the tenancy period. It is for this reason many landlords choose to take a far higher tenancy deposit, not only granting them more protecting, but simultaneously acting as a monetary incentive for the occupants of the property to be increasingly mindful of the accommodation’s condition.

However, landlords are prevented from requesting exorbitant amounts under the guise of a deposit with the introduction of the Tenant Fees act 2019. The act dictates that a landlord is not able to request more than the equivalent cost of five weeks rent for a tenancy deposit when the annual rental charge for the property is less that £50,000. If however, the tenant of the rental property pay more than £50,000 each year in rent, the limit is raised, allowing the landlord to ask the tenants for up to six weeks rent.

Once you have given the landlord the tenancy deposit they must then enter this amount into a government approved deposit protection scheme within 30 days. After the landlord has entered the tenancy deposit into the protection scheme they should let you know the details of the scheme under which the deposit is being held, whilst confirming the amount taken, and the appropriate rental accommodation.

How Do I Get My Student Deposit Back?

Regardless of the type of tenant, location, or type of let, all occupants of a rental property take on the obligation to return the property in a condition akin to the start of the rental period. Of course, slight deterioration and signs of use are to be expected, to this end when the rental property is inspected at the close of the tenancy period, allowance will be given for signs of “fair wear and tear”. But what is fear wear and tear? Well, whilst there is no strict definition to abide by, essentially fair wear and tear is the expected deterioration of a furnishing, appliance, item or area within the rental property that has not been maliciously caused by the occupants, but rather regular use over time.   

When asking how to get your full tenancy deposit back many choose to emphasise what the tenant is able to do at the close of the rental period. However, some would argue due to their infancy students will need to take additional measures and precautions in order to safeguard themselves from ‘opportunistic’ landlords looking to wrongfully cash in on a tenancy deposit.

Before a student moves into a private rental they will be required to inspect the condition of the property, signing off a landlord inventory. This document will comprehensively detail the furnishings contained within the property alongside their condition, giving both parties an undisputable reference for future inspections. Whilst this inventory will have a description and numerous photos of the properties contents, it is good practice for students to take their own photos too so these can also later be relied upon.

If anything was to be broken during the rental period informing the landlord and replacing the damaged items could be worth addressing yourself, as it could potentially be cheaper than having the associated replacement costs being taken from the tenancy deposit. With this being said, students should check the details of their tenancy agreement to see if they would be liable for such damage, as in some cases the landlord would need to replace the effected furnishings; in these instances the student should simply notify the landlord of the needed work as soon as possible.

When moving out of a property students should be aware of any outstanding fees for their utility bills, or any final payments that need to be made. Before vacating the rental property utility providers should be made aware that new occupants will be taking possession of the rental. Typically, a final statement will be issued that will need to be settled. If the students fail to address this last payment it will undoubtedly fall upon the landlord who will be within their rights to deduct this amount from the tenancy deposit.

It goes without saying but the better condition in which the property is presented at the close of the tenancy, the higher your chances of getting back the full tenancy deposit amount. With this in mind cleaning the entire rental property in the final days of the tenancy period can make all the difference, with multiple tenants only making the workload lighter. It is worth noting that in most cases there will be multiple students living in the same accommodation, the responsibility is to return the property in a fit condition; having “done your bit” toward the cleaning isn’t enough to protect your deposit, the entire rental must be in an excellent state.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

What Can I Do If My Landlord Won’t Do Repairs?

When starting your rental journey the rose tinted memories of the idyllic rental property can quickly fade upon the discovery of damp, mould and other health and safety hazards throughout the let. Of course, repairs can sometimes be simple but that doesn’t always guarantee they will be done!

Knowing what to do if your landlord refuses to do repairs can help tenants avoid taking recourse that could put them on a fast track to eviction. But, can a landlord refuse to do repairs? Well, some certainly try.

What Can You Ask Your Landlord to Fix?

As can be expected, one of the most common communications between landlords and their tenants regards repairs. Whilst a landlord is not responsible for attending to every broken appliance and issue that arises throughout the tenancy, it is fair to say they are liable for most issues with the property. The duty of each party in regards to the maintenance of the rental property and its contents is often a point of confusion; however, section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 clearly details these obligations.  The act demands that the structure and the exterior of a rental property, including the drains, gutters and other external pipes, must be kept ‘in repair’ by the landlord. Additionally, the property owner is required to ‘keep in repair’ the various installations, appliances that both supply and consume the rentals water, gas and electricity. Alongside this, section 11 of the act dedicates that landlords must also ensure that the installations for heating the property and supplying heated water to the rental must also be kept in working order.

With this in mind, once the tenant has moved into the rental property, if they find fault with things such as radiators, fuses or floorboards, ect; these issues can be raised with the landlord. However, these requests must be reasonable, with the distinction between repair work and improvements being often cited by property owners. This is because whilst landlords are obligated to maintain he habitability of a property, they can only be compelled to make improvements if a health and safety risk has been found in the rental, or if a tenant with a disability needs certain things accommodating for.

If the occupants of the rental decide to implement changes, or carry out work for intended improvements without first gaining permission from the landlord the repercussions could be severe; seeing the residents be charged for any costs associated with amending the change, there is a significant risk of the full tenancy deposit amount not being returned, and the landlord may also have ground to evict based on a breach of the tenancy agreement.

How Do You Let Your Landlord Know Something Is Broken?

It goes without saying that a landlord can’t be expected to conduct repairs that they are unaware of, and in most cases the property owner’s liability to address such issues with the rental won’t begin until they have been informed by the tenant.  With this in mind, it is imperative that as a tenant you inform the landlord of any necessary repair work as soon as they are seen. This is more than etiquette, as the responsibility for a tenant to reveal any needed repairs to a landlord is usually clearly stipulated in the tenancy agreement. Understandably, if the nature of the damage seems rather small or insignificant an occupant may forgo informing the landlord. However, this damage could be assign indicative or a larger problem, or if left unattended could exponentially worsen, making the sums spent to remedy the situation far higher.

Whilst informing the landlord of any needed repairs can be as simple as a phone call, it is always best to have this communication properly documented.  To this end contacting your landlord through an email or even in writing is the recommended method. This precaution will prove to be invaluable if the landlord neglects to address any issues you are trying to bring to their attention. If a dispute also arises regarding the condition of the property at the close of the tenancy period, definitely revealing a line of attempted communication will prove the landlord was aware of the damage. If the repair work is reported to the landlord verbally, it is advised to then confirm the details of the resolution again in writing.

Who Do I Contact if My Landlord Won’t Fix Anything?

If the landlord continually fails to address any issues regarding the state of the rental property, tenants are able to report them to the local authority’s private renting team. Providing sufficient evidence is provided by the tenant, the council may warrant an inspection by their environmental health team. Upon their inspection, if they find the property to be in violation of the current standards the landlord can be ordered to conduct the appropriate repair work. If the property is considered unfit for habitation, the local authority will assist the tenants in finding temporary accommodation.

Can You Withhold Rent if Repairs Aren’t Done?

Rather understandably, after giving the landlord a, sometimes, lofty tenancy deposit, tenants rightfully expect the rental property to be in a safe, habitable state throughout the duration of the tenancy period. Some residents resort to withholding rent from their landlord because repairs are not being done, however this can empower the landlord to simply make the outcome worse for the tenants.

Essentially, when a tenant signs the tenancy agreement they are legally obliged to pay the landlord the expected amount in rent at the agreed upon frequency; if the tenant stops paying rent as retaliation for outstanding repairs this will be considered a breach of the tenancy agreement. With this I mind the landlord will be well within their rights to issue the tenant with a possession order and evict them from the property.

Can I Deduct the Cost of Repairs From My Rent?

If the landlord is becoming insistent on not carrying out any remedial work the property needs, you may consider simply doing the repairs yourself. In some instances, tenants are able to do so, deducting the associated costs of repair from their next rental payments. Whilst on face value this may seem like more hassle, the incentives for doing so are undeniable, allowing the tenant and landlord to not only avoid a lengthy legal process and fees, but often have the issue addressed much faster.

However, if you want to pursue this route the correct procedure must be adhered to in order to ensure protection from any eviction proceedings the landlord may commence in response to rental arrears.

Firstly the tenant is required to inform the property owner of any repairs that are needed whilst also giving a reasonable time frame for the work to be carried out.  If despite this notice the landlord fails to take any action to address the necessary work, the tenant should contact the landlord notifying them that they intend to do the repairs independently, unless the landlord complies with their duty.

Following this the tenant should allow the landlord more time in which to respond, and conduct the needed remedial work. If in this period the landlord continues to neglect their obligations, the tenant should search for qualified parties to carry out the repairs, sending at least three quotes to the landlord. When the quotes are sent to the landlord, once again remind them they are required to address these issues, giving them one final period in which do take charge of the repair process; with the alternative being that the costs of the work are deducted from future rental payments.

If the landlord is still silent on the matter the tenant should have the contractor that provided the cheapest quote conduct the repairs, with a copy of the invoice then being sent to the rental property owner alongside a request that the cover the enclosed costs, as per their responsibility as a landlord. Providing they further neglect to pay for the remedial work, the tenant should then reduce the amount of rent they pay in the future accordingly.

Can You Sue Your Landlord for Not Fixing Things?

Typically considered as a last resort for tenants seeking recourse against a landlord that refuses to conduct repairs, renters are able to take their landlord to court if they neglect their obligations. If the work the tenant is requesting the landlord deals with would cost less than £1000, or the tenant is asking for under £1000 in compensation, they will be required to take the case to small claims court. In this instance, whilst the tenant would be required to represent themselves, the associated legal costs are far lower, and if the ruling is in favour of the property owner the tenant will not be obliged to cover their legal fees.  

It is important to remember that before any legal proceedings can commence the tenant must first issue the landlord with a ‘letter of claim’. This document, sometimes referred to as a letter before action” outlines the problems with the rental property that the landlord has failed to address, the time frame in which the landlord could have responded to notice of such problems, the tenants request for repairs and compensation, alongside a warning that legal action will commence imminently if the situation is not rectified.

