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Questions and Answers
Is My Rental Income Liable To Tax?
Residents in the UK are liable for tax at the standard rate under the Taxes Management Act 1970 Section 79 but there are a number of worthwhile allowances. These can include mortgage interest. Also allowable are insurance premiums, maintenance during the tenancy and managing agent’s fees. A depreciation/wear and tear allowance of 10% of the rental is available for furnished accommodation.
What If I Live Abroad?
The needs of the overseas landlord are best met by obtaining an exemption certificate from the Inland Revenue. If we do not receive this certificate we must make quarterly payments to the Inland Revenue. These payments are 22% of the rent collected less expenses we have paid. To cover these payments we will hold 22% of your rent, reconciling the balance to you each quarter. At the end of the year we will send to you, or your accountant, or both, a certificate showing the tax already paid to help in the completion of your tax returns.
Who Should Be Informed Of My Intention To Let The Property?
If your property is mortgaged the lender should be informed. You may also need to inform the landlord if your property is leasehold. You should advise Contents and Buildings Insurers. In case of difficulty we can arrange insurance specifically designed for landlords and including landlord’s liability insurance. In some cases you may need written consent, and there may be a small charge to pay, but there is not usually any difficulty.
Are Tenants Responsible For Any Damage They Cause?
Yes. At the start of the tenancy, we collect and hold as deposit a sum usually approximating to one month and one week rent. The tenant is invited to check the inventory given to them on their move in. When the inventory is taken at the end of the tenancy any discrepancies are covered by an agreed sum being deducted from the returnable deposit. Wear and Tear is considered covered by the 10% depreciation allowance of the Inland Revenue.
Can I Get My Property Back? Will The Tenant Leave?
Both of these questions have satisfactory answers in the terms of the Housing Act 1988 and the landlord and Tenant Act 1987. Your agreement with the tenant will normally be a form of Assured Tenancy. This ‘assures’ the tenant of the right to occupy for a specified time and ‘assures; the landlord that the tenant is obliged to leave at the end of the term if given notice to do so. You must give at least two months’ notice and the tenant must give you at least one months notice.
What Should Be Left In The Property?
Property let furnished should have all the basic essentials for living including things like vacuum cleaners, washing machines. Dishwashers and microwaves are optional although with increasing competition for quality tenants we would recommend supplying one. It is worth remembering however, that whilst a wider range of fitments makes a more attractive home to let, that repair or replacement is your responsibility and obligatory during the tenancy. Telephone points with Broadband connection are most helpful.
DO NOT leave valuable, much loved family heirlooms or special ornaments. Beds should be clean and mattresses preferably covered with a fitted mattress protector. Linen is provided by the tenant.
It is very much in your interest to be flexible. A prospective tenant with their own bed may be put off if they have to find a place to store yours! At the same time if a tenant wants something that is not provided it is worth considering providing it.
Unfurnished properties will usually need at least carpets, curtains and white goods.
Is It Better To Let Furnished Or Unfurnished?
There is no longer any legal advantage to the landlord in letting furnished. An unfurnished property can be just as easy to let as a furnished property however we would again advise landlords to be flexible. If you have somewhere to take your furniture it makes sense to save on wear and tear. On the other hand if you were to have to pay to store your furniture you may as well leave it in the property. We can market your property as part furnished, furnished or unfurnished and as soon as we have an interested applicant we can negotiate the level of furnishings required however bear in mind that a ready furnished property usually has a better first impression when viewing.
What If I Want To Sell The Property?
This is best done at a time when the property is empty (although the process could start near the end of the tenancy). We do not claim to be estate agents but do have other landlords who have expressed an interest in any other properties becoming available. So before you instruct an estate agent, let us know first as there is no charge if we ‘introduce’ potential buyers to you. This may even remove the need to have to ask the tenants to leave as most investors would welcome ready made tenants in situ!
What Insurance Do I Need During The Letting?
You are responsible for insuring everything that is yours. Buildings insurance must be maintained and a copy of the certificate should be held in our file. You should insure whatever you leave in the way of contents (this should include carpets, curtains, cooker etc). It is advisable to include Accidental Damage cover. Our Buildings and contents policies include landlord’s liability cover. You may also insure against loss of rent and the legal costs involved in repossession. Should your present insurer be unwilling to provide cover for you we can arrange it using policies specifically designed for landlords. (Please ask for details). Tenants are responsible for insuring their own possessions.
Will My Property Meet All Legal Standards Required?
Probably, although some adjustments may need to be made. Fire regulations require that furnishings should be fire resistant (compliant to the 1988 Fire Regulations). There are gas and electrical regulations too but not often a problem. These and other helpful items of concern should be included in this brochure.
What Happens To My Property When It Is Unoccupied?
If the property is unoccupied prior to a letting we shall be making visits with prospective tenants and therefore have some oversight of it although we cannot accept any responsibility unless we are instructed as ‘Caretakers’, a service we can provide under separate contract. If at the end of the tenancy the property is not to be re-let we can offer our ‘Caretaking’ service. Please ask for more details.
Who Will Prepare The Inventory?
We will. This is the specialist job of one of our employees whose job it is to check tenants out of the property and oversee maintenance issues throughout the tenancy.
Can I Stipulate "No Pets" And Other Things?
Yes. This is well within your rights but needs careful and sympathetic consideration. Under the terms of the housing act we cannot be seen to be unfair by refusing, or without good reason. Limitations of any kind also reduce the range of interested tenants.
Can I Increase The Rent?
Yes. Let2U act for you and we arrange this. We will always re- let at the highest achievable rent and keep you informed of market rents.
What If The Tenant Doesn’t Pay?
We pursue the debt and usually succeed. If we cannot obtain payment you may need to take court action and instruct a solicitor. Your legal protection insurance can cover non payment of rentand provide the legal cover.
Should I Employ A Gardener?
This can depend on the type of property you have. If it is a flat within a block the gardening should be part of a service contract already which is included in the rent. If it is a house and the garden is large or contains plants that require extraordinary maintenance, it would be a good idea. If the garden is smaller and requires only basic maintenance, you may want to provide equipment i.e. a small lawnmower so the tenant can at least keep the grass down. Little usually happens that cannot be changed to your preference at the end.
Is There Ever Any Tension With The Tenant?
Provided tenants feel they are getting a fair deal and the property is properly managed, there are no problems. Our service is designed to stand between you and any day to day problems that may arise.
What Happens To The Deposit?
In most cases the deposit will be held in our client account and registered into a national deposit scheme run by Tenancy Deposit Solutions. If you are a landlord that lives outside of the UK, we may pay the whole deposit into The Deposit Protection Service and have them refund directly to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.