Browsing all articles from November, 2011

Nightmare Rental Property – This Could Be You!

Getting to Know Prospective Tenants Before Letting Your Property

As this video illustrates, the penalties for failing to get to know your tenant applicants prior to letting your property can be severe.


Letting Links has been created to make the letting process transparent. Of course it is important to obtain references and credit checks for potential tenants. But we feel that this is sometimes not enough and that with all the paid checks in the world you can still end up with bad tenants.

To help reduce the risk of acquiring bad tenants Letting Links provides landlords with a unique feedback and ratings system that is visible on all tenants profiles. Feedback and ratings are created by the tenants connections such as previous landlords to help build a better picture as to who you are dealing with.

Need more? Well, to make this process even simpler, we have provided every member of the site with a free audio/visual chat interactive system attached to their profile. Chat face to face with people from the comfort of your own home before you invite them to view your property.


Don’t get caught with a tenant that you don’t really know. Use all the tools at your disposal to make the best decisions possible. They are FREE after all!


Using a Rental Agent? Which Service Should I Go For?

Is this your first time letting out a property? Maybe you’re planning on using an Agent but you really aren’t sure what service you should be using. They generally fall under 3 different types of service categories.

Introduction Only or Let Only

As you can imagine from the name, this is the basic service that will market your property for you and be available for potential tenants to view the unit. The Agent would then take references, for which the prospective tenant would most likely be charged for this service. Once a suitable tenant was found, you would probably pay extra to your agent to have the tenancy agreement written up and signed. As soon as the tenant moves in the agents service is complete and the responsibility for collecting rent and taking care of the property falls back to you – the Landlord.

Rent Collection

Most agents will market this service as an add-on to the Let Only model, but is again a basic service that has its limitations. The agent will collect the rent on your behalf by setting up a standing order with the tenant’s bank account to have the monthly rent transferred into a rental account which would then be transferred to you. This is not a rent Guarantee. The agent will most likely have a few standard letters that would go out to remind the tenant that the rent is due, should they go into arrears, and he might even make a few calls on your behalf. If however the matter becomes a court situation in order to collect back rent, this would become your responsibility. If you want to save the 2 – 3% that the agent would charge, it would be just as easy for you to set up the standing order yourself.

Full Management

This is the hardest decision to make; do you want to manage the property yourself or hire an agent to do this for you. There are several things you should consider before making this decision.

If for example you do not live locally, it would be quite impossible for you to be there quickly should there be an emergency, or to do check ins and outs, or for periodic inspections.

How knowledgeable are you about repairs and maintenance? You need to have a basic understanding to be able to figure out what was wrong, and either how to fix it or who you should call. And without the basics, it becomes more likely that you could be taken advantage of by some unscrupulous tradesman. This is where an agent would have the advantage, especially if they have several properties they are managing. They would hopefully have a good team of tradespeople they could call on, and if they are giving them steady work, the tradespeople have a tendency of putting letting agents in priority sequences.

And the most important question you need to answer is: do you have the time it takes to manage the property yourself? Problems have a way of occurring at the worst possible time and could interfere with your other commitments, such as family. Your tenant doesn’t care what he’s interrupting; all he knows is that he has a problem and wants it fixed – now!

If after reading this you’ve decided that managing the property yourself is just not worth it, try to negotiate with the letting agent about their management fee. Most agents like the benefits of managing the properties such as receiving repeat let only fees so they are more likely to be flexible when charging a management fee. Let Only fees are usually paid up front whereas the management fee would be received monthly.

In order to find the right letting agent for you, why not let ‘Letting Links’ help you find what you are looking for? We can even match you up with some potential tenants, so check out our services.


Viewing Properties Checklist

So you’ve narrowed down your search for that perfect rental unit and you’ve made the appointments to view the properties. Now you want to put together a checklist so that you don’t forget anything – and the following should help.

–      Are there bills included in the rental unit? Most likely not if it’s a self-contained property, but you won’t know unless you ask

–      Will the property be cleaned prior to move in? Will this include the cooker, the toilet, and windows? Is it possible to get the carpets shampooed?

–      How secure is the property? Does the alarm system work and are there locks on the doors and windows?

–      When looking around take note of the things you may need and if the property comes furnished you might be able to negotiate the additional pieces into the agreement.