However, if the case requires the tenant to present the claim to court the tenant will need to present documentation detailing all the communication they have had, or lack off, with the landlord regarding the issue. The occupants will also be required to produce photos of the poor conditions inside the rental property, alongside any receipts, invoices and quotes they receives through arranging the remedial works to be carried out themselves. If the tenant took the necessary steps to highlight the property with the local Environmental Health department, they will also be able to issue the tenant with a comprehensive report detailing the various hazards found in the rental.  

If the court ruling is found in favour of the tenant, the rental property owner can be forced to carry out the appropriate repairs, whilst also paying compensation to the tenant. Dependent on the severity of the landlord’s health and safety violations within the property a banning order may also be issued by the local authority.

What Are Tenant’s Responsibilities for Repairs?

Whilst the landlords themselves typically arrange or conduct repairs to the rental property, this doesn’t mean that the tenants don’t have their role to play. It goes without saying that the tenants are not expected to be conducting any remedial work themselves, however once the tenancy agreement has been signed they are liable for certain aspects of the rental property’s upkeep. Tenants are expected to carry out minor aspects of maintenance, such as changing light bulbs, batteries in alarms and cleaning the interior of the rental. Alongside this the occupants of the rental property are also required to conduct themselves in what is regarded as a ‘tenant like manner’ throughout the duration of the tenancy agreement. Whilst the can be seen as a rather vague criteria, the term was introduced of a court judgement from Lord Denning; stating “the tenant must take proper care of the place… must do the little jobs around the place which a reasonable tenant would do …must not, of course, damage he house wilfully or negligently.”

However, Lord Denning Does go on to explain that , “if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time or for any reason not cause by him (the occupants), the tenant is not liable to repair it.”

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

How Do I Protect Myself as a Landlord?

Whilst becoming a landlord can be a lucrative affair, it’s certainly the result of hard work and a significant investment of the both the Landlord’s time and money. With a host of legal responsibilities and obligations to adhere to and an investment to safeguard, it goes without saying that it pays to know how to protect yourself as a landlord.

Whether it is the result of a problem tenant, extended void periods or overlooking the latest government initiative, landlords can sometimes be in a very precarious position making appropriate cover and lifelines essential.

Why Tenant Referencing Is Important For Landlords

Referencing potential tenants is a critical part of ensuring that your tenancy can run as smoothly as possible. Of course, we understand the pressures that can come with having a vacant rental property for extended periods of time, but not rushing the process can get you the ideal tenant. The referencing process is dedicated to providing landlords with the fullest available picture of whom they may decide to let their rental property out to, and is often regarded as the best way a landlord can protect themselves from a problem tenant.

Essentially, each potential tenant that goes through the referencing process will have their identity verified and their right to rent assessed. Alongside this a series of affordability checks will be carried out. Intended to reveal if the tenant will be able to meet the obligation to pay rent over the tenancy period, these checks evaluate the potential tenant’s credit history, currently income and employment status. Traditionally, the letting agents or third parties that conduct these reference checks will require the income of the potential tenant to surpass the annual rental charge by around three times.

Many referencing agencies will also require a reference from a previous landlord, with the exception of some students as this may be their first time renting and landlords will often request a guarantor. This can be of undeniable value to a new landlord as it will detail how much rent the tenant paid, if they were ever late in making those payments, if there was ever any problems with anti-social behaviour and if the property was returned in a good condition.

What Insurance Is Necessary For a Landlord?

Unfortunately, in some cases despite the thorough background checks that come with the tenant referencing process, some occupants will not respect the condition of the rental property or its contents. Whilst many rental property owners believe that taking the maximum tenancy deposit will be enough to deter these instances, it fails to actually fully protect the landlord against tenant damage. Landlord Insurance is often the solution to this, whilst these schemes often cover damage to the properties structure, missing rent and in some cases even legal cover, contents insurance for landlords typically comes at an extra cost.  A landlord is not required by law to take out an insurance police on their rented property; many mortgage lenders will consider it a violation of the terms of the residential mortgage if the home owner began to let it out. With this in mind it is often a requirement for a property owner to have landlord insurance when seeking to obtain a buy to let mortgage.

Whilst some landlords will simply take out an “umbrella” insurance policy that tries to encompass all the cover a landlord may need, this could result in paying over the odds for policies you may never need. Of course, the type of cover offered varies wildly between policies and providers, however the rental opportunity a landlord offers largely informs the types of polices they should be interested in.

If a landlord chooses to let out their rental property either partly or fully furnished they may want to consider taking out landlord contents insurance. In the event that any of the landlord’s possessions within the rental are damaged or stolen, the policy will cover the costs of replacing the items, or any necessary repair work. These polices offer an essential financial cushion against the costs of repairing the wake of a problem tenant, with the exorbitant costs of re furnishing a property being taken care of.  However, contents insurance policies for landlords will often only cover the landlord’s possessions and not the items brought into the rental by the occupants.

Buildings insurance typically comes as standard with regular landlord insurance and protects the landlord if the rental property is subject to damage due to flooding, fires, vandalism and subsidence.

If a landlord takes out liability insurance, sometimes called “public liability insurance”, they will be covered in the unfortunate event that a tenant or guest is accidentally injured whilst in the rental property.

As mentioned, some insurance policies offer landlords a financial lifeline if their tenants are unable to meet their rental commitments. It goes without saying that if an occupant of a rental property begins to accumulate excessive rental arrears a considerable amount of the landlord’s income will be absent, potentially leaving them more exposed to the buy to let mortgage payments. Depending on the provider of the insurance policy, the landlord may find that they are also covered if the tenant refuses to pay rent, malicious damage is caused to the damage, and if the occupants refuse to vacate the property after an eviction order has been served.  These types of missing rent insurance policies will typically cover the landlord for around 12 months, or up to a certain value of outstanding rent.

Landlord Inspections

Rental properties are, after all, an investment made by the landlord and therefore every precaution should be taken to ensure it is protected. For property owners this of course means making every effort to maintain the properties condition, whether this is achieved through remedial work or removing a problematic tenant.  Property inspections can be arranged for part way through the tenancy are not only a fantastic opportunity for landlords to inspect their investment for any excessive damages that may have occurred during the tenancy, but also communicate with the tenants and address any issues they have with the rental.

Before the rental property is let out to tenants it must first be fit for human habitation; with the let being free from damp or mould, pests and structural issues, alongside a safe water, electrical and gas supply. Typically, after a tenant has moved into the rental property the landlord will be responsible for arranging the maintenance of the structural integrity of the property’s exterior, including the roof, drains, foundations, ect.  The owner of the rental property will also be required to assess the order of the bathroom facilities alongside utility pipes, wiring, water tanks, heaters, radiators and gas fires.

These inspections must be arranged with the tenant at a time that is convenient, alongside providing sufficient notice. The tenant’s right to occupy the property undisturbed is also upheld if repairs are needed to be carried out. In these instances the landlord is legally required to give the occupants of the property at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the premises to conduct such work. With this being said, the landlord is able to enter the property unchallenged in the event of an emergency.  

Naturally, the landlord can only be expected to address repair work that has been through to their attention, to this end tenants also bear the responsibility of reporting issues with the rental property to the owner. However, if these requests for repair work to be carried out go ignored and the tenant believes the issues are contributing to a determination in their health or that the home is unsafe to occupy, they are able to present a case to the local environmental health department.  This authority will then carry out a thorough inspection of the rental property, issuing a report on their findings. If the Environmental Health Department’s report supports the tenants claim the landlord can be ordered to conduct the necessary repair work.  Tenants also have the ability to take legal action against a landlord that neglects to address any disrepair found in the rental property. If the tenant is able to present a compelling case, showing the needed repairs and their attempts to contact the landlord to no avail, the court can order the landlord to not only conduct the appropriate work to the property, but pay the tenant compensation and cover the legal costs they will have incurred.

Take the Maximum Tenancy Deposit

Traditionally when a new tenant moves into a rental property the landlord will first request a tenancy deposit from them. This full is often done as an additional safeguard against any potential damage being caused to the property throughout the rental period. This is often hailed as an incentive for tenants to better treat the property and its contents, as if at the end of the rental period any destruction or harm to the property is found, the associated repair or replacement costs will be taken from the amount that could be returned to the tenant.

Whilst the landlord is not obligated to take a deposit from the occupants of the rental property, if they do it must be entered into a government approved deposit protection scheme within 10 days. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 also prevents landlords from taking excessive amounts from future tenants through this deposit. As a result of this regulation, the maximum amount a landlord is able to request is capped at the equivalent cost of five weeks rent. If however, the annual rental charge for the property is over £60,000, the landlord is able to take up to six weeks rent for the tenancy deposit.

What is a Rental Inventory Checklist?

When a landlord takes a tenancy deposit from a new occupant, this is in an effort to secure the condition of the properties contents, and have cover if any replacements or repairs are needed. As is to be expected disputes will occur regarding what is considered fair wear and tear, and if anything found upon an inspection of the property at the close of the tenancy  was actually caused by the tenants. With this in mind, a landlord inventory aims to avoid this outcome, providing a transparent document for both parties to reference upon the final inspection of the property.

Typically these inventories will be curated by an independent third party or letting agent, and will guide both the landlord and new tenants through the property, detailing its condition and its contents. Specifically the report will highlight any blemishes, marks, stains or scuffs to furnishings, walls, cupboards and upholstery. The document also encompasses more subtle aspects of the rental property, with sticking doors and hinges, water pressure and electrical outlets also being included.

If the tenant were to notice any additional marks or damage after the inventory has been signed they are able to report this to the landlord and have this added to the inventory, however this is of course up to the landlord’s discretion.  With this being said, the inventory for the rental property is more than a simple list of partly damaged items contained within the property; a comprehensive report should comprise a short description of the item’s condition, accompanied by indisputable photographic evidence.

