Common questions and answers about letting your property

  • Do I need permission to let my property?

    If you have a mortgage you must obtain consent from your mortgage lender. If your interest in the property is leasehold your lease may require you to obtain consent from your landlord prior to sub letting.

  • Should I let my property furnished or unfurnished?

    Whilst in the past furnished properties may have achieved higher rent, however in today's market furnishing a property generally makes no difference to its rental worth. However we would always advise Landlords to be flexible with regards to furnishing / un-furnishing their property so as to appeal to the widest range of tenant requirements.

  • Why do I need an agent?

    Of course there is nothing to stop a Landlord acting without an agent. However, there are many legal requirements that a Landlord has to fulfil; failure to comply with these may result in criminal prosecution. Our staff are trained to understand these requirements and have systems in place to ensure they are complied with. We have facilities to properly vet a potential tenant, allowing you to make the right choice.

    Tenants often look more favourably on a property that is managed by an independent agent as they feel it offers a good level of service and speedy resolution of any problems they might have.

  • What services do you offer?

    A full list of our services is shown on the Property Management page of this site.

  • How can I make my property more attractive to potential new tenants?

    In a competitive market, to achieve the highest rent and attract the best tenants, Landlords must recognise the importance of presenting their property in the best possible way in order to make it more appealing. Here are a just a few tips that will help create more demand for your property:

    Neutral colours are best for the interior walls - Ideally, flooring should be wooden, laminate or plain carpets.

    Choose fabrics and furnishings (if any) that can withstand reasonable wear and tear.

    Keep your whole property clean and well-aired and give the garden (if any) a tidy.

    Put the heating on when the weather is cold and open windows when it is hot.

  • Do I have to provide furniture?

    No. Interestingly enough, in most cases we have found that there is very little difference in rental values between furnished and unfurnished lettings. Our staff will advise you on the most appropriate option for your property. An unfurnished property would require carpets, curtains and usually white goods. The requirements for a furnished property can vary depending upon the style and location of your property.

  • If I'm leaving Furniture, how do I know if its fire safe?

    The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety Amendment) Regulations 1993. These regulations were amended in 1993 and set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. It is an offence to 'supply' in the course of business any furniture which does not comply with the regulations. This includes supplying furniture as part of a residential property to be let.

    The regulations apply to; sofas, beds, bed-heads, children's furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture or other similar items. The regulations do not apply to: curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets and mattress covers)

    Any piece of furniture manufactured after March 1990 is likely to comply, but if the appropriate labels cannot be located on the furniture, compliance is in doubt and checks should be made with the manufacturer.

  • How is the rent paid?

    Typically a standing order is set up from the tenant's bank account and the rent will be paid in advance directly to Home Minders. Our fully computerised systems mean that, once the monies have 'cleared' through the banking system, the rent is paid by BACS directly into the account of your choice. A detailed statement of account is naturally part of our service.

  • What sort of agreement is used?

    In the majority of cases it will be what is called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement for a fixed period of at least 6 months.

  • What happens if the tenant doesn't pay the rent?

    As part of our service we endeavour to ensure that the rent is paid on time. Having carefully selected the tenant in the first place, there's unlikely to be a problem. However people's circumstances do sometimes change during a tenancy and if the rent is not paid, we’ll advise you on the appropriate course of action.

  • What about a deposit?

    We ask tenants for a deposit which is usually equal to 1.25 x the monthly rent. It will only be returned when the tenant has given vacant possession of the property and left it in a satisfactory condition, allowing for wear and tear, and complied with his or her responsibilities under the Tenancy Agreement.

    As part of the Housing Act 2004 the Government has introduced tenancy deposit protection for all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. The legislation aims to ensure that tenants who have paid a deposit to a landlord or letting agent and are entitled to receive all or part of it back at the end of that tenancy, actually do so. At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, the tenant pays their deposit to the agent. The agent must then ensure it is protected. Home Minders use the Government backed scheme called “The Tenancy Deposit Scheme”. More information can be found at: www.tds.gb.com

  • What happens when my property is empty?

    You must advise your insurance company in accordance with their requirements regarding empty property. Please check your insurance policy for the relevant details.

    Home Minders operates an Empty Property Service where a property is visited every two weeks while empty. Post is collected, toilets flushed and all appliances checked. An inspection is carried out for any signs of water leaks and any material change to the fabric of the property. This usually suffices for insurance purposes to demonstrate that the property is not empty for an extended period however it is best to check with your specific insurance company that this is the case.

  • What am I responsible for repairing?

