Sections In This Guide:



The benefits of letting

You may consider letting for a number of reasons. Perhaps you will be working overseas for a number of years and want to retain a stake in the UK housing market. Perhaps you have recently inherited a property or you may be one of a growing group of people who view a property as a key element of their investment portfolio.

Whatever your reason for letting, the private rental sector has never been more attractive.

  • Recent Legislation changes have removed many of the uncertainties associated with lettings, so you should always be able to regain possession of your property at the end of a letting period should you wish to do so.
  • Financial returns from letting have significantly improved due to return to real growth in house prices, the availability of ‘buy to let’ mortgage schemes, and the ability to offset most costs associated with letting against rental income tax purposes. Letting can provide both income and capital growth
  • Strong economic growth, an increasingly mobile professional work force and corporate relocations combine to ensure a strong demand for rental property in this geographic region, thus ensuring that you have minimal periods when your property remains unlet. We trust that you will find this guide informative and helpful

Assessment of a property

Various factors need to be taken into account when advising a landlord on how they should best proceed with their letting. The location, conditions and size of the property, standard of contents and fittings provide and prevailing market forces are all factors that must be considered.

A property assessment will be carried out by an experienced Pride n Property representative, following which all relevant issues will be discussed in greater detail with you. This enables you to ask any questions that you may have and discuss any particular concerns. This service is provided free with no obligations.

Should I let furnished or unfurnished?

All the properties should usually include carpets. Furnished properties will also include the furniture found in most homes beds, tables, chairs, suites, cooker and fridge, kitchen crockery, cooking utensils and cutlery.

A major consideration for landlords who have a choice whether to let a property furnished or unfurnished is that there are regulations that must be adhered to specifically on furnished properties. This is discussed further under “soft furnishings – fire regulations”

Better presentation and quality of the property and furnishings will be reflected in the monthly rent achievable. Linen and towels and not normally included even in fully furnished properties, and we would strongly advise against leaving a television, video, wi-fi equipment ect. other than in executive lets.

The Inventory

As part of our comprehensive service, we can arrange an inventory and schedule of conditions. Even if the property is unfurnished there should be schedule of condition for the property itself. Carpets and curtains can be very expensive to replace and unless the conditions of these soft furnishings and interior décor is properly documented, you will be unable to claim compensation for any damage at the end of the tenancy

Tips on presentation

  • Neutral décor works best
  • Remove all "clutter"
  • Painted surfaces are easier to maintain than wall paper
  • Gardens should be neat & tidy
  • Professional cleaning before all tenancies commence is recommended

Gas safety regulations

It is the duty of the landlord to ensure that all gas supplied appliances are maintained and in a safe condition. They must be checked and inspected for safety every 12 months by a Gas SAFE registered engineer. A gas safety certificate should be issued by the engineer and a copy given to the tenant and managing agent or landlord. Appliances that typically need to be checked include Gas Central Heating Boilers, Ovens, Hobs and Gas Fires.

As these provisions apply equally to the managing agent as well as the landlord, you will understand that must make a clear stance in this matter to the extent that we are unable to accept and/or retain a property on our books unless, in respect of all appliances, either:

  • A current certificate is already in force OR
  • The landlord is obtaining a certificate which is given to us before we install a tenant OR
  • The landlord authorises Pride n Property to take the necessary action and obtain a certificate via one of our authorised maintenances personnel.
Non-compliance with the Gas Safety Regulations is a criminal offence and could result in a heavy fine, imprisonment or both. A property also needs to have the gas checked when a tenant moves out even if it has a current Gas Safe Certificate.

SAFETY TIP: ensure that all instructions booklets and manuals for appliances are available at the property for the tenants’ reference.

Electrical safety

The landlord is responsible for ensuring that all electrical appliances supplied in the accommodation must be safe for use. We are happy to arrange for the necessary electrical inspections to be carried out on your behalf.

Smoke detector & CO2 alarms

The law requires that all new houses built after June 1992 have electronically linked, mains operated smoke detectors installed on each floor. Although older properties are exempt from this requirement, smoke detectors need to be installed on each floor in all rental properties. CO2 alarms need to be in every room with gas or solid fuel.