As mentioned, at the end of the tenancy the property will be subject to a final inspection in which the landlord inventory will be used to see if any new damage has occurred; if so the costs associated with repairing or replacing the damaged items will be deducted from the occupant’s tenancy deposit.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

How to Let a Property Without an Agent

For new and accidental landlords that want to know how to let a property without an agent, the benefits are often revered as massive savings, cutting the high upfront costs associated with becoming a landlord. However, the rental landscape can be unforgiving, with vacant properties, swathes of documentation and endless regulation; using a letting agent can help landlords to find their ideal tenant, curate a fair tenancy agreement for both parties, all whilst allowing landlords to maintain a return on their investment. But, can you rent out your property without an agent  and how do you let a property privately?

Buy to Let Mortgage

If you are weighing up renting out your property to tenants, it is essential that you either obtain permission from your residential mortgage provider to do so, or obtain a buy to let mortgage before accepting any occupants. This is simply because the typical residential mortgage isn’t intended to be used by landlords, there for if a home owner decided to let their property to tenants it would be considered a breach of their mortgage; making contacting your mortgage provider to declare your intentions essential. Usually if the property owner is only seeking to rent out their property for a short period of time then the mortgage provider will allow them to do so whilst remaining on a residential mortgage. With this being said, this will of course, vary between mortgage providers and your individual financial circumstance. Furthermore, this convenience will come at a cost in the form of a one off fee, or an increase in the interest being paid on the residential mortgage. It is worth noting that whilst some mortgage providers will offer the landlord with the opportunity to extend this residential rental period, however, if the landlord is intending to let their property for an extended period of time their only option is to obtain a buy to let mortgage plan.

 Thanks to the increased risk commonly associated with buy to let mortgages, the criteria that a prospective landlord will have to meet in order to be eligible is traditionally far stricter than a residential mortgage. The mortgage provider will assess the applicant’s credit rating, the rental charge for the property, and the security of their income when deciding if their application for a buy to let mortgage has been successful. Buy to let property owners will also find their to be a sizable upfront cost to becoming landlord, with a buy to let mortgage demanding a deposit of over 25% of the rental properties value.  If a buy to let mortgage is secured the landlord will of course pay this off in instalments, however, unlike a residential mortgage these payments exclusively cover the interest, with the remaining amount being settled at the close of the term.

How Much Should You Charge For Rent?

It is natural that a landlord would want to see some return of their buy to let investment, particularly after paying the associated costs of getting the property ready to rent. As expected the landlord can recuperate these costs and generate an income through the monthly rental payments they receive. However, it is important to remember that without tenants, no rental payments are received, and setting the rental charge too high can deter a lot of potential renters from your door.

Setting an appropriate figure for tenants to pay in rent means considering a few factors, with perhaps the most important being where the rental can be found. Great value can be derived from assessing what similar rental opportunities are available for tenants in the local area. If properties that are able to offer similar amenities are charging far below what you believe your property can demand, adjusting accordingly could make all the difference. However, these prices could be an indication of rental demand in the area, if opportunities can be found at under the average rate and yet are often found vacant it is telling that tenants are of short supply. If however, there is a surplus of potential renters to be found in your location there is more room to find a greater return on your rental yield.

Typically landlords choose to charge at least 25% more than the costs they incur from their monthly buy to let mortgage payments, allowing them to maintain an income whilst covering any unforeseen payments, such as missing rent, or replacing or repairing the contents of the property.  

Whilst it is possible for a landlord to increase the amount of rent that they charge mid-way through the tenancy period, this must be agreed upon by both parties, with the property owner and tenant signing a new tenancy agreement. However, if there was a rent review clause contained in the original tenancy agreement then it will typically explain not only when the landlord is able to increase the amount of rent paid by the tenants, but how much notice they should expect to receive before an increase, and how much the property owner is able to increase the rental charge by. With this being said, if the tenancy period has come to an end and the tenant is on a rolling, or periodic tenancy, the landlord is unable to increase the rent more than once each year without the occupants first agreeing.  

Finding the Ideal Tenant

If you choose to let privately then the sometimes daunting task of finding a new tenant rests solely on your shoulders. This burden alongside the pressure of missing income and drawn out void periods could be enough to push anyone to accept the first tenant that comes through the door.

Perhaps the area where using a letting agent comes into its own, marketing your rental property effectively as a DIY landlord can sometime yield results that fall short of the mark. Of course, cost effective solutions can be found with platforms such as PropertyLoop. Not only is your property then hosted on the major rental platforms such as Rightmove and Zoopla, but also benefits from the exposure granted by PropertyLoop’s community of tenants and landlords.

We also understand that exposure is meaningless unless your rental opportunity is presented well, with its unique character being highlighted to the right demographic. To this end, when advertising your rental with PropertyLoop, landlords benefit from the latest rental media technology. Our 3D virtual tours allow potential tenants to explore their future home in a new, captivating medium. Allowing renters to interact with a dimensionally accurate, meticulously recreation of your rental, giving a convenient and ground-breaking viewing experience.  

Tenant Referencing

Hailed as the most important aspect of finding an ideal tenant, the insight that can be provided through the referencing process is invaluable. Naturally, landlords will want to make an informed decision about those that they choose to let into their property, after all, how do you know if they have consistently accumulated rental arrears, or left properties in horrifying condition at the end of the rental period?  Of course these sort of assessments would be incredibly time consuming and arduous to carry out, meaning private landlord often turn to tenant referencing companies. Whilst at PropertyLoop we understand that a landlord will take comfort in the expertise of these organisations, we see no justification for property owners to be charged up to and around £70 per reference. For many this turns the search for an ideal occupant into a money saving exercise, and another high cost they must incur before they see a return on their investment.

However, when trying to find the ideal tenant with PropertyLoop a more comprehensive service is provided to the landlord at no additional cost. In contrast to most tenant referencing services offered by high street and online letting agents we don’t just offer landlords a single reference for a tenant from their most recent occupation; we gain a reference from each of the potential occupants previous landlords giving a complete rental history. To ensure that the landlord isn’t surprised by any missing rent further into the tenancy period, we assess the prospective tenant’s financial eligibility for the rental opportunity, evaluating their credit score, current employment status and income.  To provide the landlord with complete transparency and peace of mind we also authenticate the identification of any potential tenants, scrutinising any provided documentation.

As mentioned, this absolute evaluation of those seeking to rent out your property is provided by PropertyLoop at no extra cost; we ensure that landlords are paid before us! To this end landlords are alleviated from the financial burden that can come with referencing and can enjoy complete freedom in the search for their perfect tenant.

What Documents Does a Landlord Need to Provide?

Once a landlord has found their ideal tenant and is all set to hand over the keys, there are a number of additional documents they must provide to the tenants before the tenancy period commences.  

To this end, all occupants of a rental property must be issued with a copy of the “How to Rent Guide”. This document is produced by the government in an effort to provide new tenants with a greater understanding of the current rental landscape, explain their rights as a tenant, their obligations as a resident of a rental property and where they can turn if they are in need of support.  If a landlord wishes to issue a tenant with a section 21 notice, the move will not be upheld if the property owner has neglected to provide their tenants with a copy of this guide.

Alongside this landlords must also provide tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC. This document allows for a transparent evaluation of the rental properties energy efficiency, rating this on a scale from A to G, with the latter being the least energy efficient. If the property fails to score a rating of D or lower the property will be deemed unfit to rent.

After taking a tenancy deposit from the tenant, the landlord is required to provide details of the scheme under which it is protected. When taking a tenancy deposit landlords are legally obligated to enter the sum into a government backed deposit protection scheme and issue the tenant with details of the protected amount, and the provider within 30 days.

If the rental property contains gas appliances the landlord will also be required to present new tenants with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate. Inspections of the properties gas appliances are required to take place each year, being conducted by a registered Gas Safe engineer. After the inspection has taken place, tenants must be given a copy of the new certificate within 28 days. In the event that a property owner fails to comply with the gas safety regulations, they are at risk of being detected by the Health and Safety Executive, with the repercussions encompassing fines, banning orders and perhaps even imprisonment.

Do I Need to Use a Letting Agent ?

Of course, it is possible to let out a rental opportunity without the assistance of a letting agent. However, when faced with this assessment many think in terms of cost effectiveness, but should you still use a letting agent? Whilst this is the primary argument for those seeking the DIY landlord experience, the time spent dedicated to hosting several in person house viewings, arranging repairs, curating a contract and marketing a property (just to name a few), far exceeds the efficiency and historical expertise of those like PropertyLoop.  Similarly landlords can find themselves facing serious repercussions if they fail to abide by the current legislation set out by the government. Fines, banning orders, and imprisonment are all possible outcomes that can be easily alleviated with having a reputable letting agent on your side.  

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

Where to Advertise My House for Rent?

Historically, when trying to search for a place to advertise your rental property landlords have turned to high street letting agents. Whilst these agents will often hinge their advantage over their online counterparts on years of industry experience, the reality is that online agents are ahead of the curve. Of course, online letting agents such as PropertyLoop have helped to connect countless landlords and tenants, leaving the traditional brick and mortar letting agencies behind as more renters turn to finding their next home through the internet.

In essence, online letting agents cut out the middle man in renting, bringing together both parties to reach a clear and fair agreement. Through a comprehensive pool of tenants and expertly curated marketing campaigns, landlords find their ideal tenants, faster and at a fraction of the cost. 

For some the appeal of a high street letting agent is their tangibility, that the landlord can visit them if and when required. Realistically though, once again, this is an extra inconvenience that the online initiate has offered a solution to; when advertising your rental with PropertyLoop, once your property is listed you receive regular updates alongside a platform that allows direct communication with the tenants.

For landlords that favour the short term let model Airbnb has been the traditional place to turn. The platform allows renters to offer accommodation anywhere from a single night to six months. Naturally, with such a short tenancy period, it is common to attract a different type of tenant such as holidaymakers and those traveling for business. This lends itself to a more sporadic type of renting that can be suitably flexible around the landlord’s needs; allowing to let the property at any point whilst charging a higher premium. The shorter tenancy period also solves another one of the biggest issues landlords face, unwanted tenants. Whilst it doesn’t totally resolve the issue of having a problem tenant in the property in the first place, thanks to the frequent lack of referencing with short term lets, it does give landlords reassurance they will not be staying for long.

