December can be a slow period for the rental industry. As students return home for the festive season and people hold off on moving until the new year, finding tenants in winter can become tricky, and some landlords and lettings agents can start to feel the pinch.

To attract tenants for rental property over the Christmas period and minimise void periods, we’ve got some tips. From ramping up your marketing efforts, to offering incentives, find out how to rent your property during the festive season.

 

Finding Tenants in Winter: Why is Christmas a Slow Period?

Christmas and New Year bring parties and family engagements, with many people travelling across the country to visit relatives. During this busy time of year, most people are looking to relax and recharge, putting off big chores such as moving house until after the New Year’s celebrations have come to a close.

This can spell bad news for the rental sector in December, as tenants delay their property search, slowing down the rental property market. Christmas is an expensive time for landlords and tenants, and losing out on rental income during this period is best avoided.

To minimise void periods this winter, we’ve got some tips for landlords;

 

Ramp Up Your Marketing

Getting your rental property out there is half the battle. Investing in high quality, professional marketing can be the difference between an empty property or a wide pool of tenants to choose from.

Start by ensuring your property is advertised through at least one of these avenues;

Your marketing assets need to appeal to your target tenant. So, if you’re targeting families, highlighting your property’s proximity to local schools should help to attract the right tenants.

When it comes to advertising your rental property, detailed descriptions and quality images work best. To maximise your property’s potential, investing in a professional 360 virtual photography service can really make it stand out from the crowd.

 

Short Holiday Lets

If you’re struggling to find long term tenants in December, you could consider a short-term holiday let. Those in need of immediate income could advertise property on a short-term holiday lettings platform.

However, if you do decide to go down this route, you need to be aware of the risks involved. Sites such as these provide less security when it comes to protecting your property and you need to be careful about who you accept.

 

Rethink Your Target Tenant

If you’re not having any luck letting to your target tenant, why not try advertising to a different tenant group?

For example, most students return home for the holidays. If you’re normally a student landlord, advertising to young professionals over this period could solve your rental income issues in the short-term.

 

Offer a Festive Incentive

Some landlords and letting agents are resorting to incentives to attract tenants over the slower winter months.

This could take the form of;

  • A temporary reduction in rent
  • Free utilities for the first month of a tenancy

This slight reduction in rental yield for the first month of the tenancy is worth it if it means you can avoid empty properties over winter.

 

Is Your Property Appealing?

As there is less competition over the Christmas period, tenants can afford to be more choosy. To make your property stand above the rest, it’s worth ensuring that property maintenance is up to scratch and your property is appealing to your target tenant.

Property maintenance can include;

  • Winter garden maintenance
  • Replacing tired furniture and furnishings
  • Freshening up paint work
  • Ensuring all repairs have been made in time for property viewings from prospective tenants

Painting and decorating equipment in room

Managing Winter Void Periods

If you do find yourself facing a December without tenants, it pays to ensure your property is well equipped to handle the winter months left empty.

Some vital winter property maintenance tasks include;

  • Having boilers and heating systems serviced to avoid burst pipes
  • Setting the heating on a timer to avoid damp and mould
  • Repairing any cracks in the property exterior to prevent leaks
  • Replacing missing roof tiles and clearing autumn leaves from guttering
  • Installing a robust security system
  • Commission regular vacant property inspections to check for damage

By keeping on top of property maintenance, you can avoid disasters such as burst pipes and mould growth during winter void periods, saving you money in the long run.

If you’re worried about loss of income over this period, it may be worth investing in unoccupied property insurance. This type of landlord insurance covers you if your property is vacant for 30 days or more.

 

Gift Yourself this Christmas

Busy landlords need a break too. Treat yourself this Christmas with the gift of a professional property inventory service.

Here at No Letting Go, we can help you minimise the risk of void periods by offering 360-degree property photography to amplify your property advertising, alongside essential property reporting services.

We also offer vacant property inspections and maintenance reports to protect your property over the winter.

Need a helping hand? Get in touch or browse our full list of property inventory services.

Finding a reliable removal company can be a challenge, and tenants often turn to their landlord or letting agent for advice at the end of a tenancy.

Providing quality recommendations for trusted tradespeople and services builds trust with tenants and means they’re more likely to pass on your details to friends and family.

In order to provide your tenants with reputable removals services, we explore what to look for when searching for a removal company and the benefits of using this service.

 

Do I Need a Removals Company?

If your tenant asks this question at the end of a tenancy, the answer is usually yes. Most people gather lots of belongings, even over the space of a year. When packing and transporting expensive items of furniture and fragile items, it can pay to leave it to the professionals.

Unless the property is very small, they are renting one room or rent a fully furnished property, it’s likely a professional removal service will be beneficial.

A professional removal service offers tenants;

  • Time saving
  • Safer packing and transportation of fragile items
  • More van space

A professional removal service is even more important for families with lots of belongings and older tenants who may struggle to pack up their home.

 

How Do I Choose a Removal Company?

We’ve broken down finding the right removal company into a few simple steps;

 

Location

The first consideration is location. Removal companies based locally to your rental properties are likely to be cheaper than those that have further to travel.

These companies could become part of a portfolio of recommended tradespeople and services you can offer to your tenants.

 

Comparison Sites

One of the first places to go for local removal companies is a comparison site. Here, you will find a list of trusted traders and you will be able to filter your search results to find relevant companies more quickly.

Searching by price point, location and reviews can help narrow down your search.

 

Removal Quotes

The next step once you have found a few possible candidates is to check removal quotes. Most tenants will be searching for the most affordable option, so if you can recommend a reasonable company they should be happy customers.

Try to get at least three different quotes for the same move, with each cost broken down into insurance, packing, hourly rate, mileage and storage.

 

Customer Reviews

We’ve all heard disaster stories of rogue movers damaging expensive furniture or losing sentimental items, and tenants won’t be happy if your recommendation goes wrong.

