Archives June 2020

Vetting Tenants: Why Is It So Important?

Vetting tenants is crucial. If you’re a landlord, locating the perfect tenant can make your life a lot more straightforward. The difference between getting a dependable tenant in your rented accommodation and an unreliable tenant is huge – it could even be the difference between getting a rent payment and not getting one at all. Plus, a good tenant will take care of the property, stay in contact if there is a problem (and respond to you if you contact them) and, when they leave, they’ll leave the place in exactly the condition you want them too – as evidenced by your inventory report.

Yet vetting tenants isn’t something that all landlords do. A letting agent will, of course, take on this task, but if you’re renting without using an agent, it really is so very important to carry out the right checks before allowing someone to live in your property. Of course, it’s true they might pass all the checks and still be terrible tenants, but if you don’t even try, you’ll really never know.

Vetting Tenants’ Affordability

vetting tenants

Ensuring a tenant is going to be able to pay their rent is one of the most fundamental checks that you are going to need to carry out. If tenants do not pay promptly, landlords will struggle – it’s that simple. This is a business, and without an income that business will fail. If you have a mortgage to pay, then it becomes even more difficult when tenants don’t pay. Confirming a tenant is able to afford to spend their rent is a sensible step, and ideally you want to be looking at an income that is around 2.5 times the rent.

Payslips are the best way to gauge just want income is coming in, and asking for a reference from an employer shouldn’t be a problem either. A bank statement is going to give you plenty of information, as will knowing what rent they are currently paying. Taking all of this into account, you can work out how well a tenant can afford your rent.

Credit Checks

Landlords can often balk when they think about getting credit checks done. However, it is viral when vetting tenants. If a tenant has endured financial issues, it might influence a landlord’s decision about them. It might be that the economic challenges are actually in the past, with the applicant currently being in a stronger economic position now, in which case there will be proof of that. Either way, it’s important to know.


vetting tenants

Contacting the tenant’s last landlord and asking for a reference about them is yet another sensible approach for landlords. If a tenant has triggered other landlord’s troubles, you might not want to risk them doing the same to you. There might be reasons the applicant had trouble with a particular landlord, and of course, you can dig deeper and find out the whole story, but again, the more information you can gather when vetting tenants the better. Yes, it will take you longer, yes it will cost you more, but the cost and the time and energy it will take if you don’t carry out these checks and something does go wrong will be much worse.

If you are a landlord looking for assistance in locating and vetting tenants and you don’t want to do it yourself, your best option is to find a good letting agent to help you. For peace of mind, it’s worth it.

Renting With A Pet – More Want The Option

There has been a massive jump in enquiries for pet-friendly rental properties. Requests are currently up by fifty percent on usual levels. And it’s all down to the coronavirus pandemic. But is renting with a pet going to become any easier?

renting with a pet

Or rather, it’s lockdown that has caused the trend. People have been lonely, and have either got a pet or at least thought about getting one, the delay perhaps being that they cannot have one right now due to their landlord not allowing it. So, wanting a pet or having one already, and the larger numbers thinking in this way, means that the next property these tenants are going to be looking for should take pets. Hence the increase.

As lots of people, as well as their companies, have realised that they are able to work at home, and companies are actually considering ways for home working to be normalised, folks are actually reassessing if it’s feasible for them to get a pet. This means an increased need for pet-friendly rental properties. Landlords will discover in the coming weeks and months that they might well have to adjust and review their policies if they would like to let their property quickly, or even at all. Renting with a pet is becoming the new normal and landlords must be aware of this change.

Why Not Pets?

The worry for virtually all landlords is that pets result in much more daily wear and tear than individuals on their own. That said, folks with pets will generally remain in the exact same spot for more time, so they can help to reduce the danger of a landlord having to keep looking for new tenants. It might be a better option all round.

With regards to decorating, carpets are a lot more apt to show harm than a wooden floor. Laminate is actually cheaper to install and tougher to scratch, although a scratch on a hardwood floor is easier to repair.

renting with a pet

So the answer here is simple; don’t have carpeting, have hard flooring instead. If the tenant wants to add a rug for additional comfort, that’s their choice, but at least your carpets won’t be ruined by their pet, and you can let the property much more quickly.

Other adaptations to look at for those renting with a pet would be very simple modifications like a cat flap. Either install one yourself, or allow the tenants to if they want to. Plus, you may decide to upgrade your end of tenancy procedures around cleaning, for instance, and having an inventory done as well as a proper check-out will help immensely when it comes to determining if any damage has been done.

