With the festive period in full swing and New Year’s Eve celebrations on the horizon, many student landlords are bracing themselves for that dreaded call from a disgruntled neighbour in the early hours of the morning.

It’s no secret that lots of students like to party, and if not managed correctly, related disputes can create rifts that are difficult to repair.

It can be a tough balancing act, meeting the needs of your student tenants and keeping the local community happy. That’s why we’ve produced this student landlord advice guide on how to deal with student parties at your rental property without alienating tenants or neighbours.

 

To Ban or Not to Ban

If you’re concerned about your student tenants hosting large parties in your rental property, you could insert a clause into the tenancy agreement banning parties of a certain size. While this helps to deter tenants from hosting massive gatherings that could damage your property, it could prove difficult to enforce.

For lots of tenants, a steadfast rule against parties of all kinds could put them off renting your property in the first place, and this decision will narrow your pool of prospective tenants. However, banning gatherings over a certain size is a sensible idea, especially in suburban areas.

 

Managing the Neighbours

The majority of student accommodation is in busy, suburban areas with convenient amenities close by. While this is great for students, it also means there tends to be a lot of neighbours living within close proximity.

So, if your tenants like to host noisy parties, this can become a problem and damage your reputation as a responsible landlord in the area.

It’s difficult to actually prosecute a landlord for their tenants’ antisocial behaviour, unless you deliberately ignore the problem, or the issue is ongoing. However, staying on good terms with the local community will make your life easier in the long run.

When dealing with noise complaints from neighbours;

  • Make sure the surrounding neighbours have your contact details or the details of the letting agent in case an issue arises
  • Talk to your tenants calmly to get both sides of the story
  • Refer your tenants to the relevant ‘noise’ or ‘nuisance’ clause in the tenancy agreement to explain which one they have broken and why, and the possible consequences if this continues
  • Never threaten eviction as a first reaction as this could backfire on you and damage your landlord/tenant relationship
  • If problems persist, you could arrange a meeting with neighbour and tenant to clear the air and come to a solution
  • As a last resort, you could contact your local council, the police or begin the eviction process

 

Clear and Open Communications

One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is to retain a cool and clear head when communicating with tenants and to keep interactions open and honest.

If you’re straightforward with your tenants, they’re more likely to be honest back. Make it clear from the start of the tenancy that you are happy to discuss any issues and ensure they have your contact details to hand.

If they feel like you’re on their side, they’re more likely to obey house rules.

 

Choose Simple Party-Proof Furnishings

As wear and tear tends to be higher in student rentals, furnishing a student property with expensive furniture is pointless. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to student parties. With extra bodies in the house and alcohol involved, a plush carpet and glass coffee table aren’t going to stay perfect for long.

Go for simple, more affordable essentials from somewhere like IKEA that won’t cost an arm and a leg to replace if necessary. Wipe clean surfaces and easy to clean lino floors are also a sensible option and will help your tenants stay on top of their duties.

 

Regular Property Inspections

One way to keep an eye on what’s going on in your rental property and help determine if regular parties are taking place is to schedule regular property inspections.

However, you need to ensure the correct procedures have been followed, as there are laws in place regarding the frequency and delivery of landlord inspections.

A professional property inspection will help determine if your property is being appropriately cared for, and whether your tenants are fulfilling their contractual agreements. This could include anything from red wine stains or cigarette burns on the carpets to extra people living in the property. Inventory clerks can even check in with the neighbours to ensure everyone is happy.

 

Is Renting to Students Worth It?

Despite these possible drawbacks, renting property to students can be very rewarding and comes with great benefits;

  • High demand in student towns and cities
  • Short term, set contracts of 12 months
  • Predictable, reliable market
  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) offer higher yields
  • Students don’t expect fancy furnishings and are happy with simple amenities
  • Low void periods

 

Protect Your Student Rental Property: Inventory Management

The most important step you can take to protect your student house is to ensure a thorough inventory is taken at the start of the tenancy.

