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.

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.

As a landlord, you’ll understand the importance of finding reliable tenants that pay the rent on time. One way to secure this is through comprehensive tenant reference checks. But what happens if a potential tenant fails their credit check?

Renting to tenants with bad credit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. If the tenant ticks all the right boxes, there are ways to get around this issue and protect yourself and your investment.

 

What Is A Tenant Reference Check?

A tenant reference check helps landlords and letting agents decide if a tenant is likely to be reliable and pay each month’s rent on time.

In addition to a credit check, tenant referencing can look for;

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of employment
  • Current salary
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of benefit claims
  • Right to rent in the UK
  • A previous landlord reference

 

What Is A Credit Check?

A credit check looks at the tenant’s credit report and financial history, spotting any times they have missed bill payments or have fallen into arrears. This is analysed to produce an individual credit score.

A credit score can range from around 0- 900 points, depending on the score system used. A good credit score could be anything above 750 points.

 

What’s The Minimum Credit Score A Landlord Should Accept For A Tenant?

An acceptable credit score will be dependent on the scoring system used, as they differ between referencing agencies. However, when a tenant’s credit score comes back as poor or very poor, you may want to think about asking some further questions.

 

What Causes A Bad Credit Scoring?

A poor credit score can be caused by a number of issues, some more concerning than others when it comes to potential tenants.

Here are a few of the more serious reasons for a poor credit rating;

 

Unpaid Debts

Naturally, being in debt can negatively affect a tenant’s credit score as it suggests that they struggle to manage their money and are not financially stable. If this issue is uncovered by a credit check, you may think twice about entering into a tenancy agreement.

 

Being Declared Bankrupt

This should set major alarm bells ringing for landlords as it suggests the tenant has had difficulty managing repayments in the past.

 

County Court Judgements

A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is when a tenant is forced to repay a debt by the courts. If this shows up, it’s not a great first impression.

 

Late Credit Card Or Loan Repayments

If a tenant has struggled to pay credit card repayments in time, this doesn’t bode well for rent payments.

 

There are also a number of issues that can affect credit scores that don’t necessarily mean a tenant will struggle with their finances;

 

Not Having A Credit History

One reason for a poor credit rating that is particularly common among younger tenants and students is not having a credit history at all. If the tenant has never taken out a credit card or loan and has never paid bills from their bank account, they won’t have a credit trail to check, resulting in a low score.

This is a likely occurrence if you rent to students or young adults who have just left home and doesn’t necessarily mean that the tenant will be bad at managing their money.

 

Only Making The Minimum Credit Card Repayments

Credit scores can be affected if the tenant only makes the minimum repayment on their credit card each month. The assumption is that they are struggling to keep up with all their outgoings, however this isn’t always the case.

 

Not Being On the Electoral Roll

Not updating addresses and personal information can affect credit score, as can not being on the electoral roll. This step is easily forgotten when moving house and doesn’t prove the tenant will be unreliable.

 

No Proof Of Address

If a tenant hasn’t been responsible for paying bills at their previous residence or were not named on the tenancy agreement, it can be difficult for the referencing agency to determine proof of address.

 

 

How Important Is Good Credit?

As we explored above, good credit isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to finding a good tenant. Equally as important is whether they fit your target tenant profile.

If you’ve been struggling to rent out your property or think the tenant will make a good fit, there are ways to get around bad credit.

 

 

How To Rent to Tenants With Bad Credit

Poor credit rating alone doesn’t mean you should give up on a tenant if they tick all the other boxes. Here are some ways to minimise risk;

 

Dig Deeper

The first thing to do when a potential tenant’s credit check comes back as poor, is to find out why. If it was down to late or missed payments it may be best to steer clear, however if it’s something as simple as a lack of credit history then it needn’t stop you from going ahead with the tenancy.

 

Ask To See Previous Rent Payments

Seeing proof of regular, timely rent payments for a previous rental arrangement will help to ease your concerns about their responsibility as a tenant.

 

Charge a Larger Deposit

If a tenant has a low credit score, it’s likely they will be prepared to pay a slightly larger security deposit to make up for it. This will give you extra leverage when it comes to recovering costs at the end of the tenancy.

 

Ask For A Guarantor

One of the best ways to protect yourself if a tenant has poor credit is to ask for a guarantor. A guarantor will be able to cover any costs if the tenant is unable to pay, giving you extra protection.

