Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

You need to do your homework when renting out your property – Robert Ulph

From admin on March 17, 2017

I’ve written before in my column about the rise in popularity of online agents for selling and letting properties and I have outlined the differences in using these rather than the traditional, high street agents. But it is now worrying to see that there is also a growth in the use of websites for listing rental property where the landlord has no advice or protection and often no comeback at all.

A recent TV programme highlighted one such case where the landlord made the decision to advertise her property on a listing site as she saw it as a cheaper alternative to using a letting agent. A young professional applied and having provided references which showed he had a good, well-paid job in the City, he moved in to the property.

The references were false and it wasn’t long before he stopped paying rent. It then became known that the individual had previous history as a serial bad tenant and had been evicted after running up costs of £30,000 in unpaid rent and had stolen furniture from previous landlords.

The landlord in this case said, that looking back, they would do things very differently: “We’ve learnt that bad tenants are more likely to target sites like [listing websites] because they hope they will be subjected to fewer checks. In the future, we’d always go through an agent.”

A reputable letting agent – one who is ARLA Propertymark registered – will take over the whole process from the advertising to the move-in. All applications start with confirming that the applicant can legally live in the UK and has a right to rent. This is for all tenants, whether they are from the UK originally or not. The consequence of not doing this is a £3000 fine and with the Immigration Act 2016 which came into force last year, now could mean a prison sentence.

Various independently sought references need to be verified and credit checks carried out. You cannot take somebody’s word that the references they provide are genuine. An inventory must be completed and this has detail on all aspects of the property, safety, energy and related Acts. The agreement itself has to be up to date with the correct information and then all information must be issued specifically or under the deposit-handling regulations hefty penalties can be incurred.

Preparation for the move-in and the actual move-in have to be carried out precisely, with the correct information given, safety tests and energy performance confirmed, certificates approved and deposit registration established.

These are serious matters needing professional attention and at Pennington we have six licenced members of ARLA Propertymark which means we are able to do all of this work in-house, keeping it up to date and cost to a minimum.

To avoid any letting nightmares yourself please do contact me if you have any concerns and would like any further discussion on this or anything else on the local property market.