Remember To Advertise The Fact Of Renting With A Pet…

If you decide to allow pets, be sure you update listings right away to maximise the chance of you getting the right tenant. If you make sure to advertise the fact that you accept pets, you’ll certainly get a lot more interest, and certainly more than those who says no pets or don’t mention pets at all, forcing the potential tenants to enquire.

renting with a pet

The Tenancy Agreement

Landlords are within their rights to include things like an understanding in your agreement about trying to keep the property thoroughly clean, or perhaps covering the costs of a one off deep clean at the conclusion of the agreement. You should think about a larger deposit to cover any more potential damage, or perhaps increase the amount of interim inspections you have carried out.

Any stipulation surrounding renting with a pet have to be agreed by both parties at the start of the tenancy.

You’ve Inherited A House: Should You Sell Or Rent It Out?

So you’ve inherited a house and now you don’t know what to do with it. There are three different options open to most people – they can either sell it, rent it out and become ‘accidental landlords’, or move into it themselves. Depending on the location and the potential tax issues, this last point just might not be suitable, and most people opt for either renting it or selling it. But which is the better option? Which one is going to help you the most?

The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong in this situation. There is no definitive path to take. The choice you make is going to be entirely dependent on your own situation, your finances, your needs, your thoughts. But to help you to get to a point where you can make an informed decision, Looksy Inventories has listed out a few of the pros and cons of both selling and renting – this might help you if you’ve come to an impasse.

Renting It Out: Pros

  • Security

If your house is empty and you put it on the market, it can – not always, granted, but sometimes – become something of a magnet for burglars and squatters. If someone is living in the property, this is much less of a problem, and it is therefore kept more secure.

inherited a house
  • Money

If you have tenants in the property then you will be making money (let’s assume there is no mortgage left and you’ve not had to take it over for now – that’s a different kettle of fish and something that can cause a lot of problems, so it’s best to get advice from a mortgage expert if that is your situation). The rent you get each month can go towards the upkeep of the property, but it can also be seen as extra income for you. Bonus time. Plus, if the property is empty between tenants you won’t still have a mortgage to cover so as long as you treat your rental income as additional to and not instead of your day job, you won’t have to worry about it.

  • You Can Still Sell

Even if you choose to rent the property out to begin with, if you don’t like the experience of being a landlord you can still sell later on, once the tenancy agreement is up, for example. If you’ve sold, that’s it – no second chances.

Renting It Out: Cons

  • Trusted Tenants?

If the property you have inherited is a place you know and perhaps even love, maybe somewhere you have happy memories of childhood, you might be reluctant to let someone else move in. If you’re going to be constantly worried that your tenant isn’t taking care of the property in the way you’d like, it’s just going to cause more stress than anything else.

  • Cost

It’s true, if you have inherited a house you’ll be getting a monthly rental income for the property, but there will be outgoings too. Insurance, regular maintenance, a letting agent if you go down the fully managed route, repairs (sometimes urgent ones), and so on all need to be factored into the cost. How much money are you really going to make? Is it going to be worth it?

inherited a house
  • Legislation

If you decide to become a landlord, even if it’s not something you ever considered before, there are in excess of 150 pieces of legislation to abide by. Happy reading!

Selling It: Pros

  • Money

Of course, the biggest ‘pro’ when it comes to selling the property is that you’ll get a good few thousand – probable a few hundreds of thousand – in your pocket after all the fees have been paid. The property will be someone else’s to enjoy, and you’ll have an inheritance you can really put to good use.

  • Memories

Again, if you have inherited a house and the property is something sentimental to you, you will be able to remember it just as it was, without having to change anything for a tenant, or have a tenant make changes themselves. Even if you give them permission to do it, the property still won’t be how it was anymore, and this can be upsetting.

Selling It: Cons

  • It can take an exceptionally long time to sell a property, in some cases over a year. And even when the property is sold, completion can come a long time after exchange, adding even more months to something that has taken an age already. If you’re relying on the money from the property to do something for yourself, you may have to put those plans on hold. If you’re renting the property out, you’ve got money coming in straight away, albeit a smaller amount than you would get in one shot when selling.
inherited a house
  • Although you might tell yourself it’s just a house and that you shouldn’t get attached to it, this is what human beings do – we do attach ourselves to places and things, so selling the family home can be utterly heartbreaking, and it often comes with a lot of guilt, even if that guilt doesn’t actually make any sense at all.