–      Are all of your appliance needs met? Does the property have a cooker, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer?

–      If there’s a shower check to see what the water pressure is like – you wouldn’t want to get a surprise once you move in.

–      Take a good look around and make notes of any repairs that need to be made and check to be sure the landlord intends on having them repaired prior to your arrival.

–      Be aware of any outside noises such as traffic, train lines, shops or pubs. You might want to check it out at different times of the day in order to be sure you can live with it and get the sleep you require.

–      Check out the parking situation. If there isn’t a designated spot for you and you need to park on the street, it for residents only and will you be able to get a permit?

–      What is the Council tax band and how much was the current year’s cost?

–      If there’s a garden, do you have access and is it private or do you have to share it with other tenants? Are you responsible for maintaining the garden?

–      What is the source of heat, gas or electric? If there’s gas in the unit the landlord should be able to provide a gas safety certificate.

–      How much do you need to come up with to cover the security deposit and which deposit scheme does the landlord use.

These items should help in reminding you which questions you need to ask which will in turn assist you in your decision if there is more than one property that you think you’re interested in. Comparing ‘apples to apples’ is always the best plan of action so having a Viewing Properties Checklist would be a good idea.


Getting Repairs Done While Renting


Tenants renting unfit properties leaking pipe

A water leak can cause rife between landlord and tenant -- landlords are responsible.

Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities which are usually set out in the Tenancy Agreement. Tenants have the right to live in an accommodation that is in good repair and landlords have the right to have their accommodations taken care of by their tenants.

There are several things you can do in order to get repairs done while living in a rental unit. The most obvious and least likely to be problematic would be to ask your landlord and for your landlord to agree to the repair. Unfortunately not all requests are met with positive responses from their landlords which usually means that you’ll have to go to different lengths in order to get the repairs done.

Of course the local authorities will undoubtedly step in if the property is in such disrepair as to cause a health hazard, such as a leaky roof or bug infested property, or if the condition is such that it is causing a ‘nuisance’ to other tenants or properties in the area. There are several authorities that can be contacted if it’s suspected that an unsafe or unhealthy situation exists, for example the Environmental Health Department. These agencies would demand that repairs be made by the landlord within a specific time frame, which would ensure that it was not left unattended.

Then there’s the “Right to Repair” scheme which is available in England, Wales and Scotland. Under this scheme if you are a local authority tenant you can ask your landlord for a different contractor if the repairs are not carried out under the prescribed time line. You can use this scheme if you have any emergency repairs that would cost up to £250, for which you could claim a compensation of £50.

Also in England and Wales there could be a possibility of getting Help with Home Improvements. The local authorities would be able to give you more information as to whom and how to qualify for such repairs. Although the law prohibits any form of discrimination, each local authority will have its own rules. For instance one might have a rule that says you can only get a grant or loan for the repairs if your savings is under a certain limit. Of course because you are renting, you will need to have your landlords approval for any repair or improvement before the local authority will even look at your application. If it is a reasonable request, or if you are disabled and the improvement would improve your way of life, your landlord will most likely be told he must comply and have the repair or improvement taken care of at his expense.

As was stated the first action that should be taken should be to negotiate with your landlord. If you try this and your landlord refuses, you could contact your Local Government Ombudsman. This should be considered only as a last resort as it can take a great deal of time for the Ombudsman to investigate your complaint and to have the local authority advised of the outcome.

Make sure that when making a request of your landlord that you are being reasonable in your expectations. Most landlords will consider these requests as beneficial to keeping their properties in good condition and will have most repairs and improvements done in a timely fashion.



Landlord Law – Lesser known Regulations you should be aware of!

As you may already know, the two most important and vital regulations that a landlord needs be in compliance with are The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993.

However there are several lesser known regulations, laws and acts that as a landlord you must have up-to-date information in order to be compliant. The following are a few of those regulations:

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 was introduced in order for the electrical equipment that is to be supplied by the landlord to be in good working order and safe to use. Although there is no mandatory equipment testing requirement, unlike the Gas Safety regulation, the responsibility of the landlord is no different. The best practice for landlords is to include the testing of all electronic appliances and electrics (wires, plugs and sockets) at the beginning of each tenancy, and annually thereafter, to ensure everything is in working order. If you are in the habit of having these items checked regularly you would not have any trouble proving due diligence in the event of a fire or any other problem or mishap.

