Browsing all articles tagged with property rental Archives - LettingLinks - Connecting Landlords & Tenants
Dec
4

How Landlords Can Avoid Gumtree’s Advertising Fees

No one is sure what happened or why, but earlier this year it was announced that Gumtree, the classified website owned by eBay was going to be charging for their once free service. Gumtree was a place that landlords could post free adverts for vacant rental properties and find tenants quickly and easily. It was a very effective site – and free!

 

The way Gumtree used to work was that landlords could post as many adverts for free. So if a landlord had several properties, he/she could post as many as necessary without it costing a fortune. They would list their properties from newest to oldest. If a landlord wanted his listing to be visible at the top of search results, he’d have to “bump” his listing frequently in order to be put back at the top.

 

“Bumping” used to be a simple case of logging in and resubmitting your advert. This would automatically push your ad to the top because it would tell Gumtree that the property was still available. The ‘bump’ feature was absolutely necessary, especially in high volume areas such as London, where there were hundreds of vacant properties added daily. It wouldn’t take long before your advert would sink to the bottom and within a couple of hours be completely out of sight. Without being able to ‘bump’ the advert it would become completely useless.

 

The old pricing structure was wonderful, which is why Gumtree received so much praise from many landlords through the blogs.

 

But as is the case with many free listing sites, the word ‘free’ only remains for so long before the powers that be deem it necessary to charge the very people that make the site ‘valuable’ to use their service, you!

 

The result…Gumtree now charges £9.95 per ad (you get your first 2 ads free) and for unlimited ads they charge a fee of £42 per month. In addition Gumtree also has used this opportunity to revoke the free ‘bump’ feature! This is now chargeable at £2 per day outside of London and £7.14 per day in London, which would amount to £49.98 per week if you decided to do it every day; which you will probably need to do if you want your advert to be read at all!

 

Now having said all of this, one might start to wonder ‘how does Gumtree monitor and figure out how to limit Landlords to 2 free adverts per year?’ Since landlords didn’t have to register in order to post an advert it didn’t seem technically possible to restrict the free usage so a little research was in order. From the research carried out it would seem that the way Gumtree keeps track of usage is through email addresses.

 

Anyone with multiple email addresses (and if you don’t they’re certainly easy to obtain) could get many adverts posted for free. It’s also possible to use this system to avoid the costs of ‘bumping’, since all you would need to do is delete the ad, and re-enter under a new email – for FREE.

 

So now we have shared that golden nugget of information with you, our loyal readers, before you run off and begin posting free property adverts on Gumtree once more, we would like to ask you to consider this…

 

Aside from its mass traffic generation ability, historically, Gumtree’s unique selling point to landlords was to provide a service by which they could market their properties to a huge audience at no cost. A fantastic, no-brainer service if it’s free, but now it isn’t one should question what they are actually getting for their money.

 

Ok, we have shown you a way to make the service essentially free for you to use again, but is Gumtree really providing a good service for the average Landlord?

 

There are several reasons to consider but one that stands out like a sore thumb is Gumtree’s primitive search feature. It is hard to search for properties of interest at the best of times on the site, but with all the extra work involved in keeping the service free, is it really worth it?

 

There are other options that will be cheaper and easier with less time consumption that would be well worth looking into. User-friendly portal Letting Links is free to use and is growing in popularity everyday. With the sites unique ability to match tenants with properties and vice versa based on their requirements, could there be a simpler, more effective way to rent your property out?

 

If you rely on finding quality tenants online then Letting Links is just the ticket you’re looking for! Check us out to find out how we can save you money and get you in touch with the right tenants.

Nov
16

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.

Nov
5

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 Lettinglinks.com 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.

Lettinglinks.com 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! 

Nov
3

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!

Lettinglinks.com 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!

 

 

Nov
3

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.

Oct
4

Rental Properties: Understanding the Basics

There will likely be many questions that will cross your mind prior to renting a property, but this is just a basic list of a few of the more common questions.

1.Will I need to pay fees to the agent?

You won’t need to pay an introductory fee for just registering with an agent however there will be fees for such administrative tasks as referencing and if you sign on from inventories and preparing the tenancy agreement. Letting Links is an alternative to traditional agents as it’s a completely free service for both landlords and tenants.

2. What is a holding deposit and do I get it back?

A holding deposit is usually a small amount that is requested in order to show your interest in the property. If the landlord does not go ahead with the tenancy it will be returned to you. If for some reason you decide not to go ahead and sign, all or a portion will be kept to cover administrative costs incurred. After referencing it will be put towards either the first month’s rent or security deposit.

3. What sum of money will I require at the beginning of the tenancy?

Generally you will need to have enough for first month’s rent as well as a month to six weeks’ worth of rent to be held as a security deposit towards damage. Assuming there are no damages at the end of tenancy you will receive this amount back at the end.