Once you have narrowed down the search further, it’s time to check the customer reviews. Sometimes, companies are cheap for a reason, and you should be able to weed out any unreliable movers from the reviews online.

 

How do I Find a Reputable Moving Company?

We’ve got some top tips on how to spot a quality removal company you can rely on;

 

Ask for Recommendations

Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for finding reliable tradespeople and services.

Have any of your friends or family moved home recently? They may have their own recommendations to offer. It’s also worth checking which removal companies local letting agents recommend.

 

Have They Been Regulated?

An easy way to determine whether a removal firm is trustworthy, is to check whether they are a member of any regulatory boards or associations.

Check if the company is a member of The British Association of Removers (BAR), a regulatory body which ensures professional excellence. With lists of residential and commercial movers, all companies listed have been tested to industry standards.

 

Questions to Ask the Movers

Before you recommend a removal company to your tenant, ask these questions first;

  • How long has the company been operating?
  • Do you offer pre move surveys?
  • Do you offer storage facilities?
  • Do your quotes include insurance?
  • Is a packing service included?
  • Is parking on moving day included?
  • What is your delay policy?
  • Do you ask for any additional removal costs?

Having all the important information to hand is of great use for busy tenants and will make a great impression long term.

 

How Much Notice Do Removal Companies Need?

The process of getting an initial quote for moving house, the subsequent survey, finding an available date and getting all of the documents in order can take several weeks. It’s a good idea to remind tenants of this as it comes nearer to the end of their tenancy so they can be fully prepared on moving day.

 

What is the Average Cost of Removals?

The cost of using a professional removals company is dependent on several factors;

  • The number and size of the items being transported
  • The distance between properties
  • Size of the removals team on the day
  • Whether it includes packing and packing materials

 

The Movers and Storers Show

Another way to find reputable moving companies is to attend an industry event such as the Movers and Storers Show.

This year, the show is taking place in Coventry, 19th-20th November and is a convenient place to find trusted partners.

 

The Importance of Trusted Property Partners

Reputation is important in the lettings industry. If a tenant has a positive moving experience thanks to your recommendation, they are more likely to consider your services in the future and give positive recommendations to friends and family.

That goes for all services you use to manage the rental properties in your portfolio.

Here at No Letting Go, we offer a range of professional services to help landlords and letting agents manage their portfolios and stay on top of their responsibilities.

From property inventory to property visits, our services are designed to protect your investment for the long term.

Browse our full list of property inventory services here to find out how we can help.

Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties.

And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds.

We explore the power of inventories by highlighting a recent high-profile case featuring a former pop star and £70,000 worth of damage.

 

Do I Need An Inventory?

Yes, as a landlord or letting agent, it is important to have an inventory report in place to provide the evidence needed if you need to make a claim on the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Without a detailed inventory, you could be left having to repair damage out of your own pocket. We’ve created a simple guide on the key components to include and why they’re necessary;

 

Property Management Inventory Checklist

An inventory report must include the following key components;

  • A record of meter readings and keys provided
  • The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
  • A record of the condition of the garden, including any damage
  • A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
  • A record of the condition of the mattresses if fully furnished
  • Date & time stamped photos of the property and its contents

It must also include essential safety points;

  • A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
  • Evidence that the Smoke and CO alarms comply with legislation (working order & correct placement)
  • A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks

 

Check Out Report

In addition to the initial inventory report and schedule of condition that takes place when a tenant moves into a rental property, you will also need a check out report when they move out at the end of the tenancy.

Following the final inspection, the check out report should;

  • Include a detailed record of the condition of the property
  • Clearly show how the property has changed throughout the tenancy (in combination with the initial check in report)
  • Include recommended actions for landlords and tenants

This report provides a vital benchmark to help assess any changes to the property from the start of the tenancy to the end.

If any deposit disputes arise, these reports should provide clear evidence to help landlords get a fair return on any losses or repairs required.

 

Top Reasons for Tenancy Deposit Disputes

Some of the main reason’s disputes occur include;

  • Cleaning 54%
  • Damage 49%
  • Decoration 31%
  • Rent 20%
  • Gardening 16%

 

Dealing with Deposit Disputes

The security deposit taken at the start of a tenancy is considered the tenant’s money. This means that it can be tricky for landlords to withhold the deposit in response to damage or loss without significant evidence.

You will need to prove there is damage to your rental property above normal wear and tear in order to claim on the deposit.

That’s why poorly compiled inventory reports are one of the most common reasons landlords lose disputes.

Tip: Always enter the deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme as this is a legally required step!

 

Celebrity Rental Drama: The Power of Inventories

To demonstrate our point, we’ve got a high profile case study in which a property rental disaster was averted thanks to comprehensive inventory reports.

Former En-Dubz star and X Factor Judge, Tulisa Contostavlos was recently ordered to pay over £70,000 worth in damage to the landlord of her former luxury rental property.

Reported damage to the luxury North London flat included a smashed sink, cigarette burns, stains and doors ripped from hinges. Despite arguing that the damage was normal wear and tear, she was ordered to pay compensation, interest and legal costs to her former landlord.

Key to this case was the presence of a thorough and professional inventory and check-out report.

Clearly, a high rental value is no protection against severe damage, so no matter which end of the market you’re positioned in, covering your back is essential if you want to recover your costs.

Looking for help managing your portfolio of rental properties in London? Find a list of our No Letting Go London offices.

 

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

It can be problematic working out what is considered fair wear and tear as it differs case by case. Some examples of fair wear and tear include;

  • Small scuff marks on walls
  • Naturally worn down carpets
  • Frayed fabrics
  • Faded curtains
  • Carpet indentations

However, when we talk about damage this could include;

  • Broken locks or doors
  • Burn marks or large carpet stains
  • Holes in the walls
  • Broken windows or furniture
  • Poorly painted walls

One of the easiest ways to determine the difference is by commissioning a professional inventory clerk to visit the property and make a detailed report, including photographic imagery at the start of the tenancy.