As part of this regulation there is also the Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulation 1994 that states any plug, socket or adaptor that the landlord is supplying within a residential letting must comply with the appropriate current standard and that the plugs are prewired and insulated enough so that there would be no shock when removing plugs from the socket.

There are several other subsections of this regulation, so you would be wise to check out the entire document.

The other document you would be advised to have on hand for reference is the Landlord and Tenant Act. Unfortunately it’s an ever changing and expanding document that can be difficult to keep up with. The following are but a few examples that might be of interest to you:

Section 47, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 is regarding the need for landlords to have an address in England or Wales, even if they reside outside of England or Wales. There must be an address in England or Wales for the rent to be sent as well as any notifications, this address could be that of an office rather than their home.

Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords to keep both the interior and exterior of the property, including drains, ducts, gutters and pipes, in good working order. They must also keep the installations for supplying water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and water heating in good repair and working order. This would also imply that the landlord has the right to view all of the above in order to assess the conditions of his property, provided they give a 24 hour written notice to the tenant.

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977, states that neither the landlord nor the agent has a right to reclaim possession of a property if the tenant refuses to leave without first obtaining a court order. It would be considered a criminal offense to harass, change the locks, cut off services or remove the tenant’s possessions.  

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975; the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; the Race Relations Act 1976. All of these Acts make it illegal to discriminate an application for tenancy on the grounds of sex, marital status, disability or race (including colour, nationality, creed, ethnicity or national origin).

So as you can see there is definitely more to becoming a landlord than just finding a tenant for a property you want to let. As many of these regulations, laws and acts carry the possibility of penalties and sometimes even imprisonment; you can see just how important it is to be aware, up-to-date and diligent about the condition of your property in order to protect your possessions.




Landlord Law – Essential Legislation Landlords Need To be Aware Of

Landlords are required to remain current as to their understanding and compliance with the many laws, regulations and acts that have been developed for the letting industry. It is an ever changing world and the laws that we live by therefore are constantly changing as well.

The following is just a sampling of such regulations that landlords and letting agents would be wise to study and ensure their properties are in compliance.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 puts the responsibility of ensuring all gas appliances and fixtures, such as pipes and flues are maintained in good condition directly on the landlords of residential properties. Most importantly is to makes sure that the escape of Carbon Monoxide poison, which is odourless, silent and deadly, is avoided at all costs.

The regulation states that all properties need to have a valid Gas Safety Record at all times. This would also include pipework that has been capped and appliances removed. A CORGI registered engineer must inspect all gas appliances prior to the tenant moving into the property, who will issue the Gas Safety Record for which a copy must be given to the tenant. After the initial check an annual Gas Safety Check must be performed and again a copy goes to the tenant within 28 days of the check. The landlord is expected to keep a copy of the Gas Safety Check for a period of two years.

Both landlords and letting agents are liable for the compliance of this regulation and should be aware that non-compliance is a serious criminal offense and could carry with it monetary penalties and/or imprisonment. If a death were to occur due to a breach in the safety regulations, the charge could be manslaughter and both landlord and agent would be equally liable.

Another regulation that has become just as important is the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993, which states that the following furniture and furnishings that are supplied by the landlord must meet fire safety regulations.

These items include: Beds, headboards and mattresses; sofas, sofa-beds and futons; nursery furniture; garden furniture that is suitable to be used indoors; furniture used in new caravans; window seat, seat pads, scatter cushions and bean bags; padded stools and chests (ottomans); put-u-up beds and garden loungers/seats; and loose and stretch covers for furniture.

Most furniture that has been manufactured after 1989 will likely comply and will have a label showing their compliance. The items that are not covered by this regulation are: sleeping bags, bed clothes (including duvets) and pillowcases; loose covers for mattresses, curtains and carpets; furniture or furnishing manufactured prior to 1950, as the material used prior to this period was not flammable.

The consequences for non-compliance of this regulation are also a criminal offense and could lead to a fine of £5000 and/or 6 months in prison. The charge of manslaughter would also be imposed should a death occur due to negligence on the part of the landlord and/or letting agent.

