Q. I’m thinking of investing in a ‘buy-to-let’ property. How do I go about this?
A. Your first steps should be to speak to a financial adviser about the best buy-to-let mortgage for your needs and then you can start your property search fully informed.
To ensure a property is let quickly, it’s worth considering the area, transport links and local amenities. Why not click here to take a look at our area guides to get a feel for the areas our offices cover.
If you would like some free financial advice you can contact one of our Financial Services Advisers who have access to a number of exclusive rates that are not available on the high street.
Q. I have bought a property and would like to rent it out. What do I do next?
A. Next you need to have your property valued for rental. Please click here to complete our free Market Appraisal form and someone will be in touch with you to arrange to come and see your property. Alternatively you can contact your local Townends office who will be happy to talk through the process with you and arrange an appointment for a Market Appraisal.
Q. What do you need from me in order to market my property?
Consent to let – written permission to let from your bank, mortgage lender, Landlord or Freeholder.
Signed Terms & Conditions – we will require you to sign our Terms & Conditions in order to act on your behalf as agent.
Landlord insurance – Please ensure you have the relevant buildings & contents insurance for your property. Not all insurance policies cover buy-to-let properties, so please take the time to check this.
Keys – we will require three sets of keys to your property. This will enable us to carry out viewings and once the property is let, to provide each tenant with keys as well as retaining a set if the property is managed by Townends.
EPC – As of the 1st October 2008, all properties are required to have an Energy Performance Assessment carried out and a certificate produced, prior to being marketed.
Q. I want to ensure that my rental property meets safety standards. Can you advise me what the best practice is for this?
A. A Landlord is obligated to abide by the Fire & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. You can find further detail on these regulations in our Terms & Conditions and our staff will be happy to advise you on the simple steps you need to take to ensure that you are covered.
To make things even simpler for you, we have created a Townends Home Safety kit which contains a fire extinguisher, fire blanket, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, Portable Appliance Test (PAT) and supply and fitting of all items. This, together with a Gas Safety Record (GSR), will ensure your rental property meets all current safety standards. Please click here to find your local Townends branch and order yourself a kit today.
Q. I need to insure my rental property. Can you suggest the best people to speak to?
A. Regular home insurance isn't designed for rental properties. To ensure you are fully protected, it is recommended that you purchase Landlord Insurance, which provides the right protection and additional cover you need as standard
If you need advice or wish to hear more about the different types of Landlord insurance, click here to speak to our Financial Services team.
Q. Who will conduct viewings and do I need to be there?
A. A member of staff from your Townends branch will accompany viewings and be fully briefed on your property and your requirements. You do not need to be present for viewings if we have a set of keys for the property. Our offices are open from 8.30am to 7.00pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 6.00pm Friday and 8.30am to 5.00pm on Saturdays
Q. I need to decorate my property before tenants move in. Do you know anyone that can do this?
A. Yes, we have our own in-house maintenance company - INEX Property Solutions - who service all of our managed properties whilst also providing a range of services to external clients. INEX Property Solutions undertake a wide spectrum of work including general maintenance, GSRs, PAT testing, plumbing, gas, electrical works, and decorating through to the installation of new bathrooms and kitchens. For a free quote, please contact INEX Property Solutions on 0800 074 7172 and mention the Townends website for an exclusive discount.
Q. I would like to furnish my property before getting tenants in. Do you know anyone who can provide me with furniture?
A. Due to a number of requests from Landlords, seeking affordable yet robust furniture for their properties, we now offer Furniture by Townends. From this site you can now order a range of furniture and appliances and have delivered to your rental property.
Q. How much will it cost me to let my property?
A. This is very difficult to answer as it depends on the size of your property and the area it’s in. The easiest thing to do is to contact our specialist Landlord Advice team or your local Townends branch for more information.
Q. What is an EPC?
A. An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on the energy efficiency of your property and provides suggestions on how to improve this. All homes bought, sold or rented in England or Wales require an EPC by law.
Q. What is a Gas Safety Record?
A. A Gas Safety Record (GSR) is an annual gas safety check which must be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. The Gas Safety (installations and use) Regulations 1998 place legal duties on landlords, agents and contractors dealing with rented properties and specifies that the following items must be safe:
- Gas appliances
- Pipework leading to the appliances
- Flues from the appliance
Non compliance is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and/or a £5,000.00 fine.
