Letting a property in Chester can generate impresive return on investment. From locating the perfect investment property and finalising the deal, to sourcing tenants and all the way to move-out day, our guide on how to let property in Chester take you through every step of the letting process. Either click on any of the below topics, or read our full guide further down.
Our letting guide broken down
Preparing an investment property is one of the most important stages of the entire letting process, and there are a number of factors you need to consider.
Clean and Repair
Before listing your property for rent, ensure it is in excellent condition. Give it a thorough cleaning and address any maintenance issues. Fix leaky faucets, repair broken appliances, and touch up paint as needed. A well-maintained property will attract quality tenants, and fixing any issues immediately saves costs of letting problems escalate and become more serious – and costly – over time.
Ensure your property meets safety regulations. Install smoke detectors on each floor and carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with fuel-burning appliances. Gas and electrical systems must be tested by registered professionals annually. Provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to show the property's energy efficiency.
Furnishing and Decorating
Considering whether to bring your investment property to the market as furnished, part-furnished, or unfurnished is one of the biggest decisions in the process of letting a property. Furnishing can increase rental value greatly, but can also increase maintenance requirements. Keeping the décor neutral maintains the property’s appeal to a broad range of tenants.
It is imperative to gain the appropriate landlord insurance to cover potential damage or loss caused by tenants. This insurance can also provide liability coverage in case a tenant or visitor is in any way injured on the property.
Landlord legislation is no joke. There are lots of different facets to making sure you and your property are legally compliant. All of the below are obligatory when letting property in the UK.
Prepare a legally binding tenancy agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. Ensure it covers rent, deposit details, responsibilities, and any special clauses. Your letting agent will take this under their management to ensure it benefits you to the maximum extent possible.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
By law, you must protect your tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Provide your tenant with prescribed information about the scheme and how their deposit is protected.
Right to Rent Checks
Before renting to any tenant, conduct Right to Rent checks to verify their immigration status. You can face severe penalties for letting to someone without legal residency.
Gas and Electrical Safety
Gas appliances and installations must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Electrical systems and appliances should be regularly inspected by qualified professionals.
Once you have the property ready, it’s time to decide who to work with to bring it to market.
Research and Shortlist
Research local letting agents online and through recommendations. Look for agencies with a good track record, positive reviews, and a strong presence in the area where your property is located.
Talk to Multiple Agents
Contact multiple agents and arrange to sit down with them. Ask about their experience, services, fees, and marketing strategies. Assess their communication skills and knowledge of the local rental market, and consider if their strengths play to yours and will maximise your property’s potential.
Determine what services each agent offers. Full management includes tasks like tenant screening, maintenance coordination, and rent collection. Tenant-find-only services focus on advertising and tenant selection.
Fees and Contracts
It’s crucial to understand the agent's fee structure. Fees are usually a percentage of the monthly rental amount or a fixed figure. Study the contract terms, including termination clauses and responsibilities of both parties, carefully.
Ensure the agent is a member of a professional body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Membership indicates adherence to ethical and professional standards.
Everything hinges on how a property is brought to the market and advertised to prospective tenants. You could have the most stunning property in the country, but if your listing doesn’t show it, people won’t see it.
Work with your chosen agent to create a compelling property listing. High-quality photos and a detailed description highlighting key features can attract lots of potential tenants. Providing a virtual tour of the property helps viewers envisage how they will live there, and can rapidly drive bids.
A good letting agent will conduct comprehensive tenant checks, including credit history, references, and affordability assessments. This helps minimize the risk of unreliable tenants.
Fair Housing Practices
Adhere to fair housing laws when selecting tenants. It's illegal to discriminate based on factors such as race, religion, gender, or disability.
Offer a Viewing
Needless to say, arranging property viewings for as many interested tenants as possible gives you the best chance of finding the right inhabitant. Make sure the property is clean and well-presented beforehand, and be ready to answer questions and showcase the property's benefits.
Or, you can ask your letting agent to take care of this entire process for you – something that we specialise in.
Choosing the Right Tenant
Review the tenant screening report and references provided by your chosen letting agent and select the tenant who meets your criteria and demonstrates responsible behaviour. Important values include timely rent payments, a history of good behaviour, and a willingness to sign long-term tenancy agreements.
Inventory and Check-In
Before the tenant moves in, conduct a thorough inventory of the property's condition and contents. This will serve as a reference point for any future disputes. Complete a check-in process with the tenant, explaining how appliances work and highlighting important features.
Rent Collection and Ongoing Maintenance
If you instruct an agent and opted for full management services, your letting agent will handle rent collection and all maintenance requests themselves.
If you choose tenant-find-only services, you'll manage all of these tasks yourself. Such tasks include potentially chasing tenants for payment, organising repairs and refurbishments with contractors, deducting landlord taxes from income statements, and managing end-of-tenancy duties such as inventory checks and deposit repayments.
Regularly inspecting your investment property is crucial in ensuring it is being well-maintained by the tenant. Always give your tenants proper notice before entering the property, respecting their privacy, and arrive with a checklist to make sure nothing gets forgotten mid-check.
In case of disputes or issues, you must address them promptly and professionally. Maintaining open communication with tenants throughout the tenancy agreement and mediating disagreements is equally as necessary.
Renewing or Serving Notice
Discussing the tenancy's future with your tenant as the end of the initial agreement approaches to decide whether to renew or not is crucial. If you decide not to renew, providing proper notice as outlined in the tenancy agreement is paramount. Equally, your tenants must do the same if they plan to move on.
Check-Out and Deposit Return
When a tenancy agreement comes to an end, it’s a good idea to conduct a thorough check-out inspection to assess the property's condition compared to the initial inventory. Deduct any reasonable costs from the deposit and return the remainder to the tenant within the required timeframe.
Perhaps the most stressful part of the letting process for landlords and investors is void periods. This is when a property does not have a tenant in situ, leaving it ‘vacant’, and of course an investment cannot yield returns without sums landing in the income column.
Serving notice well in advance or asking for tenants’ notice by given to a similar timeframe leaves you plenty of time to find replacement tenants, therefore minimising your property’s vacant status. Similarly, arranging a move-in date close to the time of refurbishments concluding has the same effect.
Ahead of a new tenancy beginning, update the property's inventory based on any changes during the previous tenancy. This ensures a clear record for your new tenants and keeps everything in order.
Letting a property in the UK requires careful planning, adherence to legal obligations, and effective communication with both tenants and letting agents. Following this comprehensive guide will help landlords navigate the process successfully and make the most of their investment property. Always stay informed about changes in regulations and market trends to ensure a smooth and profitable letting experience.