 

How To Protect Your Rental Property from Damage

There are a few more steps you can take to protect your rental property;

Regular Property Inspections

To avoid a similar situation, making quarterly inspections of the property can help encourage tenants to practice good property maintenance.

Target Long Term Tenants

In addition, targeting long-term tenants who are more likely to treat the property as their home will help to avoid intentional damage.

Keep it Simple

Keep decoration simple and ensure your property is thoroughly clean at the start of the tenancy to avoid any future disputes.

 

Avoid the Risks with A Professional Inventory Service

You’ve heard the warning, now it’s time to cover your back. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment as a landlord or letting agent is to commission a professional inventory company to undertake comprehensive inventory reports and checks.

Our independent inventory clerks across the country are experienced at providing essential reports, checks and visits to help you stay protected from move in date up until the end of the tenancy agreement.

To find out how we could help, browse our list of professional property inventory services to get started.

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Best Supplier of the Year category with the prestigious Negotiator Awards.

These property awards help customers narrow down the search for the most reliable lettings and property services companies, while bringing well deserved recognition to hardworking property professionals.

Find out what the awards are all about and why No Letting Go has been nominated.

 

The Negotiator Awards

The Negotiator Awards provide a platform to celebrate the best of UK estate and lettings agencies in the residential property industry.

Since 2008, these awards have been recognising talent at one of the most lavish property parties of the year. Held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London a black tie dinner is finished off with celebrity entertainment. No fees are accepted for entries, making the awards an inclusive and fair celebration of the industry.

Categories include; Community Champion, Marketing Campaign of the Year and Employer of the Year.

This year’s awards ceremony takes place on 29th November, 2019 where the winners will be revealed. With last year’s proceedings seen over by comedian Julian Clary, we’re excited to see who’s presenting the 2019 awards!

 

Supplier of the Year

We’re very pleased to be included in the shortlist for Supplier of the Year: Products and Services.

This is a competitive category, with a plethora of respected companies providing products and services to the lettings industry.

Last year we took home the silver award for this category, with Viewber taking gold, and Tenant Shop achieving bronze.

 

 

Our Professional Services

So, why are we being nominated for our delivery of products and services?

Whether you’re a landlord, letting agent, property professional or housing association, our teams of clerks provide a reliable, professional service to help you save time and protect your investment.

Here at No Letting Go, we offer;

Our No Letting Branches are spread across the UK, providing specific areas with tailored advice and services.

 

No Letting Go’s Accolades

Our teams work hard to provide their customers with quality services that put the customer’s needs at the centre.

Thanks to their dedication, we have been lucky enough to receive the following awards,

  • Bronze award for Supplier of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times
  • Lettings Agency of the Year 2016 Awards
  • Rachel Farr of our Bath branch was a finalist in the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF Awards
  • Best Inventory Supplier 2009

In addition, we’re also accredited by Safe Contractor, the British Franchise Association (BFA), Property Redress Scheme (PRS) and are regulated by Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA:PropertyMark)

 

How Can We Help?

Whilst we are crossing our fingers to win an award in November, we are proud to have been shortlisted alongside some fantastic brands in this category, and it is testimony to the high quality of services provided by our 65 offices around the country.

If you’re looking for unbiased property reporting and inventory services, browse our full list of property services to find out how we could help.

With several types of tenancies out there, the variations can get confusing for new tenants and landlords. So, what is a periodic tenancy?

Periodic tenancies can offer great benefits, including increased flexibility and less paperwork. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks.

That’s why we’ve created this guide on the risks and rewards of periodic tenancies, to help you make an informed decision before drawing up a contract.

 

What is a Periodic Tenancy Agreement?

A periodic tenancy is a tenancy that runs for a certain period of time, most commonly month to month. Periodic tenancies can also run on a week to week or quarterly basis, although this is less common.

Unlike fixed term tenancies, periodic tenancies work as a rolling contract which can be terminated by landlord or tenant by giving notice.

 

Types of Tenancy Agreements

Tenancies can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, here are the most common types of tenancies you’re likely to come across;

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common and apply to most private rentals with a tenancy date starting after 15 January 1989. Most assured shorthold tenancies begin with a fixed period of 6 or 12 months.

 

Non-Assured Shorthold Tenancy

If your rental property demands less than £250 or more than £100,000 in rent per year or it is used as a holiday home, it won’t be eligible for an assured tenancy. This means you don’t have to enter the tenant’s deposit into a protection scheme or serve a section 21 notice to evict tenants.

 

Assured Tenancy

It is unlikely you’ll need an assured tenancy these days unless you are a housing association. This type of tenancy gives the tenant longer-term stability.

 

Excluded Tenancy

Sometimes referred to as a license, excluded tenancies are for tenants who lodge with their landlord and share communal areas.

 

Regulated Tenancy

If a tenancy started before 15 January 1989 it may be a regulated tenancy. The difference being that tenants have enhanced rights when it comes to eviction and ‘fair rent’.

 

Company Let

When renting to companies, different rules apply in terms of deposit protection and eviction notices.

 

Fixed Term Tenancy

A fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, depending on what is set out in the tenancy agreement. Usually this will be 12 months.

 

Short-Term Fixed Tenancy

A short-term fixed tenancy lasts for 90 days or less.

 

Periodic Tenancy

A periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis with no fixed end date. E.g. month by month.

 

What is a Statutory Periodic Tenancy?

A statutory periodic tenancy occurs when an assured shorthold tenancy comes to the end of its fixed term and the tenant stays at the property without renewing the contract. If the tenant continues to pay rent and it is accepted by the landlord, the tenancy will continue on a periodic, rolling basis.

