In London, the demand for new accommodations comes from students before the start of a new term, families relocating closer to the schools of their children, and graduates starting new jobs. With so many other tenants aiming to secure a home before their busy year commences, this makes it a challenge for many new tenants to seal the deal on their property in London, especially with the high competition.
In most areas of London, summer and the beginning of autumn are known as peak periods for lettings. So, keeping this in mind, this guide should help you to ensure that your letting process runs smoothly during this busy period. Before you decide to accept a prospective tenant, there are several requirements you must cover. Some of these are important for the security of the landlord, and others for the wellbeing of the new tenants. However, all of these have to comply with the government regulations.
A sensible practice is to provide your incoming tenants with information folders containing necessary documents that you as a landlord, by law, are required to give them. Read on below to get a clearer view of some points that you need to consider when you sign up a new tenant.
Advice for Landlords
- From professional and high-quality images, a profile on a leading property website, or a presence on the apps of estate agents and national newspapers, there are plenty of ways to help promote your property. You can also seek the help of well-established estate agents, such as the ones at Fish Need Water, who can offer several property services to make sure that yours remains well-exposed and attracts prospective tenants.
- When it’s time to accept a new tenant, under any circumstances, never rush into the decision. Hand over the keys only after you cover all aspects, including identity checks, which are imperative.
- Double check the references you receive from employers or previous landlords, and have an independent credit reference certificate obtained.
- In advance, always require a month’s rent, plus any deposit, unless they have a legal guarantee or authority bond. With the tenant’s bank, set up a standing order signed and be wary of anyone who just prefers to pay with cash.
- The legal responsibilities of landlords in the UK keep changing frequently, ensure to read up on the latest regulations by visiting national and local government websites regularly – and sign up to receive updates from them.
- Tenants must sign a legal copy/form of tenancy agreement. In any case, do not accept photocopies, the signatures have to be original. After signatures, this will be legally binding.
- Housing benefit tenants will need to sign a letter allowing the benefits office to give you the information about them. Normally, local housing allowances are not paid directly to the landlord, so the need to implement something like a credit union account will be necessary. These may be ring-fenced to make sure that the money does not go elsewhere.
- In the initial instance, avoid offering a fixed term of longer than six months. However, depending on how things work out, this can later be extended.
- Get all the utilities that will have to be paid by the tenants put into their names, such as heating. This is imperative to avoid any conflict of use and payment. Copies of energy performance and gas safety certificates should also be given to them.
- You also need to provide a rent book, which should include the background or details of the new tenant, your property in London, as well as its capital value. Each payment period needs to be accounted for, including the disclosed amount.
- Tenants today often expect professionally managed property alongside modern furniture and fixtures. When it comes to the final move-in day, they also expect to have an independent inspection of the property and a thorough clean, organized by their landlord. Before you let out a home, have the arrangements in place to save yourself from the unnecessary last minute hassle.
- As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to ensure that the agreement is not discriminatory (within 28 days), provide a statement of tenancy, and make sure it provides clarification written in clear English (or otherwise, if the tenant does not speak English). Often, the payment is also a source of the problem and needs to be clearly stated in the agreement from the beginning.
- Make sure that communication is easy and convenient between you and your tenant. When the new tenant moves into the home, give them your contact details and email address. Email is the best choice if you wish to keep a written record of all the information you both share.
- Once you handover your property to the new tenants, know that you must give them some privacy. Certainly, you cannot abandon the rental property, particularly when you suspect the tenants are causing damage to the property. Before you visit the rental, you need to ask for their permission. Make sure that you limit your visits to the rental within business hours, or in the early evening, under the tenant’s convenience.
- No matter the dealings between you and the tenant, make sure you remain compassionate with them. Do not be rude with them and take your time to listen to their demands. No matter the problems, try to deal with the situations.
- Keep in mind that if you do not respond to the tenants offer promptly, or cannot be reached when it’s time to finalize the contracts, the tenant might move on to the next choice of property. Make sure that your East Dulwich estate agents know if you are going to be unavailable, and check your messages at a set time every day, so you don’t miss out on the best tenant.
Before you sign up a new tenant, make sure that you state every detail precisely in the landlord-tenant agreement. It should include every detail about your London property, and you as the landlord need to make sure that everything in your home is in good working condition, to avoid further problems with your tenants.