The guarantor will need to sign the tenancy agreement along with the tenant and have secure financial status.

 

Ask For A Previous Landlord Reference

One sure way to find out if a tenant is reliable is to ask their previous landlord.

Here are some questions to ask;

  • Did the tenant pay rent on time each month?
  • Did the tenant look after the rental property?
  • How often did the tenant raise issues with the landlord or letting agent?
  • Were any complaints received from neighbours regarding the tenant?
  • What condition did they leave the property at the end of the tenancy?
  • Would you feel happy renting to the tenant again?

 

Ask For Rent Upfront

While this may be a lot to ask and not always in scope, a tenant with a high risk credit score may be prepared to pay rent upfront. Paying the first six months of rent upfront will ease any initial worries and give the tenant time to prove their reliability.

 

Receive Payments By Direct Debit

Asking for rent payments via direct debit is common practice these days and is especially important if you’re concerned about a tenant’s financial responsibility.

 

Shorten The Tenancy

If you’re worried about the reliability of a tenant, setting a shorter, probationary rental period in which the tenant has time to prove their responsibility could be a good idea. If you experience late payments or other issues, you can terminate the tenancy early.

 

Talk To The Tenant

You can tell a lot from a frank, face-to-face conversation. If your potential tenant willingly discloses their credit issues and can provide a reasonable explanation for the low score, you will be much better placed to make an informed decision.

 

How To Organise A Tenant Reference Check

Although credit checks aren’t the only way to choose the right tenant, it is important to perform tenant referencing so you aren’t caught out further down the line.

As a busy landlord, you may want to delegate this task to a professional tenant referencing company. Placing this responsibility in the experienced hands of a recommended referencing company will minimise any risks and help the process go smoothly.

 

 

Protect Your Property With No Letting Go

In addition to choosing a reliable tenant, a comprehensive inventory is one of the best ways to protect your rental property.

At No Letting Go, we offer unbiased property inventory reports to help safeguard your property against damage and recover essential costs at the end of a tenancy. All the way through from Schedule of Condition, to check in and property visits, our property clerks are there to simplify the rental process and save you time.

Interested in hearing more? Head to our website to discover the full range of property management services we offer.

If you’re a landlord looking for a trusted letting agent in London, we might be able to help. We understand the importance of leaving your investment in safe hands and work with a wide range of property specialists in London and across the UK.

No Letting Go help letting agents and property businesses streamline their inventory management processes and provide essential reports. Thanks to this, we know a thing or two about finding the right partner for you and your property needs.

We’ve listed some of the best letting agents, London to help you find a reputable agency in your local area.

 

Letting Agents: North London

Let’s start with lettings and estate agents in the North London area. The following agencies have either been recommended by trusted sources or are businesses we currently work with.

 

Davies & Davies

This well-established independent letting agent has been running since 1927, managing sales and lettings from Finsbury park.

Voted as the 7th best Letting agent in the UK by the Best Estate Agent Guide 2019, Davies & Davies pride themselves on their bespoke level of service and their socially responsible attitude towards the local community. If you’re looking for a collaborative partner, this award- winning agency could be for you.

Best for: Slick, creative marketing campaigns

Contact information
info@daviesdavies.co.uk
Finsbury Park Office, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

 

Oliver’s Town

Another long-running agency, Oliver’s Town Lettings have been around since 1988 and cover a wide area from Camden to Hampstead.

The agency deals with buying, renting, letting and selling for landlord and tenants and have excellent knowledge of the areas they work in.

Best for: Approachable customer service

Contact information
hello@oliverstown.com
Offices in Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Hampstead and Mayfair

 

Parkheath Lettings

Parkheath is a well-established lettings agent in North West London with a business philosophy of ‘sold on service’. The results speak for themselves, with 99% of sales and lettings clients happy to work with them again in the future.

Looking after properties located in areas around Belsize and Tufnell park, Parkheath lettings agent offer excellent knowledge of the property market and a reliable service.

Best for: Professional customer service

Contact information
Offices in West Hampstead, South Hampstead, Belsize Park, Kentish Town and Kendall Rise.

 

Matthew James

Serving the areas around Dartmouth Park, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park, Matthew James estate agents are an independent company specialising in lettings and sales.