This transition from fixed term assured shorthold tenancy to statutory periodic tenancy is automatic.

 

What is a Contractual Periodic Tenancy?

A contractual periodic tenancy differs in that it is agreed in the tenancy contract as opposed to automatically transitioning from a fixed term into a periodic tenancy. This can either be agreed upon at the start of the tenancy or shortly before the fixed term contract expires.

It is also possible to enter into a periodic tenancy from the outset by setting the initial term as one month or week.

 

How Does a Periodic Tenancy Work?

While a fixed term tenancy lasts for an agreed set of time, a periodic tenancy works on a rolling basis, from month to month or week to week. It doesn’t end until one party gives notice.

In a periodic tenancy, the period depends on when the rent is paid by the tenant. So, in a monthly period tenancy the tenant would pay rent each month.

Shorthold tenancies become periodic tenancies after the fixed term agreement expires and if there is no new contract drawn up with the remaining tenants. The assured shorthold tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy as long as the tenants do not change, and they are happy to retain the same contract. The same conditions will apply and there is no further action needed by the landlord or tenant.

 

Ending a Periodic Tenancy

To end a periodic tenancy, there are several legal processes that can take place;

  • Both landlord and tenant mutually agree to end the tenancy
  • The landlord decides to evict the tenant
  • The tenant gives notice
  • The landlord gives notice

 

Periodic Tenancy Notice: Tenants

To end a periodic tenancy, tenants will need to give the right amount of notice depending on the terms stated in the tenancy agreement. They also need to ensure it ends on the right day. For example, if a monthly periodic tenancy began on 1st January it will need to end on the last or the 1st day of the month. From this date, they will no longer be liable for rent payments.

 

Statutory Periodic Tenancy Notice

If it is a statutory periodic tenancy, tenants must give at least 1 months’ notice for a monthly contract or at least 4 weeks’ notice for a weekly contract. The notice must end on the first or last day of the tenancy period.

 

Periodic Tenancy Notice Period: Landlords

Landlords must give tenants a written ‘notice to quit’ which must end on the last day of the rental period, give the minimum notice period and include legal information.

For statutory periodic tenancies, it is also possible for landlords to issue a section 21 notice as long as the landlord gives the tenant at least two months’ notice and the last day is the last day of the tenancy period. If the tenant does not move out on this date, landlords have the right to request a court order to regain possession. However, changes to the law regarding section 21 notices now require a landlord to give their reasoning, alongside relevant evidence.

 

Benefits of a Periodic Tenancy for Landlords

A periodic tenancy can have wide-ranging benefits for both landlord and tenant, including;

  • Increased flexibility. If you suddenly need to regain possession of your property, a periodic tenancy speeds up this process as you don’t have to wait until the end of a fixed period.
  • Attracting tenants. For some tenants, this flexibility is a bonus. If your tenant moves a lot for work or often needs to relocate suddenly, a periodic tenancy becomes appealing.
  • Reduced letting agency fees. Periodic tenancies can dispel the need for renewals and the administration costs that come with them.
  • If for any reason you need to increase the rent, this is made a lot easier by periodic tenancies. Revisions to rent payments can be made much more quickly when operating on a month by month basis.
  • If you are having issues with a particular tenant, a periodic tenancy may be in your favour as you are better able to evict problem tenants as a last resort.

 

Risks of Periodic Tenancies for Landlords

With these advantages also come risks. If you’re thinking of entering into a periodic tenancy, watch out for the following potential dangers;

  • Naturally, periodic tenancies are more likely to attract tenants looking for shorter, more transient leases. If it’s stability you’re after, you may want to think twice.
  • Similarly, shorter term tenants can cost more in terms of marketing and vetting potential new tenants to replace them.
  • With 1 month or less notice periods, you don’t have a long turnaround time if a tenant decides to move out unexpectedly. You will need to have end of tenancy cleaning and maintenance processes finely tuned so as not to lose out.
  • If your tenant moves out during a ‘notice to quit’ period, you may be liable for paying council tax for the property. To avoid this situation, make sure you have a contractual periodic tenancy agreement in place to ensure this remains the tenant’s responsibility.

 

Periodic Tenancies: Good Idea?

Periodic tenancies can be a good idea as they offer increased flexibility for both landlord and tenant and can reduce the number of administrative tasks needed throughout a tenancy.

However, to protect your investment, we recommend;

  • Always drawing up a contractual periodic tenancy agreement. This way you have all the agreed terms in writing and won’t be liable for council tax payments if your tenant moves out unexpectedly.
  • Getting your property marketing up to scratch to attract new tenants and avoid extended void periods.
  • Making sure you have all the processes in place for a speedy turnaround to avoid any losses. This includes;
  • A detailed and fuss-free inventory report is vital when you’re dealing with potentially shorter tenancies. Having a streamlined process in place will help protect you against loss or damage and help recover any costs without going through lengthy disputes.

 

Be Prepared with No Letting Go

The easiest way to protect your investment and maintain a happy landlord/tenant relationship is to entrust a comprehensive, unbiased inventory reporting service.

Here at No Letting Go, we provide a tailor-made service, including everything from check-in to property visits.

Find out more about our property services to see how we could build them into a package that suits you.

Subletting is surprisingly common and can offer benefits for both landlords and tenants. But what counts as subletting? And what do landlords need to know about the risks?

We explore what subletting is and what you can do as a landlord to mitigate the risks.

 

What is Considered Subletting?

Subletting is when a tenant decides to rent out either a room or whole property to a third party. For example, if a tenant decides to go travelling for an extended period, they might try to let their room out to another tenant to pay their rent. Other reasons could include;

  • Change in income
  • If they need to relocate before the end of a contract
  • If another tenant decides to move out before the end of the tenancy and they need to fill the space

To be a sublet, the original, existing tenant needs to give exclusive access of at least one area of the property to the subtenant. The subtenant will not pay rent directly to the landlord but to the original tenant.

