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delb0y
02-12-2005, 14:07 PM
Hi folks,

I am looking to rent out a house.. i have managed to find some tenants myself .. but i have never rented out myself before its been mainly though a letting agents. This time round i am thinking of letting it myself.. could someone please point me in the right direction to what i need .. contracts insurance etc .. repair / maintainence of garden etc can all this be added into a contract so its the tenants responsablity ?

Also how long should i make the lease out for? i heard its best to keep it to a short term lease of 6 months incase the tenants stop paying rent its easier to get them out of the property as apposed to a 12 month lease where id have to get a court order

does anyone know of a good and cheap place to get building insurance?
im also trying to look for a inventery temple / form?

MrShed
02-12-2005, 14:18 PM
These questions come up all the time. The best advice I can give:

- Read a lot of the threads on this forum
- Get a good book "Letting for Dummies" I think is what one is called
- I would always advise to take on a letting agent for your first set of tenants, just so you can "watch and learn"

More specific advice:

- Spend a lot of time on your contract....it is the single most important document you will create for tenancies. Read up on the OFT unfair terms(search the forum here, and look here http://www.oft.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/DAAEFE58-1AAB-422A-AFED-BDE6C654A4EE/0/oft356.pdf), and ensure you do not place unfair terms and legal jargon into your AST agreement. I would advise consulting with a solicitor with regards your AST.

- Personally I would probably have 6 month fixed term, as you can always keep them on a periodic tenancy(basically a month by month tenancy with same terms as the original tenancy). It is easier to get them out on a shorter fixed term, but what you have said is not entirely correct, as I will come to.

- Tenants rights. Make sure you KNOW like the back of your hand the rights of your tenants. Can't list them all here, but the obvious ones are: do NOT enter the property without the tenants permission, you must give 24 hours written notice of entering the property.(Which brings me to a sub point - put EVERYTHING in writing).

- Eviction. You cannot kick out a tenant under any circumstances off your own back, even at the end of a fixed term. You must give 2 months notice AT LEAST with a Section 21 notice, and this must expire outside of the fixed term. If they fail to leave after this, you must go to court. In the case of rent arrears, serve a Section 8 and you will again have to go to court(there are several different grounds of this, so do a search). But you MUST have court order to ever evict a tenant against their will.

- Damage deposits. The second most important document you will make is an inventory. Even for unfurnished property ensure you carry out a FULL, DETAILED inventory, including condition of all fixtures and fittings, any marks on walls, carpets etc. Ensure that this inventory is signed by the tenant, and that you both get signed copies preferably on the day the tenants move in, but if not as soon as possible afterwards. When deducting from the damage deposit, ensure you send full receipts to the ex-tenant for all charges, and bear in mind fair wear and tear CANNOT be charged for. You do not need an inventory template as every property is different. It is merely a full list of all fixtures, fittings and furniture(if furnished) in the property along with their conditions.

- Repairs. Be as prompt as possible with carrying out any repairs for tenants. In particular anything which serverly impacts upon living conditions, such as boiler/central heating issues and white goods and cooker problems. Saying that a repair took longer than you thought, or you could not get the part/engineer quick enough, will not be a legitimate excuse if the issue goes to court, so really pull out all the stops for these kind of repairs. Try and come to an arrangement with some local workmen such as plumbers, heating engineers, etc. For small repairs, such as broken curtains/blinds and other small issues, try and fix them within 7-14 days. Oh but repair does bring me onto another VERY important point: ensure you get a CORGI gas certificate EVERY year, and ensure the tenant is given a copy.

VERY brief overview there, but hope it helps. I'm sure others will add to this if I have missed something.

islandgirl
02-12-2005, 14:28 PM
We let our house ourselves. First set of tenants were great, 2nd a nightmare. It takes ages to get them out for rent arrears (have to be 2 months overdue before you can even issue a Section 8 notice, then wait 2 weeks, then 6 until hearing etc etc). We have seen both sides, bad and good but are still going to do it ourselves. My biggest and best piece of advice is CHECK OUT THE TENANTS. We got 3 good references but they were real bad 'uns. Look at the Tenantverify link - we are going to do this this time round hopefully to avoid another problem. If they wont answer the questions they dont get our house, simple as that.
We will also only ever let 6 months in the future - we did 12 last time and look what happened...!
Good luck and as you will soon discover, the people on this board are very clever and very helpful - dont know what I would have done without them.

Editor
02-12-2005, 16:49 PM
There's quite a lot on information on the LandlordZONE site about this - see in particular - the article "20 Steps to Successful Landlording" at:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/successful_landlording.htm
A very good investment - about £9 - is the Renting Out Your Property - for Dummies book - as Mr Shed suggests. See:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764570161/landlordzone-21/026-6412590-6321268