Buy-to-let property FAQs
16 February 2023
We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions from prospective landlords about buy-to-let properties.
Should I use a letting agent or manage the property myself?
The cost of a full management service may seem significant, but it will bring you peace of mind that your tenants and property are being properly taken care of, and that you and your property are compliant with all the current legislative requirements.
With a full management service, the agent will photograph and market the property, conduct viewings, screen potential tenants, carry out referencing, provide a full photographic inventory and provide a Private Residential Tenancy agreement. They will also take the rental payment and handle deposit protection, carry out inventory checks, issue the relevant certificates and carry out safety checks.
If you’re a self-managing landlord, you will have to commit time and effort to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities.
How much rent should I charge?
Looking at the gross rental yield of a property is vital for landlords to understand if a property will be a good buy-to-let investment. It’s worth speaking to local experts to find out potential rental income and how attractive a property is likely to be to tenants.
Can I enter the property during the tenancy?
Yes, but you will have to give the tenant notice.
Who is responsible for council tax?
When a tenant is living in the property, they will be responsible for paying council tax. This should be clearly stated in your rental agreement. However, when the property is vacant between tenants, landlords will have to pay council tax and other bills.
What if the tenant doesn’t pay?
For peace of mind, it is recommended to insure yourself against non-payment. Another useful option is to ask for a rent guarantor.
What if the tenant causes damage within the property?
Tenants are supposed to notify the landlord of damage as soon as it happens, and the tenant is expected to pay for fixing it. Carrying out regular property inspections is the best way to prevent significant damage within the property. The cost for small amounts of damage can be removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy however fair wear and tear should be accounted for.
Do I need to furnish the property?
This depends on the type of tenant you target. Short-term lets usually expect basic furniture and holiday lets should be fully furnished to a good standard. Long-term rentals don’t need to be furnished however most tenants will expect white goods to be in place.
It’s important to remember that all furniture in your rental property must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set by the government.