 

Is Subletting Illegal?

In most cases, subletting is legal if the tenant obtains the landlords permission to let out the rental property.

However, if the tenant sublets without written permission, they could come into legal difficulties.

 

Can A Landlord Refuse A Sublet?

This all depends on what it says in the tenancy agreement. If there is a section in the agreement that says a tenant can ask the landlord to sublet, landlords will need to have a valid reason for refusal.

However, if there is no mention of subletting in the tenancy agreement, as a landlord, you can refuse more easily.

It’s worth noting that in the case of fixed term tenancies, the tenant may still be able to sublet without consent if there is no mention in the agreement. That’s why it’s important to be clear on the terms of your agreement from the get-go.

Not keen on the idea of allowing a tenant to sublet? There are a few steps you can take to ensure it doesn’t happen;

  • Include a section in the tenancy agreement prohibiting subletting
  • Arrange regular property inspections to help prevent unwanted subletting. The professional carrying out the inspection will usually be able to tell if something is awry. It will also indicate to your tenants that you aren’t complacent as a landlord.
  • Try to develop strong relationships with your tenants so they come to you first if they are having any difficulties making the rent.

 

Illegal Subletting

If a tenant decides to go ahead and sublet without permission, there are two main circumstances that most commonly occur;

The tenant rents out a room in the property whilst still living at the address.

This is the most common situation, and often happens when flatmates move out unexpectedly.

In this situation, think carefully about how you want to proceed. If the new subtenant has caused no issues and the rent is paid on time, it can sometimes be advantageous to allow them to continue living at the property. If this is the case, draw up an agreement to stay protected. Don’t accept any payment until you have a proper tenancy agreement in place.

The tenant rents out several or all the rooms in the rental property whilst living at a different address.

This could have serious consequences for you as the landlord. If these subletting tenants report issues to the original tenant who they assume is the landlord, property maintenance issues may go unresolved and you start to lose control of your property.

 

What Happens If Your Tenant Sublets Without Permission?

If you discover your tenant is subletting without your permission, there are a few steps you can take;

  • Talk to your original tenant first to find a solution
  • If the tenant persists subletting, sub-tenants should be informed, and either be asked to vacate the property or draw up a new tenancy agreement for them
  • If all else fails and the subtenant refuses to vacate, you may need to begin the eviction process

 

What Are The Risks Of Subletting?

If a tenant decides to sublet their room, there are a number of risks you need to be aware of;

Insurance and Mortgage

Some insurance and mortgage providers don’t allow subletting and ignoring this could lead to voiding your contract. It’s vital you avoid this at all costs by checking your agreement before allowing a sublet.

End of The Tenancy

If your original tenant decides to move out, but their subtenant is still living in your rental property, you may come up against issues. Evicting a tenant without a tenancy agreement can get complicated.

 

How Do You Sublet Safely? Tips for Landlords

Subletting doesn’t always spell disaster. In fact, it can be profitable for both landlord and tenant, solving common issues such as change of circumstance.

If you do decide to grant your tenant permission to sublet, here’s a few steps you can take to ensure your investment stays protected;

  • Ensure you are clear on the contents of the tenancy agreement and what it says about subletting. If there is no mention, you may want to add a clause to be on the safe side.
  • Spend time on tenant referencing to ensure you end up with reliable, trustworthy tenants.
  • Spend time getting to know your tenants and making a good impression. This way, they are more likely to come to you first if their circumstances change.
  • Carry out regular property inspections.

 

Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go

If you need a helping hand protecting your investment, we have teams of experienced inventory clerks across the country ready to support you.

We can provide regular property visits, every 3-4 months to ensure your property is being well maintained and tenants are fulfilling their contractual obligations.

In addition, a comprehensive inventory report is one of the best ways to protect your investment in the long term.

Interested in hearing more? Get in touch or visit our services page to find our property inventory packages.

From where to advertise, to creating an engaging listing, getting your marketing right is essential for making your property stand out from the crowd.

Effective advertising generates greater interest in your property, attracting the right target tenants and providing you with a wider tenant pool to choose from.

Here, we share our advice on how to advertise rental property so you can speed up the rental process, find the right tenants and secure maximum returns on your investment.

 

Where To Advertise My Rental Property?

Let’s start with where to advertise. With the internet becoming the preferred source for property searches, it makes sense for your property to have a strong online presence.

Here are your options;

 

Online Property Portals

Online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla are very popular as they allow prospective tenants to narrow their search by location, size, price and much more.

Even high street lettings agents are turning to these sites to help get the properties on their books seen by a wider range of tenants.

Here’s a list of some popular property portals;

  • RightMove
  • Zoopla
  • Prime Location
  • On the Market

Most of these property portal sites don’t deal with private landlords directly. Instead you have two options;

  • Enlist the services of a high street lettings agent to post the listing for you
  • Use an online estate agent such as OpenRent or Upad

 

High Street Letting Agent

The benefit of advertising your property through a quality high street letting agent is that they will have the expertise and experience to market your property professionally and will take away the hassle of finding a tenant.

A letting agent will also conduct tenant referencing, property viewings and tenant checks which will save you a lot of time. However, this is often the more expensive option.

 

Online Letting Agent

When enlisting the services of an online letting agent, they will list your property for you on the relevant property websites and generate enquiries. You will still be able to meet potential tenants, conduct tenant referencing and choose the best fit yourself.

This is often cheaper than using a high street estate agent as there is just one fixed cost.

 

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Facebook are becoming a popular way of advertising and searching for rental properties, especially when it comes to finding rooms in shared houses.

The benefit of listing your property on social sites is that it is likely to reach wide audiences, as people can share with friends and comment directly on photos.

