Letting Your Property

Letting Your Property 

Thomas Morris Property Management has been successfully helping customers rent properties for many years. You will find clear answers to questions frequently asked by landlords by clicking on the links below. We hope the answers given will guide you through the steps that need to be taken from deciding to let your property through to the tenant moving in and beyond. For any queries relating to this guide, please contact your local Thomas Morris branch

1. How much rent will my property achieve?

Thomas Morris will provide you with a free market appraisal based on current rental activity in the local area – it is important to get the monthly rent right to ensure you maximise income but avoid pitching the figure too high so as not to attract viewings. A discussion will also take place on when your property will be available, how long you wish it to be rented for and whether you will leave it furnished or unfurnished. Our service will then be tailored according to your requirements.

2. What do I need to do before placing it on the market?

There are a number of steps that are necessary although some these can be taken after you have placed your property on the market but prior to a tenant moving in. One matter that will need to be addressed is to gain the consent of your mortgage lender (if you have one) to allow you to rent out the property.

It will be advisable to address issues of poor decoration, worn carpets, no window coverings, overgrown gardens and so on, as these may affect the time it takes to secure a tenant and may possibly reduce the achievable rent. Your Thomas Morris representative will advise you on such matters at the time of appraisal.

If there are gas appliances at the property, you will need a current Gas Safety Certificate. We can organise this for you together with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is also a legal requirement before a tenant can take up occupation. Furthermore, if you leave any portable electrical appliances such as lamps or freestanding fridges and washing machines they must be safe for a tenant to use. It is considered good practice to have any electrical appliances safety (PAT) tested. You should be aware that if you leave any portable appliances for the use of the tenant, these will have to be repaired or replaced at your cost if they breakdown or fail.

New regulations issued by the Government states that landlords are to provide working smoke alarms on each floor and working carbon monoxide detectors in rooms which are used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contain a solid fuel burning combustion device. Carbon monoxide could also be emitted from a faulty gas or oil boiler so again it would be good practice to provide detectors in locations containing all such appliances. Legislation also requires landlords to carry out Water Safety Risk Assessments for Legionella bacteria. There is no legal mandate how this should be done however the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced a clear Code of Practice. Any landlord not following this code would have little defence against any claim or prosecution brought by a tenant.

Finally, there are issues relating to insurance which must be addressed – we can provide more information regarding the insurance of rental premises and contents if required.

Your Thomas Morris representative will talk you through a checklist and we can deal with all these issues for you.

3. Where do the tenants come from?

 
We have a state-of-the-art computerised matching system which will go to work within minutes of you instructing Thomas Morris. If that initial search is not successful, we attract new tenants by way of advertising your property on the internet via the key property websites including www.rightmove.co.uk, www.zoopla.co.uk and of course www.thomasmorris.co.uk. It will also be advertised in appropriate local newspapers and in the window displays of our 7 prominent residential estate agency branches.  We make sure no stone is left unturned in tracking your tenants down!

4. Do I have to show the prospective tenants round my property?

Where appropriate, we can offer a full accompanied viewing service at no extra charge, however if you would prefer to show viewers round yourself, that is fine.

5. What happens when somebody expresses an interest?

When a prospective Tenant shows an interest in your premises, we will take up references upon each individual whenever possible. We will obtain a credit reference report checking their financial standing including income and contact the previous Landlord (if appropriate).   As from the 1st February 2016, under the Immigration Act 2014, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all tenants have the Right to Rent in the UK – the checks will include verifying and keeping a copy of the passports and all evidence of their immigration status (biometric residence permit).  This applies to ALL tenants.  Thomas Morris Property Management will undertake the Right to Rent checks on your behalf and Thomas Morris Property Management will also carry out the relevant checks for renewals on fully managed properties.

6. When do the tenants move in?

Once we are satisfied that the tenant is right for you, a date for occupation is agreed. Prior to that date, we carry out full Inventory of the property including photographs and a Schedule of Condition to ensure detailed contents and condition of all aspects of the property is comprehensively recorded. This protects you as the landlord from problems and disputes which may otherwise occur later on as the tenant has to agree and sign this document upon moving in. If you are currently living in the property, you will need to take final meter readings and notify your utility providers, water company, telephone services and the Local Authority Council Tax department of your vacation date. Our inventory will include opening meter readings for the tenant (excluding water meter readings unless the meter is within the property or fixed to the external wall)

7. Do the tenants pay a deposit?

We will collect from your tenant, one month’s rent in advance together with a deposit equivalent to one and a half’s month rent which is held in a separate client account during the tenancy. All tenancy deposits taken by landlords or agents for landlords must be protected by law in a government approved scheme. We use an insurance based scheme – TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) administered by the Dispute Service.