As you can see, there is absolutely no right or wrong here when you have inherited a house. It’s the situation that suits you, and the one you feel happiest with. If you do choose to rent out your property, don’t forget that an inventory should be carried out by experts before anyone moves in, to keep both you and the tenant covered.

Why Renting Is Better Than Buying… No, Really!

Renting is more popular in the UK now than in the previous ten years. In 2017, 4.5 million households were living in rented accommodation, in contrast to 2.8 million a decade prior. It’s obvious from that leap that there tend to be more of us favouring the simplicity of renting a house instead of saving for a hefty deposit in order to own one. So, even though many have aspirations to get on the property ladder, it is evident that for some being a tenant is actually a far more appealing option.

In the event that you are presently renting and would like to know why this might be better for you than purchasing, below are several top reasons why it can make good sense to stay put.


Freedom and Flexibility to Move

Whether you are a first time buyer or you are buying your next property, dealing with the property market can easily be a long, hectic process. Keeping the freedom to move around without needing to be concerned about being a part of a chain or even being gazumped at the final second is actually a significant draw for renters.

Don’t Limit Your Life

As a tenant, you have a specific idea of just how long you are able to remain at the property, and that means you are able to simply begin searching for alternative accommodation if you don’t wish to renew the tenancy at your current place. This can be particularly advantageous as you are able to relocate to a completely different area, city, or perhaps country when your agreement comes to an end with no hassle (apart from the general hassle of moving house, that is!).

Sometimes, you may be in a position to end your contract early which adds yet another degree of flexibility. Should your circumstances change and also you have to move on fast, this is especially helpful; if you were tied into a mortgage it might be impossible.

No Mortgage to Pay

A mortgage is an enormous debt. Actually, it is probably the biggest debt you’ll ever take out and it takes decades to pay off in most cases. If a homeowner has to miss a payment, their credit will be negatively affected, and they might even lose their homes.

While there are repercussions to think about if you stop paying your rent, like the risk of eviction, you’ve much more chance to search for rental properties at a price tag that fits your income should your circumstances change. An understanding landlord will be helpful too, but either way, if you lose your job or have to take time off, it’s much simpler to keep going when you rent.

Mortgage Payments

As a tenant, your rent is set by the landlord. If they want to increase it, you can choose to stay and pay or leave. It’s simple. If you have a mortgage, the repayments are affected by interest rates and if the interest rates rise and the payment increases, you are tied into paying the more expensive mortgage. You can look around for a better deal, but this can be costly due to arrangement fees, and you might even have to deal with an early repayment fee too.

Less Work For Renters

Being a homeowner would mean you’ve responsibilities towards the property you own and these can be costly. Everything from ensuring the roof is in good repair to checking out the boiler is in working order are issues you need consider.

Renters, on the other hand, are not accountable for the upkeep of the property in the same way. You do still need to be careful with the property – remember, it’s your home but it’s the landlord’s house – but any major repairs should be dealt with by the landlord, unless your tenancy says otherwise.

Renting Is Lower Cost

The price of moving home as a homebuyer is pricey. With estate agents costs, legal costs, stamp duty as well as removal expenses you can very easily be taking a look at a good few thousand on top of the deposit you had to save up for.

When you start a new tenancy, there will be a five week deposit plus the first month’s rent, and that’s about it apart from hiring a removal company too. Much, much cheaper.

Why Do You Need An Inventory Clerk?

Have you ever stopped to think how just a few small things – or one larger thing – can make a difference? It can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. It can be the difference between success and failure. When you’re a landlord or a tenant, it can be the difference between an easy end of tenancy and a difficult one. The inventory clerk can make it a simpler process for everyone.

Think of it this way; if there is a ripped carpet, a marked wall, a broken window, or any number of ‘small’ issues with the way a property is left after a tenant has moved out, it will clearly have an impact on their deposit. That is what the deposit is there for, after all. It’s a bond which will be paid back if the tenant has left the property in a satisfactory condition. If not, the deposit can be used to pay for repairs and cleaning. It’s a good system which helps both tenant and landlord when used in the right way.

Yet it can also, clearly, be problematic. In order to minimise (and ideally eliminate) any arguments, a professional inventory clerk can be hired to carry out an inventory of the property. In this way, it is quick and easy to see at a glance what damage the tenant caused, and what they inherited when they moved in.  

inventory clerk

What Is An Inventory Clerk?

