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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

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
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!

Sep
19

Types Of Letting Agreements

There are two basic letting agreements regarding letting a flat or house.  Both agreements are legally binding and should be determined by how long the unit is needed for.  No matter which letting agreement is settled on, both parties should investigate all legal documents needing to be signed to protect themselves should a problem arise.

One of the letting agreements is called, Assured Shorthold. This agreement has to be for a minimum of six months without an increase in the rental amount during this time. At no time can a landlord evict a tenant before the end of the binding letting agreement, unless there is a court order and just cause.   After the term has expired, the tenant can be asked to leave.

The second letting agreement is called, Assured Tenancy. This agreement is a more secure rental when needing housing for a longer period of time.  The landlord can not evict the tenant before the expiry of the letting agreement unless there is eviction grounds filed with a court.  If a tenant receives a notice to vacate the property, it is advised to seek legal advice immediately.  Whether the flat or house is left unoccupied by the tenant before the end of the agreement, the tenant is still liable for the rent.  There is an option of subletting the flat to another occupant, however, the landlord must approve of this change in occupancy, therefore ending the agreement.

If a tenant is not sure which letting agreement is best suited for them, it is best to investigate each agreement before signing it.  If there are going to be joint or multiple occupants in one flat or house, and the agreement states, jointly or severally liable, than all tenants are responsible for the rent and any damage charges if one or all the tenants vacate the flat or house.

Once the flat has been agreed on, a tenant should agree with an inventory and schedule of condition with the landlord.  This letting agreement can be done by either party and should be signed by both parties at the beginning and end of each let cycle. An inventory and schedule of contents states the contents in the house or flat along with the cleanliness, decoration and damage, if any, of the unit.  This assures the tenant will not be charged or be held responsible for existing damage.  It also assures the landlord the state of the flat is in good working order.

Knowing what each letting agreement entails are imperative before signing any legal document.  Moving can be a stressful situation on its own, let alone, having the added stress of having to leave the flat or house at an unwanted time.

Sep
13

How to take Photos That Sell Your Property

Taking pictures of your property rental in preparation for letting out your property may seem like a no brainer. However, the truth of the matter is, unless your photos are done in such a manner that highlights the attributes and focuses on the positives, you may actually cause your property some “damage” in terms of the tenant’s opinion on the property.

Before you begin taking photographs of the rental unit, it is important to consider the type of family or tenants that would probably want to let the unit. The type of property rental will obviously influence the type of tenant but keep in mind the general surroundings and the location of the property too. If your property rental for instance were in a more mature area, with plenty of activities for the elderly population, your ideal tenant would be a senior citizen.
Likewise, a property rental near a school district would probably consider having a family let out the home.

Once your family has been determined, it is important to zone in on areas of the home they would probably spend the most time. A photograph of the outside of the home is one of the easiest ways to sell or hinder the appearance of the property rental.

Aim for a day that is sunny (ideally in springtime with new buds and flowers)
when the sky is clear. Pictures with dreary appearances, often give off an
unsettling image to tenants despite it only being the weather. Make sure the
garbage is clear, the lawn is tidy and the drive is free of dirt or weeds.

Photograph the rental home centrally, making sure to get a clear shot of any detailing or unique benefits the property has (for instance, bay window projections you may wish to photograph the property rental just off centre to show depth) As you make your way through the rental home, focus on areas the tenant will spend the most time. Places like front foyers, living spaces, bathrooms and kitchens are sure-fire ways to capture attention. Again, make sure the rooms are tidy, well kept, and if furnished, organised. A messy room gives a bad impression. Note any imperfections in the room that you may want to angle away from (for instance a scuff in the floor) that a tenant could live with, but may not want to see in a photo.

Try to keep your photographs lit with the room lighting, ideally taking shots from the entrance to the room. This angle will generally give potential tenants a better idea of the room layout, and a more honest perspective as to the sizing of the rooms too.

After you’ve taken your pictures, ask a friend or two to look at them. Generally, having another perspective of your “showing material” will give you a more honest outlook on the rental property or point out any flaw you may have overseen – saving you the frustration of tenants passing over your rental
property
, instead of asking to see it.

Aug
15

Renting Out Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO’s)

 

A rental house which is occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who do not form a single household is considered a HMO.  This form of letting is beneficial to the tenant in helping to keep the costs down.  The facilities are shared among the parties, although the sleeping quarters are separate.  Sharing on costs is convenient for many single people, couples and students attending school.

 

When a house is being let as multiple occupations, the landlord has many rules and guidelines that must be followed.  Their landlord must also have a HMO registration certificate.  This certificate proves that the landlord is up to regulation with the gas and electrical status of the building.  Having the house and installations in the house service and maintained provides security to the tenant letting the house or flat.

 

There are many specifications and regulations that the landlord must comply with when letting to multiple occupants.  Having the proper space when referring to sleeping, cooking, bathing, and common areas are set out in black and white and must be adhered to.  Having the building up to code and having proper safety devices installed and in working order are of the utmost importance.  More accidents and safety concerns happen in HMO houses.  There are many health and environmental issues when more than two people of separate families live in one house.  From cleaning issues and taking out the garbage to the appropriate areas outside the building to theft inside the flat or house.

 

Tenants that let this from of housing must also accept that his form of letting is of higher incidence of safety issues.  When tenants share a house, they may choose to lock their personal belongings in their bedroom.  When a bedroom is locked, there is a higher fire safety concern for the other tenants.  Common sense when it comes to candles, smoking and using appliances may not be equal with all the tenants sharing the same house.  For this and many other reasons the incidence rates are higher.

 

Many students and workers choose this form of habitation.  It makes monetary sense for students to pay lower costs for let of a house or flat.  It also can contribute to a noisy house when many students are living beneath one roof.  The landlords need to be informed and stick to guidelines to have a successful house rented to HMO’s.  Tenants moving in with other tenants, that are not family related, need to know the possible safety issues.  Saving money seems like a great deal, but in the end, being safe and free from health, theft and environmental issues are also of great importance in choosing a rental home.

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