Furniture and furnishings fire safety

The furniture and furnishings (fire)(safety)(amended) regulations 1993 require that all upholstered furniture and furnishings in rental properties pass the “cigarette test”. If any property is found not to comply the landlord faces fines or imprisonment, or both. Any landlord placing a property on a rental market for the first time must comply with these regulations immediately, and any furniture not complying must be removed before the tenancy commences.

Similarly, if any items in a property subject to an existing rental are replaced, either during a tenancy or a void period, then those replacement items must continue to satisfy the requirements of these important regulations.

Produces covered by the furniture and furnishings regulations

  • Furniture intended for private use in dwelling, including children’s furniture
  • Beds, headboards, mattresses
  • Sofa beds, futons and other convertibles
  • Nursery furniture
  • Garden furniture that is suitable for use in a dwelling
  • Pillows, cushions & seats-pads
  • Loose and stretch covers for furniture
Products usually not covered by the regulations:

  • Curtains, carpets, sleeping bags
  • Bed-clothes (including duvets)
  • Loose covers for mattresses and pillowcases
  • Furniture made before 1950

Important information for customers who have boiler flues in ceiling spaces or boxed in.

Some properties, mainly flats and apartments, have been built with boiler flues that cannot be inspected because they are hidden behind walls or ceilings. If you own or live in one of these homes, then please read on for more information so you know what to do.

Gas safety registered engineers need to be able to see the flues - which takes fumes away from the boiler - as part of essential safety checks whenever the boiler is worked on. A flue in poor condition, combined with a boiler that is not working properly, could put you and your family or tenant in danger from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death or serious injury.

If your boiler is situated on an outside wall, it is unlikely you have this type of flue. Alternatively, if your engineer can see the entire flue, you will not need to take any further action in relation to this matter.

If you do have a boiler where all, or part of, the flue cannot be seen, you will need to arrange for inspection hatches to be fitted. This doesn’t mean that your flue system is suddenly unsafe. As long as the boiler passes a series of safety checks – including having audible carbon monoxide alarms fitted – it can be used normally for the time being.

Carbon monoxide alarms are not an alternative to being able to see the flue and you will still need to have inspection hatches fitted. You have until December 2012 for this work to be completed. It is recommended that inspection hatches be fitted as soon as you are able to do so. From January 2013 any gas safety registered engineer will turn the boiler off and formally advise you not to use it until inspection hatches have been fitted in appropriate places.

Although most of the affected boilers and flue systems are relatively new (installed since 2000), the risk of faults leading to the release of carbon monoxide only increases as systems get older, especially if it is not serviced regularly. It is important that you have your gas appliances serviced annually.

You need to take action now.

If your property is less than two years old then contact your builder. If your property is between two and ten years old then contact your home warranty provider, as you may be covered by them if there are defects in flue. If your property is ten years or older you should contact a gas safe serviced engineer.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that inspection hatches are installed and that the boiler and flue is checked every year.


Energy performance certificates

From the 1st October 2008, all rental properties with a tenancy in England and Wales are required to have an energy performance certificate (EPC). The energy efficiency and environmental impact or your property will be rated on a scale from A-G (where A is most efficient and G is least efficient). Current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting will also be shown on the certificate, together with a list of recommended energy saving improvements. The certificates last for a ten-year period, Pride n Property has an appointed energy assessor and we can arrange for this to be done on your behalf.

What is an energy performance certificate?

EPC’s look similar to the energy labels found on domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

The energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property will be rated on a scale from A-G (where A is the most efficient and G is the least). Current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting will also be shown on the certificate, together with a list of recommended energy saving improvements.

How do I get an energy performance certificate?

As your letting agent, we have access to an accredited domestic energy assessor (DEA). They will visit your property to assess the age, construction and location of the property as well as its current fittings such as heating systems, insulation, double-glazing ECT. Alternatively DEAs can be found in local directories or via www.hcrregister.com/findassessorinspector if you wish to make your own arrangements. We need to have EPC on file when we begin marketing you property. Charges will be advised.

What can I do to make my energy rating as high as possible?

Insulating your property is the most effective measure you can take. In most cases cavity wall insulation is straight forward, inexpensive and hassle free. Installing new loft insulation in most properties is an easy DIY job and should be done to a dept of 270mm.