There are several other regulations that landlords must adhere to, however these two are the most important and hold the strictest penalties for non-compliance. Landlords are required to be up-to-date on all of the literature that goes along with the regulations and laws for letting properties.


How To Rent a Property – The Tenant’s Guide


How To Rent a PropertyThe rental business is fast and finding the right letting agent or landlord is very important to assist in the process and sometimes using a property portal like can help a great deal. Letting Links is trying to make the process of connecting tenants, landlords and/or agents smooth and painless.

Once you’ve made a connection with an agent, make sure they know exactly what it is you’re looking for in a property, including your budget, location and length of the term. Make sure he is aware of how serious you are so that he’s bound to put you at the top of the list when appropriate properties become available. It’s also very helpful if you can give specific feedback to the agent after each viewing so he’ll know when he’s on the right track and when he’s off base.

Letting agents will generally ask for an administration fee of between £25 and £150, as well as a deposit of around £50 to £200. This deposit will be used towards your first month’s rent unless you pull out of the deal in which case you would likely lose it all. For this reason you should ensure you have a reputable letting agent so you can be comfortable with handing over your money. You should also ask the age of the property and if it’s looking a little on the tired side, find out how long it’s been on the market – you may just be able to make a deal.

So now you’ve found the property you want to live in – now comes the signing of the tenancy agreement. This is a legally binding document and should be treated with respect and serious consideration. It will have a lot of information such as: party’s names, the address of the property, the term, how much rent is expected and when and what percentage of an increase can be expected, the responsibilities of both parties, information about the inventory, the deposit scheme and the notice period that either you or the landlord must give in order to end the tenancy.

Of course your new potential landlord will want to make sure you are a suitable tenant which means you will likely need to provide references such as previous landlords, bank reference, employment and possibly a credit check.

Generally you will be asked to pay a deposit which could be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks’ worth of rent in order to safe guard your landlord should there be damage done to his property while you are living there. Since there are several discrepancies when it comes to what is wear and tear or what is damage, you need to have an accurate list of inventory and the condition of the property prior to signing an agreement. In April 2007 the Tenancy Deposit Protection was introduced to apply to all properties being let in England and Wales. This protection will help if there are any disputes between landlords and tenants. Also each deposit is to be held in one of three approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

The inventory that was mentioned is one of the most important documents that you will receive at the beginning of the tenancy. It takes careful notice of the condition of each room, the interior and exterior of the property and anything that is included in the rental such as a fridge, cookery, air conditioner or furniture if applicable. The difference between the inventor taken at the beginning of the tenancy and the end of the tenancy will determine how much of your deposit you will get back.

The most important form of course is the Tenancy Agreement and the most common is the Assured Shorthold Tenancies Agreement. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, but the most important aspect is the right of the landlord to repossess the property at the end of the tenancy. If all parties are happy the term does not have to be short, however if the term is more than 3 years a solicitor must draw up a deed.

Although it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the safety of the property and any appliances that are included, it is your responsibility to make sure that the landlord has secured the proper certificates so that your safety is never in question.

As we stated at the beginning finding the right landlord and/or letting agent is the key to a successful rental and we hope you can find that connection by looking into Letting Links. Don’t let the process give you too much pressure – just be diligent and careful so you can feel comfortable with your choices. is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are interested in letting a property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered landlords and their properties NOW! 


Letting a House – A Landlord’s Guide

Letting a House

So you’ve decided to enter into the world of property letting? Before you rush off to advertise for that first tenant there are several things you should consider and do prior to that step. As with anything worthwhile it’s worth doing well, so you’ll want to remember that first impressions are everything. Take a close look at your property and see if there’s anything you could do to make your property more appealing, both internally and externally.

Haul away some garbage or tidy up the gardens, maybe throw a little paint on some unsightly walls so that the property looks its best. The same principles apply to letting a property as it does to someone who is trying to sell a property, so you’ll need to maintain this condition throughout the letting process.