A professional inventory service helps you recover any costs or losses due to damage at the end of the academic year. And that’s where we come in. We’re experienced at working with private landlords and letting agents by providing essential reports and property management services.

From check in to property visits, we’re on hand to make the process as stress-free as possible for landlord and tenant.

Find out how our property inventory services could help you manage your student property.

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.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of providing a furnished or partly furnished property for prospective tenants, you’ve come to the right place.

Letting a furnished property has plenty of benefits, including quality tenants and longer tenancies. However, furnishing your property can get expensive and cause issues down the line if not done properly.

Here, we discuss how to furnish a rental property with tips and tricks on making the most of your portfolio.

 

What’s the Difference Between Fully Furnished and Partly Furnished?

Let’s clear this up before we get started.

 

Furnished

Usually, a furnished property will come with essential electrical appliances, white goods and basic furniture. In short, everything a tenant needs to move in straight away.

 

Partly Furnished

A partly furnished property will only include white goods, lighting and essentials such as curtains and kitchen cabinets. It may also include some other furniture items at the discretion of the landlord or letting agent.

 

Unfurnished

An unfurnished property will come with only the very basics- light fittings, carpets and essential appliances such as an oven.

 

Should you Furnish Your Rental Property?

Furnished or unfurnished? It’s a tricky question. While renting unfurnished properties may seem like the easy option, providing a furnished property comes with attractive benefits;

 

You Can Charge Higher Rent

A well-furnished property may affect the amount of rent you can charge.

With a lack of quality, furnished properties on the rental market, tenants searching for a ready-made home are prepared to pay a little more for the convenience.

Good quality furnishings that make your property look welcoming will attract tenants and help your property stand out.

 

Attract the Right Tenants

A well-furnished property will attract a wider pool of renters, allowing you to pick and choose to find the right tenant for you– whatever that might look like.

 

Secure Longer Tenancies

A home that feels well cared for and inviting will encourage tenants to stay longer term.

 

Who is Your Target Tenant?

The tenant group you’re targeting should be the biggest consideration when deciding whether to furnish your property. Well established families or older professionals are likely to have their own furniture they want to bring with them.

Whereas students or young professionals may be looking for convenience and a place they can move in straight away.

 

What Does a Landlord Have to Provide in a Furnished Flat?

When providing tenants with a furnished home, there are certain items they will expect to be included;

 

What to Include

A furnished property should include;

  • White goods (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer etc.)
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Beds
  • Sofas and chairs
  • Wardrobes, chest of drawers and cupboards
  • Light fittings
  • Curtains
  • Carpets

 

What Not to Include

However, there are a few items landlords are not expected to provide;

  • Bed linen, duvets and pillows
  • Cleaning supplies

 

Furnishing a Buy to Let Property: Top Tips

To make things easier for yourself at the end of the tenancy agreement, we have some tips and advice on how to furnish your rental property;

 

Choose Easy to Clean Furniture

Wear and tear is inevitable, but to keep your property in good condition, easy to clean appliances will encourage your tenants to keep things well maintained.

 

Avoid Decorations

When it comes to personal taste, we’re all different. Let your tenants choose the little details so they can feel at home. Similarly- neutral colours work best.

 

Choose Easy to Replace Items

This way, if things get broken, they can be replaced with a ‘like for like’ item without too much bother.

 

Replace Furnishings as Needed

Old, stained carpets will do nothing for your properties appeal. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme recommends replacing most items of furniture after 7 years.

 

Provide Basic Tools

Providing basic tools will encourage tenants to take care of minor issues themselves, taking one more thing off your plate.

 

Follow Safety Regulations

As a responsible landlord, you need to follow fire safety laws when it comes to soft furnishings.

 

Choosing the Right Furnishings

Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of furniture to include in your rental property, room by room.