How Do I Advertise My House for Rent?

Perhaps the most important component of trying to find the ideal tenant for an unoccupied rental property; marketing your letting opportunity correctly can not only present landlords with a larger pool of potential tenants, but ensure they are a lot closer to the type of tenant they wish to let to. It goes without saying that is there are no tenants in the property; the landlord is missing income through a lack of rent, making it essential to attract quality tenants quickly. With this being said, rush the process and a landlord could end up with something potentially worse than an extended void period, a problem tenant.

When advertising your rental opportunity it is vital that you assess the competition, see what similar rental opportunities are offering in the area, and how much they are charging for this space. This in turn with a holding and tenancy deposit could deter potential tenants due to the high upfront costs that come with letting your property. Of course, details such as the rent should be clearly outlined in the properties description. 

Whilst some landlords become heavily dependent on photographs of their rental to do the talking, the importance of a compelling property description cannot be understated. This is not to dismiss the effectiveness of imagery in securing a new tenant, but rather a good rental listing can use the characteristics of the property to promote the desired, unique lifestyle of the tenant. If the ideal tenant that the landlord wishes to let to is a young professional or perhaps even a student, the description of the rental opportunity should be heavily informed by this decision; detailing proximity to city centre, ease of transport routes, local restaurants, gyms and other amenities. On the other hand if the landlord is wishing to attract a family to their buy to let property, typically the description of the opportunity will reveal local education, hospitals and childcare facilities.

Regardless of the demographic intended for the rental, it goes without saying that the listing should encompass all the details of the rental property you have to offer.  Simply stating the general location of your buy to let and explaining how many bedrooms it has to offer falls short of the mark, and doesn’t inspire confidence in potential renters. Advice to landlords writing their own property description to go from room to room, as if it were a personal property viewing highlighting all its key features.  These details usually comprise, the amount of rent a tenant is expected to pay, the frequency at which rental payments are due, if any bills or utilities are include in the rental charge; alongside the number of bedrooms and any garden space the rental property has to offer.

However, even the most compelling property descriptions are unfortunately redundant if aspiring tenants never see it.  It is critical to have you rental opportunity listed in an online portal, but with this being said, the portals that grant the most exposure will not deal will landlords directly. This means that landlords must turn to letting agents to access this rich pool of potential tenants. Online letting agents will naturally be more suited to getting tenants to engage with your property on these platforms, not to mention that they will also usually host your rental property on their own dedicated spaces.

Some landlords have hailed social media platforms as a valid way to find tenants. Whilst we do acknowledge that this gives the landlord complete independence in how their property is represented, it is done so without the guidance of seasoned industry professionals that could find a tenant far more efficiently, helping prevent the perils of void periods. It is also worth mentioning that these online spaces are not intended for such a purpose and whilst some interest may be found, the quality of such engagement is debatable. When listing your property in a dedicated online space you can be confident those inquiring about the opportunity will be doing so with the intent of actually renting.

What Do I Need to Do to Rent My House Out?

Before renting out your property it is important to understand the responsibilities of being a landlord. To this end landlords are obliged to ensure that any rental opportunity that are occupied and advertised to be clear from any potential hazards to the tenant’s safety.  Furthermore alongside ensuring that the tenants receive a valid energy performance certificate, the landlord must provide a gas and electrical safety certificate before the start of the tenancy. Prior to the move in date, the property owner must also validate the tenants “right to rent” during the referencing process, giving them a copy of the “how to rent” guide during this time. Once the tenant provides the landlord with their tenancy deposit, the property owner is also required to deposit this into a government approved deposit protection scheme.

If it is requested by a tenant, or if the local authority deems your rental property to be in a hazardous condition, your let may be subject to a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection.  When an inspection takes place HHSRS will assess the safety of your rental property through scoring 29 potentially hazardous areas, grading each one based on its degree of seriousness. If the local authority finds a hazard within the rental they are able to issue the landlord with an improvement notice demanding that the necessary remedial work is conducted before it is reoccupied. Additionally, the council may restrict tenant’s access to the property either partially, or in its entirety. The council is also able to address any issues they find with the property themselves whilst leaving the landlord with the associated costs.

Landlords and property owners are also subject to financial obligations. Unfortunately it is not just as simple as sitting back and watching the rental payments roll in. Landlords are required to pay income tax on any rental income from their properties; however, deductions to the total amount can be made in consideration of the day to day operational costs of the business.  In some cases, if the the action of renting out the property is considered a business, ie, it is their main source of income, or more than one property is being let out, the property owner will need to pay class 2 national insurance.

Advertising Your Rental With PropertyLoop

When advertising your rental opportunity with PropertyLoop, landlords gain a simplistic, streamlined letting experience that revolutionises the dynamic between renters and landlords. Not only do we find landlords their ideal tenant, but our dedicated platform brings the communities closer together, offering guidance, experience and complete clarity throughout the entire renting process.  The PropertyLoop dashboard is a channel for direct communication between property owners and their tenants; alongside housing important rental documents, letting adverts and support, making managing even the most comprehensive of portfolios simple to manage. Not only this but we recognise that finding the ideal tenants and starting your rental journey can quickly become an expensive venture, however, with PropertyLoop the landlord is always paid first! We don’t demand a premium on referencing or essential marketing, and there are no upfront costs to worry about.

We utilise the latest in rental marketing initiatives to attract tenants to your property. To this end, each property receives a 3D virtual tour to offer potential occupants a captivating perspective of their future home. These hyper realistic virtual viewings grand tenants a fully immersive experience that showcases the individuality of your rental opportunity like never before. Tenants are able to interact and explore your rental in a dimensionally accurate recreation, with each magnificent detail being inescapable through our 2D and 3D floor plans and dollhouse view perspectives. PropertyLoop also provide landlords with a cinematic 4K video tour of their property, with potential tenants being able to enjoy a stunning guide through the rental in an experiences curated by professional directors.

When advertising your rental opportunity with PropertyLoop, landlords gain a simplistic, streamlined letting experience that revolutionises the dynamic between renters and landlords. Not only do we find landlords their ideal tenant, but our dedicated platform brings the communities closer together, offering guidance, experience and complete clarity throughout the entire renting process.  The PropertyLoop dashboard is a channel for direct communication between property owners and their tenants; alongside housing important rental documents, letting adverts and support, making managing even the most comprehensive of portfolios simple to manage. Not only this but we recognise that finding the ideal tenants and starting your rental journey can quickly become an expensive venture, however, with PropertyLoop the landlord is always paid first! We don’t demand a premium on referencing or essential marketing, and there are no upfront costs to worry about.

We utilise the latest in rental marketing initiatives to attract tenants to your property. To this end, each property receives a 3D virtual tour to offer potential occupants a captivating perspective of their future home. These hyper realistic virtual viewings grand tenants a fully immersive experience that showcases the individuality of your rental opportunity like never before. Tenants are able to interact and explore your rental in a dimensionally accurate recreation, with each magnificent detail being inescapable through our 2D and 3D floor plans and dollhouse view perspectives. PropertyLoop also provide landlords with a cinematic 4K video tour of their property, with potential tenants being able to enjoy a stunning guide through the rental in an experiences curated by professional directors.

The PropertyLoop Guarantee

Above all PropertyLoop aims to bring together renters and landlords to create a transparent rental landscape to the benefit of both parties. We have recognised and addressed where other agents fail, offering landlords a way to find their ideal tenant without occurring excessive costs whilst doing so. To this end we ensure that landlords are always paid first! Once the agreement has been signed and the first rental payment taken, we will only request a modest 5% charge.

We offer complete confidence to landlords, thoroughly vetting each candidate before they move into a rental property. Where other agents will only obtain a single reference from the most recent landlord, we gain a comprehensive understanding of a potential tenant’s entire renting history, offering a reference from all of their prior occupancies.

In the unfortunate circumstance that a tenant should fall behind in their rental payments, landlords can enjoy the peace of mind that they will still receive payment through PropertyLoop’s rental protection. Not only will we cover any missing rental payments but also pursue rental arrears on the landlord’s behalf.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

Is It Worth Using a Letting Agent?

Of course,  it is possible to rent without using a letting agency, however a landlord’s reasoning for doing so can usually be put down to convenience and practicality. It goes without saying that by cutting out this third party and charging into the rental game head first will offer a buy to let property owner far more independence and control over their investment. But, this comes at the cost of significant time dedicated to managing a portfolio, communicating with tenants and ensuring everything is being done by the books.

If a landlord chooses to serve up their rental opportunities through a letting agent, the majority of the day to day responsibilities and burdens are taken on by the agent; but as you can expect this comes at a sometimes lofty premium. Simply put, a letting agent will manage the rental property on behalf of the landlord, taking on rent collection, organisation of repair work, dealing with tenants ect.

Ultimately, there is no universal answer to if you should use, or need, a letting agent when renting out your property. However, for many landlords they are an essential lifeline, something that allows them to maintain their investment, provide quality accommodation and amenities, all with as much of a hands off approach as they desire.  It is also an undeniable matter of practicality for landlord with multiple properties and extensive pools of occupants of oversee, especially if the landlord does not live near the properties they are renting out.

It also goes without saying that for the majority of landlords, regardless of how many properties they let out, managing their rentals can be a full time job and more. With tenants issues needing to be attended to around the clock, a landslide of regulations and legislation to keep up to date with, and the potential nightmare of trying to evict problem tenants, if this isn’t your cup of tea a letting agent will be unquestionably valuable.

Responsibilities of a Letting Agent?

Whilst letting agents will alleviate some of the responsibilities of overseeing a rental property from the landlord, the degree of service that a property owner receives from an agent depends on the level of service they purchase. Whilst the exact nature ad intricacies of letting agent services will naturally vary between providers, typically there are only three levels of service offered; “let only”, “rent collection” and “full management”. 

