As a landlord, there are lots of things that you need to know in order to meet the requirements of the industry regulations and ensure that you’re providing a service that benefits both yourself and your tenants. It’s not quite as easy as simply owning a house and renting it out; there are codes, rules, and laws that are enforced to create a safer and more transparent environment for tenants and landlords, which has improved the relationship between the two dramatically over the past few years, with less left in the grey area.
Why do I need a letting agent?
If you’re a landlord, there’s one question that will enter your head repeatedly: should I use a letting agent or go it alone?
Put simply, a letting agent is someone who acts on behalf of the landlord and carries out tasks concerning your rental home in various degrees, depending on your arrangement and how much you’re paying them. Landlord fees will vary depending on the level of service you require.
Letting agents are generally suitable for three types of landlords:
- have limited experience
- those that want minimal hassle and involvement
- overseas/long distant landlords
Letting agents’ responsibilities are to provide you with expertise, professionalism and efficiency, especially where your own time is limited and would prefer someone else to deal with your tenants’ queries and problems – not to mention, they can advise you with their thorough understanding of current legislation whenever you may need it.
At MAK Estates we will create free time for you, we work on commission so will ensure we negotiate the best rent for you, we provide a buffer zone betwen yourself and tenant and we can advise you on repairs and a maintenance schedule to ensure that your property holds its value.
Can I manage my property myself?
If you have the capacity to drop everything to deal with an emergency repair or maintenance issue, of course you can!
Landlords legal responsibilities are constantly changing and there are now more than 200 rules to adhere to when renting out your property. As a landlord, you can either opt to take full responsibility (and adhere to the rules to avoid fines for non-compliance) or instruct an agent to take away the stress and manage the property on your behalf.
If, however, you don’t want to be disturbed with maintenance issues or have the worry of changing legal requirements and possible fines, the simple answer is to hand over the responsibility to a professional lettings agent. The benefits of a fully-managed service where you instruct a lettings agent to take care of your property on your behalf can be quite a relief.
There are various levels of support MAK Estates can offer you as a landlord, from simply finding you reliable and suitable tenants, to fully managing your property.
What area do you cover?
We are Birmingham based at present and cover Birmingham and surrounding areas. The days are disappearing when prospective tenants travel from estate agency to estate agency looking for homes to rent in any given area. They simply don't have the time. Over 95% of MAK Estates tenant enquiries come from the internet and our marketing campaigns offline and online meaning that we can quickly and easily rent out properties in a very large geographic area. With our online tools we can also very quickly assess rents in any given area to determine the market value for any given property. In a nutshell, No your property is never too far for us to achieve you a result.
Why should I use a managing agent?
You can advertise and manage your property yourself, but it can be a lot of worry and hassle. Our extensive experience of the lettings business and knowledge of the local rental market enables us to give you the very best advice and support, ensuring you achieve the maximum return from your investment and at the same time maintaining the condition of your property. We are also constantly getting to grips with all forms of new housing legislation so that our clients don't have to.
What is ARLA Propertymark?
ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) Propertymark is the leading professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. ARLA Propertymark is dedicated to protecting consumers by improving standards and professionalism within the lettings industry. Remember, letting agents are not regulated by law. MAK Estates choose to be members of a regulatory body.
What information do you need from me prior to letting my property?
In order to proceed quickly and efficiently with the letting of your property we would require the following information from you at the instruction stage;
- Proof of ownership
- Signed terms
- Bank details & Personal contact details
- Keys, alarm codes fobs etc., & car parking details where relevant
- Copies of current gas & electrical safety certificates (or permission for us to obtain these one on your behalf)
- Details of current utility suppliers
- Details of the management company for the building where relevant.
How will you market my property?
Once we have discussed and agreed with you a proposed rental, we will take internal/external photographs and prepare a detailed description for uploading to various systems. If you have an existing tenant, we will liaise regarding prospective viewings. We may also request an access key from you to facilitate accompanied applicant viewings, if you wish.
We have instant access to in house colour property details which can be given to interested parties in person, and/or emailed to them. Our computer software allows MAK Estates to match your property with hundreds of potentially interested rental applicants within our database at any given time.
What is the letting process?
