If you let or are considering letting a property, make sure you have considered these useful tips when it comes to marketing. Time is of the essence, as void periods can be costly, so make sure you are prepared.
Are you allowed to sublet your flat?
Be sure to check the lease. It could have clauses that prohibit some or all types of sub-letting. Some leases prohibit short term lets, such as Airbnb, and restrict lets to Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
You may also need to check with your mortgage lender. If you have a residential mortgage and want to let the flat, they may want to change the mortgage terms and convert the loan to a buy-to-let mortgage. Also check on your insurance, as you may benefit from landlord insurance.
Check the legislation for letting a residential property
Keep up to date with changes in legislation such as energy performance certificate (EPC) requirements. Is your flat up to standard?
The government is also in the process of bringing in new rules on evictions and notice periods. Make sure the restrictions these might impose fit in with your plans and timescales. The Renters (Reform) Bill, announced in June 2022, heralds several key changes. These include:
- The end of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, which means you will need to have grounds for possession under a revised section 8 process to evict tenants.
- The end of fixed term tenancies, with all tenancies being periodic from day one, giving tenants greater freedom to give notice at any stage. However, if you wish to sell or move into your rental property, you can give your tenant two months’ notice under a revised section 8 procedure.
- The end of certain blanket bans, for example for tenants with children or those receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Consider the fees for letting and managing a flat
You also need to make a financial decision on managing the flat. Do you want to pay a percentage to an agency? Or do you live close at hand and are able to self-manage?
You should also factor in costs for safety checks and equipment for gas and electric appliances, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
How do you attract suitable tenants?
You may have it on your list to take steps to find tenants who will look after the place and hopefully stay for a long time.
Tenant referencing is worth considering, as it can help with financial background checks. You may also want to get references from previous landlords to help you find tenants who will look after your flat.
You will also want to show prospective tenants that your flat is a suitable place for them to live. Here are some simple steps to help your property stand out from the competition:
Take good quality photos of the property
First impressions matter, so make sure any photographs show off the best characteristics of your flat. Taking photos on a sunny day can help to show off the attractiveness of your property. Also, make sure the photos you use aren’t blurry.
Always tidy up and ensure the space you’re photographing looks clutter-free.
Consider which angle of the room works best for showing off the property’s potential. Consider the height of the camera when taking photographs. For example, you might want to emphasise characteristics such as kitchen worktops.
Portrait photographs work well for corridors, whereas landscape usually works better for large open spaces.
Consider how best to describe your property
Listing features is a great way to hook a potential tenant, so be specific. If the storage is big enough to fit a pram or sports equipment such as bikes or paddleboards then mention it. Gardens, drencher showers, washing machines, dryers, areas to dry clothes, and nearby amenities are examples of what can be worth listing.
If you have off-road parking at the property or free street parking nearby, be sure to let potential tenants know. Convenient parking is an increasingly valuable asset in crowded towns and cities.
Set suitable rent prices
Do some research on what’s available in your area. Take into consideration features like parking, close to amenities, balconies, and storage. Little things can make a huge difference from the property ‘next door’ when it comes to setting a suitable price.
Consider the affordability of your property. Higher rents could result in a higher churn of tenants, so if a long term let is what you’re looking for getting the price right can be crucial.
Setting your price lower than competitors can lead to more interest which can help if you need to find tenants quickly. Bearing in mind the costs of owning a flat and then being a landlord, always have a minimum you’d accept in your mind.
For further information on the legalities of renting your property, you can visit the private renting pages on the government website, which are regularly updated as the law changes.
Landlord flat insurance from Gallagher
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The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.