Image of blue sofa in front of white brick wall

Living Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Sofa(s) or armchairs
  • Coffee table
  • Bookcase
  • Carpet
  • Lights

 

Best Sofas for Rental Properties

Here’s a few of our top picks of the best sofas to buy for your rental property:

The Budget 2-Seater

This modern 2-seater sofa in a neutral grey will work well in slick apartments for young professionals and is pretty easy on the budget too!

The Classic Sofa Bed

A sofa bed is a big plus among tenants, and this one is great value for money. This simple, classic style will work well in most interiors and families will love the extra storage space.

The Quality 3-Seater

If you’re trying to attract professionals willing to pay high prices for the right home, a quality sofa is essential. This one comes from an esteemed brand and the elegant style will have mass appeal.

 

Kitchen/Dining Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Essential appliances (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle etc.)
  • Table and chairs

 

Best Dining Tables for Rental Properties

A dining table is the hub of any home and getting the right one is important.

The Space Saving Solution

This handy piece of furniture features built in storage and a fold-out table design. Perfect when letting properties with small kitchens.

The Extendable Table

The simple, modern design of this table will fit neatly into any interior, and the extendable section can accommodate extra guests. It’s also budget-friendly!

 

Bedroom Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Bed
  • Mattress
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bedside table
  • Carpet
  • Lighting

 

Best Mattress for Rental Properties

A mattress is perhaps the most important piece of furniture for your rental property. A considerate investment, you need it to be durable and long lasting. Here’s our top picks;

The Affordable Memory Foam Mattress

This mattress from the Memory Foam Warehouse makes quality memory foam affordable. Starting at under £100, you’re unlikely to find anything cheaper.

The Bed-in-a-Box Mattress

Buying a mattress for your rental property is only half the battle. The next job is delivery. Opting for a bed in a box mattress means the mattress can be delivered straight to the property in a convenient sized box.

The Mattress Topper

Once you’ve invested in a mattress, it makes sense to protect it. A mattress topper can prolong the life of a mattress and guard against stains to keep it looking fresh at the end of the tenancy. This memory foam mattress topper is a cheap but comfortable option.

 

Protecting Your Furnished Rental Property: Inventory Management

Once you’ve gone to the effort of furnishing your rental property, you need to ensure it’s protected.

The easiest way to do this is by investing in a comprehensive inventory report delivered by unbiased professionals. A property inventory helps guard your property and its contents against damage by providing full details of its condition at the start and end of a tenancy.

At No Letting Go, we provide landlords and property professionals with comprehensive services and reports to protect their investment and streamline processes. Browse our full list of inventory management services to find out how we can help.

For landlords and property professionals, finding the right tenant for your rental property is fundamental for business success.

But who should be your target tenant?

It’s not as simple as finding someone who can pay the rent on time. Wide-ranging factors such as profession, marital status and long-term goals should also come into play when thinking about what you want from the arrangement and the safeguarding of your property.

Here, we look at the pros and cons of renting to different types of tenants so you can identify the right target tenant for you.

Choosing the Right Tenant

Before you start marketing your rental property, you first need to identify a target audience to gear your tenant search towards.

By identifying a specific tenant persona from the get-go, you will be in a better position to rent your property and attract your ideal tenant. Whether your first priority is the careful upkeep of your property, or to find a long-term tenant, establishing your needs and requirements at this stage will help narrow down the search.

When it comes to finding a good tenant, think about your future relationship and who you want to be dealing with on a regular basis. A good tenant looks different to different landlords. Do you want someone looking for a long-term let, or a you happy with a quick turn-around?

Whatever your needs, here are some of the pros and cons of different types of tenants;

 

High Income Tenants

The income of your target tenant depends largely on the type and size of the rental property you own and its location.

For example, landlords with property in central London will need to target high income tenants in order to meet monthly rent payments.

One of the biggest benefits of renting to high income tenants is that you can rely on sufficient rent return and are unlikely to have to chase up missed payments. However, a tenant with a higher income is likely to hold your property up to higher standards.