4. What information will I need to supply to Letting Agent?

You will be required to supply the names and addresses of your referees, as well as previous landlords and possibly your employer, so
that they will be able to verify your ability to pay for your rent. If self-employed it may be necessary to supply the contact information for your accountant.

5. As a Tenant what are my responsibilities?

All of your responsibilities should be written in the tenancy agreement. Make sure you take the time to read it very carefully and if you are unsure of something, ask your agent to explain. Do not sign anything until you feel comfortable you understand fully.

6. What is a Tenancy Agreement?

This is the legal document that outlines your responsibilities as tenant, your rights and what you can expect from your landlord, how much rent you are expected to pay, and the term of tenancy. This contract is between you and the landlord will most likely be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988.

7. How long can I expect to wait for referencing before I can move in?

Each agent is different however it can take between five and ten working days by the time they contact references, make sure funds clear for the first month’s rent and deposit, and inventories arranged.

8. What is the normal tenancy term?

Most agents like to sign an agreement for six months. They rarely sign for periods over a year. After this period you can take out an extension or renew your tenancy agreement.

9. What if I want to leave earlier or stay for a longer period?

Getting a longer period is usually as easy as signing a new agreement. If you think you might want to leave earlier however, you should have a break clause included in the original agreement or you will be
responsible for the entire term of the original tenancy agreement.

10. What other bills would I be responsible for?

You will need to take care of the utilities (gas, water, electricity), the Council Tax on the property, and of course telephone and T.V.

11. How do I get my Deposit back?

At the end of tenancy the landlord will usually do a “checkout” with you, where they check for missing items or damage. If the property is in satisfactory condition you will receive your deposit shortly after leaving the tenancy. Just remember you are not allowed to use the deposit as your last month’s rent.

Oct
4

Tenant Insurance: Friend or Faux?

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to obtain contents insurance that will adequately cover you for your possessions. Most landlords and letting agents will request proof that such insurance has been put in place prior to signing the tenancy agreement. If you are unsure as to where you might get contents insurance and are dealing with an agent, he will most likely be able to lead you in the right direction. If the agent is authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) or is directly regulated by an FSA broker, then he would be eligible to sell you such insurance.

Since you don’t own the building you do not need building insurance, just contents only.

You might also look at getting Specialist Tenant’s Content Insurance which would protect your deposit should there be any damages to your landlord’s inventory. Accidents do happen to the best of us and who wouldn’t want to protect themselves in this unlikely event?

Contents Insurance generally covers the following:

Accidental damage: this would include damage to electronic equipment such as TV’s, stereos, DVD’s and even LCD and Plasma

New for Old Replacement: if items are damaged or stolen you would receive a new replacement for the old one that’s been damaged or stolen

Replacing Locks and/or keys: would cover the cost for new keys if lost, replacing locks, safes or alarm systems

Coverage for Cards and Cash: generally you’d be covered for £500 in cash and £500 for credit or debit cards

On top of this coverage you can make sure that the contents insurance not only covers your possessions but also covers your landlord’s contents. This would include light fixtures, furnishings if applicable, carpets or appliances. If an accident does occur, it would be nice to know that the repair of the landlord’s contents can be paid for instead of it coming out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. Don’t forget, your landlord expects to get his property back in the same condition it was in when you rented it! Even if it’s just a stain on a carpet.

Don’t let a little accident cost you more by losing your deposit. Protect everything that belongs in your rental property and you will be able to sleep easy at night knowing you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Oct
4

Deposit Loans — No Deposit? No Problem!

There are several reasons why someone would need to take out a deposit loan, and since it is necessary to have a deposit in order to rent a house, the need has become greater than ever. So if you can’t raise the cash yourself, you’ll need to look at your options and decide what is best for your specific needs.

Not all companies offer the same products and you will have to do some homework if you want to get the best rate and an appropriate pay back term. Some of the things you should be looking at;

Do you want a short term or long term loan?
If you only require the amount of the deposit for a short time, for instance if
you will be receiving a deposit returned to you from a previous landlord, then
you can shop for a short term solution.

If however your budget is stretched fairly tight and you’re looking to pay back a small portion monthly in order to manage your finances on a monthly basis, then look at paying back over a longer period of time.

Now, how much of a loan should you take out? First you need to figure out what the deposit will be and will you require money for the move itself. Since you want to get the entire loan from one source, so you won’t be burdened with too many monthly payments, finding out the usual amount of deposits being requested in your area is vital.

Are the agents asking for £500, £750, £1000 or more for deposits?

Okay, so now you’ve decided how much you need and how quickly you’d like to pay it back. The next item you should be checking into is the APR (which stands for Annual Percentage Rate). Shop around for the best rate as this is the interest rate you’ll be paying on the money you borrow and is an extremely important consideration.