The process is simple and begins with uploading your property details and photographs approximately within 24 hours. Our systems will send automatic notification to all who fit within the criteria. Once prospective tenants see this, they contact us to arrange a viewing and are pre-screening questionnaire to ensure they meet the criteria. Viewing is arranged, application form is handed out and if the tenant likes the property, we ask that they return the application form completed with the reservation form. We provide you with feedback and you select who you would like to proceed with to the next stage. We instruct our reference agency who performs comprehensive checks before we can formally accept the tenant. Our reference checks include a credit history check, previous landlord reference and employer/accountant reference. This normally takes around 3-5 days to process. If satisfactory we make arrangement with the tenants on signing various paperwork and payment of rent and deposit.
I want to let my property. Do I need to tell my mortgage lender?
Yes. Your mortgage lender needs to give you permission before you can let your property, and they may impose special conditions. Failing to notify your lender that you are letting out your property will put you in breach of your mortgage agreement. If you are buying a property with the intention of letting it out, you may be able to obtain a buy to let mortgage.
How do I know what rent to charge?
The one question that everyone wants to know the answer to… the rental price completely depends on the location, size, condition and demand for the property. We advise all landlords on the best price we think their property will achieve with our extensive knowledge of the local lettings market. It is important to remember that if a property’s rental value is over-estimated it may result in an extended empty period (void).
How much will it cost me to let my property?
This really depends on how much support you need. At MAK Estates we offer three main service levels: Let only, Rent Collection and Full Management. Each involves a different degree of service from MAK Estates and the fees we charge reflects this. Be sure you understand an agent’s fees and exactly what you receive for your money when you ask them to conduct a lettings valuation.
Do you offer and additional services?
Yes, we offer a wide range of services such as EPC’s, Gas Safety Certificates, Electrical reports as well as most types of maintenance work.
Is the rent I receive taxable?
You will be liable to pay tax on any profit generated from letting your property - the amount of tax you pay will depend on your circumstances.
If you are overseas for more than six months in any tax year, you will be regarded as a non-resident Landlord. The current legislation requires us to deduct and pay over to Inland Revenue tax at the basic rate unless we are in receipt of an exemption letter from the Inland Revenue. Once we are notified by Inland Revenue that you are exempt, we will no longer need to deduct tax.
Please note that where there are joint Landlords (including married couples) an exemption is required for each Landlord. Our staff will be happy to discuss these arrangements with you.
What information should I leave for the tenant?
It is helpful if you leave information for the tenant on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
What happens to my tenant's deposit?
Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At MAK Estates we register deposits with TDS. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is there to protect the tenant’s money and help to resolve any disputes at the end of the tenancy.
What is Client Money Protection?
The Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme provides compensation for landlords, tenants and other clients when agents misuse or misappropriate their rent, deposit or any other client funds. MAK Estates has CMP cover through ARLA Propertymark.
What is an inventory?
As every deposit taken by a landlord or letting agent must be registered with an approved scheme, it's important to protect the tenants right to dispute any deductions, and for a landlord to protect their asset by creating proof of the initial and end condition of the property.
How do I receive my rental income from MAK Estates?
If you choose our Fully Managed service, you will usually get paid the next working day. This efficient rent processing improves landlord cashflow with rentals typically being paid within 24 to 48 hours. This differentiates us from other agents who may process rents on a weekly basis. You will receive a statement every month.
Will you transfer all utilities in the tenant’s name?
We will inform and transfer all utilities into the tenant names and liaise with the companies for any details and meter readings required.
Will my property be inspected during the tenancy?
Yes, we aim to inspect the property minimum four times a year and report back to you if anything needs attention.
What if the tenant damages the property?
If your tenant damages any of the contents of your property, you can deduct an amount from the deposit or even take legal action. Your tenant should report to you or your agent any damage to furniture or fittings immediately. You will then both need to agree any replacement or repair and how payment will be made. If your tenant fails to tell you about the damage and replaces or repairs an item without your agreement, then you will be able to identify this when you come to check the inventory. Either the tenant pays to fix the damage, or the cost for fixing the damage is removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy. However, fair wear and tear should be allowed for.
Why do I need an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC for short, is a report detailing the energy efficiency of a property. It gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. New regulations concerning rental properties came into force in October 2008. Any properties vacant and being marketed with a view to letting are required to have an EPC available to show to prospective tenants at the viewing stage.
All landlords are required to purchase an EPC for a property before they let it and, from 1st April 2018, the property must have a minimum rating of E on its EPC. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches this requirement.
Do I need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?
Yes, to comply with the legislation an EICR must be carried out before you can let your property.
Do I need smoke alarms in my property?
Yes, the legislation includes a working smoke alarm to be installed on each floor.