Any good landlord will be committed to ensuring their properties are pleasant, safe spaces to live in, but renting to this group requires a higher level of detail.
This means replacing carpets and furnishings more regularly and providing sought after benefits such as high-speed internet and modern security systems.

 

Low Income Tenants

If your property is located in a less costly area, it’s likely you will need to target lower income tenants.

Renting to tenants receiving housing benefits comes with its advantages and disadvantages;

  • One disadvantage is that rent is paid to the landlord in arrears rather than in advance.
  • There is also a lot of paperwork involved in renting to tenants on housing benefit and administration processes can be slow.
  • Another issue is contents insurance. Premiums can rise when letting to this tenant group.
  • Unfortunately, some landlords are wary of renting to tenants on housing benefit due to an assumption that their property won’t be looked after properly, and payments will be missed. However, this negative stereotype is unfounded and is down to a minority of individuals.

However, renting to this group comes will lots of benefits to landlords;

  • Due to the lack of rental properties available, advertising your property as accepting housing benefit means you will have a large pool of prospective tenants to choose from.
  • Tenants in receipt of housing benefit are often looking for long-term housing
  • As the rental payments are made by the Department for Work and Pensions, payments should be regular and guaranteed.

 

Renting to Families

Renting to families comes with wide ranging benefits;

  • For one, most families are looking for a long-term home as moving with children is a hassle usually best avoided.
  • There has also been research to show that renting to families results in less property management time.

The downside is that with children, there usually comes more damage and wear and tear to your property. If you’re particularly precious about a certain property in your portfolio, you may want to avoid renting to large families with young children.

However, if you’re letting the property long-term, you will most likely be redecorating at the end of the tenancy agreement anyway.

Most families are looking for a rental home with a little extra space. Make sure you highlight this benefit of your property when attracting tenants. Families are also more likely to have their own furniture so may be looking for an unfurnished home.

 

Tenants with Pets

It could be debated what causes more damage to a property- children or pets! While lots of landlords refuse renting to tenants with pets outright, accepting these tenants may be to your advantage.

For one thing, you can charge more in rent. With rental properties that accept pets being few and far between, pet owners will expect to pay a little extra for the privilege. The extra maintenance needed allows you to justifiably charge a premium.

If you do decide to go down this route, obtaining a previous landlord reference from your potential tenants will alert you to any problems caused in the past.

 

Renting to Student Tenants

Students have a bad reputation when it comes to taking care of rental properties. However, the student rental market is ripe with opportunity, with student homes in high demand in University towns.

Here are some of the benefits;

  • If you own property in a University town, finding tenants won’t be a problem.
  • If you’re looking for short-term lets, students tend to move on after a year.
  • Students are less fussy when it comes to appliances and furnishings, so if you have an older property with basic furnishings it shouldn’t be a problem. As long as your property complies with health and safety obligations and is a comfortable place to live, you won’t need to offer state-of-the-art appliances.
  • Renting per room means higher returns!

But don’t forget to consider the following;

  • Maintenance and repairs needed may be higher as there tends to be more individuals living in student properties.
  • Students like to socialise. When renting to students you need to be aware of the neighbours as you might be called upon to deal with complaints!
  • For most students, this is their first time living away from home. In place of a credit check, you will need to ask for a guarantor to safeguard your investment.
  • There is growing competition in the student rental market, with purpose-built housing being created. Do your research before you commit.

 

Renting to Young Professionals

Young professionals are often favoured by landlords due to their independence and financial security.

