Letting a home involves a complex series of tasks from deciding on the right rental income figure through to effective property marketing. We have created a checklist to make sure all properties meet the required standards according to UK housing law.
To help you, our property and lettings experts have highlighted the key steps to letting your home or property portfolio. If you contact us to discuss what you would like to achieve from buying-to-let or letting your home, we will be happy to create a bespoke, step-by-step process for you.
Before you let, you must have a realistic, achievable rental income figure. From this, you need to deduct the many costs associated with letting, which include costs to adapt the property to the rental market, secure a tenant, manage the let, re-letting and on-going maintenance costs.
To help with this process, we recommend you use the services of an RICS qualified chartered surveyor combined with those of a local lettings expert, both of which we can provide.
Prior to letting your property, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate consents with your mortgage provider, insurance company and any Superior Landlord or Freeholder to make sure they are happy for the property to be let The property will need to meet Health and Safety requirements to be properly prepared to receive your Tenants. Our lettings teams can discuss what is required with you whilst also advising on any pre tenancy works.
Promoting your property isn’t just about great photos and floor plans; you also have to meet legal requirements, for example, attaching the energy performance certificate (EPC) to any property particulars and including the rating in any marketing material. If you don’t produce property details, you still need to make the full EPC available during viewings.
Make sure you have landline and mobile numbers and a valid address for anyone you show around your property – especially if it is your home. Although the UK is relatively safe, be aware that anyone can respond to an advert, especially online.
We typically vet any potential tenants prior to showing them around your properties, to be as sure as we can that they are a good match.
All tenants must now receive a copy of this guide.
You have a legal responsibility to let a home that tenants can live in safely. You should approve the electrics, or secure an electrical safety certificate from a qualified and registered electrician, and you must use a Gas Safe engineer to approve any gas appliances and provide a gas safety certificate annually.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are now a legal requirement in rental property. Speak to our lettings experts to understand the requirements.
In terms of health and safety, you have a public liability responsibility to tenants and any visitors to the property. For example, if a tenant or their guest tripped on a loosely-fitting stair carpet, they may be able to claim against you.
If you want your tenants to enjoy and take care of your home, you will need to spend time explaining the heating system, how the appliances work and what to do in an emergency, for example turning the water off if there is a leak. You will also need a quality inventory which will show the difference between ‘fair wear and tear’ and damage to your property. You should take meter readings where appropriate and submit them to the relevant supplier and notify all service providers of the tenants names.
Even if you let a brand-new property there may be issues during the tenancy, for example, problems with noise from neighbours, broken windows, or your tenant not maintaining your property well enough. You can help identify problems early by having a detailed inventory, periodic checks and leaving your contact details with neighbours.
Things may go wrong at some stage, so it is important to protect yourself with insurance. If we are fully managing your property, we will take care of any issues for you, including any tenant disputes.
If you look after your tenant and always deal with maintenance issues quickly, they are more likely to stay. Depending on your contract, it is important to check well in advance of termination deadlines whether your tenant would like to renew or advise they are moving out, Savills will do this for you as part of the service and in the event your tenant wishes to vacate you have adequate notice so you can prepare to re-let the property.
Your tenant will have paid either you or Savills a deposit at the start of the tenancy, which you legally need to have protected in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme if the annual rental income is up to £100,000 per year. After check out, you must facilitate the deposit being returned, either in full or with legitimate deductions.
We are obliged by law to advise the HMRC of any properties that are let. Property tax is applied individually and what you owe depends on your overall income and assets, not just earnings from property. Deductions can be made from the rental income to cover such things as the interest element of any mortgage payment on the property, agents fees, maintenance costs, repairs, insurance, ground rents etc .This is not an exhaustive list and advice should be sought from an accountant.
If you are a ‘non-UK domicile’ and own and let property in the UK, what tax you will pay will be determined by tax rules in your own country as well as the UK.
Property tax is extremely complicated, so we believe you should seek the advice of a property tax specialist - even if you are just letting your own home. We have agreed for up to 30 minutes tax-free advice from our preferred accountancy firm for all landlords who instruct Savills to act for them.
Have a question? Get in touch.
Head of Lettings Customer Relations
Savills One Church Road
+44 (0) 20 8018 7015
+44 (0) 20 8018 7015