The first, and perhaps most basic, level of service offered by letting agents is referred to as “let only”.  This is typically more suitable for landlords that are experienced with multiple rental periods behind them and simply want help getting potential tenants to the door. This will still leave the landlord collecting the agreed rental amounts from the tenants, addressing any issues regarding repairs or replacing the contents of the property and negotiating disputes with tenants, should they arise. Essentially, the responsibility and duty of the letting agent regarding the rental property ends when the tenant moves into the let and the rental period begins.  Under this let only service the letting agents will assist the landlords in marketing the property through online channels in an effort to attract suitable tenants. The agency will also handle any in person viewings of the property instead of the landlord, saving them countless lengthy commutes that ultimately don’t result in a tenancy.  Furthermore, the letting agency will collect any holding deposit and tenancy deposits from the tenants, whilst also conducting referencing checks; inspecting each potential tenants credit suitability and rental history before progressing with the tenancy.

 It is important to note that the services comprising a let only package will also differ between online agents, and the traditional high street, brick and mortar letting agents.  Some may offer professional photography, floor plan or even 3D virtual viewing tours as expensive additions whereas at PropertyLoop we recognise the significance of highlighting the character of each rental opportunity, and offer these at no additional cost!

Other elements of the rental process such as helping the landlord and tenant to establish a comprehensive property inventory at the tenancies outset, and curating bespoke tenancy agreements can also be included in the let only service.

Rent Collection

Of course, one of the most significant aspects of letting out a rental property is collecting rent from tenants. Providing that a landlord opts for this package, the letting agent will take any due rent from the properties occupants, alongside pursuing any outstanding rental arrears. Some property owners that include this third party in the process actually streamlines the collection process, making it more efficient and in turn, their income more predictable. It goes without saying that even when an occupant does not accumulate excessive amounts of rental arrears, chasing rent from multiple tenants across different properties can become an arduous task for landlords.

Full Management

Whilst, as can be expected the full management letting agent services come at an additional cost, they encompass the renting process in its totality, providing landlords with a comprehensive alternative to independent property management.  A full management service is fully “hands off” for landlords, leaving the letting agent to see through he tenancy from start to finish, seeing them; market the property, reference tenants, create a tenancy agreement, communicate with tenants regarding issues and repairs, collect rent, chase arrears and perhaps most importantly for new landlords, ensuring the tenancy complies with current government legislation.

The rental landscape can become drastically altered at the whim of government legislation, with recent years seeing waves of regulations and measures to make for a fairer rental experience for all parties involved. Failing to provide tenants with certain correspondence and documentation, such as energy performance certificates, gas and electrical safety certificates and the “how to rent” guide, before they move into a rental property will mean that the landlord will face greater difficulty if they try and pursue possession of their property through a section 21 order. Additionally, as many of the regulations that are applied to landlords concern the habitability of the rental property and the safety of the tenants, if the landlord is found to be in violation of these measures the reproductions can be severe. If the tenant finds the property to be in a poor state of repair, or remedial work is being ignored they are able to pursue legal action, with the council being able to issue fines of up to £30,000 per violation. In certain cases, such breaches of the regulations can be treated as a criminal proceeding and therefore result in the landlord facing a term in prison, banning order and exorbitant fines.

Should You Self-Manage?

Of course! However, it is critical to understand the responsibility you will be undertaking. The expertise and experience of certain letting agents cannot be dismissed, especially when it comes to showcasing your property. It is important to remember that lettings agents are ultimately industry experts that help connect countless landlords and tenants through rental opportunities.

With this being said it is no secret that landlords suffer high upfront costs to establishing their rental, and in trying economic times are susceptible to their tenant’s financial security also. With this in mind regular fees of up to 20% can be detrimental to new landlords, working to trim already thinning profit margins.

When evaluating if self-managing your property portfolio is right for you assigning a value to the time you would typically attribute to sustaining your properties and its tenancies is essential. Luckily, as the charges tend to take a cut of your rent, it is not too hard to work out how much value you are getting through a letting agent. If they are charging 10% and your tenants pay £500 a month, that’s £50; if you believe that the time you would have otherwise dedicated to communicating with tenants, arranging repairs and navigating disputes, is more than this amount then it’s well worth the cost.

Similarly to staying ahead of the curve with the latest legislative moves and legal measures, being realistic about your initial competency and confidence is key in deciding if you should use a letting agent. This is not to say that all new comers will find the rental nut difficult to crack, simply, why place yourself in unnecessary stress. If you feel you may struggle finding tenants, but will excel in catering to their needs and offering a fantastic rental experience, then let only is ideal. It is not unheard of for new and accidental landlords to begin their rental tenure with the professional guidance of an online lettings agency, with their confidence growing alongside their experience, giving them a better position to evaluate landlords best practice and conduct.  

However, some aspect of letting out a buy to let property can be sink or swim moments for landlords to say the least; and with the nature of a landlord’s role being so all encompassing, it can be all too easy for something to go unnoticed. As mentioned the penalties for such neglect are ruthless, with ignorance to existing landlord responsibilities not being an adequate defence.

How Much Do Letting Agents Cost?

Typically letting agents will calculate their cost in two ways, with both being informed by the amount of rent the landlord charges for the property. One way in which letting agents fees are determined sees them multiply the weekly rental charge for the property, whilst it is far more common to see a percentage of the rent being taken over the course of the entire tenancy period. Traditionally these charges amount to around 10% to 20% of a landlord’s rental income, with additional fees being issued for repairs, deposit protection, tenant referencing, right to rent checks , and certain marketing elements.

If the landlord has opted for the let only services, then it is not uncommon for the letting agent to charge a fixed fee in exchange for a marketing campaign over a set period. Whilst this alternative is sometimes cheaper and therefore fairly popular, it doesn’t guarantee a tenant. Therefore if you are trying to find occupants for a vacant rental property for an extended period of time, these fees can quickly break the bank.

Can You Haggle With Letting Agents?

With structural repairs, replacing furnishings, referencing costs and a host of other fees for landlords to incur, naturally property owners will want to keep the costs of using a letting agent to a minimum.  This is not to say there isn’t obvious value in turning to an online property agent to find you the ideal tenant, and guide you through the rental period; but rather it’s best to assess your individual circumstance, regardless small savings can become invaluable later down the line.

The type of service that the landlord chooses from a letting agent largely informs the fees that they should expect to pay, with the more comprehensive “full management” package being available for the highest premium. With this in mind it is vital to assess which elements of a letting agent service you need, and if it is more cost efficient to take the reins yourself.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

How to Choose the Right Furniture for Your Rental Property

Furnished or unfurnished, both can offer drastically different experiences for landlords and renters alike, but how do you furnish a rental property? We are here to dispel the common misconceptions behind furnishing your rental property, helping you decide if you should furnish your let, and how to choose the right furniture for your rental property.

How Do You Furnish a Rental Property?

When furnishing and decorating a rental property it is important to keep in mind cost efficiency and longevity in what you choose to decorate your rental with; and whilst these touches may not immediately increase the value of your property, furnishing your property, when done correctly has many other benefits. But, how do you furnish a rental property?

Topically when decorating a rental property landlords favour neutral colour schemes, not only for their universal appeal. Whilst some would argue this could make the property lack any distant character, this can be easily compensated with by adding some mirrors and wall art to your accommodation, which can be done at a fraction of the cost of other furnishings.  Choosing these cooler tones will also make the rental far easier to clean and make it easier to identify any damage upon property inspections further into the tenancy.

A similar rationale is employed when considering upholstery items, carpets and curtains. By choosing darker tones dirt, stains and other blemishes can be easily concealed and will easily compliment many areas throughout the property.  

Regardless of the exact piece, ensure that the item is easy to replace. This means that if you ever have to make a claim on landlord’s contents insurance or deduct an amount from an occupant’s tenancy deposit then the costs will be simple to translate. Also, whilst we understand that many landlords are of course fond of their investment, personal items or belongings with sentimental value should not be left in rental accommodation.

What Should a Landlord Provide In a Furnished Rental?

Whilst there are no legal regulations or industry definition to constitute what is strictly considered a rental property, homes must still be let out in a habitable condition and tenants have rightly come to expect a few basic amenities. At the very least a rental opportunity being advertised as furnished should include white goods such as a washing and drying machine, alongside an over, fridge and freezer. Furnished properties also typically include beds, chairs and tables along with sofas, wardrobes, draws and cupboards. These expectations are also extended onto the less obvious, but no less important curtains, blinds, headboards, carpets and light installations.

Should You Furnish Your Rental Property?

Whether or not you should furnish your rental property is largely dependent on not only the type of tenant that you wish to attract to your let, but also what similar accommodation is being offered in the area. It is largely accepted that certain renal demographics will simply need to have a property furnished as they will simply not own furnishings themselves, or have the disposable income to do so. Whilst this largely brings to mind students and young professionals, fully furnishing a property for these groups are seen as relatively inexpensive, as they are content with not having the most luxurious and contemporary tastes in home décor being exhibited throughout their home. With this being said, regardless of if you are intending to rent to young academics or larger families there are certain benefits to offering a fully furnished rental opportunity that cannot go ignored.

Providing that the rental property in question in tastefully furnished with a suite of offerings for the occupants, the landlord can place a slight premium on this luxury. It is important to consider that prospective tenants are not simply looking for the basics, with perhaps the stereotypical exception of students, they are looking for a home that will facilitate their lifestyle, and comprehensively catering your rental to this will mean potential tenants are happy to pay a higher rent, if your furnishings are of a higher quality than competing local rentals.

It goes without saying but a property that is more aesthetically pleasing, and offers more amenities will attract a larger pool of potential tenants. Being stuck for choice when choosing a new tenant is hardly a poor outcome for rental property owners; yet when trying to find the ideal tenant offering a well-furnished property could be the thing that gets their foot through the door. Not only will this will this contribute towards minimising landlords exposure to problem tenants, but offer the peace of mind that the occupants of the rental will respect the condition of the rental and return it in a state of good repair.