With customers describing them as ‘efficient’, ‘friendly’ and ‘honest’, your rental property will be in safe hands. They even have area guides on their website to help prospective landlords and tenants get to know the different areas they operate in.

Best for: Friendly team of staff

Contact information
43-45 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AD

 

PG Estates

If you’re looking for sales and lettings experts in Islington, Highbury, Barnsbury, Shoreditch, Dalston, Hoxton, Haggerston and the City, PG Estates are a good bet.

Dedicated to establishing long term relationships with their clients, this agency has a wide range of property types on its books. They can even help you with short Airbnb lets!

Best for: Variety of services

Contact Information
islington@pgestates.com
350 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PD

spitalfields@pgestates.com
66 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6RL

 

Your Move Sterling & Co – Walthamstow

Centrally based in Walthamstow, Your Move Sterling & Co is the place to go for friendly and professional lettings services in the area.

As a landlord, when you let a property through Your Move Sterling & Co, you gain access to the landlord portal for quick and easy communication.

Serving Walthamstow, Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford in North East London.

Best for: Convenient communications

Contact Information
Email directly on the Your Move Sterling & Co website

 

From health and safety reports to property viewings, our franchises across North London all put the same level of dedication into their client services. No Letting Go Walthamstow property inventory services are owned and operated by Ann Ennis who has over 45 years of experience in the industry. Get in touch to find out how they could help.

 

East London Letting Agents

Now let’s turn our attention to the best letting agents in and around East London;

 

Martin & Co – Wanstead

Head up by local landlord, Mike Molloy, the Wanstead branch of Martin & Co provides a wealth of information on the surrounding area and property market.

With first hand experience of the private rental sector, Molloy understands the needs of landlords and tenants, providing an honest and intuitive service to clients.

The Wanstead branch manages property across Wanstead, East London and West Essex.

Best for: Landlords

Contact information
74 High Street, Wanstead, London, Greater London, E11 2RN

 

Dabora Conway – South Woodford and Winchmore Hill

The experienced team at Dabora Conway lettings and estate agents put customer satisfaction at the heart of everything they do.

As a member of NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme), this growing business is committed to providing quality, tailored services.

With glowing customer testimonials and a professional team of staff, Dabora Conway is a great choice for lettings in the Wanstead, South Woodford and Winchmore Hill areas.

Best for: Customer commitment

Contact information
enquiries@daboraconway.com
Wanstead Head Office, 9 High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2AA

 

David Daniels

Winning gold in the property agency of the year awards 2018 for Stratford in the AllAgents Annual Awards, David Daniels is a trusted agency in the East London area.

Serving Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering, David Daniels is a member of ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).

Combining highly qualified staff with a close attention to detail and local knowledge, this agency provides a comprehensive service for landlords.

Best for: Recognition in the property sector

Contact Information
info@david-daniels.co.uk
Offices in Leyton and Stratford

 

Looking to save time on property management? If you operate in the East London area, our No Letting Go branches in Stratford & Newnham and Romford & Docklands provide landlords and property professionals with unbiased, professional services to help safeguard your investment.

 

Letting Agents: South London

If you’re a landlord looking for letting agents in the South London area, add the following businesses to your list;

 

C James & Co

For lettings in Wimbledon, Tooting, Colliers Wood and surrounding areas, C James & Co is committed to providing their customers with the latest innovations in Proptech.

C James & Co have dedicated teams of staff handling accounts, contracts and maintenance, ensuring each member is experienced and dedicated to their field.

As a member of ARLA, the agency stays on top of current regulations to protect landlords and their investments.

Best for: Dedicated network of staff

Contact Information
wm-lettings@cjames.co.uk
141 Kingston Road, Merton Park, London SW19 1LJ

tt-lettings@cjames.co.uk
110 Tooting High Street, Tooting, London, SW17 ORR

cw-sales@cjames.co.uk
190-192 High Street, Colliers Wood, London, SW19

 

SW19

As the name suggests, this independent estate agent has an extensive knowledge of their local area postcode. Their slogan ‘It’s all in the postcode’ reflects their passion for the Wimbledon area and local communities within it.

Offering zero deposit schemes and experienced staff, SW19 guarantees speedy rental processes and security for landlords.

