Setting up the tenancy
It’s important to advertise your property through different channels to encourage potential tenants to get in touch. The local newspaper provides a section for advertising property and there are a number of websites now which you can advertise properties on – at a cost. Letting agencies also provide a tenant finder service for a fee.
The council provides a free service to landlords where we will advertise your property to people who are looking for alternative accommodation, if your property falls within an affordable rent. If you would like more information, please contact our homelessness prevention team.
Letting agents provide a service to landlords that includes marketing the property and finding tenants, carrying out checks on prospective tenants, providing the paperwork, collecting rent and managing repairs. The fees charges for these services will vary depending on what level of service you need and which agency you use.
Check in reports and inventories
Unless you are using a letting agent who is providing this service, it’s a good idea to carry out a check in inspection or inventory with the tenant. This is a record of all items including furniture that are in the property at the start of the tenancy, along with any damage that is present before the tenant moves in. It’s also helpful to take photographs of the general condition of the property.
At the end of the tenancy another inspection should be carried out with the tenant, which should be checked alongside the inventory. This reduces the risk of any disputes over deposit deductions and provides evidence should you wish to make a claim.
Setting rent levels
Setting the level of rent for your property is ultimately your decision, depending on whether you have a mortgage against the property. Check out the Local Housing Allowance levels (LINK) that the council sets in line with local rents, as well as looking at other similar types of property that are currently in the local rental market. If the rent is reasonable, you are likely to have more interest and ultimately a wider choice of tenants.
Rent can be increased during a tenancy but only at certain times and only in certain circumstances. Rent cannot normally be increased unless the tenant agrees or the tenancy agreement allows for it.
A tenancy agreement is a written or verbal contract between you and the tenant and sets out the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy and the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.
There are a number of things you might want to include in the tenancy agreement including names and addresses, the tenancy start date and length, and how much rent is to be paid. For a more comprehensive list, visit the GOV.UK website.
The National Landlord Association provides a range of templates including tenancy agreements through their free user library service.
Deposit protection – please see section on landlord rights and responsibilities
It’s important that you keep records. This might include for example, a record of rent paid; when the fixed term expires; any work carried out during the tenancy term; the details of the deposit scheme used and how to access the deposit at the end of the term.