Renting out an empty property

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					Renting out an
empty property
           020 8430 2000
Your empty property

Renting out an                        A guaranteed right to get your
                                      property back
empty property                        If you let your property to a tenant the
                                      tenancy is normally an assured
Is it worth it?
                                      shorthold tenancy unless you agree
A property which could be let out
                                      otherwise in writing. This means that
and is lying vacant represents
                                      you are guaranteed to get your
considerable lost income for its
                                      property back if you follow the correct
owner. Just how much can be
                                      procedures. For further details see
earned a month can be seen from
                                      the Communities and Local
looking in letting agents’ windows
                                      Government leaflet Letting Your
or searching their websites. Any
                                      Home, which you can download
rent can be used to offset costs
such as mortgage payments,
council tax, repairs and insurance.

For an owner who does not wish to
sell a vacant property, letting
usually makes good financial
sense. However you should always
check how rental income will affect
your tax and benefits.

Income tax                                 The position can be more
When you receive rental income             complicated if you decide to rent to
you need to submit a self                  a group of people who are not
assessment tax return to HM                related or let rooms or parts of the
Revenue and Customs (HMRC).                property out to different tenants.
Normally the rent that you receive         Shared houses or flats are referred
is subject to tax. However you can         to as houses in multiple occupation
also claim expenses such as letting        (HMOs). You are advised to contact
agents’ fees, accountants and              the council’s Private Sector Housing
solicitors costs. More information         Group or refer to their page on
about tax can be obtained from    for details of
the HMRC website                           special rules and requirements that                            may apply in such cases.

Most building societies and banks
make it a condition of their loan or
mortgage that the property cannot
be let out without their permission.
If you have a loan or mortgage on
the property you should contact
your lender before renting it out.

You do not normally need
permission from the council if you
want to let a flat or house to a family,
a single individual or a couple.

                                                        Tel no. 020 8430 2000 3
Your empty property

Insurance                           Agents’ fees often range from 10
You should contact your insurance   per cent to 15 per cent depending
company to ensure that you have     on whether you require a full
suitable cover for letting your     management service or not. It pays
property out.                       to contact several agents to
                                    compare the level of service
The advantages of using a letting   provided and the fees charged.
agent                               You are advised to check that the
Many owners let their properties    agent belongs to the Association of
privately without using a letting   Residential Letting Agents (ARLA),
agent. However there are some       the National Association of Estate
advantages to using one.            Agents (NAEA), the Royal Institution
                                    of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or
They can:                           the Property Ombudsman
•	 market	the	property              Scheme. You should obtain written
•	 organise	viewing                 confirmation of the services to be
•	 get	references                   provided by an agent and their
•	 prepare	tenancy	agreements       charges before signing any
•	 manage	the	property	(optional)   contract with them.
•	 take	care	of	maintenance		 	

Landlord, tenant and agents responsibilities
Below are listed typical responsibilities for owners, agents and tenants.
Some are legally binding. The service provided by the agents should be
clearly set out in writing in their terms and conditions. The tenants’
responsibilities should be detailed in the tenancy agreement.

 Landlord              Tenants                      Agent
 •	 repairs            •	 pay	deposit               •	 credit	references
 •	 safety		    	      •	 pay	rent                  •	 employers	checks
    requirements       •	 pay	council	tax           •	 previous	landlord		 	
 •	 insurance          •	 pay	water,	gas,	     	       checks
 •	 ground	rent           electricity, telephone,   •	 tenancy	agreement
                          TV, council tax, etc      •	 deposit
                       •	 return	property	in		 	    •	 deposit	guarantee			
                          reasonable condition         scheme
                                                    •	 inventory	checks

Landlords have to keep their property in a safe condition which does not
present a health risk to their tenants. This is governed by a new housing
health and safety rating system (HHSRS). Furniture needs to comply with
fire safety regulations and electrical equipment needs to comply with
electrical safety regulations. Gas safety checks also need to be carried out
once a year. All deposits have to be covered by an approved rent deposit
guarantee scheme.

                                                      Tel no. 020 8430 2000 5
Your empty property

Make your property attractive             Leasing to the council or a
to tenants                                housing association
Try and make your property                It may be possible to lease your
attractive to tenants. A basic            property to the council or a
makeover to freshen and clean it          housing association who then
up may be all that is necessary. If       arrange the tenancies and
you’re redecorating select neutral        management of the house or flat.
colours that don’t make the interior      Whether the council or housing
look drab. Ensure that any                associations want to lease
necessary repairs are carried out. If     properties varies from time to time.
you’re letting a property furnished,
don’t over clutter. Remember that         The council requires that properties
the more attractive your property is      leased to them are in reasonable
the quicker you’ll be able to let it at   repair and have fairly modern
the rent you want.                        facilities. Properties are leased
                                          through agents appointed by the
How much to charge                        council. For contact details consult
You can get a good idea by                the council’s website.
comparing your property with              There are a number of housing
similar ones being marketed by            associations which operate in
local letting agents. The Valuation       Newham. A list of these together
Office Agency sets a local housing        with their contact details can be
allowance for different sized             obtained from the Tenant Services
properties in the area. This is used      Authority’s website –
to determine what housing benefit
is paid to eligible tenants.

Landlord Accreditation Scheme         Where can I get more information?
The Newham Landlord                   There are numerous books giving
Accreditation Scheme is based on      advice and information on letting
the principle of self certification   properties. Examples of these are:
backed up by investigation of         Renting and Letting (‘ Which? ‘
alleged breaches. Accredited          Essential Guides) by Kate Faulkner
landlords receive a certificate and   and Renting out Your Property for
are able to use the logo in their     Dummies (UK second edition) by
publicity work. Further details of    Melanie Bien. Details of many more
membership benefits can be            books can be found on websites
obtained from the council’s           such as Amazon and WH Smith.
                                      On the web
The Bond Scheme                       For more information on everything
The Bond Scheme is Newham’s           in this leaflet, as well as a
rent deposit guarantee scheme.        comprehensive list of links for
A bond certificate is issued to       useful websites and organisations,
landlords as security deposit         please visit the Newham website –
against malicious damage to 
properties by tenants                 privatesectorhousing/
recommended to them by                emptyproperties
Newham Council.

                                                   Tel no. 020 8430 2000 7
Your empty property

For more information about empty
properties please call the Private
Sector Housing Team on 020 3373 1950 or
Alternatively you can visit any of our local
service centres at the locations listed below:

Beckton        1 Kingsford Way,       Forest Gate    4-20 Woodgrange
               Beckton, E6 5JQ                       Road, Forest Gate,
                                                     E7 0QH
Canning Town 3 Beckton Road,
             Canning Town,            Green Street   403-405 Green
             E16 4DT                                 Street, Upton Park,
                                                     E13 9AU
Docklands      4 Pier Parade, Pier
               Road, North            Manor Park     685-689 Romford
               Woolwich, E16 2LJ                     Road, Manor Park,
                                                     E12 5AD
East Ham       Town Hall Annexe,
               330-354 Barking        Stratford      112-118 The Grove,
               Road, East Ham,                       Stratford, E15 1NS
               E6 2RT


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