Guide to Landlords
Looking to Let?
Letting your property requires careful planning, so you will need a professional agent you know you can trust - one who will look after your interests and make life as stress free as possible.
At Marshalls our dedicated qualified staff will use their best endeavours, experience and expertise to deliver a truly personal and professional lettings service that’s second to none – whether you are letting your own home or have an interest in a buy to let property or portfolio.
Marshalls is a licensed member of ARLA (The Association of Residential Lettings) – the letting industry’s leading professional body. This means we are regulated by ARLA's strict code of practice and membership conditions, which cover issues such as professional indemnity insurance. ARLA’s licensed agents must also adhere to a unique money protection scheme, offering clients extra financial security.
Marshalls is fully regulated by the Lettings Ombudsman and tenants' deposit scheme managed by The Dispute Service Ltd.
With our free, no obligation valuation, we will look at comparable properties, local prices and market trends, and give you honest impartial advice, including any action you can take to maximize rental potential.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
An EPC is mandatory if you intend to sell or rent your property.
EPCs will provide information on a building's energy efficiency using a sliding scale - 'A' being the most efficient, to 'G' the least efficient. In addition to the Energy Efficiency Rating (relating to running costs), the EPC will also show the Environment Impact Rating (relating to the carbon dioxide emissions). An EPC report will make recommendations of how you can improve the rating of your property; however there are no statutory requirements to carry out any of the recommended energy efficiency measures.
Only qualified, accredited domestic energy assessors and qualified, certified home inspectors can produce EPCs for domestic properties. They analyse how homes are constructed, insulated, heated and ventilated, and the type of fuel being used.
Once your property has been given an EPC, it gets a unique number and is registered on a national database by the assessor. You can download extra copies by using the report reference number on the top right-hand side of the certificate.
EPCs for Landlords
As from 1st October 2008, it became compulsory that all properties 'to let' have an EPC.
An EPC is only required for a dwelling that is self contained, meaning that it does not have an entrance via a separate unit or share any essential facilities (bathroom, kitchen etc). Landlords are not required to produce an EPC when an existing lease is renewed, only when the tenant changes.
EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be reused for new tenants as many times as required within that period. A landlord may choose to commission a new EPC if improvement works have been carried out, but there is no legal requirement to do so.
EPCs with Marshalls
Marshalls use accredited DEA’s (Domestic Energy Assessors) who are registered with the appropriate accreditation scheme and they are required to have passed a basic Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check.
If you are intending to sell or let your property through Marshalls and require an EPC, then we can arrange this for you - the relevant selling or letting member of staff will be able to provide you with full details. Likewise, if you are not selling or letting, and would like to order an EPC with Marshalls, please contact us.
Your Questions Answered
Residential Lettings can make sound commercial sense, whether you need to gain income from your home if you are not using it for a while, or whether you intend to purchase property for investment purposes.
Marshalls is a fully regulated member of ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings Agents) which follows a strict code of conduct for all its members. They are also members of a tenants' deposit scheme and ombudsman for property lettings.
When should I instruct an agent?
It is advisable to consult us when you first contemplate venturing into the lettings market. This will enable you to take advantage of our experience in the lettings business, obtain guidance on what kind of preparation is necessary before putting your property on the market and the level of service you require.
Can you advise me on property to acquire for letting purposes?
Our contact with prospective tenants keeps us fully alert to changes in the demand for rental properties and the standard required. We will be happy to discuss with you specific properties and give guidance on the rental to be expected without obligation.
How much furniture should I provide – If any?
There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a furnished property. We have a checklist of items we could consider necessary in order for a property to be classed as fully furnished but this is optional. As a bare minimum a property should contain at least window dressings and kitchen appliances of good quality in order to secure a quick let in this area.
Whether you furnish a property is also dependent on the size of the property. It is worth noting that furnishing a property does not affect the rental price.
Does a property need to be newly decorated?
The lettings market is sophisticated and highly competitive; therefore it is essential that the decor is to a high standard in order to let the property quickly and at the best possible rental. For those unable to devote time and effort to supervising such works, we can arrange decoration and furnishing through our numerous trade contacts. Our detailed knowledge of tenants’ requirements will ensure that the property is ideally suited for the lettings market. This service can be provided when the property is available for the first letting and at a later stage if the property needs redecoration.
What are my legal responsibilities?
There are certain basic requirements that have to be met to comply with legislation and ensure your property is and remains safe for any prospective tenant.
Marshalls will be able to assist you with arranging the necessary gas, electrical and other safety checks your property will need in order for you to meet your legal responsibilities.
How will letting affect my insurance?
Most insurance policies covering household contents relate only to owner occupied homes, therefore it is important to advise your insurers that the property is to be let and check that it is fully insured against normal risks. In the case of a flat, building insurance is usually paid from the service charge and arranged by the managing agents, but it is wise to obtain confirmation.
It is possible to secure an insurance policy specifically designed to cover tenanted properties and we would be able to supply further information if required. Tenants are responsible for arranging insurance cover on their own personal belongings taken into the property.