Whilst unfurnished properties can be commonly associated with longer tenancies, due to the occupants using their own furnishings to make they feel more at home, not to mention to avoid the exorbitant costs and hassle that comes with moving a properties worth of furnishings. With this being said, the same feeling of belonging can be inspired if your furnished rental property offers something unique, and comprehensively satisfies the tenant’s needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Furnish a Rental House?

When deciding on how to furnish your rental property, the costs can quickly add up as you look to stand out amongst other rental opportunities in the area. Of course, finding the ideal furnishings and décor to meet your expectations for the property can be time consuming to say the least, and that is failing to consider transporting and assembling the amenities of your tenant’s future home. Naturally, some landlords seek a more efficient, less labour intensive means to this end, through package deals on property furnishings. However, whilst this alternative method of furnishing a property, whilst convenient, isn’t exempt from shortcomings either.

As comes with many online retail experiences, it is difficult for a landlord to accurately assess the overall quality of the furnishings being ordered. After all, if you are hoping to offer an exception experience in return for a higher rental charge, the standard of these pieces cannot be overlooked.  It is also worth noting that the warranty available on these items will vary drastically between online providers and should be checked before ordering, particularly if you are accounting for high amounts of wear and tear.    

When bulk ordering furnishings it also essential to remember that these deals are not intended to cater for any specific type of accommodation but rather a one size fits all approach.  Double check the dimensions of the available space in the property and envision an appropriate layout with the furnishings being ordered; if it doesn’t detract from the personality or “flow” of the rental then it’s likely to be a great choice. For the very same reasons, landlords cannot to expect these packages to be offering the latest in contemporary taste in regards to interior design, if you want your rental opportunity to offer a truly bespoke experience you will commonly have to pay more.

Estimations on an exact cost to fully furnish a rental property can drastically change based on the dimensions, number of occupants and style of the property; however the costs doing so doesn’t have to break the bank.

Fire Safety Laws

Of course, it goes without saying that every landlord has a duty of care and obligation to uphold safety in their rental properties. To this end, landlords must ensure that when furnishing their property that its furnishings and contents , particularly any items of upholstery, complies with the conditions set out by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.

 These rulings dictate that aside from a property containing fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, specific pieces of furniture and décor within a rental property must meet a minimum level of fire resistance.  With the regulations applying to chairs, sofas, pillows, throws, curtains, beds and even some garden furniture, all of these items, if purchased by the landlord must have authentication of meeting these standards. Due to this each of the items founds contained within a rental property must display, or the landlord have a record of,  the provided labels stating that the piece of furnishing has passed all of the necessary checks fulfilling the appropriate criteria. The furnishings of a rental property must prove a resistance to ignition through cigarettes and matches to be permitted into a rental property.

Of course, if the landlord decides to offer their rental opportunity in an unfurnished state then this would not be of concern, however, for those that do neglecting to abide by these regulations can be a detrimental mistake.  If a landlord is found to be renting out a furnished property with furnishings that are insufficiently resistant it will be dealt with as a criminal matter, potentially landing the property owner with a maximum fine of £5,000 per piece of inadequate furnishing, alongside a six month imprisonment.  With this being said, the landlord is only legally responsible for the contents of the property they introduce, not the tenants belongings, therefore if the occupants possessions do not meet the regulations, no action will be taken against the property owner.

What Is Wear and Tear?

Naturally, over the course of several tenancy periods furnishings within the property will start to exhibit signs of high usage, or unavoidable damage. This is referred to as “wear and tear”, with anything that falls under this term at the end of the rental period being except from what the landlord is able to deduct from the tenancy deposit.  But what is considered a fair amount of wear and tear? Well, this is why it is imperative for landlords to curate an inventory before the tenant moves into the property, allowing both parties to comprehensively document and detail the overall condition of the property and agree that it should be returned in a similar manor. The occurrence of scuff marks, scratches and other blemishes are not to be considered avoidable or malicious damage caused by a neglectful tenant, and are therefore “fear wear and tear.” If however, an inspection at the end of the rental period shows the property to be in disrepair with numerous signs of neglect, the associated costs of repairing or replacing the effected items will be taken out of the tenancy deposit, with the remaining amount being returned to the tenant.

Tenancy Deposit

It is not uncommon for many landlords to request and increased amount for the tenancy deposit from the properties occupants, if the renal is furnished. Landlords and property owners see this as a monetary incentive for their tenants to better respect the property and its contents throughout the rental period, as if the excessive damage is found the full amount of the deposit will not be returned. With this being said, I is important to consider that high upfront costs could be deterring potential tenants away from your rental. However, landlords are prevented from requesting excessive amounts, with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 introducing a cap on the maximum amount that can be taken from tenants. The regulations mean that landlords are unable to request move that the equivalent value of five weeks rent when the annual rental charge for the property is under £50,000; if the amount a tenant pays each year in rent exceeds this amount however, the landlord can ask for up to six weeks rent for the tenancy deposit.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

What Are the Different Types of Tenancy Agreement?

For new and accidental landlords there is a landslide of regulations, law, terms and nuances to the rental space to become accustom to. Thankfully whilst the intricacies that make up tenancy agreements can be an intimidating read, in truth there is only a handful of variances to understand. Here we detail the different types of tenancy agreement and everything a landlord should know before signing.

What Is a Tenancy Agreement?

Simply put, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract that stipulates all the conditions and nuances of a rental agreement between the landlord and tenants. Whilst it is always recommended to have a physical copy of the tenancy agreement, allowing for referral later down the line, it is not unheard of for the conditions of the let to be outlined verbally.

As mentioned, the caveats to the tenancy being maintained for the full duration of the rental period are detailed within the agreement, however; the landlord doesn’t have complete flexibility in this arrangement and must remain within legal boundaries for the agreement to be deemed valid.  The law affords both parties of the agreement basic rights and responsibilities that must be upheld in any agreement, if any of the stipulations within the document conflict with these regulations they will be difficult for the agreement to be upheld if any disputes are taken to court.

What Are the Four Types of Tenancies?

Assured Shorthold Tenancies

An assured Shorthold tenancy is the most common form of tenancy used by landlords. However, there are certain requirements that define this type of tenancy. If the landlord does not reside in the rental property, with the due rental amounts being paid to a private landlord and the property is the tenants main accommodation then it is considered to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or AST.  

With this being said, if the amount of rent a tenant has to pay each year exceeds £100,000 or is lower than £250, or £1000 in London, annually, then this will not fall under the AST definition. Additionally if the landlord is the local authority, the property is a holiday let, or the property is a holiday rental an assured Shorthold tenancy will not apply.

The typical duration for an assured Shorthold tenancy is around 6 months, however it is not uncommon for the rental period to be longer, providing the tenant with stable living conditions and the landlord with a secure, predictable income.  This type of agreement also dictates that if the landlord requests a deposit from the tenant then it must be secured in a recognised Deposit Protection Scheme.

Secure Tenancies

Whilst this type of agreement has largely been overshadowed by assured Shorthold tenancies, secure tenancies are still common practice for some in the UK. Secure Tenancy agreements give far more power to the tenant in regards to remaining in the property. Also referred to as lifetime tenancies, the occupants of a rental under these terms can only be evicted from the property if certain conditions are met. These circumstances encompass the tenant falling behind on their payments and accumulating large amounts of rental arrears, the tenants are a regular cause of noise complaints and antisocial behaviour, they conduct illegal activity within the rental property, or the tenants sub-let the property to other occupants.

Non Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Non Assured Shorthold Tenancies are less common than their counterparts for good reason; they can only be implemented and upheld in the instances where a traditional assured Shorthold tenancy cannot be used. The conditions for such an agreement comprise if the annual rental charge for the property is less than £250, the rental property is not the main residence of the tenant, or if the landlord live alongside the tenants in the property. It is also worth noting that unlike in an assured Shorthold tenancy, landlords and property owners are under no obligation to enter any deposit taken from the tenants into a protected, backed scheme. Furthermore, if a landlord wished to reclaim possession of the property they are not bound to submitting a section 21 or section 8 notices to remove the residents from the rental.

Periodic or Rolling Tenancies

Sometimes referred to as statutory, rolling or periodic tenancy, these forms of tenancies come into place once the agreed rental period of an assured Shorthold tenancy comes into place. If the tenant wished to remain in the property, yet is reluctant to sign a new agreement then the tenancy will automatically become rolling. All of the terms of the original agreement remain, yet the tenancy is renewed on a month by month basis, or another pre agreed period. If either party wishes for the tenancy to come to a close then this can be achieved through a mutual agreement between both parties, notice being issued by either party, or eviction. 

What Is the Different Between Assured and Non Assured Tenancy?

The most common type of tenancy agreement, the assured Shorthold tenancy allows landlords to let out their rental properties to residents for a period of six months or longer. This type of tenancy agreement is largely beneficial to landlords, making it the preferred option by many for one simple reason; at the end of the tenancy period the landlord to reclaim possession of the rental property as the rental period has come to an end.  As previously mentioned, if the landlord and tenant do not wish to come to a new agreement, but are happy with the tenant remaining in the property, then a periodic tenancy will be in place.  

However, an assured tenancy does not provide landlords with this ability to reclaim possession of their property so easily, empowering tenants to reside in a rental property for far longer. Under this type of agreement the landlord will have to reclaim possession through evoking one of the ground fo the 1988 Housing act, such as rental arrears. However, this leaves the landlord waiting for specific circumstance and eventualities in order to have these ground upheld, making repossessing the property a difficult process.