Within 30 days of receiving a deposit, we must provide the tenant with a certificate of deposit registration.

To avoid disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution service (ADR), whose aim is to make any disputes faster and cheaper to resolve than through courts.

On the departure of the tenant, we carry out a final inspection and any damage or essential cleaning over and above normal wear and tear will be paid out of the deposit subject to agreement with the tenant and landlord.

8. How and when do I receive the rent?

We will credit the rent (less relevant commission) to your nominated bank account each month and you will be sent a statement detailing income and expenditure. You are responsible for any tax due on your rent received. We recommend that you consult your accountant on tax matters.

9. Who pays the bills while my property is rented?

The tenant pays rent, council tax, water rates and all other domestic bills.
You as the landlord pay the mortgage, building and contents insurance. If your property is leasehold, you will continue to pay the relevant leasehold charges – you will also need the permission of the freeholder to rent out your leasehold property.

10. What about the garden?

The garden is the responsibility of the tenant. If you want to leave a lawn mower, it will be your responsibility to have it repaired in the case of a breakdown. If you have a particularly large garden, you may elect to include the services of a gardener in the rental price.

11. What if there is a problem with the tenant or the property while it is rented?

Your property will be managed by two nominated team members in our Property Management Administration Centre and these individuals will always be your point of contact.

We undertake a minimum of three inspections per annum to ensure all is well within your property. You will receive a detailed report from us after each one together with photographs if appropriate. Again, please note that any item within the property which has ceased to function or which is malfunctioning (e.g. cooker, immersion heater etc), you as the landlord have a responsibility to rectify it. We can arrange all such essential repairs on your behalf.

We operate an out of hours telephone service which will deal with emergencies such as no heating, no electrics, or a damaging water leak. We will organise work with our maintenance companies and advise you the next working day.

If you have chosen our Managed Plus package, then this protects you against non-payment of some rent during the first 12 months of the tenancy. For full details and conditions, please speak to your Thomas Morris representative.

12. What about tax on my rental income?

Tax payable to the Inland Revenue is on the profit made above the mortgage interest amount. You can offset certain items such as our fees and some repair costs.

If you are an overseas landlord, you will need to complete Inland Revenue Tax forms on line at www.gov.uk.

Until we receive confirmation from the Inland Revenue, we are required by law to deduct 20% tax from overseas landlords rental incomes.
We suggest that you seek advice from your accountant on the above matters.

13. What happens at the end of the tenancy period?

The property will be let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, normally for an initial fixed term of 6 months.

Should you wish to retake possession of your property at the end of the first 6 month contract, notice will need to be served to your tenant after the 4th month of the contract – our Administration Centre will contact you at the appropriate time to discuss your options as follows:

  1. You can sign a further 6 or 12 month agreement with the tenant or
  2. Give the tenant the required 2 months notice or
  3. Allow the existing tenancy to become Statutory Periodic Tenancy (monthly) – in this case, you are required to give two months notice prior to the rent due date, the tenant needs to give 1 month's notice.

At the end of the tenancy, we will carry out a Final Inspection which involves us returning to the property immediately after the tenant has vacated and checking the property against the original inventory. You have to allow for normal wear and tear, any damage will be dealt with from the deposit subject to agreement from the tenant. A dispute, after proper attempts have been made to resolve it can be notified by either party to the administrator of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The disputed amount will be sent to the scheme administrator and evidence will be considered. Once a decision has been made, the scheme administrator will allocate the amount to the appropriate parties as soon as practical.

14. How much does it all cost?

The following fees are payable at various stages during the tenancy period.
Full Management – 10% plus VAT of the monthly rent. Equivalent to 12% in total.

Managed Plus to include Rent Guarantee – 12% plus VAT of the monthly rent. Equivalent to 14.4% in total.

*Administration Fee per Tenancy - £114.00

Lease Renewal - £36.00

Preparing and Serving Section 21 notice - £36.00

Registration/Protecting TDS deposit - £15.00 per annum

Landlord Tenant Find Only Fees – 10% plus VAT of the first 6 month’s rent (equivalent to 12% in total). 
A minimum fee of £700.00 (including VAT) applies. 
*Set Up Fee includes the preparation of a comprehensive Property Inventory, and Tenancy Agreement.

All fees are quoted inclusive of VAT unless otherwise stated.

For further information, please contact your local Thomas Morris branch.