If your boiler is over 15 years old its probably time to replace it and you will get a better rating if you combine it with modern heating controls. If you need to save space, buy a combined boiler, which does not store hot water in a tank but heats a hot water tank jacket

While double-glazing can be fairly expensive, it will reduce noise and lower heating bills when purchasing new appliances look out for the energy saving recommended logo, and choose the most efficient in their category.

For free, impartial advise on energy efficiency improvements call 0800 512 012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.

Are there grants to help cover installation costs?

There are several grants available that can cut your costs by half or even to zero! visit http://www.est.org.uk/myhome/grid.

If your tenants are in receipt of certain benefits you may be able to get your property insulated at a significant discount or even free. Visit www.warmfront.co.uk (England) for further information.

If you have insulated you properties you can also reduce your income tax by claiming under the landlord’s energy saving allowance. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2004/revbn31.htm for further information.

Why is the government introducing EPC’s?

Domestic energy use accounts for 27% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. The Government is introducing a number of energy saving initiatives, including EPC’s, and aimed at making all buildings more efficient. These measure are being applied across all European Union countries.

Tax and Financial Information

The tax position

You will be liable to pay income tax on your net income from the property that is the gross income less allowable expenses, which are incurred in letting the property. If you live abroad permanently or are working abroad for an extended period you will still normally be required to pay income tax on the net income from any property letting.

There are some additional obligations on the part of the letting agent with respect to overseas landlords, which you should be aware of. We are required to withhold a proportion or rental income (equivalent to the basic rate of tax) and pay this directly to the Inland Revenue unless we receive specific written exemption from the Inland Revenue not to do so. The granting of exemption to withholding tax is at the discretion of the Inland Revenue and is likely to be withdrawn if you are subsequently late in making the appropriate tax returns.

As can be seen just these brief reference, personal taxation is complex area and one where, as with lettings itself it is essential to take professional advice from a specialist.

Do I need permission from anybody to let my property?

Mortgage consent – if your property is mortgaged you must advise your bank, building society or mortgagee that you propose letting you property an obtain their written consent. Sometimes an administration fee is charged for issuing a consent letter and it is possible that there may be a variation in the interest rate level.

Leasehold consent – If your property is leasehold, your head-lease will state whether or not you require permission from the freeholder to sub-let. You should find that your lease would contain a clause indicating that you must obtain consent from your head leaseholder (or freeholder) but that such consent should not be unreasonable.

Some of the expenses usually allowed against rental income:

  • Mortgage interest (usually allowable to the full value of the mortgage)
  • Managing agent’s fees
  • The cost of providing services included in the rent e.g. gas, electricity and water rates.
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Insurance for buildings and contents
  • Ground rent repairs and redecoration
  • Wear & tear allowance for furniture, fixtures and fittings

Will my money be safe?

It is essential for landlords to ensure that they only entrust their properties and any rents, and maintenance funds, to agents who operate to the highest professional standards. Pride n Property maintains separate clients’ accounts and operates these accounts to professional standards, which protect the interest of landlords and tenants. This basis of trust and confidence is the keystone of our success, and has generated many excellent referrals over the years.

How do I know that the tenants will look after my property?

Depending on which service you require, if managed we regularly inspect the property during the tenancy and provide a written report to you. These inspections are usually carried out as an initial 3-month inspection, then six monthly. From our extensive experience we know that if the tenant understand that the property and their occupancy of it is being closely monitored they are more likely to maintain a higher standard of care in that property. The tenancy agreement makes reference to the fact that we have the right to visit the property at times acceptable to the tenant, provided reasonable notice has been given. If you want to visit the property yourself during the tenancy we will arrange this for you, but again the tenant is entitled to prior notice.

What if there is any damage?

On taking occupancy the tenant lodges a dilapidation bond. This bond is held by the deposit protection service, a government run body, throughout the tenancy by Pride n Property, as provision after allowing for the length of the tenancy against that could reasonably be regarded as fair wear and tear. When tenants are checked out of the property an assessment is made, by comparison against the original inventory, of any redecoration or minor repairs, which cannot reasonably be accepted as fair wear and tear. The deposit protection service will negotiate and agree with the tenant and landlord the amount that will be withheld, obtain estimates by way of confirmation and the net deposit then remaining will usually be released to the tenant.