Obviously you’re looking for the lowest APR so that the amount you pay back is the least amount possible. For instance if you borrow £1000 at 10% APR, you will be paying £100 over a 12 month period for a total payback of £1100. Be cautious when looking at the rates because some rates will appear higher if a short term loan is being listed for a 12 month term even if the loan is only for 1 month.

The loan market is always very competitive and there are many companies all vying for your business. As with any portion of the rental process, each decision is what you feel is best for you and what you feel most comfortable with once the decision has been made. Shop around and you should find a perfect match for your needs.

Oct
3

Property Rentals: What Is Included In a Fully Furnished Agreement?

The difference between a fully furnished and an unfurnished property can vary greatly throughout the country, so it the tenants responsibility to discuss your expectation with the landlord.

In some areas a fully furnished property might consist of all furniture, fixtures, cooker, fridge, freezer, washer, as well as crockery, cutlery, glasses, pots and pans. It may also be expected to include items that are used on a daily basis, such as a vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dryer, an iron etc.

An unfurnished property might only come with the carpets, light fixtures and possibly built in appliances such as a cooker and/or fridge.

So you can well imagine the many variations in between these two that could occur, which is why you must communicate your expectations prior to signing a tenancy agreement. If there’s something in particular that you would like to have included in the property agreement, just ask the landlord prior to signing if it would be possible.

If the landlord thinks it could be the difference between you taking the unit and not, chances are he’ll likely agree to include the item(s). As they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” – if you don’t ask you’ll never know.

There are no laws or rules that state what “fully furnished” or “unfurnished” means so don’t assume anything – it’s your responsibility to find out.

Oct
3

10 Tips to Find Your Ideal Property Rental

We’d like to help you get that perfect property rental you’re looking for, and since it’s a “perfect” property for you, it’s also likely that it’s a “perfect” property for others as well. So by following these tips you will be better prepared to land the right property rental for you.

1. Determine the Perfect Property Rental

Although it seems obvious, the first thing you need to do is to figure out exactly what “perfect property rental” means to you. Most people are unable to describe what they need or want in a property rental. So by writing down your “needs” and “wants”, you’ll have a better chance of recognizing the best property rental that suits your needs.

For example, write down whether it must have a 2nd bathroom, lots of storage, no stairs, and number of bedrooms or whether the property rental must be close to local transportation. As soon as these decisions are made you’ll be on your way to finding your “perfect” property. Before booking an appointment to view the property rental you’re enquiring about, ask the landlord if it has all of your “wants”. If not, don’t waste your time.

2. Use the Internet to Find Your Property Rental.

You will save a lot of time and energy searching if you go directly to the area agent’s website. By using the agents direct website you’re more likely to find an up-to-date listing, rather than the portals that can be quite out of date.

3. Have your references ready.

Landlords and Letting Agents will require them so make sure you have your financial or employment reference that shows you are financially capable of paying the rent. Your income should show that you make two and a half times more than the rent. If you are self-employed your accountant will need to prepare a statement that indicates ability to pay the rent.

If you can secure a letter from your previous landlord that claims you were an ideal tenant who paid on time and kept the property in good condition, it will also go a long way. Make sure you also inform your referee’s to expect a phone call so time is not wasted waiting on replies.

4. Let your present landlord (if applicable) or letting agent know that you will be leaving.

Giving appropriate notice is ideal and if you are able to move into the new property quickly, you will be put on the top of the priority list for the new landlord or agent.

5. Visit the Area.

If there’s a particular you would like to live in, visit the area so you’ll be more equipped with information such as close proximity to shops, schools, transportation etc. Very often these areas will have a local board that will post local phone numbers for agents in the area.

6. See as Many Properties as Possible.

Make a list of the most desirable properties and try to get in to see as many as possible at one time. If most people can only see properties after work or weekends, try to take a day off so you can see many in one day. This might give you an advantage if you can see properties before anyone else.

7. Don’t Hesitate.

When you see the property you think is right for you, don’t hesitate. If it’s the right property for you someone else is thinking the same thing. Put a deposit down immediately so that the landlord knows you are serious. If you wait, the property will go to the first person that’s ready and willing to commit.

8. Offer the Longest Rental Period.

If possible offer the longest rental period you can so that the landlord will see you mean to stay. Landlords don’t like to have empty properties, and although he will likely offer a 6 month term, by stating your intentions of being a long-term tenant, it should put you on the top of his list.

9. Move In Quickly.

It’s important to be prepared to move in as quickly as possible. Even if you don’t intend to move in on the date you specify, landlords want to have tenants move in within days not weeks or months.

10. Make a Decision!

And lastly, Make A Decision! By procrastinating like so many others, the
perfect property will slip through your fingers. Don’t wait and over think your
decision – it could be too late!

Good luck with your search!

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