Preparing to let

The private rental market in Cheltenham is extremely competitive and finding good tenants can be a challenge. Our lettings team will be pleased to advise you on how you can best prepare to let your property to secure careful, professional tenants.

We’ve prepared this quick guide to give you more information about your legal requirements as Landlord.

Should Your Property be Furnished/Unfurnished?

The most important thing to understand when you are preparing to let is that, regardless of whether your property is furnished or unfurnished, your legal position as a Landlord is the same and that there is a demand for both in Cheltenham.

Landlords are legally obliged to maintain whatever is provided in a let property and safety is of paramount importance.

Padded soft furnishings manufactured or re-upholstered from 1950 must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. An unfurnished property should still include carpets, curtains, lamp shades and, if it’s an apartment, usually white goods in the kitchen.

Servicing Heating Systems

As part of your letting preparations, we recommend that you have your heating/hot water system serviced by a qualified engineer.  This should be done before letting your property and annually thereafter to keep the appliances in optimum condition.

You are required by law to prove that any gas or electrical installations are safe.  All gas installations and appliances must be certified by a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer and a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate issued to adhere to Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

We are required to hold a copy of the certificate before any tenancy can commence and keep up to date records for the duration of the tenancy. We also are obliged to provide the Tenant with this documentation prior to the tenancy commencement.

Electricity and Appliances

If you are intending to provide any electrical items in a let property then you will be responsible for the maintenance and annual safety testing of them.

It is a requirement to ensure that electrical installations are safe and maintained in a safe condition, and the way of determining this is to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) undertaken every five years and annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for any appliances in the property.

From 1st July 2020, five-year EICR testing became mandatory on any new tenancies and for any existing tenancy from 1st April 2021. You can be liable if something goes wrong and failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and can incur serious penalties.

All electrical appliances need to have a minimum CE rating (Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994).

We use qualified engineers who we can recommend to you to carry out these works and our property management systems will automatically alert us when the tests need renewing.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 & Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 requires smoke alarms to be provided on each floor of a let property, including mezzanine levels, and carbon monoxide alarms to be provided next to solid fuel burning devices and next to gas appliances (excluding hobs) in habitable rooms.

Keys/Alarm Codes

A set of keys, including security keys/fobs to the property, must be provided for each Tenant.  We will also need a set to hold as managing agents for all managed and rent collection properties.

Please also ensure that we have any alarm code or entry codes that may be required for your property.

Garden Maintenance & Upkeep

Not all Tenants are keen gardeners(!) so you may wish to consider making your garden as low-maintenance as possible before letting your property and we advise that you present it in a tidy condition before the first tenancy.

During a tenancy, Tenants are responsible for keeping gardens tidy, while Landlords retain responsibility for larger shrubs and trees.

It will encourage Tenants if a basic supply of appropriate tools and a lawn mower are provided.

In certain cases, it may be worthwhile factoring in a degree of gardening maintenance within the rent and employing a professional gardener to tend to the garden.

Cleaning a Let Property

This is a subjective issue at the best of times, which is why Morgan Associates employ an independent inventory company.  They can provide an objective view of the standard of cleanliness that must be achieved at the start of a tenancy and at the end.

If you are letting your property for the first time, please ask for a quotation to have it cleaned to the required standard.

Utilities for Vacant Properties

Landlords are responsible for utility accounts, including council tax, while any rental property is vacant.

If you are vacating the property prior to it being let, please notify your providers of your leaving date, and provide them with meter readings.

It is extremely important that tenants know where meters are located and have any keys required to access them.

If your property is a flat, please mark the meters with your flat number.

You should close your telephone account when you leave the property, and cancel your TV licence.

Required Permissions for Letting Properties

Your mortgage lender (if any) must give written permission for the property to be let and we will ask for a copy of this permission before the start of the tenancy.

If your property is leasehold it may also be necessary to obtain permission from your freeholder prior to letting.

Updating Property Prior to Letting

Should your property be in need of some improvement/updating prior to letting, we would be happy to advise you on any works required to bring your property to the required standard.

Energy Performance Certificate

All rental properties with a new tenancy in England and Wales are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before we can advertise the property, unless they are listed and certified on the PRS register.

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 the least efficient). The EPC is valid for ten years from the date it is issued. The minimum energy efficiency standard required for all residential tenancies is an ‘E’ rating.

We can appoint a fully trained Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA), who is able to carry out the assessment at the point of the valuation, enabling us to advertise your property without delay. Further information is available upon request.

Please note: this is intended as guidance only.  Letting property is subject to legislation which is regularly updated.  You are advised to check recent updates/regulations with a professional lettings adviser.

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