There are also several safety standards you’ll most definitely need to follow and make sure that you comply with before letting the property. Some of these safety standards are; Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended 1993 and Smoke Detectors Act 1991 Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

As the landlord you are expected to be able to produce certificates for all of these to show compliance, where applicable. You should also look into obtaining a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for any electrical appliance that you plan on including in your rental unit. If you happen to have furniture that was made prior to 1988, you should seriously consider replacing it as the furniture will not meet the necessary standards. You should include any item that has upholstery or material such as beds, mattresses, cushions, headboards or sofa beds.

The following are items that are exempt from this legislation:

Sleeping bags, duvets, blankets, carpets and curtains and any furniture made before 1950.

There are severe consequences – from heavy fines to prison sentences – for non-compliance if an accident were to happen, so it is in your best interest to be aware of the standards and how to check that your possessions are up to par.

This goes hand in hand with making sure you are also in compliance with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that has been required since October 2008. Energy efficiency is not only required by law these days but as our earth is in need of our help, it is the duty of each citizen to do our best to improve the carbon emissions and the way in which we leave our foot prints behind.

Landlords should contact their local authorities if the property you are about to let is within the House in Multiple  Occupation (HMO) leasing, as there are specific standards for this type of housing that you will need to comply with.

Other items you will need to make sure you have are; an agreed inventory which will be included in the tenancy agreement; permission from your lender (if you have a mortgage); advise your insurance company what items you intend to include in your insurance policy and what items will be the responsibility of the tenant.

Ever since April 6 2007, landlords who accept a deposit on the property must ensure that the deposit is held by an authorised deposit scheme. This protects the deposit and helps deal with disputes quickly. As landlord you must inform the tenant within 14 days of receiving the deposit which scheme you are using and giving the tenant all of the pertinent information.

At this point you’ll want to decide whether to manage the property yourself or hire a letting agent to manage the day to day operations of the building, including finding the right tenant(s), handling the viewings and paperwork, and assist in working out the appropriate rent to charge for your specific location. Having an agent certainly lessens the worry and allows you to pursue other interests. The letting agent will also handle the marketing of your property since he will likely be experienced in this area. You will need to sign an agreement with this agent so make sure you read your contract carefully and don’t go into a lengthy term. Here at Letting Links we can help find that suitable letting agent or for that matter, an appropriate tenant.

And lastly, here are a few items that you should consider as your checklist: Get permission from your lending source; if you plan on making structural changes to the property, get approval from the council’s planning office; get in touch with the Environmental Health Department (if you have a HMO); get all of your safety certificates in order and include having the wiring checked out by a licensed electrician; inform Council Tax department and utility suppliers that you plan on letting the property.

Although it sounds extensive, it will prove to be worthwhile in the end. Now that all of the hard work has been done you can sit back and enjoy the experience of being a landlord. And welcome to the world of property letting! Contact us at Letting Links if you need any assistance along your journey! is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are looking to rent out your property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered tenants NOW!




The Evolution of Property Portals

Over the past several years the Property Portals market has been changing and evolving in the attempts to please all parties involved in the letting business. The market gets flooded with many players but several only last a short period of time, mainly because they’re unable to keep their promises which leave only the major players in the game.

The biggest contributor to the evolution is the internet and the web companies that have made their voices known. Keeping up with the ever changing trends is never an easy process so the successful businesses are required to be pro-active instead of re-active. It’s vital to introduce new products and unique ideas that will benefit letting agents, landlords and tenants alike. The old adage of “if you’re not moving forward, or just standing still, then you might as well be moving backwards”, has never been more relevant than it is to the property portals market.

If you can’t attract new customers on a consistent basis you’re never going to stay in business for very long. The best idea so far has been for the property portals to have a limited number of letting agents on board – hopefully you’ll find fast reactive agents that will keep your business ahead of the rest of the field. With over 11,000 registered letting agents, all of whom are paying large sums of money for registration, it’s not surprising that some of the less than dynamic agents start to struggle, their income decreases and they’re left with a large business loss.

The main idea behind the property portals is to first drive site traffic which will then provide the searching users with the information they’re looking for, which will then provide leads for the letting agent. If all of this occurs in a proper manner, everyone will be happy and the letting agents business will continue its growth. Letting Links is such a property portals that are here to help connect prospective tenants with letting agents and landlords.

By listening to the letting agents and to the tenants in order to address any additional questions, concerns or problems, the web business or property portal will continue to evolve and thrive into very successful online businesses.




November 2011
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