Lots of letting agents use social media to advertise the properties in their portfolio, or if you operate as a private landlord, you can create your own account. Join local online community groups to get your property seen by people looking for housing in the area and always reply to comments and enquiries.

 

How Do I Market My Rental Property Effectively?

Now we’ve looked at where to advertise, we now need to find out how. We’ve compiled a list of essential tips and advice to help rent your property to the right tenants, and fast;

 

Establish Your Target Tenant

The first step in the process is to establish your target tenant. Identifying a tenant profile will help tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to the right people.

For example, if you’re renting to students, make sure you advertise your property as furnished, or if you are targeting families, focus on space and the prevalence of schools in the area.

 

Calculate Your Rental Price

Next, you need to calculate a price bracket according to similar properties in the area and your target tenant’s income. Make sure you factor in maintenance costs, and any other outgoings.

Tip: When advertising on online property portals, take note of the price brackets of each site, and which price bracket your property will appear in. If you increase or decrease the rental price you could appear in a whole different price bracket and not be searchable to your target tenant.

 

Identify Your USPs

Your property’s USP or unique selling point is what makes it stand out from the competition, and what makes it attractive to your target tenant. It could be anything from a private garden or parking space to its proximity to local amenities such as schools and shops.

Whatever it is, make sure you highlight it in the description fields.

 

Include a Detailed Description

When it comes to writing a description for your property, you need to strike the right balance between engaging and informative.

Provide as much detail as you can about the property, including key features, the local area and USPs.

It’s best to start with a short, engaging paragraph describing the property as a whole, focusing on lifestyle aspects and the properties best bits. Then follow this up with a more detailed account of features, rooms and outside areas.

Always include the availability date and any other important details such as if bills are included.

Tip: If the property is furnished with quality furnishings and appliances, it may be worth incorporating some well-known brand names into the description. E.g, The modern kitchen features an LG fridge and Samsung washing machine.

 

Use Quality Photographs

Professional, good quality photographs are perhaps the most important factor when it comes to advertising your property. Be sure to include photos of each room, the exterior and any outdoor areas, paying particular attention to special features.

Try to take the photos on a sunny day to show your property in the best light and ensure everything is clean and tidy.

To maximise your properties potential, it’s worth investing in 360° property photography. 360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer, bringing your property to life. These images can even be transformed into a virtual tour for remote property viewings!

The main thing to bear in mind is that first impressions count, and the images you provide will be make or break for many tenants.

 

Provide Details About Your Desired Tenant

As well as providing details for your tenants, it’s also a good idea to indicate what type of tenant you are looking for from the get-go. For example, state whether you allow pets or whether you are willing to rent to students. This will speed up the rental process by ensuring everyone is on the same page.

 

Respond Quickly

One you get an enquiry from a potential tenant, act fast. A swift reply will give a good impression and help secure a tenant as quickly as possible.

 

Ask For Help

Busy landlords have a lot to think about. That’s why it can pay to enlist professional services when advertising your property for rent.

We offer a range of property management services, all designed to help landlords, lettings agents and property professionals save time, streamline their processes and comply with regulations.

From 360° photography to help get your property noticed, to property viewings and comprehensive inventory reports, our teams across the UK are ready to help. Get in touch or browse our full list of property inventory services to find out more.

Usually, landlords don’t have to worry about council tax. However, when it comes to HMO properties and vacant periods, things can start to get confusing.

It’s important to understand your landlord council tax responsibilities so as not to get caught out by any unexpected bills or legal issues. So, who pays council tax? What happens when your property is empty? And what about unpaid tenant debts?

From who is responsible to available discounts and exemptions, our council tax guide covers everything responsible landlords need to know.

 

Should I Be Paying Council Tax?

All residential properties in England and Wales are liable for council tax. If you fail to pay on time, there could be serious financial and legal consequences.

How does it work? The council tax system works according to a hierarchy of liability. The first on the list to pay is any adult over the age of 18 who is an occupant of the property. The landlord or property owner comes much further down this list.

 

How Is Council Tax Calculated?

Properties are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and placed within bands A-H according to the location and type of housing. The banding is based on the amount the property could be sold for and the cost for each band varies by council.

 

Who Pays Council Tax: Tenant Or Landlord?

This depends on the sort of tenancy agreement you have in place. Usually, if you rent the entire property to one or several joint tenants, it is their responsibility to pay. (This includes single occupants, families and shared tenancies) In this case, the bills will be sent directly from the local council to your tenants, leaving you out of the equation.

However, if you rent to several tenants with individual tenancy agreements, you will become responsible for paying council tax. Therefore, if you rent out an HMO property, you will be liable to pay.

 

Do Landlords Pay Council Tax On Empty Properties?

Yes. During void periods, the landlord is responsible for paying council tax.

The size of the bill depends on your local council. You could be given a discount of up to 50% while the property remains unoccupied. However, this is becoming more unlikely as the number of unoccupied properties grow.

If your property is unfurnished, you may be exempt from council tax for up to 6 months.

 

Is A Landlord Liable For Unpaid Council Tax?

Not usually. As long as the tenancy agreement stipulated that council tax payments were the responsibility of the tenants, then landlords should be safe if tenants leave with unpaid debts.

If your property is vacant for any time, as the landlord, you will be responsible for paying tax during this period. However, you should not be responsible for repaying leftover bills that should have been paid by tenants while they were living in the property.

Without proof of a signed tenancy agreement, it will be harder to convince the council of your exemption if your tenant moves out early without notifying you.

See our blog on who is responsible for unpaid utility bills for more answers to common questions regarding bills.

 

 

Landlord Council Tax Exemption

Some properties and tenants are either exempt from paying council tax or are eligible for a discounted rate.

If you’re a landlord of an HMO property, make sure you check your tenant’s status to find out if you are eligible for any discounts. For example, if there is a mix of full-time students and one adult, you may receive a 25% discount.