Best for: Local area knowledge

Contact Information
sales@sw19.com
Offices in Wimbledon, South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood

 

Ellisons

With an outstanding local reputation and a straightforward ethos, Ellisons are a registered office approved by The Office of Fair Trading, The Estate Agency Ombudsman Scheme and ARLA.

With thousands of let properties in their portfolio, they are experienced at providing hassle-free transactions. They even offer free rental guarantee insurance to newly appointed lets.

Ellisons letting agents serve Wimbledon, Morden, Raynes Park, West Wimbledon, Motspur Park, Colliers Wood and Merton Park.

Best for: Fuss-free service

Contact Information
Individual office contact details are available on the website

 

From No Letting Go Battersea to No Letting Go Croydon, our branches across South London understand the importance of an unbiased, detailed property inventory. Interested? Contact the team to discuss your requirements.

 

Letting Agents: West London

Here’s our pick of west London lettings agents;

 

Ludlow Thompson- Kilburn

With fantastic reviews on AllAgents, the Kilburn branch of Ludlow Thompson is one to look out for.

Described as professional, helpful and communicative, this lettings agency covers extensive areas across Kilburn, West Hampstead and other West London areas.

All staff at Ludlow Thompson have undertaken industry qualifications to ensure professional property management at all times.

Best for: Customer satisfaction

Contact information
kilburnlet@ludlowthompson.com

 

We work with a number of lettings agents in West London, helping them to deliver inventories and organise property inspections.

Keen to be part of our extensive network? No Letting Go Ealing offers 360 degree virtual photography and property appraisals in Ealing and surrounding areas.

For landlords in the Uxbridge area, John Farrell leads the No Letting Go Uxbridge branch, delivering results through extensive local knowledge and the latest in property technology.

 

What We Offer

We offer a lot more than just property inventory services. Here are some of our other services at a glance;

  • Check in/check out services
  • Right to rent checks
  • Property visits & inspections
  • Dilapidation reports
  • House viewings
  • Floor plans
  • Property appraisals
  • 360 virtual photography
  • Health & Safety reports

 

Find Your No Letting Go London Branch

Gaining access to the lettings and inventory services you need should be simple and fast. We provide lettings agents and landlords with a wide range of property services to save you time and ensure your compliance with the latest regulations.

Find your local London No Letting Go office here.

From comprehensive inventories to check in/check out services, our teams are experienced at providing professional, fuss-free solutions.

Browse our full range of property services to find out how we could help.

For landlords, there are seemingly endless responsibilities to keep track of. Every self-respecting landlord wants to provide safe and comfortable homes for their tenants, but it can be difficult to stay on top of changing developments.

One such responsibility that’s vital to stick to is getting an EPC for your property. The EPC is a certificate to ensure the sufficiency of a buildings energy performance and is required for all properties being put on the market to sell or rent.

We know it can be tricky navigating complex requirements and laws. That’s why we’ve put together this information on landlord EPC obligations.

So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about EPC for landlords, all in one place.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Put simply, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) tells you how energy efficient a property is. Factors such as carbon dioxide emissions and heating costs are taken into consideration to give the property an EPC rating.

An EPC is required every time a property is put up for sale or rent.

Introduced in 2008 as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs), the EPC aims to give potential buyers and tenants clearer information on the energy efficiency of their building.

As well as rating the building for its current efficiency, the EPC also gives suggestions for improving energy use and will provide a predicted rating for when these are implemented.

Energy Efficiency Rating

The energy efficiency of your property is given a rating between A and G, with A being very efficient and G being inefficient. An older property without double glazing or proper insulation is more likely to get a lower rating than a new build.

The property will also be given a number between 1-100. The higher the number, the more efficient the building is and the more cost-effective energy bills are.

The EPC will also provide estimated energy costs for heating, lighting and water bills. As well as advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your property. From installing better quality wall insulation to something as simple as switching to energy efficient light bulbs, there are many ways to make your property greener.

What’s the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard for Landlords?

As from April 2018, landlords in the private rented sector need a minimum rating of E for their rental properties. Failure to meet this standard could result in fines so must be avoided at all costs!

Tenants have the right to make improvements to the energy efficiency of the property, with the permission of the landlord.

From April 2020, these regulations will also apply to all ongoing assured tenancies in existence.

For more information on landlord requirements consult the government web page.

Which Properties Need an EPC?

Every domestic and commercial building in England and Wales must have an EPC. If you are leasing a property, you must have ordered the EPC before the property goes on the market.