Express Terms in a Tenancy Agreement

The express terms that are contained within a tenancy agreement are intended to provide both parties with full clarity in how things will progress. These main clauses are specifically and explicitly stated within the terms of the tenancy agreement and include the significant details of the tenancy. The express terms within the agreement will outline the start and intended closing date of the tenancy period, the address of the rental property along with details of the tenant and landlord. These stipulations also commonly include how much the tenant is required to pay in rent and the frequency at which it should be paid, alongside if and when the rent could be increased. If the landlord does not include this rent increase clause within the original agreement then they are prevented from increasing the amount of rent a tenant is legally obligated to pay unless a new agreement is signed by both parties. It is also common practice for the terms of the tenancy agreement to include details surrounding the tenancy deposit, specifically the amount taken and the scheme that it is backed by. To avoid any lengthy disputes at the end of the tenancy period, the tenancy agreement should also state the conditions under which the full tenancy deposit would not be returned, with the landlord’s legal obligations and the tenant’s responsibilities in regards to repairs and maintenance around the property.

Implied Terms in a Tenancy Agreement

As the name suggests, the implied terms of a tenancy agreement, unlike the express terms, are not explicitly stated within the text of the document. However, just because these are not outlined in the agreement is not sufficient justification for a landlord or tenant to neglect their duties during the tenancy period, these terms are applied to all tenancy agreements and are upheld by the law. The implied terms of a tenancy agreement typically include the landlord’s duty to conduct basic maintenance and repair work to the rental property, ensuring that all of the appliances throughout the accommodation have valid safety certificates and are in fully operational order, alongside basic maintenance of the structure of the rental. With this in mind, the tenant has a responsibility throughout the rental period to permit access to the landlord to conduct such repairs. However, the landlord must first give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice of their intent to enter the property to carry out such work, with these visits also having to take place during a reasonable time of the day. If the landlord was to simply enter the rental accommodation unannounced,   then this would infringe upon another of the tenancy agreements implied terms, a tenant’s right to quit enjoyment of a property. This right upholds an occupant’s natural right to live in a property without frequent and sporadic interruption and disturbances. Once a tenancy agreement has been signed by both parties, it is legally recognised that the landlord is surrounding possession of the rental to the tenants and the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property commences. This can however, be overruled through specific court orders, perhaps allowing the landlord to conduct emergency repair work, or if the occupants are consistently refusing access to the property.

Another regularly upheld implied term of a tenancy agreement is that the occupants of the rental property respect the property, using it in a “tenant like” way. With this being said, we recognise that the term is fairly vague and leave a lot of room for interpretation from individual landlords, however others would argue it simply boils down to common sense.  Essentially a “tenant like” way of residing in a rental property means living up to the basic expectations of a tenant, and “to do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do.”  This means that with the tenancy agreement the tenants are responsible for the everyday housekeeping of the property including disposing of waste, general cleaning and tidying, alongside unblocking drains, ect.

At the begging of the tenancy period the landlord will take a tenancy deposit from the occupants. This amount is typically the equivalent value of a few weeks rent and is used to cover any repair or maintenance costs incurred by the landlord at the end of the tenancy. However, the landlord is not able to use these costs if the damage to the property is deemed to be what is referred to as “fair wear and tear”.  To this end the tenant has an obligation to ensure that the rental property is returned to the landlord in a good condition at the close of the tenancy period, with “fear wear and tear” being taken into account. This obligation ensures that the property is in a safe and habitable condition, free from rubbish and any malicious damage upon its return to the landlord. But what damage is considered “fair wear and tear”? This would comprise the expected degradation of an item or furnishing that comes with use over time, i.e.; scuff marks on floorboards.

Through these implied tenancy agreement terms, the residents of the rental property are also not permitted to withhold any amount of due rent in order to fund repairs to the property. Tenants have an obligation from the outset of their tenancy to report any damage to the property that is in need of repair to their landlord or letting agent, of course issues cannot be addressed that are not communicated.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

Should Your Rent Your House to Students

With higher rental yields, increased demand and increased protection, renting to students sounds like it could be every landlords dream. However, the typical outlook and stereotypes forced on this rental demographic is arguably warranted, but that doesn’t meant the opportunity shouldn’t be so easily overlooked. For those looking to rent out their buy to let property to accommodation here we offer our tips on how to rent rooms to students.

Is Renting to Students a Good Idea?

Opening your doors to students can be a sustainable and profitable operation for private landlords.  After all, with millions of new students beginning their rental journey each year, as long as your rental property is in an prime location in regards to the university campus it could be a highly contested opportunity, netting you a larger pool of potential tenants each academic year.  Arguably, this demand for rental opportunities in a central location for students, with transport links to the surrounding area will experience consistent demand irrespective of the larger economic climate.

Whilst this would typically cause apprehension for many rental property owners, the shorter tenancy periods experienced with tenants can be a blessing. Of course, tenant retention will always put a landlord on the right path towards financial security, but with increased likely hood of problem tenants, property owners will find their exposure to such renters will be far shorter, and perhaps stopped the problem from being exacerbated.  However, this high tenant turnover, whilst not “ideal”, does give landlords an invaluable asset; predictability.  This essential foresight allows landlords to know exactly when they will need to next advertise their rental accommodation, when to prepare, and again thanks to the turnover, a number of times to perfect this routine and fine-tune a rental operation.

Somewhat contradictory to the assumptions that come with short tenancy periods and a revolving door of tenants, landlord’s that choose to let out their property to students generally don’t experience as many void periods as other rental property owners. Of course, if there is no one to occupy the property, then there is no one to pay the rent, leaving the landlord missing vital income. However, this is not the case with student rentals as despite the shorter academic year, running from October to June, many tenants are happy to sign a 12 month lease.

Landlords that let to students typically report a far greater rental yield. With student accommodation usually taking the form of a house in multiple occupation, or HMO, property owners are able t charge rent by the room, giving them a much higher return on their investment. A report published in 2019 by Totallymoney revealed that buy to let properties performance in university cities can easily outperform that of the capitol; with rental yields exhibited in Nottingham and Liverpool both being over 10%, typically double that seen in London.

Will Landlords Rent to Students?

As discussed, there are many landlords that either exclusively let to students, or are happy to do so; however, even these rental property owners are not dismissive of why others chose not to. Similarly to requesting that the potential tenant obtains a guarantor, many landlords take precautionary measures to safeguard their investment. Landlords will often ask their tenants to provide rental payments before moving in, giving them the peace of mind that there will be no missing rent for an extended period of time, whilst reassuring the tenant that no large costs are forthcoming. Usually, rental property owners will ask their tenants to supply at least one months’ worth of rent before they move in. However, there is no legal limit on what they may request, with some tenants being happy to provide up to six months’ rent in advance, With this being said it is important to keep in mind that at this point the aim is still to attract student to your rental opportunity and by creating high upfront costs, many potential tenants may be put off and rent elsewhere.

Is It Illegal to Only Rent to Students?

Put simply, no not at all. Landlords in the UK enjoy the luxury of being able to tailor the exposure and marketing of their rental property to their desired demographic. If the property owner feels that the size and setting of their buy to let property would be more suitable for students then they are permitted to advertise the rental opportunity as such.  It is important to not understate the importance of marketing your rental property effectively, with a rental on the outskirts of town, close to parks, schools and retail facilities being arguably more appealing to those seeking a family lifestyle. Alternatively, a city centre location that is suitably close to a university campus would make the ideal dwelling for students. With this in mind it is important to note that this is somewhat flexible and adaptations must be made. Over recent years private landlords are facing increased competition as larger, dedicated student accommodation is gaining command over the rental space; a move seeing opportune landlords also market their city centre properties to young professionals alongside students.

Landlords are however, prevented from refusing a tenancy based on certain personal traits. Implemented with the Equality Act 2010, these “protected characteristics” comprise age, gender, disability, marital status, race, nationality, sexual orientation, or religious alignment. If a landlord was to dismiss an application for a tenancy based on any of these, the discrimination would be considered unlawful. However, if a tenancy agreement doesn’t proceed because a tenant failed their affordability checks, has a sporadic employment history or a poor reference from a past landlord, then the rental property owner is well within their rights not to proceed and “lawfully discriminate” on these grounds.  

Can Landlords Refuse Students?

With this in mind, it is also perfectly acceptable for a landlord to refuse a tenancy because the aspiring occupants are students. Concerns over a consistent income during full time education, anti-social behaviour and retuning the property in a poor condition are all historically founded arguments, but it is never fair, nor appropriate to tar everyone with the same brush and assume all students are the same.  As outlined, being a student is not a “protected characteristic” and therefore provides ample grounds for a landlord to refuse a tenancy, however this doesn’t mean a compromise can’t be made.  This would be a lot easier for students that have been in higher education for longer and perhaps have a few past tenancies behind them. In these instance it would be possible for a landlord to gain a greater understanding of the students renting aptitude, if they have respected previous accommodation and naturally, if they have ever encountered problems paying the rent.  Of course, this will make a student far more favourable in the eyes of a rental property owner, but they are still under no obligation to accept the tenancy.

Why Do Landlords Not Allow Students?

Despite the undeniable convenience in having a consistent pool of new tenants to attract to your rental, some landlords see renting to students as too big a risk, with the potential risk simply outweighing the gains to be made.

Whilst the student rental market lends itself to reduced tenancy lengths thanks to the shorter academic year, fears of extended void periods are typically dismissed with the introduction of a new pool of students in need of accommodation. However, this traditional reliance on the latest surge of students is becoming far less dependable as more opportune developers seek to cash in on the young demographic. For private landlords this means huge competition, with dedicated student halls and accommodation surfacing across the nation’s academic hubs, those that are not already well established in the area may find increased competition and fleeting demand for the rental property.

With this being said it is somewhat expected that a landlord that is offering renal accommodation to students ensures that the property is furnished. Typically students will not be moving in with much more than their personal belongings, in most cases they simply will not possess the required appliances and furniture and if they did, the renal period is too short to justify the logistics involved with furnishing their new home.  However, whilst students will expect bedroom furniture, sofas and basic appliances, they are mostly not concerned with having the latest in contemporary taste, with simple furnishing being more than sufficient.  Of course, the furnishing a property can be a costly start to a landlord’s rental journey, however, the furnishings used in student accommodation is often far cheaper than what would be expected in rental for a family, or even young professionals. This of course, lowers the initial financial barrier to getting the rental ready for occupants, and somewhat diminishes the impact of the high wear and tear synonymous with student lets.