What about repairs and maintenances?

Repairs are of course necessary to each and every property throughout the length of the tenancy and landlords must be prepared for this eventuality plus of course repair and/or replacement or major electrical items such as cookers, washing machines, fridges; freezers and boiler as they age.

Where there is an emergency repair, such as burst pipe or gas leak. There are different legal obligations on all parties and we may well need to instruct the work immediately to prevent any further damage to the property or health and safety risk to the tenants. In such circumstances we may need to act first and then report to you, and common sense has much to do with such decisions. However, it is also made clear to tenants that not only in the most extreme circumstances should they consider instructing their own contractor and that should they do so they may be liable themselves for the full costs.

What about the garden?

Before the tenant moves into the property arrangements should be made for the garden to be in good order. Tenants are generally responsible for the upkeep of the garden. Alternatively, you may wish us to arrange for a regular gardener during the tenancy and reflect this cost in the rental charged.

How can I be sure that the rent will be paid?

The tenancy agreement is a legal contract and as in enforceable by law. We do everything we can do to ensure that the right tenant is selected, however there is the odd occasion when problems arise and unexpected difficulties such as redundancy, long term illness or a relationship breakdown can suddenly affect the best of tenants. We will always try to rectify problems situations, such as promptly sending reminder letters for any outstanding rental, visiting the property and discussing as far as possible the problems being experienced. We will of course provide all help and information needed in supporting a landlord, and there is also a range of insurance policies specifically designed to protect landlord against the legal cost and potential loss of rent, which might arise in litigation cases.

What insurances can you refer me to?

We will be pleased to refer you to rent4sure who can provide insurances you may feel you require to cover your buildings, contents, legal costs and rental income. Apart form legal and rent protection policies, cover is also available for buildings and/or contents. You should exercise caution in assuming hat existing policy will continue unaffected by rental activity. In particular, do not assume that simply because consent to letting has been granted by lender that any cover effected through that lender will continue as before.

What happens to the utilities?

Gas, Electric and Water

The gas, electricity and water companies ECT should be advised whenever the property is empty so that meters can be read and accounts prepaid. We will read the meters for you on the initial letting and also each time there is a change of tenant or the property is to be empty for some reason. During ‘void’ periods you must transfer the utility services back into your name. The tenant is obviously responsible for the gas, electricity and water/sewerages bills generated by their usage during the tenancy, and for changing the gas and electrical accounts into their name when they move in. Tenants are responsible for the standing charges, but their liabilities in this respect clearly finish on the date they vacate the property. We write to all utility companies informing them of your new tenant, move in date and any meter readings taken.


Generally speaking telephone companies will not deal with third parties. You must inform the telephone company that you are leaving the property and advice them what you want to do with your existing number. The tenants are responsible for arranging any line reconnections and meeting any costs associated with this.


Payment is not the landlord’s responsibility whilst the entire property is let. When an unfurnished property is unoccupied it is exempt for 1 month, then 100% of the council tax becomes payable. If empty and furnished then the 100% becomes payable immediately and throughout any void period between tenancies. If you still reside at the property whilst acting as a landlord then you will remain responsible for the council tax charge. We will inform the council tax office of each and every change in occupancy. There is a clear legal obligation on a property occupier to register for council tax

A summary of services

  • Advise on letting your property
  • Advice & assistance with property regulations
  • Marketing, advertising and showing your property
  • Arranging an inventory & scheduling of condition
  • Tenant referencing via specialist agency
  • Preparation of all tenancy agreements & notices
  • Checks at the beginning & end of each tenancy
  • Notifying utilities of change of occupancy and meter readings
  • Collection of rent and pursuing any arrears
  • Prompt payment of net rental income into your bank account
  • Detailed statements to yourself and regular property inspections
  • Arrangement of maintenance repair
  • Arrangement of gardening and cleaning services
  • Arrangement of energy performance certificates
If you have any further questions, which we haven’t covered in the pack, do please give us a call on 01424 216316.