Tips for letting your London Property
Tips for letting your property
It is important to set a realistic price that reflects current market conditions. This will minimise any undesirable void periods whilst a tenant is being found. At Hudsons we will provide you with an up-todate appraisal of your property based on the timescales that you are looking to let the property. Our appraisals are based on comparable evidence, utilising our unrivalled local in-depth knowledge of the West End market. When seeking an appraisal make sure you gain advice from an agent who knows their patch and can prove their advice is correct.
Think about which sector of the market you are looking to position your property for. For example, are you seeking professionals or is your property in an area best suited to attracting students? This can also be reflected in the décor and style of furnishings provided. On balance there is greater tenant demand for furnished accommodation than unfurnished so this is a factor to bear in mind. However, statistically tenants that bring their own furniture are more likely to stay longer. Hudsons can advise you on the sector of the market most suitable for your property and how to maximize appeal.
Readying your property
First impressions really do count so try and see your property through the eyes of a tenant. Are there any jobs you have missed? Can you tidy up the communal parts so their first impression is a good one? Is your garden or roof terrace looking its best? Declutter and make sure you make the most of your asset. Clean windows, spring clean (even if it is the winter), or get a professional cleaner in to tackle the tough stuff.
The West End rental market follows a predictable cycle with the summer months showing the most tenant demand, a fact closely linked to the academic year. At Hudsons we advise you as a landlord to exploit this cycle by having your tenancy terms start and finish during the summer months when you are in a stronger position to negotiate with tenants, not just from students, but because there is less supply than demand and generally you will receive higher rents. The winter months still carry healthy activity, however the market is more slanted towards the business or professional renter. Depending on the nature and target market of your property choosing the right time to come to the market is a factor to consider.
Rental terms can be from a few days to many years but most agreements are for between six months and three years. Tenancy agreements take two main forms: the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (which is used for individuals) and Company agreements (which is used for businesses). Whilst many landlords like the idea of a company let, in practice this type of tenancy can offer less protection for a landlord, so our tip is to ask yourself whether this is the right form of agreement for you. Hudsons can provide advice to you on the most appropriate tenancy agreement for your property, as well as the type of tenant you should look for, and we will tailor these recommendations to best suit your individual circumstances.
The letting of residential property is governed by over 200 pieces of individual legislation and landlords who breach these laws can face severe penalties and even prison sentences. Apart from rules covering the safety of a property there are also detailed requirements of how a tenant’s deposit is held and administrated and it is essential that a landlord is fully compliant in the letting of their property as there are serious consequences. Hudsons can advise you on all aspects of the law and how these affect you as a landlord, ensuring that you do not fall foul of the law. Our tip is to take the full management service and pass the onus of the ever increasing legislation and laws over to your agent to complete for you. Hudsons are specialists in this process as we do this day in and day out after all!
You would not let a complete stranger come and live in your home so why allow the same thing in your rental property? Comprehensive referencing of a prospective tenant is essential to ensure you know all you need about your new occupant and to make the most informed decision on their suitability for your property. Here at Hudsons we work closely with a specialist industry specific reference provider, affording our landlord clients the best protection and reassurance. Even if tenants are prepared to pay in advance it is sensible to know who you are letting to.
A good inventory describing the contents and condition of your property should be considered essential in order to ensure any damage or loss incurred during the duration of your letting is properly identified and accounted for. This document really proves its worth when negotiating a tenant’s deposit deductions at the end of their tenancy. A landlord can compile their own inventory report but we always advise the services of a third party specialist company to ensure impartiality and the most detailed and accurate of reports.
Rental income is of course subject to taxation so it is vital to know your liabilities and any allowances in this respect. If you are a landlord that is based overseas then the party collecting the rent, or the tenant paying the rent (if paid directly to the landlord), must deduct 20% for tax. This responsibility can be avoided if the landlord obtains from HMRC approval to collect rental income with no upfront tax deduction. Then it is down to you to make arrangements to pay your appropriate tax liabilities. Our tip is to speak with your accountant so you know all the options open to you, especially with the new tax law changes that came to force in April 2017.