Will letting affect my mortgage?
Before letting you should consult your bank or building society if there is a mortgage on the property. They may wish to approve each letting and we can liaise with them on your behalf if so required. It is wise to obtain consent from them in principle before marketing the property to avoid unnecessary delays when negotiating a tenancy.
How long will it take to find a tenant?
This is difficult to predict and will vary according to the standard of the property, demand and even the time of the year. It is important, therefore, that you advise us as quickly as possible that the property is available to minimize the vacant periods.
My property is leasehold – is this significant?
If your property is leasehold, your lease will specify whether it is necessary to obtain permission to sub-let from your landlord or the managing agent. Normally they will require copies of proposed agreements and references prior to the commencement of a tenancy. We are experienced in dealing with this if you wish us to handle it on your behalf. It is wise to clarify the situation before marketing the property as some landlords place restrictions on the type of sub-letting which will be approved.
How much rent can I ask?
Many factors can determine the rental value of a property including the size of rooms, location, and prevailing market conditions. Marshalls will be please to inspect the premises and provide an assessment of rent achievable, without obligation.
What is included in the rent?
A landlord is usually responsible for payment of ground rent and service charges if applicable. Marshalls normally advise that the tenant will be responsible for the water, sewerage and council tax costs as well as utility and telephone charges.
What kind of tenancy agreement is most appropriate?
There are many different types of tenancy agreements and changes in the law and its interpretation mean that our agreements are constantly reviewed. The type and length of agreement most suitable will vary according to the requirements of the landlord and the tenant. Marshalls will be pleased to discuss with you the most appropriate form of agreement for your property and, if necessary, finalize negotiations between the two parties’ solicitors.
Who is responsible for council tax, water rates, gas, electricity and telephone charges?
The tenant is usually responsible for payment of utility and council tax bills. For managed properties, we will notify the relevant authorities that a tenancy has been agreed, request that the accounts be transferred and arrange for meter readings to be taken at commencement and termination of each tenancy.
How will you market my property?
We have extensive contacts (companies and private individuals) looking for quality homes to rent. We advertise in the local press and on-line portals such as Rightmove, On The Market and of course our own website which reaches a worldwide audience. We also give advice to ensure that your property is presented in a planned and strategic way, targeting the most suitable tenants.
Who will show the property?
We are trained to emphasize the finer features and benefits of the properties we show and will always accompany prospective tenants even if the owner is present.
Do I need a solicitor?
We have standard tenancy agreements which are available for your use. However, you may wish to involve your own solicitor, especially if there are special circumstances to be taken into account or you wish to receive independent advice.
How will you check the reliability of the tenant?
Any terms negotiated on a tenancy will be subject to obtaining usually three satisfactory references for the tenant. The type of reference we will obtain for your approval may vary according to whether the tenant is a company or private individual.
How will safety regulations affect me?
At Marshalls, we endeavour to keep you informed of legislation affecting you as a landlord and we will be pleased to talk to you about these regulations and, in addition, arrange for safety checks to be carried out.
What deposit does a tenant pay?
A tenant pays a deposit as security against damage, breakages or other liabilities as assessed at the end of the tenancy. The deposit is held in a Tenants' Deposit Scheme (TDS). The deposit is negotiated to an amount roughly equivalent to six weeks rental.
Do I need to make an inventory?
We recommend that a professional inventory clerk is appointed. The inventory will contain a full list of the contents of the property with a detailed schedule of condition of the contents and decorations. The schedule can be used for subsequent tenancies with amendments as necessary. The inventory clerk will then carry out inventory checks in the tenant’s presence at the commencement and termination of each tenancy. At termination, the clerk will prepare a schedule of dilapidation's for use when assessing any deductions to be made from the deposit.
What does your property management service offer me?
Our management service provides specialist assistance at all levels. Our full management service means that Marshalls takes responsibility for all aspects of the tenancy including demanding rent, holding of deposit as stakeholder, payment of all routine outgoings on your behalf and handling all planned and emergency repairs within agreed financial limits. We have negotiated preferential rates with many contractors to ensure that work is carried out cost effectively. Many landlords, used to dealing with other agencies, have been very pleasantly surprised to find that our management service not only saves money but contributes to the long term success of their tenancies. At the end of the tenancy we will arrange cleaning, repairs and replacement of any missing items.
Will I have to pay more tax?
Income tax is payable on rental income arising from property in the UK, regardless of the residential status of the landlord. Please note it is advisable to get clarification from an accountant on how much tax you will be liable for.
What are your fees?
We offer a range of services specifically designed to meet our landlords varied circumstances. Please ask for copy of our ‘Terms and Conditions of Appointment’ which will provide detailed information of our commission and charges.
Why come to Marshalls?
Letting a property need not to be a complicated operation but, with the present complex laws relating to letting of residential property, it is essential that you minimize the risk by choosing a professional agent to represent you. Marshalls specialize in residential lettings and property management and are able to offer a very efficient, cost effective and personal service.