Q. What is a PAT test?
A. A PAT test is a Portable Appliance Test which routinely checks electrical appliances for safety. Although not a legal requirement, the consequences should something happen can be severe and are best avoided.
Q. Can you suggest anyone that can carry out a GSR or a PAT?
A. Once you have agreed a let on your property, our Pre-Tenancy team will arrange the necessary safety checks tests for you prior to the start of the tenancy. Should you wish to carry out these tests independently, please contact INEX Property Solutions on 0800 074 7172 for more information.
Q. What is an Inventory Make and why do I need one?
A. An Inventory Make is a binding legal document, providing an accurate record of the condition and contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy. It forms part of the Tenancy Agreement between you and your tenant. It is important that everything is carefully listed in detail - including any defects - in the inventory to ensure that in the event of any disagreement when the tenant moves on you have a written record signed by both parties. The Invetory Make will be used as a reference guide at the check-in at the start of the tenancy and when the tenants check-out at the end of the tenancy.
Q. How much is the tenant's deposit and what happens to it?
A. Typically, a Tenant’s deposit is 1.5 month’s (6 weeks) rent and is payable upon commencement of the tenancy. The deposit should then be registered with a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme within 14 days. Again, Townends’ Pre-Tenancy team can arrange all of this on your behalf prior to the start of the tenancy.
Q. What checks do you carry out on tenants?
A. All of our Tenants undergo a stringent referencing process, carried out by an external referencing company, which includes a credit check, a previous Landlord reference and their current employment status (if applicable). References must be passed and on file before a Tenancy may commence. As a Landlord, you may request a copy of your tenant’s references at any time.
Q. What is Rent Guarantee?
A. Rent Guarantee is a policy that Townends offers Landlords which pays the monthly rent should your tenants fall on hard times and be unable to pay. This is something that our Pre-Tenancy team can arrange for you prior to the start of the tenancy.
Q. When can I expect to receive my rent?
A. All rents are payable by the Tenant and will be paid on the dates agreed in your Tenancy Agreement. If you have chosen our rent demand/managed service, all of the financial aspects are handled by Townends and, in turn, remitted to you.
Q. Why are you withholding tax from my rental income?
A. We are legally obligated to retain tax from any rental income that is payable to a landlord who is based overseas. The only exception is when a landlord has received a tax exemption certificate from the Inland Revenue and Townends are in receipt of this.
Q. What happens if my tenants don’t pay their rent?
A. Townends has a dedicated Rent Arrears team who monitor the rental payments of all of our Managed and Rent Demand properties. A delay in payment triggers contact with the tenants to ascertain the reasons behind this and a process to recover rent.
Q. If I have chosen the managed service, how does it work when repairs need to be made at my property?
A. Our team of expert property managers are on hand to respond to tenants when there is a maintenance issue. We will then contact you to share this information and agree a suitable course of action. As a managed client, you and your tenant will also benefit from our "out of hours" dedicated phone number for any emergency situations.
Q. What is a Maintenance Reserve and why do I need one?
A. A maintenance reserve is a sum of money that we hold on your account in case emergency repairs are needed at your property.
Q. What do I do about the utilities at the property?
A. Once your property has been let, it’s down to you to terminate your existing contracts with suppliers. We do offer tenants the option to complete an ‘Energy Transfer Form’, so we can ensure that we notify the water and council tax companies of a change of occupancy and offer the choice of preferential gas and electricity suppliers.
Q. What happens at the end of the tenancy?
A. 3 months before the end of the tenancy, our specialist Renewals team will contact your tenants to see if they wish to renew the tenancy. It is at this point where rental increases can be negotiated for you. If the tenants do not wish to renew, your property will go back on market to secure some new tenants for you. Your existing tenants will then be checked out and the check-out report issued, so it can be compared with your original inventory make to see if any deductions from the deposit need to be made.
Q. What do I do if I need to make deductions from a deposit?
A. At the end of a tenancy, should you need to make deductions from the deposit the Townends Deposits team will handle all negotiations between the Tenant and yourself. Deductions must be agreed by both parties before they can be made. Clients who do not choose our managed service will, of course, liaise with their tenants directly in order to agree any deductions but our Deposits team are on hand to offer helpful advice.