 

Who Is Exempt From Council Tax?

There are certain groups of people who are exempt or eligible for a discounted council tax bill;

  • Single occupants of a property receive a 25% discount
  • Full time students are exempt
  • Live in carers are exempt
  • Tenants below the age of 18 are exempt

 

What Properties Are Exempt From Council Tax?

 

There are also a number of properties that are exempt from paying council tax;

  • Unfurnished properties may be exempt for six months
  • Recently repaired properties may be exempt for six months
  • Properties occupied by full time students only
  • Properties solely inhabited by tenants under the age of 18 receive a 50% discount

 

 

Landlord Council Tax Advice

To ensure you stay on top of your council tax responsibilities and avoid any unexpected bills, follow these simple tips;

  • Always determine who is responsible for paying council tax in the tenancy agreement
  • Keep a signed copy of this agreement on file
  • Notify your local authority at each change of tenancy and give the names of new tenants
  • For HMO properties where you are liable to pay council tax, ensure you factor this cost into the rent price
  • Plan for any void periods in which you may have to pay council tax
  • Check for any council tax discounts or exemptions you may be eligible for
  • Try to minimise void periods to avoid paying council tax in between tenants

 

 

Property Inventory Management From No Letting Go

If you’re a busy landlord looking for help managing your portfolio, we could help. Our wide range of professional property services includes comprehensive inventory reports, vacant property inspections and right to rent checks.

Here’s what else we offer;

  • Floor plans
  • Smoke and CO reports
  • 360-degree property photography
  • Property appraisals
  • HHSRS
  • Legionella risk assessments
  • Digi Sign
  • Check in/check out
  • Mid-term reports

 

For all your property management needs, browse our full list of property services to find out how our friendly team could help streamline your business and protect your investment.

What if your tenant moves out without paying their utility bills or council tax? Does it fall on you as the landlord to pick up the pieces?

This is a common question among both landlords and tenants, and it needs clearing up. So, who is responsible for unpaid utility bills? Let’s find out.

 

Are Landlords Responsible For Unpaid Utility Bills?

Not usually. As long as it is the tenant’s name on the bill, and it is stated in the tenancy agreement that tenants are responsible for utilities, landlords are not liable for unpaid bills left over by tenants.

However, as a landlord, there are some steps you will need to take to protect yourself if you find yourself in this tricky situation;

  • Always tell the local council when a new tenant moves in. You will need to provide the names of the new tenants and the contact details of the previous tenants so they can get in touch if needs be.
  • Inform the energy suppliers of the property of any change in tenancy (this includes gas, electricity and water)
  • Encourage new tenants to change the name on the utility bills as soon as possible.
  • Make a note of the meter readings at the start and end of each tenancy so you have a record for the utility companies.
  • Ensure your tenancy agreement clearly states that utility payments are the responsibility of the tenant.
  • Keep a signed copy of the tenancy agreement in a safe, easily accessible place.

 

What Bills Are Tenants Responsible For?

This depends on the tenancy agreement you have in place.

Commonly, tenants are responsible for the following bills;

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Council tax
  • Internet

However, this is not always the case. Let’s look at two different situations;

 

Utilities Registered In The Tenant’s Name

When bills are registered in the tenant’s name, the tenant is responsible for paying them from the date they move into the property. However, they are not responsible for any debts left behind from previous tenants. It’s important for tenants to check the meter readings on move-in day so they can supply their energy providers with the correct readings at the start of their tenancy.

In this case, landlords are not required to pay any remaining payments after their tenant has left. The utility companies will have to chase the tenant themselves, meaning the issue is out of your hands.

 

Utilities Registered In The Landlord’s Name

You can choose to register bills in the landlord’s name and ask the tenant to pay you for their usage. This can be helpful for short lets, or if you rent out a room in your own house. However, if the tenant leaves without paying, you may be responsible for paying the outstanding sum.

To avoid this situation, always follow the steps outlines above.

 

End Of Tenancy Utility Bills

To end a contract, most utility suppliers require a few days notice before the end of a tenancy. As long as the bills are in the tenant’s name, this is entirely their responsibility to organise.

If there is outstanding debt left over and…

  • The utilities are in the landlord’s name
  • Or the tenant failed to register for utilities whilst living at the property

You may be able to prove the tenants were living at the property if you supply a copy of the tenancy agreement. However, this will depend on the individual policies of the utility companies.

 

Who Is Responsible For Bills During Void Periods?

If your property is empty for any period of time, the owner of the property is responsible for utility payments.

This is why it’s best to keep energy usage to a minimum in between tenants. However, during the winter, we recommend keeping the heat consistent to protect against mould and damp and avoid further maintenance costs in the long run.

If your property is left vacant for an extended period, you will need to organise regular vacant property inspections to check for leaks or mould.

 

 

Who Is Responsible For Utilities In Multiple Occupancy Properties?

If there are several tenants living at a property, disputes can often arise regarding bills. The main thing to remember is that whoever’s name is on the bill is ultimately responsible.

This means, if all tenants in a house share or HMO rental property have their name registered to a utility bill, they are all equally liable to repay debts, even if it’s only one tenant who hasn’t paid.

 

Property Management Help From No Letting Go

One of the simplest ways to avoid disputes and protect your investment at the end of a tenancy is to have all of your property reports in one easily accessible place.

All of our check in reports come with utility checks and meter readings included to help landlords and property professionals keep on top of their responsibilities.

Keen to learn more about how our flexible reporting could help? Find our full list of property inventory services here.

Budgets can be tough to manage for landlord and letting agents alike. Sometimes, property maintenance costs can eat into your finances dramatically.

From what’s involved to how to save, we offer insights and guidance on how to best manage budgets when undergoing maintenance on your property portfolio.

 

What Is Included In Maintenance Costs?