Here are some of the advantages;

  • While still young, this group are less likely to host big parties than students and tend to be more house proud, resulting in less wear and tear.
  • With more experience behind them, young professionals are better able to deal with minor issues independently before asking the landlord for help.
  • If you decide to rent an HMO property you can expect greater returns.
  • Professional couples tend to be stable tenants and are better able to manage rent requirements with two incomes.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind;

  • Like high income tenants, young professionals will expect certain living standards and mod cons. You may need to provide a dishwasher, high-speed internet and contemporary furnishings to attract this group.
  • If your property is an HMO, you need to be aware of the added paperwork and responsibilities this requires. You may also need to consider potential conflicts between tenants.
  • Young professionals tend to move jobs more often which may result in the premature end of a tenancy.
  • Younger renters usually search online to find rental properties. Bear this in mind when choosing where to advertise your property.

Finding the Right Tenant

Once you’ve chosen a target tenant group, make sure you complete this checklist before renting your property;

  • Meet your potential tenants face to face. It’s important to have a good relationship with your tenants and meeting in person is the best way to work out if it’s the right match.
  • Ensure essential tenant checks are undertaken. No Letting Go offer a right to rent check service which is a legal requirement for landlords and letting agents in the UK.
  • It’s also worth getting a credit history check and a previous landlord check to be on the safe side.

What Happens Next?

The rental property industry works both ways. If you want to attract your ideal tenant, you need to prove that you’re a responsible and organised landlord with the right safety checks in place.

No Letting Go provide a range of professional services to help streamline your workload and ensure you are fully compliant. From house viewings to inventory management, we can help during all stages of the rental process.

Browse our fully-compliant suite of letting services and feel confident that your property inventory management needs are taken care of

Looking to invest in rental property? There are many things to consider before getting involved in buy-to-lets.

Whether you’re trying to increase your portfolio or you are just getting on the ladder, it’s worth keeping these key principles in mind when choosing a rental property to invest in.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to rental property investment.

 

Is Investing in a Rental Property a Good Idea?

In short, yes. Rental properties are very attractive to landlords as mortgage rates and interest rates are low and rental return is high. The current housing market means that there is a great demand in tenants looking to rent.

As a landlord, you need to have a business plan for rental property investment. It’s worth familiarising yourself with how much mortgage interest you will be able to claim and what income tax you will need to pay. By 2020, landlords will get a 20% tax credit on their mortgage payments which may push some property owners up a tax bracket.

Before investing in property, you will also need to consider stamp duty, how much maintenance costs will be and whether you need landlord insurance.

Once you’ve decided you will buy a property, there are some significant factors you need to take into account.

 

Choosing the Right Area

This is the most important thing to consider in real estate. You need to perform market research to work out whether you will get a good return on your investment.

It may sound simple but choose an area that renters would like to live in. There will be a price growth for properties bought in up and coming areas. You will get a higher return by investing in a developing area. Consider:

  • Transportation links
  • What are the local schools like? (if renting to families)
  • Are there enough shops, restaurants and businesses?
  • Is there a university?
  • What are the other properties in the area like? Do the neighbours correlate to your desired tenants?

This needs to be an area that your tenant will be able to afford.
Carefully consider how much rent to charge. Ideally this will be competitive for the area.

If you’re renting to students or younger tenants, they will be unlikely to afford high rent prices. You need to calculate the percentage of rent return compared to your mortgage rate.

What is the neighbourhood like for insurance premiums? Is the house likely to be broken into? Will you need to pay excess? These are all questions you must ask regarding your property.

Do you want to buy a rental property that is close to where you live or work? Being close to your property will allow you to monitor it if your tenants need assistance. However, there may be better areas further afield. If your property is not in a convenient location, you can hire a property manager to look after it.

Decide which cities to invest in by researching average rental yields. Invest in Manchester or areas surrounding London. Colchester, Essex had the second best rental yield after Manchester.

Choosing The Right Tenant

Deciding who you will rent your property to will inform what kind of property you will invest in.
It is important to choose the right tenant. These are some factors you need to consider about your tenant:

  • Their age
  • Is it a family? (E.g. single family or two income family)
  • What is their financial situation?
  • What do they want out of a rental?

