Summer is undoubtedly the busiest time in the Cambridge Lettings market and if you are considering letting your property, now is the time to get ready.
Typically, from around about now until the Autumn is classed as the ‘peak season’ to let your property, with some of the highest rents being achieved in the summer months. Families are needing to complete school applications, so want to have tenancy agreements in place for the local schools, new job offers to coincide with the academic year and, in general, the opportunities that Cambridge has to offer with the likes of Microsoft, Astra Zeneca, Addenbrookes Hospital to name a few, means there is lots of movement in and around the city. On top of this, there isn’t anything like Christmas to distract people and the brighter days make every home look more appealing!
You will want to call a Letting Agent out to have a look at the property and to give you a rental valuation, so you know what sort of rent is achievable. Any good agent will be able to give you guidance on the following, but as a starting point, here are a few things to bear in mind before setting the wheels in the motion.
01. Mortgage Do you have a buy-to-let mortgage on the property? If not, you will need to speak to your mortgage provider and ask them for their consent to let.
02. Insurance Your insurance provider will be able to advise you on the different packages available to meet your specific requirements with regards to Landlord’s insurance.
03. Overseas Are you letting your property out because you are moving overseas? If you live abroad for six months or more per year, you’re classed as a ‘non-resident landlord’. You will need to register with HMRC for an NRL1 approval number in order to receive the gross rental income from your Agent. Without this, the Agent, or Tenant, will be legally required to deduct basic rate tax from the rent (after allowing for any expenses). For more information: https://www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad/rent
04. Contingency Fund You won’t ever be able to let a property out without spending a little bit of money first, whether it be on having the relevant safety certificates completed or giving the property a lick of paint to remove furniture marks from the walls, so it’s a good idea to set aside a contingency fund.
05. Furnishings You will need to decide whether or not you will be letting your property furnished or unfurnished. In either case, Tenants would generally expect to have white goods provided. If you decide to leave furniture, then any items would need to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations. If you offer your property furnished then this does not automatically mean that you will achieve a higher rent. I would strongly advise that you avoid offering the property part-furnished, as something that works for one tenancy hardly ever works for the next.
06. Decorating If you are going to be decorating the property, I would recommend keeping things neutral. This way, it gives a blank canvas and people won’t need to worry about how to match their furniture to your style. It also makes it easier, and cheaper, if touch ups are ever required.
07. Garden If you have a particularly large garden, or are a keen gardener yourself and have lots of lovely beds that need maintaining, it might be worth considering including a gardener in the let. As hard as they may try, not all Tenants have green fingers!
After considering the above, now is a great time to call an Agent out for a valuation and for further advice. Remember that a lot of Tenants have notice periods, so you ideally need to market your property in advance.