    As a Landlord you have a legal obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to maintain the structure of the building, the sanitation and the supply of services. In addition, should an item in the property require replacing or repairing through fair wear and tear then you would be expected within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to deal with this.

  • Who is responsible for the costs and charges relating to the property while it is rented out?

    A landlord would normally be responsible for the following charges:

    • Agency Fees
    • Ground Rents
    • Service Charges
    • Annual Safety Check
    • Maintenance & Repairs
    • Inventory Check-in

    A tenant would normally be responsible for the following charges:

    • Contents Insurance
    • Rental Payments
    • Electricity & Gas Bills
    • Council Tax & Water Rates
    • Inventory Check-out
    • TV Licence
    • Deposit against dilapidations
    • Telephone and Satellite Charges
  • Is an inventory essential?

    This is an important legal document forming an integral part of the Tenancy Agreement. Money cannot be withheld from a tenant's deposit in compensation for loss or damage unless it can be proved that the loss or damage was actually caused while in the tenant's possession. This is impossible to do if the condition of the item in question is not accurately and thoroughly described in an Inventory and Condition Report. Unfurnished properties also require an inventory, as there will be walls and floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings etc the condition of which will also need to be described. Therefore Home Minders strongly recommends that you allow us to arrange for a professional inventory to be carried out.

  • Do I need a Gas Safe Certificate in order to let my property?

    Yes. The regulations came into effect to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of the landlords of domestic properties that ALL ‘Gas Appliances’ and Gas Installation Pipe work owned by him/her are checked for safety at least once a year by a member of the Gas Safe Register and that accurate records are kept of those safety inspections and any work carried out. These records must be provided to the tenant. These regulations also apply to new properties.
    ‘Gas Appliances’ - includes any fitted gas appliance, for example:-

    • Central heating system
    • Gas heaters
    • Gas fires
    • Gas cookers

    ‘Gas Installation Pipe work’ includes gas pipework, valves, regulators and meters.

  • Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate in order to let my property?

    Yes, Home Minders needs to be in receipt of this certificate before any viewings can take place.

    From 1st October 2008 any residential property offered to let must have an EPC. This is prepared by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor who visits the property and prepares a detailed report which covers such elements as glazing, insulation and heating. The property is then given a rating similar in format to those seen on fridges and washing machines. The certificate is designed to give prospective tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of the building so that they may compare it to others on the market. We can arrange the EPC and ensure your compliance with the new regulations using a reputable organisation.

  • How many sets of keys should I give my tenants?

    One set of keys should be provided by the landlord for each tenant on the tenancy agreement. Home Minders will also require two full sets should we be instructed to manage the property.

  • Do I need to tell my insurance company about letting?

    Most certainly, yes - otherwise you may find your insurance is invalid. Should you need it, we are able to offer competitive alternative Buildings and Contents insurance cover. Please ask our staff for further details.

  • What do I do if my property is leasehold?

    The managing agents or freeholders must be advised as a change in the type of occupancy may affect the buildings insurance. You should obtain the freeholders or managing agents consent prior to letting and advise us of any restrictions within the head lease which your tenant should be aware of.

  • Who looks after the garden?

    The maintenance and upkeep of the garden is usually the responsibility of the tenant. However, should you have a particularly large garden or any precious plants then it may be advisable to arrange for a gardener - the cost of which should be incorporated in the rental value.

    It is advisable to provide the materials for maintaining your garden even if the property is unfurnished

  • Are smoke alarms required?

    Smoke alarms have to be installed in any new building or conversion. We would strongly recommend that you install at least one alarm per floor of your property, regardless of age. We also recommend that you install a carbon monoxide detector if there is a gas supply in to the property.

  • Do I need to pay Tax on my rental income?

    Income Tax is payable on all letting income received by a landlord whether they are residing in the UK or abroad. The introduction of self-assessment under the Finance Act 1995, means that landlords must complete a Tax Return form declaring their rental income for the tax period and it is the Landlords responsibility to inform Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) accordingly. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk or call the HMRC hotline on 08459 000 404 for more information.

  • What do I do with the tenants deposit once they move into my property?

    As part of the Housing Act 2004 the Government has introduced tenancy deposit protection for all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. The legislation aims to ensure that tenants who have paid a deposit to a landlord or letting agent and are entitled to receive all or part of it back at the end of that tenancy, actually do so. At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, the tenant pays their deposit to their landlord or agent. The landlord or agent must then ensure it is protected. Home Minders use the Government backed scheme called "The Tenancy Deposit Scheme". More information can be found at: www.tds.gb.com