Insider advice from Mark Mugliston, Residential Sales Manager, in his monthly column in the Diss Express.
With getting on the property ladder seemingly becoming more and more challenging, the rental market has taken off. At the same time the legislation surrounding rental properties has also become more complicated.
I recently met up with Andrew, Wendy and Mike, our lettings experts in Harleston and Diss respectively, for their advice for prospective tenants and also for those looking to rent out their property.
If you are a tenant then the process of finding a place to call home can be hugely frustrating as properties get snapped up very quickly. Many agents will also take multiple applications from prospective tenants, some of them even taking money as a holding fee, so you really have got to have your ducks in a row if you want to be on pole position.
The internet is the place to be in terms of knowing what is available and also to be alerted when a new property to let becomes available. Unlike selling houses, many agents won’t keep an up-to-date list of tenants as their situation changes from minute to minute.
You’ve got to be prepared to view at the drop of a hat, it will be first comes first served in most cases. The sooner you’ve viewed, the sooner you can put your application in. Durrants use specialist agencies to process our applications and they run a range of checks on all our tenants before we report to our customer – the landlord. It’s really helpful to have documentation ready to share and referees lined up and prompted, as the speed of their responses will help you stay ahead of the pack.
Where referees have been forewarned to expect reference requests, in some instances, results can come back within hours. In situations where several people may be interested in the same property, it’s easy to see how speeding up this process can be very useful.
If the results are acceptable you will be provided with a draft assured shorthold tenancy for an initial period of six months. Therefore, it is important for you to have your funds available to pay any further fees, your deposit and the first month’s rent when you sign the agreement.
The final step is a Schedule of Condition, which the agent will go through with you at the property so that everyone agrees on the current condition of the property and how it should be left if you decided to move on.
We sell lots of properties that are suitable for rental and could make really good investments, so If you’re thinking of becoming a landlord, come and talk to an agent and we’ll walk you through the pitfalls and processes. The sheer number of regulations themselves is mind-blowing. Gas safety, electrical equipment, Energy Performance Certificates, Legionnaires’ disease assessment, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, not to mention new legislation on the horizon...the list goes on and on!
And that’s even before you decide on other issues such as which Tenancy Deposit scheme to use, will you allow pets, smokers, and do you let your property furnished or unfurnished?
Of course you would expect us to say that we would advise that your agent fully manages the property, but bear in mind that if you are solely responsible it will be you rather than the agent that could get a call at 2am in the morning. We also arrange all the necessary paperwork and certificates now needed to be a legal landlord.