The only types of buildings that are exempt include some listed buildings and residential buildings or rented holiday accommodation which are in use for less than four months a year. A room rented out by a residential landlord is also let off the hook.

The EPC must be shown to potential tenants and a copy supplied free of cost. Make sure you don’t get caught out!

How Long is the Energy Performance Certificate Valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years from when it’s completed. If the property holds an EPC from an existing tenancy, it’s fine as long as it’s within this period.

How to Get an EPC

As a responsible landlord, you must only use an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor when acquiring the EPC for your property.

To find a list of approved EPC organisations in the UK, check the energy performance certificate register.

What does the Energy Performance Certificate Cost?

An important question for landlords! Unfortunately, there is no fixed rate for EPC’s currently, however prices usually start at £35. Factors such as the size of the property, the type of property, how many bedrooms it has and its location are all taken into consideration.

Therefore EPC’s for larger homes in desirable locations are likely to cost more.

EPC’s and Feed in Tariffs

If your property has solar PV and you want to receive payments from the government’s feed in tariff (FIT) you will have to provide evidence of an acceptable EPC rating.

The Benefits of Having an EPC

It may sound like a bit of a hassle, but there are actually some benefits to getting a CPE for your property.

For one thing, having an EPC means you can feel safe in the knowledge that your property is within the required energy efficiency standards. That’s one less thing to worry about.

Another advantage, is that by periodically checking your property’s energy efficiency, it will be easier to save money on energy bills for your tenants. The EPC will also help you to plan for future costs with its breakdown of energy expenditures. For landlords managing multiple properties this will be particularly helpful.

Recent Changes to the EPC

From 1st April, 2019, the ‘no cost to the landlord’ exemption will no longer apply and landlords will be required to pay up to £3,500 on works to increase their property’s rating up to an E. If costs exceed this figure, landlords will be allowed to register for a ‘high cost’ exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register provided they give significant evidence.

This is a significant change that landlords in the private rental sector need to stay on top of.

 

Let us Lend a Hand

With all these obligations to wrap your head around, it’s worth delegating some tasks to make the process of organising a new tenancy that bit simpler.

No Letting go provide professional, unbiased inventory services to make the process as fuss-free and efficient as possible and help you stay on top of your responsibilities.

No Letting Go are proud to support the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) in their bid for mandatory inventories for all private residential tenancies. An independent inventory ensures there’s no room for ambiguity during the check-in and check-out procedures – this dramatically reduces the number of deposit disputes.

Evidence of Fulfilled Landlord Obligations

We would like to go a step further. There are some health and safety requirements no landlord can ignore! We feel inventories should be combined with compliance reporting. A detailed inventory at the start and end of a tenancy can act as a crucial document which acts as evidence of a landlord fulfilling their health and safety obligations.

The report could also work as evidence of a landlord complying with:

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations 2015
  • Fire and furnishing safety regulations 1988

A Duty of Care

Nick Lyons, CEO of No Letting Go spoke to Landlord Today regarding the topic:

“Independent inventory providers have a duty of care to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants alike. The government has introduced legislation to protect tenants but with no real effective means to monitor it.

“The introduction of a compulsory combined inventory and compliance report for all let properties compiled by trained, independent professionals will help ensure that landlords meet their legal responsibilities and assist the government and trading standards to police the landlord’s requirement to protect tenants.”

Why Is the Petition Important?

The petition is being put forward by the AIIC. This is to encourage the government to introduce mandatory inventory reporting as part of its ongoing plans to increase regulation in the Private Rented Sector.

The AIIC sees mandatory independent inventory reporting as the next step from the 2007 introduction of compulsory tenancy deposit protection. This is because there’s not been additional legislation concerning the documents or evidence needed to resolve deposit disputes.

Danny Zane, joint chair of the AIIC explains:

“With this in mind, regulating independent inventories really is a no-brainer for the government. An independent and professionally compiled inventory offers protection to both tenants and landlord and can prove invaluable in the event of a tenancy deposit dispute.”

Irrelevant of whether mandatory independent inventory reporting becomes a legal requirement, there is still an abundance of benefits for landlords, letting agents and tenants. An independent body like No Letting Go can take the hassle and strain out of the process while dramatically cutting down on disputes. Find out more about how we can help your inventory process here.