How to let legally and safely

Lettings is complicated! There are over 400 rules and regulations to let a property legally and safely to tenants, which the government is increasingly enforcing. For London tenants there’s a ‘Rogue Landlord Checker’ which exposes landlords (and agents) who have contravened the law. Landlords are fined tens of thousands of pounds, with some even going to prison.

Our experts at Northwood have over twenty years’ experience in letting legals. We know how to let your property safely to reliable, responsible tenants. Better still, if the tenant can’t pay, you can rely on the UK’s No.1 provider of guaranteed rent to continue to provide your monthly revenue. Our Guaranteed Rent service has covered rent during the Covid-19 crisis where other rent guarantee solutions couldn’t.

If you’re letting for the first time, here are our three main considerations to stay legal:

Before a property can be advertised to let, an Energy Performance Certificate is required, along with a gas safety certificate (and for new lets, an Electrical Installation Condition Report), tenancy deposit information, and the government’s How to Rent guide. These must all be provided to a tenant when moving in. Not doing this may mean you can’t evict the tenant, even if they are damaging the property or defaulting on rent. We can also undertake a legionella check before tenants move into the property to comply with current health and safety regulations.

Prospective tenants must undergo government-enforced ‘right to rent’ checks, to confirm they are legal UK residents. This can be complex and you must provide evidence these checks have been carried out.

Tenants then need to be referenced, contracts drawn up and check-ins as well as regular inspections carried out on the property to ensure the tenant and the property are renting legally and safely.

The government’s English Housing Survey states that the average tenancy lasts for just over four years. The minimum term is six months under a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement.

Rental property pricing is different to selling a property. If you overprice, the property will lose you revenue each month it lies empty, rents should correspond to what people can afford which is typically 30% of their salary.

Typically, tenants will pay more for a new build, or a property in excellent condition, or a great location. Our lettings experts live and work locally, and can advise on realistic, achievable minimum and maximum rent, and the type of tenant who will love your property.

Once the tenant moves in, this is just the beginning of lettings work. Good tenants look after the property and pay their rent fully and on time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. The key to a successful tenancy is ensuring the tenant is happy, maintaining the property, and being understanding if things go wrong and the tenant perhaps needs support.

At Northwood, we specialise in choosing good, responsible tenants. You also have the option of having your rent covered by our Guaranteed Rent Service in the rare event of a tenancy problem, we will then take care of for you.

Talk to us. We adhere to strict codes of conduct; we even have our tenant contracts reviewed annually by Trading
Standards. As agents don’t legally need qualifications, we helped set up and are members of the Propertymark scheme, so you and your tenants are well looked after. If not, you can obtain independent and free redress via the Property

Lettings is a complex area, but as a first-time landlord you can leave all of the necessary legalities with us to provide
you with complete peace of mind.