Q: How soon should I start marketing my property, before it is available to move into?
A: We typically recommend marketing 4-6 weeks prior to availability or your preferred move in date, though of course tenants can be found in much shorter timescales. We also need a few days to ensure we can get photos taken for advertising and erect a To-Let board.
Q: Is it better to offer my property furnished or unfurnished?
A: Properties can be offered furnished or unfurnished, however most properties are offered as part-furnished, which is by far the most popular choice for prospective tenants. This includes larger furniture items, such as sofas, chairs, beds, mattresses & wardrobes. However, flexibility is the key word as some tenants may have furnishings of their own. All properties need to include kitchen appliances, such as cooker, fridge & washing machine. Our local lettings manager will be more than happy to guide you or make recommendations.
Q: Do I need the consent of my mortgage lender before I let my property?
A: Most, if not all residential mortgages, will include a clause which either prohibits you from letting your property or requires that you seek permission from your lender before doing so. Furthermore it may invalidate your building insurance policy if you do not inform them.
Q: Do I need to arrange contents insurance?
A: Landlords generally need contents insurance if they provide furniture or other items to their tenants and want to insure them from damage or theft. Specialist landlord insurance can also cover against unpaid rent & legal fees. Tenants will need to arrange their own contents insurance to cover their belongings and furnishings.
Q: What documents or checks do I need to have carried out for compliance, prior to my tenants moving in?
A: You will need the following to comply with current legislation, which can be arranged by Eden Harper:
Landlords Gas safety Certificate – This must be carried out by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered engineer and the certificate provided to Eden Harper, prior to the tenants moving in. An inspection must be carried out annually and the certificate renewed. Failure to provide a gas safety certificate or renew can mean the tenants may have to move out and be rehoused or the gas supply may have to be disconnected. Failure to comply is a criminal offence both Landlords and/or managing agents can be convicted for non-compliance.
Smoke alarms & carbon monoxide detectors - From 1 October 2015, private sector landlords must have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their property, with a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a 'solid fuel burning appliance', e.g a coal fire or wood burning stove. In addition, we strongly recommend a carbon monoxide detector is fitted within 3 metres of a gas boiler or gas fire. Failure to comply can result in a civil penalty charge on the landlord of up to £5,000.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – You must provide Eden Harper with a copy of a valid ‘EPC’ prior to the tenants move in. A valid EPC will last for 10 years and can be used for multiple tenancies within that period so long as the rating is not F or G. This is because from 1st April 2018 any property let on a new tenancy or a fixed term renewal of tenancy must have a minimum EPC rating of E or higher. There are fixed penalties for failing to provide an EPC/make one available when required. The fixed penalty for dwellings is £200 per dwelling.
Legionella Risk Assessment - Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled. Landlords can carry out the assessment themselves or alternatively instruct Eden Harper to arrange for an inspection by a suitably qualified assessor.
Electrical Check – Whilst it is not compulsory to have an electrical test or check, Landlords are required by law to ensure: That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration.
Fire Safety - Furniture and Furnishings supplied by the landlord or a managing agent must comply with the Fire Safety Regulations for furnishings and furniture. It is an offence to let a property with any furniture or furnishings that do not comply with safety regulations set out in the furniture and furnishings (fire) (safety) regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993).
Q: Do I need to register my tenants’ deposit?
A: The tenants deposit must be registered within a deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt. Eden Harper will do this for you free of charge. Alternatively you can request the deposit and place it into a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme yourself. Landlords who fail to protect the deposit or give the prescribed information within 30 days of receipt will be liable to pay the tenant between 1 and 3 times the deposit as a financial penalty and the court can order they return the deposit.
Q: Will I have to pay tax on my rental income & What if I am an overseas landlord?
A: Your rental income is subject to UK tax. How much you pay depends on how much profit you make & your personal circumstances. We recommend you speak to your accountant or specialist tax advisor.
If you live abroad for 6 months or more per year, you’re classed as a ‘non-resident landlord’ by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - even if you’re a UK resident for tax purposes. If you want to pay tax on your rental income through Self-Assessment, fill in form NRL1i https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-resident-landlord-application-to-have-uk-rental-income-without-deduction-of-uk-tax-individuals-nrl1 and send it back to HMRC.
Eden Harper has a statutory obligation to work within the rules of the Non-resident Landlord Scheme and may be required to deduct basic rate tax from the rental income before they pass it onto you and make payments to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, until such time that we are informed by HMRC that you have been registered as a non-resident landlord.
If you require further information on any of the above or have any other questions regarding the letting of your property, please contact one of the below.
Emmac@edenharper.com (MARLA) – Head of Property Management
020 7720 3200
Richard Symes (MARLA) – Lettings Director
020 7720 1116
Elizabeth Biedka (MARLA) – Lettings Manager
020 7274 3111