An inventory clerk is a highly skilled individual who makes in depth notes relating to the contents and condition of a property before it’s let to a tenant. An inventory clerk may also conduct mid-tenancy inspections on a property, and return once the residency has ended so as to match the current property condition to the initial condition as stated in the inventory. Ultimately, the return of a tenant’s complete deposit is going to relate to the condition of the property once the tenant leaves, excluding standard wear and tear.

A property owner commonly asks for a deposit to be paid by new tenants, usually the equivalent of five week’s rent. That deposit is kept in a tenancy deposit scheme (an official one, of course) until the renter leaves the property.

Why An Inventory?

An inventory, carried out by an experienced inventory clerk, is in the best interests of both the owner and also the tenant. This ensures that there are fewer problems once a tenant leaves the property, as all aspects of the property are noted in the inventory report. These reports should be read and signed by the tenant and landlord on the day that the tenant moves in. This shows both parties what the current condition of the property is, and of both parties agree, should anything be different when it comes time for the tenant to move out, it is easy to point out and detail with.

The inventory report can list everything that’s within the property as well as the condition. This can include heating appliances, extractor fans, cupboards, plug sockets, door frames, smoke detectors, curtains or blinds, flooring, light fittings, walls, ceiling and doors.

inventory clerk

In addition to those fittings and fixtures, any piece of furniture that belongs to the owner should be mentioned, in addition to descriptions of their condition. It is very important that any marks, chips, or damage are reported in the inventory to confirm that the tenant isn’t accountable for any damage when they move out.

Looksy’s inventory reports also will include utility readings: electricity, water and gas.  The report should contain plenty of photographs as proof of what is being noted.

For landlords, hiring an inventory clerk saves you time and prevents future problems. An expert service ensures that everything is noted in the report, and you gain peace of mind. As an inventory clerk is freelance and unbiased (or should be), they’re going to be able to look at the property objectively.  

For more advice and to book an inventory, please get in touch with us today.

Changing The Locks On A Rented Property: Who Is Responsible?

Landlords and tenants alike have to be careful when it comes to changing the locks on a rented property. Although the landlord might own the property (or at least have a mortgage on it) they are renting out, they have to aware that this is someone’s home, and that the person living there has a right to feel safe and secure. Tenants are, in fact, granted a ‘right for quiet enjoyment of their rented property’.

Equally, although the tenant lives in the property and calls it home, they have to understand that, ultimately, it belongs to someone else, and that someone else – the landlord – must be in control of the property.

This means that, apart from in a few situations and usually with the tenant’s permission, the landlord can’t change the locks in the property and vice versa.

So just when can the landlord or tenant get away with changing the locks on a rented property? Read on to find out.

Changing The Locks On A Rented Property Between Tenants

The ideal time for a landlord to carry out changing the locks on a rented property is in between tenants. Despite the fact that the rental agreement may well have said that no copies of keys should be made, it could be that this has happened, and that keys have been given to friends and family members, cleaners, contractors, or anyone else who might have needed to access the property when the tenant wasn’t home.

changing the locks on a rented property

The fact that the tenant has moved out should mean that none of these people need to use the keys anymore, and ideally they will either be handed to the letting agent or inventory clerk at check out, or disposed of.

Yet sometimes this doesn’t happen. And to be on the safe side, and to ensure your new tenants are completely safe and secure, it’s a good idea to change the locks. Everyone’s happy, there can be no issues, and you have control over how many keys there are again (for now, at least).

Changing The Locks On A Rented Property If Keys Are Lost

What should a landlord do if a tenant loses their key and can’t get into the house? In most cases, they don’t need to do anything – the tenant will need to fork out for a new lock and they will also need to inform the landlord. Sometimes this just can’t be helped; if the tenant needs to get inside because they’ve lost their key or locked themselves out and they’ve exhausted all other options, there is nothing else to be done.

In this case, it will be down to the tenant to organise changing the locks on a rented property, and they will need to pay for it too.

What If There Has Been A Break In?

If someone has broken into a property changing the locks should be a priority. The lock itself might be damaged so that the property is longer secure, or the thieves might have stolen keys (or have a key) enabling them to return… either way, changing the locks on a rented property if there has been a break in is essential.

changing the locks on a rented property

But who is responsible?

Well, this one is going to depend on the circumstances. If the lock or door was damaged during the burglary, it is most likely to be the landlord’s responsibility to fix the damage and change the lock at the same time – and this is probably going to be covered by insurance. If there was no damage (or if the door had been left unlocked, for example), it is probably down to the tenant to deal with.

This is why it’s important to have a good relationship between the tenant and the landlord so that, should any issues occur, they can quickly be discussed and a course of action decided on.

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