The type of tenant you rent to will affect decisions you make about decorating your property, where the property will be located and the type of property you choose. To secure the best tenants, perform a tenant reference check.

Is it worth renting to students? If you decide to rent in a student area, you need to be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of this. There will be a consistent turnover of tenants who will keep your property from sitting empty and generate cash flow. However, students can be unreliable and do not always treat the property well. Maintenance of the home may cost you more in the long term.

The Type of Property

The type of property you choose will dictate what kind of tenant you will have. If you invest in a HMO (house in multiple occupation) property, it will likely be occupied by tenants aged between 22 and 30. A four bed house will be well suited to families or, you can convert a house into several flats and have multiple tenants.

This depends on what kind of landlord you want to be. Do you want to be hands on or would you prefer to outsource to a letting agency? Consider your schedule and your expertise.

What is the Condition of the Property?

You need to think about how much upkeep your property will need. If you want to invest in a property that needs renovating, you need to take into account the amount of time and money a renovation will take. In the long term, you may be able to charge a higher rent which will be a better investment.

Choosing to buy a home that needs little upkeep will be better for landlords who wish to receive a passive income. Tenants will not require as much assistance and you will not need to be too hands on with your property.

The Tenancy Agreement

Creating a good tenancy agreement is fundamental to your investment. Seek legal advice before choosing a rental property. This contract will set out what is expected from your tenants and how you will be expected to act as a landlord so it’s important to get it right.

For a standard tenancy, ensure your agreement covers the following:

  • A full inventory of the home
  • Clauses regarding the deposit and when it can be withheld
  • How you expect the tenants to treat the property
  • When the tenancy can be terminated

If it is a HMO property then you may need a license from the council. Your property may fall under the general definition of a HMO but might be exempt from licensing laws. Seek legal advice if you are unsure if this applies to you.

Seek out a tenancy template that will help you draw up your contract and familiarise yourself with the relevant bylaws.

It is important to prevent void periods. Choose trustworthy tenants who will occupy the home for long periods and try to be an organised and efficient landlord. If a tenancy is coming to an end then be sure to advertise your property as soon as possible.

How to Market Your Property

Once you have bought a rental property, you need to be able to market it successfully. You will find the best tenants by thinking about how to market to them.

  • Advertise the area your property is in and the benefits of that location according to what your desired tenant would be interested in. For example, a group of professionals are likely to be drawn to somewhere with good transport links for commuting
  • How is your property decorated? Is it furnished? What kind of facilities are there?
  • What is the length of the tenancy and how much will the rent be?
  • Describe the property as accurately as you can

The easiest way to market a property is by using a letting agency. They will be able to do the work for you, such as arranging newspaper advertisements and showing prospective tenants round the property. Agents will also be in charge of collecting deposits and rent payments and drawing up tenancy agreements.

Using a letting agency does not mean you won’t be involved with the management of your property. You can choose how much work you want to delegate to an agency and how much you want to do yourself.

It is important to look after your investment. For help with your property, use No Letting Go inventory services. We can conduct full reports on your properties so you can be confident that your investment is secure. Browse our full list of services to find out more about how we can help.

Leading providers of let property cover, Total Landlord Insurance, have just added Total Landlord Emergency Cover to their portfolio of insurance products
designed specifically for landlords.
Total Landlord Emergency Cover is a cost-effective insurance product that provides immediate assistance in the event of a domestic emergency at a rental
property.
The policy provides cover 24 hours a day 365 days a year for call out charges, labour and repairs for emergencies such as the breakdown of the heating system, plumbing and drainage problems.
Broking Manager, Steve Barnes, said: “Domestic emergencies at landlord’s rental properties can be inconvenient and sometimes difficult to resolve. It is not just boilers that go wrong, plumbing, drains and lost keys can cause inconvenience for landlords. At just £70 per property we feel that this policy represents excellent value for money and provides reassurance for both landlords and tenants that emergency assistance is only a phone call away. Introductory discounts are also available for limited period”.
Total Landlord Insurance will also be extending their range of landlord focussed products to include Rent Guarantee insurance and Tenant Referencing soon.