Before we go into budget management, we need to be clear on what maintenance costs are involved in renting a residential property.

Here’s a list of all the things to consider when it comes to maintenance;

 

Repair Costs

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to fix any repairs needed resulting from normal wear and tear. This can include;

  • Repairing or replacing white goods and appliances
  • Fixing boiler issues
  • Repairing any electrical faults

 

Refurbishment & Decoration

Keeping your property looking fresh for new tenants is an important part of being a good landlord and attracting the right target tenants. It’s recommended that carpets are replaced every 5-7 years, and properties are fully redecorated every 3 years.

However, if your property is looking particularly lived in after a tenancy or you come across some questionable stains, you might need to redecorate more often.

Here’s what else is included in refurbishment and decoration;

  • Painting throughout
  • Replacing carpets or flooring
  • Replacing curtains
  • Replacing old, tired furniture items every 10-15 years
  • Replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings every 10-15 years

 

Exterior Maintenance

It’s not just the inside that needs attention. Staying on top of the exterior of your property can help ward off future structural issues and save money in the long run.

Here’s what it could include;

  • Replacing missing roof tiles
  • Clearing guttering
  • Garden fence maintenance
  • Window cleaning and repair

 

Interior Cleaning

Thorough cleaning is essential between tenancies, and you may also need to arrange for cleaning to be done during a tenancy. If the windows need cleaning for example, or if the property has suffered water damage.

 

Property Inspections

Particularly important during void periods, regular property inspections are an important part of maintenance for buy to let properties.

Inspections protect your property from theft, vandalism or damage from unnoticed leaks, preventing the need for extensive future repairs. We offer a professional vacant property inspection service to give you peace of mind that your investment is protected.

 

Gas Safety Certificates & Safety Checks

UK landlords have a legal requirement to arrange regular safety checks, including;

  • An annual gas safety inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Electrical safety checks
  • PAT tests for white goods
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Ensure smoke detectors are present and working

 

Your Time

This cost is usually overlooked by most landlords, but the time you put into the maintenance of your portfolio really adds up. Particularly if you are balancing your duties as a landlord with another paid job, extra time spent on maintenance may mean losing out on wages.

If this is the case, it may be worth investing in a full management service from a property management company so you can swap a management fee for more time for other ventures.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Rental Property?

 

Maintenance costs will vary depending on several factors;

  • Size of the property
  • Age of the property- older homes require more upkeep
  • Location of the property- service charges vary dependant on area
  • Type and number of tenants

For example, if you rent to students or large families, you may have to fork out more for accidental damage repair costs.

 

Landlord Maintenance Costs: How to Save Money

Now we’ve discussed what’s involved, it’s time to look at ways to save.

 

Choose Your Target Tenant Wisely

While finding tenants may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to maintenance, the tenant you choose could have an effect on your maintenance costs.

For example, as mentioned above, renting to students can result in more accidental damage as there tends to be more people living in one property, and tenants have a reputation for partying! Similarly, renting to tenants with pets is likely to involve more refurbishment at the end of the tenancy.

Deciding on your target tenant from the get-go is an important part of the process.

 

Act Fast When It Comes to Repairs

The quicker you act on repairs and maintenance tasks, the more popular you’ll be with tenants and the less likely they are to develop into serious issues. Usually, dealing with problems as soon as they arise means you can save money in the long run as you have time to think about the best possible solution.

Paying for maintenance costs early will also help you to manage your monthly budgets and keep on top of your spend.

 

Buy Quality Furnishings

Opting for the cheapest furnishings available isn’t always wise. The cost of replacing flimsy furniture every year is likely to add up to more than investing in quality in the first place. This is particularly true for mattresses, sofas and dining tables. Our blog on furnishing your rental property will help you with some handy tips.

 

Keep It Simple

When it comes to decorating your properties, more is less. You don’t need to go overboard to provide a comfortable home for tenants. Simple, modern furniture without too many frills will appeal to most and will be kinder on the budget.

Tip: Avoid painting everything white as it will require more upkeep. Neutral, mid-tones are much more forgiving.

 

Don’t Skimp on Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance is essential when renting a property. Finding the right deal can help you save when things go wrong. Quality contents or accidental damage insurance will protect you in the case of weather damage or accidental spills.

Make sure you shop around for the best deals.

 

Check Council Tax Exceptions

If one of your rental properties is vacant for a period, or you are performing refurbishment that renders your property inhabitable, you may be eligible for Council Tax redemption. This will leave you with some extra cash to spend on essential repairs and decoration.

 

Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance

By increasing the energy-saving potential of your property, you could save money that can be injected back into the maintenance budget.

By reinforcing insulation in your rental property, you could save a significant amount in tax.

 

Know When To Ask For Help

While rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can save on service fees, it’s not always the best option.

Botched DIY can end up costing more than the original problem, and when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues, professional is always best.

 

Get More Than One Quote

When you need to pick up the phone to a plumber or tradesperson, make sure you do your research.

Particularly important when it comes to bigger jobs, getting several quotes will help you find the most competitive price.

 

Invest In A Comprehensive Inventory Service

Compiling a comprehensive written and photographic list of all of the items and furnishings and their condition within your property is one of the best ways to recuperate maintenance costs at the end of a tenancy.

If there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear, it will be much easier to deduct the appropriate costs from the deposit.

A professional property inventory service provides an impartial account of your property and is delivered using high quality photography in a handy, easily accessible digital report.

 

Landlord Maintenance Responsibilities: Help From No Letting Go

The costs of being a landlord are wide ranging. From agent fees to mortgage interest, balancing your rental income with outgoing costs can be tough.

That’s why sometimes it pays to get some help. Whether it’s repairs and maintenance reports or inventory services, our teams of experienced clerks could help streamline your business so you can take control of your budget.

Browse our full list of property management services to find out how we can help.