Property: Simple and effective tips to help landlords have a ‘smooth letting process’

Renting: Expert says market ‘will improve’

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The value of properties in the UK has increased by 9.8 percent in 2021. Landlords last year made more money from their homes with capital appreciation than in annual rent. Furthermore, it was reported in September 2021 that rents outside of London were climbing at their fastest rate since 2008.

For landlords who are trying to get their homes off the market and rented out, London based Estate Agents Douglas & Gordon have shared simple tips to ensure landlords have a “smooth letting process”.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

A property needs an EPC before it can be put on the market.

An EPC rates the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property, on a scale from A to G.

A is the best rating a property can get and G is the worst.

Rental properties need an efficient rating of E or above to rent out a property and lasts 10 years.

Electrical Installation Certificate Report (EICR)

A satisfactory EICR report is required to rent out a property.

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These reports last for five years, but must be compliant with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations.

The property experts explained how an EICR report works.

They said: “The electrician will test 10 percent to 20 percent of the wiring in the house and will also test sockets, switches, lights and the fuse board.

“If by any chance the EICR is substandard the remedial work will need to be carried out before the tenancy can begin.”

Gas

A property must have a valid certificate to ensure all the appliances are safe for the tenants to use.

The certificate will last a year, with copies sent to both the estate agent (if there is one) and the tenant.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

All portable appliances in the property should be safe to use for tenants.

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Landlords can book in a PAT test which needs to be done once a year.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

All properties require working smoke alarm on every floor of the property.

Carbon monoxide alarms are also necessary where there is an open flue or wood burning appliance.

“If your property requires a licence, the Local Authority may require a hard-wired smoke alarm,” the property experts added.

Fire and furnishings

In line with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, landlords need to make sure all furniture in the property has the correct labelling to prove that it is fire safe.

The furniture includes any upholstered furniture, soft furnishings, beds, mattresses, pillows, headboards and seat pads among other items.

Referencing

All tenants will need to be referenced to ensure they are the best fit for the property.

Licensing

The property experts explained that there are “three types of licensing in accordance with The Housing Act 2004”.

They explained: “Mandatory House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) is nationwide and applies to properties with five or more occupants from two or more households.

“Additional HMO Licensing is borough dependent and applies to properties with three of more occupants from two or more households.

“Selective licensing is borough dependent and depends on the street the property is on.”

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Cleaning

The property needs to be kept clean in between tenancies and before new tenants move in.

Professional cleaning is the best way to ensure a property is cleaned properly.

Cleaning also helps with the inventory and sets a standard for the tenants when they move out.

Inventories

A “great way” to check tenants in and out is to get a professional inventory carried out.

Using a trusted third party, they will go through the inventory and complete a check-in and check-out schedule.

A professional inventory will minimise the risk of any disputes between a landlord and a tenant when it comes to the condition of the property.

Legionella

Landlords have a duty of care to ensure that the necessary precautions are taken to avoid stagnation of water that could lead to the growth of legionella.

This includes the following:

  • Flushing out the system prior to letting the property.
  • Avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid).
  • Setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60C).
  • Making sure any redundant pipework is removed.

Blind cords

New blinds with looped cords now have to have a child safety device installed either when they’re manufactured or when they’re sold.

Older blinds may not have these features and so need to have tidy, tensioner or a cleat fitted.

New blinds with looped cords must have child safety devices installed at the point of manufacture or sold with the blind. However, blinds installed earlier may not have these features.

Cords should also be fastened in a figure of eight after every use of the blind, making sure all the spare cord is secured on the cleat.

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