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Thinking of letting - what do i need to know? Tips please

(5 Posts)
stewmaker Sun 16-Jan-11 21:14:54

I have a property which has not sold in 13 months and am considering letting it through an agent for a couple of years.

I have not done this before, so what do I need to know?

Any tips or advice?

Goingspare Sun 16-Jan-11 21:20:04

My tip from bitter personal experience, is that however professional and competent the agent appears, and however often you receive inspection reports, try and view the house yourself from time to time.

<bitter and twisted emoticon>

stewmaker Sun 16-Jan-11 21:27:25

can you do that? i mean are you allowed to go inside to check if you are with an agent?

what happened?

Goingspare Sun 16-Jan-11 21:59:11

I would have thought you could join in an inspection visit.

It's just that when we came to sell our house, it was riddled with damp at the back, due to a blocked gutter - there was black mould all round one of the back bedroom windows and it looked quite squalid. This was 2 months after we'd received an inspection report giving the status of each room in the house, specifically saying there was no damp present in any room. The tenants were subletting that room to someone outside the family who'd put a bolt on the door (which we'd asked the agent not to permit, it was supposed to be kept as a family home), so they clearly hadn't been in to inspect that room at all. We weren't living locally at the time, and were paying a lot of money for what we thought was a good service from a highly reputable agency.

The first we knew was when our buyer dropped his asking price on the surveyor's recommendation - we obviously should have sued or otherwise sought compensation from the agent, but our circumstances at the time made it less of a priority than it should have been and we were just relieved that we sold the house quickly.

A friend in another part of the country had her beautifully-restored Victorian terraced cottage painted throughout in strong, dark colours, including the painstakingly-stripped woodwork. When she complained to the agent, they asked her to prove that this wasn't the way the house was decorated originally.

So, take photos before you let, make sure the inventory reflects the decorative state (ours did that), and keep an eye on it yourself if possible.

Sorry to be negative, it'll probably be fine for you, but either keep an eye on things yourself, or ask plenty of questions before you choose an agent.

haggis01 Sun 16-Jan-11 22:02:12

You need to give the tenant notice that you want to come see the house.
You also (from a legal point of view should anything go wrong)need permission from your mortgage lender to let the house (they may stipulate only certain types of tenants eg no DSS). Rent needs to cover at least 115% of the mortgage usually.You also need landlord insurance (for the building in case it burns down etc) again insurance is the most expensive for DSS and least for working professionals as tenants usually.You also have to get a landlords gas safety certificate each year (costs about £50 - 80 in the SE).
Agree with Goingspare agents just want your money they don't really take care over who they let to. I have used an agent for my old flat, they failed to properly take an inventory and the so called professional tenant ran up £3000 rent arrears before I lost patience and sold up. However, my next house which was near a uni was a great student rental. I used the uni accommodation office to get tenants and had no trouble whatsoever for the 5 years I rented the house
I organised repairs myself and met the students and never had any arrears.

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