When searching for the ideal tenant most landlords turn to the referencing process as the best way to weed out any occupants that could cause issues later down the line. With these referencing checks comprising a range of current income, and credit history checks it goes without saying that a major cause of apprehension for landlords is the uncertainty of a tenant consistently paying their rent.

 Now for most students, moving into rented accommodation during their academic pursuits will be the first time they are living away from home, making references from previous landlords and an assessment of their credit history redundant. To this end, landlords that let to students will usually be reluctant to proceed with a tenancy agreement unless the occupant is able to produce a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a close friend or relative of the potential tenant, and in the instance that the current occupants of the property are unable to pay their rent, in an effort to prevent the accumulation of excessive rental arrears; the guarantor will be legally liable to pay the outstanding amount. Of course, it wouldn’t be an effective safeguarding measure if the guarantor themselves were unable to cover the cost of any missing rent, therefore they are also subject to similar referencing checks to evaluate their financial suitability for the role.  

If however, the student rental is under a shared tenancy agreement the duty of the guarantor is adapted to suit the nuances of the agreement. As the tenancy is shared, the guarantor is no longer financially responsible for a single tenant, but rather, the rent in its entirety; meaning that as the obligation to pay the rent is shared amongst each of the occupants, the guarantor would bear the sole responsibility for the properties missing rent.  With this being said the obligation of a guarantor can vary slightly between tenancy agreements, however, if a new agreement is established, the guarantor would no longer be legally bound to the original tenancy agreement.

Somewhat synonymous with students, the party mentality and loud noises are not the signs of a welcome neighbour. It is safe to say that these qualities are not exactly desirable by many landlords and the prospect of dealing with noise complaints and interference from the local authority are far from appealing.

Are you looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then check out www.propertyloop.co.uk today. Built by experienced property investors and landlords, the website connects renters with the owners directly. Why not sign-up to see it in action? It’s a free platform that only charges a small fee once you get your rent money in. Your property is featured on all major search and comparison portals as well as advertised by PropertyLoop everywhere else on the Internet. You don’t have to worry about finding the good renters, that’s the job for the platform. Receive offers straight to your mailbox and select the renters that are right for your property. Need access to busy London property market? No problem at all! PropertyLoop is the London market specialist with years of experience and unique knowledge. Whatever your needs are, you can always speak to friendly support staff. Renting property is made as simple as one, two, three.

Guide to Renting For First Time Tenants

It can be intimidating for some to know exactly what to do when you first move into a rented house, with a host of documentation to obtain, regulations to abide by and fees to clear, your first time renting can quickly become overwhelming. Here we offer our guidance to new tenants through our first time renting tips!

What Bills Are You Responsible For as a Tenant?

Whilst it goes without saying that as a tenant once you have moved into the rental property you will be expected to pay rent to the landlord. However, there are many other expenditures that a tenant may have to consider throughout the duration of their rental period, something that is essential to take into account when assessing if a property is right for you.

Similarly to if you were to live in a home that you outright owned the costs of gas and electric must be paid by the tenant. Whilst this may be included in the rent for some, making the amount a tenant must pay each month consistent, if a landlord leaves this to be handled by the occupants of the property then they will be expected to take a meter reading as they move in and periodically report their usage to the provider.  It is essential that before a tenancy agreement is signed by either party, the document clearly details who is responsible for the payment of gas and electric bills as if this responsibility falls on the tenants they will be expected to contact the providers themselves to confirm the change.  

Once the tenancy period comes to an end it is good practice for the tenants to take another meter reading for the providers, whilst explaining that you are no longer the occupants of the property. The providers should then issue the tenants with a final bill based on the provided meter reading; neglect to contact the utility providers and you could end up accruing a significant debt based on the new tenant’s usage!

Does the Tenant or Landlord Pay For the TV License?

Traditionally it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for a TV license. An exception can be made if the landlord installed the device being used in the property, however the tenancy agreement will likely pass this duty onto the occupants. If the residents of the property intend to watch any live TV, record any stations or stream shows on a mobile device or pc, they will need a TV license.

With this being said it the occupant has entered into a joint tenancy in a shared house then a single TV licence will be sufficient for all residing tenants in the property.  If however, the property is regarded as a House in Multiple Occupancy the each resident that has an independent tenancy agreement with the landlord will also be required to obtain a TV license. Additionally, these licenses will also the tenants to watch shows in their communal areas too, and a separate licence will not be required for this area.

Who Is Liable For Council Tax, Landlord or Tenant?

Each property that comprises a local constituency is obligated to pay a determined amount of council tax. Whilst this charge does vary between councils, regardless of your properties whereabouts council tax must be paid. The accumulated sums contribute towards the finding of local services and authorities that serve the wider community.

As mentioned, whilst the exact amount you will be expected to pay in council tax will depend on your location, however regardless of this, the value of the tax is derived from the value of the property in question. Each council will establish bands for different property values which will dictate the amount paid each year by the properties residents.

Typically the occupants of the rental property will be responsible for settling any due council tax, as should be outline in the tenancy agreement. If however, there is more than one person residing in the rental property te government has established an order in which responsibility to pay the tax falls. Ultimately, the if the property owner is also an occupant of the property, they will be required to pay, however, if this is not the case it will be the duty of the individual tenants. After this, if there is a resident who is not a tenant but has permission to stay in the rental property. However, there is circumstance under which the landlord or property owner retains the obligation to pay any due council tax. If the rental property is considered a House in Multiple Occupation, or HMO, where the occupants pay for their own rooms but share communal commodities such as a bathroom and cooking facilities, then the responsibility of paying council tax will fall on the landlord. Similarly, if those residing in the rental property are found to be asylum seekers, or are under the age of 18 once again the tenants will not be expected to pay council tax. Additionally if the tenants are forced to relocate to temporary accommodation due to emergency repair work or damage to the property, leaving it in an uninhabitable state, they will not be required to pay council tax. In the eventuality that there are no tenants because the rental property is unoccupied, the landlord will once again be obligated to pay any council tax.

Contents Insurance for Tenants

Whilst tenants are of course not expected to contribute towards any building insurance policies the landlord may take out on the property, occupants may want to consider contents insurance. The landlord of the property is likely to have already taken out a similar policy, however, it is important to understand that the policy will exclusively apply to, and protect the landlord’s possessions, meaning if tenants want protection they will need to take out their own contents insurance.

Contents insurance for tenants will financially safeguard their belongings if they are damaged or stolen. The policies typically include cover for furnishings brought into the property by the tenant alongside other personal belongings.

Property Inventory

It is difficult to overstate the importance of an accurate inventory being taken at the start of a new tenancy.  A property inventory thoroughly details the condition of a property, its furnishings and appliances so this can be used as a reference at the close of the tenancy period. Once the tenancy comes to an end, if the landlord finds there to be new damage to items that was not there from the outset of the tenancy, or degrees of damage that are considered beyond fair wear and wear, the associates repair or replacement costs will be deducted from the tenancy deposit provided by the tenant. It is for this reason it is imperative that the inventory is agreed upon by both the landlord and tenant before the document is signed, as it will go a long way in avoiding disputes surrounding how much of the deposit should be returned.  If you feel that it is necessary it is possible to more meticulously document the properties condition with photographs of any concerning areas for complete clarity.

Holding and Tenancy Deposit

Before a tenant moves into a rental property they are often also required to provide the property owner with a holding and tenancy deposit. As the name suggests, the holding deposit is intended to reserve the rental property for the interested party, taking the rental opportunity off the market. Once a holding deposit has been received by a landlord, both parties than have a 15 day timeframe in which to reach an agreement regarding details of the tenancy. If the landlord is happy to proceed with the tenancy then the amount taken for the holding deposit is typically deducted from the first rental payment, or otherwise returned to the tenant.

A tenancy deposit on the other hand, may not be returned to the tenant in full, or in particularly exceptional circumstance, not at all. The tenancy deposit is an amount taken by the landlord in order to financially protect themselves in the event the tenant accumulates excessive rental arrears or at the end of the tenancy repair work needs to be conducted because of the tenants actions. In an effort to make entry into the rental market easier for tenants and prevent landlord charging tenants unwarranted fees before they have moved into the property, the UK government introduced the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which limits the amount landlords can take for a deposit.  If the amount a tenant pays in annual rent is under £50,000, then the regulations do not allow a landlord to take more than the equivalent of five weeks rent. If however the annual rental fee for the property exceeds this amount, then the landlords will be able to request a maximum of six weeks rent for the tenancy deposit.

What Do Landlords Legally Have to Provide?

Before a tenant moves into a property they should expect to receive a number of essential documents from the landlord, giving them a comprehensive understanding of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and the duties of the landlord over the tenancy period. Typically provided in the form of an information pack, if the landlord neglects to provide any of the following documents then they will be prevented from issuing a section 21 notice to gain possession of the property.

How to Rent Guide

Before you move into the rental property the landlord is also obliged to provide tenants with the most recent copy of the government issued “how to rent guide”.  For many people who are new to renting this document can be an essential piece of guidance, allowing them to fully understand the rental dynamic and what is expected of both parties throughout the tenancy period. The “how to rent guide” advises tenants on how assured Shorthold tenancies operate, what documentation they should be given, how to find a good rental opportunity, and where they can turn for help if the relationship with their landlord sours.  

Energy Performance Certificate

Detailing the energy efficiency of a property, an Energy performance Certificate must be issued to the tenants by the landlord with a 28 day window of the inspection, or when a new tenancy commences. The certificate, or EPC, is valid for 10 years after it has been given to the landlord, however, if the property is found to be in need of significant improvement and scores a rating of “E” or lower on a scale or “A” to “G”, the property should not be let out to tenants.

Gas Safety Certificate

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, details that a rental property owner must provide the tenants with a valid Gas Safety certificate within 28 days of the gas appliances being inspected by an engineer. The assessment must be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually, with the landlord being required to document the results for two years following the test. If a landlord if found to be letting out a property without comply to gas safety regulations then they could face fines, legal action and time in prison.

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