Steve continued: “Our customers are at the heart of our business and we will be adding more products and services to our website to provide landlords with a one stop solution for their insurance needs”.

For more information on Total Landlord Emergency Cover go to www.totallandlordinsurance.co.uk or call on 0800 63 43 880.

This article up from Property Drum by Operations Manager for ARLA, Ian Potter, further highlights how critical inventories with schedule of condition report have become.

With such large sums of money at stake, ARLA has called on tenants and landlords to consider the benefits of establishing a comprehensive property inventory check upon the commencement of a new let.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said, “Deposit disputes can be one of the biggest problems for both parties involved in any rental property, and many potential issues can be avoided if a professional inventory is prepared.

“A licensed letting agent will offer you the best advice on checking to see if an existing inventory is available or whether any extra charges are invoked in drawing up a new document. A true inventory is not simply a list of items in a property – it also includes a description of the condition and cleanliness at the start and finish of the tenancy, enabling one to be compared against the other with clarity and accuracy.

“Photographs are a good support for comments made in a written inventory but should not be considered a replacement for the written word. Photographs which are unsigned and undated generally are not worth the effort, so make sure they are accepted at the outset and again at the check-out stage.”

Ian Potter said, “A well put-together inventory can give both landlords and tenants peace of mind throughout the occupation period. The inventory is not designed to catch tenants out, but rather to ensure both parties are in agreement over the quality of the property being rented.

“If conducted correctly, and agreed by both tenant and landlord, an inventory should form a key point of reference for any deposit-return queries or issues over reported damage. In recognition of the importance of inventories ARLA has its own sub division, the Association of Professional Inventory Providers, whose members have passed an accreditation exam as well as having a Code of Practice to follow.”

For Professional Inventory Management Services throughout the UK talk to No Letting Go, APIP members, who can provide all inventory management services including Inventory, Check In, Propert Visits and Check Outs with full dilapidations reports. Contact us on 0800 8815 366 or contact one of our local offices at www.nolettinggo.co.uk/contact

With student market nearly upon us, New Student Publications carried out an interesting straw survey on Student Landlord Problems

Different categories were addressed covering areas from unpaid rent to cleanliness issues.

Unpaid rent, filthy tenants and panicking about filling your properties for next year?

The results were astounding, with over 14% of landlords saying that their current biggest problem is just finding tenants to take their properties and fill in any gaps should someone drop out during a contract, with more than 2% feeling like they are struggling just to get viewings. One agent simply said “we have unlet properties remaining for July 2011, the situation is worse than in previous years” In a similar 2009 survey finding tenants was also the biggest problem raised by landlords.

Dirty Tenants

Landlords cited dirty tenants as their second biggest problem, with 16% left to pick up massive cleaning bills, or called out at 4am to change a lightbulb. The general consensus was “students don’t take care of the property or make any effort to keep the house clean.” 3.5% of agents thought that students demanded a much higher standard of accommodation than ever before, although it seems that tenants are unwilling to take out contracts for a full twelve months, with one landlord struggling to get even shorter terms “the majority of people contact me to rent for one or two months.”

Pressure From Pupose Built Halls

Many of the landlords surveyed said that they felt increased pressure from new purpose built student villages found in many city centres; more than 8% of those surveyed would eradicate those villages if we gave them one wish! 2% of landlords are afraid that their properties were not close enough to ‘hotspots’ and so would soon be abandoned in favour of more central locations.

Unpaid Rent

11% of businesses struggle with unpaid rent, while 2% note that this messes with their cash flow and although some are sympathetic to the issues caused by the Student Loans Company, most are fixed on the bigger picture; “a lot of time is spent chasing payment. Students seem to think that it is not always necessary for them to pay their rent.” This coupled with tenants excessively using all inclusive utilities means that businesses are less profitable. One landlord’s wish was simply that we could ‘undo the recession’ as 8 different landlords complained of increases to the cost of maintaining their properties to a decent standard.

