Over recent years changes to both the housing market and social patterns have resulted in an unprecedented demand for property within the private rental sector.
Investing in buy-to-let property is proving to be a prudent decision for many people looking for an alternative to stock markets or savings accounts. Key to a successful investment are factors such as location and the type of property but it is also important to consider achievable rent levels, tenant demand and expectations, maintenance and potential capital growth.
With so much for you to consider, holland & odam will dedicate all the time needed to give you honest and reliable advice on potential investment opportunities. We recognise what a significant investment this is – whether you are a first time landlord or an experienced investor you can trust our guidance.
Preparing your house for letting
Here are the key things that you’ll need to think about if you are considering letting out and a few words of advice from our experts to help you achieve good income from your property.
Where the property to be let is subject to a mortgage, permission must be granted in writing from the mortgagee. It is sometimes appropriate to remortgage with a buy-to-let specialist and our recommended mortgage advisors, who can offer an across-the-market perspective, will be happy to provide completely impartial advice in this regard.
It’s essential that the property and your contents are adequately insured both while the property is empty and while it is let. Your insurers must be told that the property is to be let since failure to do so may well invalidate cover. We can provide details of competitive insurance specifically for rented property if required.
Security systems (locks on windows and external doors, lights, and even full alarm systems) are often considered essential by prospective tenants, and are taken into consideration by all the leading insurance companies when calculating premiums.
Decorations and Carpets
We recommend these should be fresh and neutral in terms of colour and style. The best presented properties will always attract more demand.
Furnished or Unfurnished?
By far the greatest level of demand from tenants is for properties that are available unfurnished. This has the advantage, from the landlord’s perspective, of avoiding the need for additional maintenance/replacement and for annual testing of electrical appliances.
These should also be of good quality and condition and subject to regular servicing. It’s important that full instructions for use are left on the premises to avoid the need to call in an engineer to demonstrate. Gas and electrical appliances must meet legal safety requirements and oil appliances should be tested annually.
It’s essential that the property is handed over in clean condition. We very strongly recommend that the property be professionally cleaned throughout, including all carpets.
This creates a benchmark that will be recorded in the Inventory and Schedule of Condition and will allow us to maintain a high standard through subsequent tenancies. We can provide the names of reputable cleaning contractors.
Gardens should be left in good order so that the benchmark is set for the tenants, whose responsibility it will be to maintain the garden to the same standard. We recommend that you provide your tenants with relevant tools. If the garden is particularly large, or complicated to maintain, it may be appropriate for the landlord to retain responsibility for maintenance, in which event this will be reflected in the rent. We will be happy to help find suitable gardeners - be it for a full maintenance programme, hedge/lawn cutting, pruning or an occasional tidy.
Gas, Electricity and Water
These services should be left connected and transferred into the tenant’s name. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System tenants must be able to control and regulate heating systems.
If a telephone line is installed at the property you should instruct the provider to put a temporary stop on the line when you vacate and send you a closing account.
It’s important that you comply with any insurance requirements during vacant periods especially during the winter months.