Relax Regulations

Bogged down with HMO paperwork and expense? Over 18% of those surveyed would love to change or relax the regulations and the council powers to control them. One landlord stated; “there should be a national guide for HMO legislation.” Some landlords feel so strongly about HMO licensing that they named specific city councils or even actual councillors as their biggest fear for the future. 3 landlords said they had qualms about council schemes to shift populations from one area of a city to another, and how it would affect their business.

Worries Over Tuition Fee Increase

Landlords are worried about the tuition fee increase, with more than 14% saying that if they had one wish, they would fight the fees and leave the system as it stands, a worry which probably contributes to 13% of them saying that they feel the future of the market is uncertain, as some students may choose to stay at home to study. Competition from the university owned housing is a headache too, with 4% saying an increase in that sort of accommodation would be detrimental to their ability to let.

Problems With Advertising

Landlords raised the issue of advertising, when to do it and how the culture of marketing lets so early can damage the business, with nearly 5% of landlords thinking there should be a guideline that means property is marketed in January and not before. 4% thought university accommodation offices charged them too much for advertising, and 5% would like to see cheaper, and more effective advertising available to them.

Deposit Protection Unfair

Some landlords were concerned that the existing Deposit Protection Scheme did not offer them enough scope to reclaim money for damage to their properties. Eight separate landlords would like to see the entire system revised, with 1% of those surveyed listing it as their biggest problem. A case from the survey highlights the DPS’s flaws; “£1500 worth of damage but ex tenants refuse to give consent to DPS to pay the landlord.” And some feel that from a legal standpoint the law does not protect them, 3% of landlords would like to see more legislation to protect the financial interests of the landlord.

Worries Over The Potential Drop In Student Numbers

And what of the future of the student property market? More than half of those surveyed were very worried about the potential drop in student numbers next year, with one landlord summing up the problems this will create; “if student numbers drop because of the £9,000 a year course fees then we might see empty houses, lower rents or both.” A worry shared by 3% of those surveyed, who fear the contraction in the market will mean a forced reduction of rents, while other suggested offering shorter term contracts or starting to appeal to the housing benefit market was the only way to keep the business afloat.

No Problems At All

But this isn’t the full picture. Almost 9% of those surveyed have no major problems with the lettings market, their tenants or filling their properties. One landlord is more than happy with his tenants; “we enjoy our students. We pride ourselves in helping them learn how to care for and run the house. We regard them as ‘professionals-in-training’ and teach them what they should reasonably expect from a landlord and what they should reasonably do as a tenant.” One respondent would use a magic wand to change the public’s attitude towards students; “they tend to live in larger houses that are too big for modern families and therefore almost act as guardians for some of our most impressive architecture. They should be seen as a positive part of any community.”

Top 5 biggest fears for the future Number of responses Percentage
Fewer students in the future 101 54%
Student villages 15 8%
Legislation increasing workload 15 8%
Unpaid rent due to fees 10 5%
Universities moving into market 8 4%
Top 5 current biggest problems Number of responses Percentage
Bad tenants 51 13.6%
Uncertainty for the future 49 13.1%
Finding tenants 48 12%
Unpaid rent 41 11%
HMOs 17 4.5%

No Letting Go are working with a number of student letting agents and bodies around the UK to help protect both landlords and tenants from many of the issues arising from cleanliness and deposit protection. Better use of Inventory services, checking tenants in, property visits and managing the check out is critical to ensuring that potential problems are dealt with in advance and issues arising from check outs are dealt with quickly and efficiently. Contact No Letting Go on 0800 881 5366 or find your nearest office at www.nolettinggo.co.uk

Compiled by Emma Parker New Student – Student Housing Magazines – www.newstudent.co.uk