Vicky Cranthorne, Office Manager from iConn Property Management writes:
Our friends from Propertyads have provided us with their top tips for Landlords – Hope you find them useful.
Top tips for landlords considering buy-to-let properties
Buy-to-let properties can be an excellent way to supplement your income or your pension, and a little research and a bit of clever property market know-how can help you make the most out of your buy-to-let property. So if you’re considering adding a little extra to your pocket each month, here are our top tips for potential landlords looking at getting into buy-to-let properties.
1. Investigate the best area for good investment Before you buy a property, you have to think about what kind of tenant you want, and where you want to buy. Your rental property doesn’t even need to be in the same city! For example, buy-to-let properties in Sheffield and Canterbury, student cities, are a great investment. Each year new students arrive to study, and each year they need additional accommodation. Investing in a student area is an excellent idea when you’re looking for almost-guaranteed income. Much like student rental properties, investing in a business-oriented city near a financial district such as Canary Wharf in London will be a costly venture, but will also help you to secure a tenant relatively easily.
2. Decorate for demand to cater to your tenants Decorate and furnish your home according to your ideal tenant’s requirements. If you’ve bought a buy-to-let property in Canterbury, for example, make sure that each bedroom is furnished with a bed and a desk to allow multiple students to rent out the rooms. A large living room and plenty of storage space in the kitchen are also preferential, so make sure you don’t clutter it up with unnecessary décor.
3. Plan for empty flats As a landlord with a buy-to-let property, it’s important that you make financial provision for empty flats. If you’re unable to find a tenant you will still need to make mortgage repayments. Make sure you have access to funds if you need to do this. Another option would be to sign with a rental agency that guarantees rentals for your flats so that you’re always covered, or take out an insurance policy that insures you against non-payment of rent during a rental agreement.
4. Write in increases to your tenancy agreements and set up a direct debit Make sure that you write in annual increase agreements in your tenancy contracts to make the most out of your rental property. Setting up a direct debit agreement will guarantee the rental income on a particular day (instead of collecting funds on different days each month when the tenant remembers to pay)
5. Protect your property with insurance Landlord’s insurance can help you protect yourself against unpaid rental, theft by tenants, or damage to a property due to tenant negligence or weather damage. A good insurance policy is a good investment when you’re in the landlord market to make money out of your buy-to-let property – especially if it is situated in a different city to your own residence
If you are looking to grow your portfolio or first time invest into the property market in the Canterbury area please contact us for free independent advice.
We have worked with iConn for a number of years during which they have let our properties in the Canterbury area. We are enjoying excellent service form the agent and the team members with speedy responses to our queries, prompt appointments and viewings and an efficient execution of referencing and contract provision. The staff are always friendly and polite which makes it a pleasure to do business on this basis.
The service I have had from iConn has been excellent.
What I rate most highly about iConn is their punctual correspondence, their ability to take the initiative in my interest, and their help with difficult problems. Monthly statements from iConn have never been late and are always well explained, particularly when there are delays in payments from tenants or additional costs due to work on the flat.
Sometimes they need to act quickly, and as I live in London, they have acted very effectively with only a quick nod from me, saving me considerable time.
A year ago, I had a difficult tenant who refused to pay rent. iConn was enormously helpful in leading me through the legal process that recovered my money. They also provide me with very helpful information regarding my tax statements, and always respond promptly.
I have had the pleasure of working with the whole team at iConn, who work together in a very efficient manner, and would recommend them strongly to anyone seeking an efficient and friendly letting agency.
My wife and I invested some money into two properties for rent almost two years ago. We had heard stories about bad tenants and the problems that could bring and so we were a little anxious. Not having any previous experience as landlords we approached iConn Property Management and we were very much assured by their professionalism.
iConn explained what was required but basically did all the work for us, including finding the right tenants, drawing up contracts and making sure we had the right insurance and safety certificates. The company regularly carry out inspections of our properties and keep us informed. In short, my wife and I can relax knowing that our properties are in good hands. We would certainly recommend iConn Property Management to anyone who has property to rent.
My experience of iConn has been very good. In comparison to the other two Agencies that I use the service provided by iConn is the best. I am able to rely on the income arriving in my bank account on time and the statement arriving in the post. I have also been alerted immediately to any maintenance needs and given good support in terms of getting quotations and then overseeing the work. I am happy to commend iConn.
I have used iConn as my letting agent for over ten years and during that time I have been delighted with the level of service I have received. Over those years I have been consistently impressed with the professionalism and expertise shown by all iConn staff. I take the view that iConn has a very clear philosophy which includes providing a service second to none. I would recommend iConn to anyone with property to rent without reservation.
We came to iConn from an agent that was always asking us to reduce rent and offering incentives to the tenants; because of this attitude we always felt that the agent was working for the tenant rather that us. We were pleasantly surprised with the complete reversal in the attitude to us with iConn. They are most professional in their attitude, but always there to help and give us advice, and nothing is too much trouble. They keep us up to date with emails and phone calls; the money side of the company is always professional and correct, which was not so our previous agents. We have never had a year when our houses are not let. Thanks to iConn we can relax and definitely get our ‘moneys worth’.
I moved to iConn after many years with another letting agent and was immediately impressed by their professionalism and set up. The team are friendly, engaging and helpful. When on the very odd occasion I have had to rise an issue or concern regarding my tenancy, it is soon resolved in an effective and efficient manner. Their communication is good and overall service is excellent. It is a world apart from the service I had received from my previous agent. Overall I am extremely content with their service, professionalism and overall letting package. I am clear they are well ahead of their competitors and have recommended them to family and other landlords as a very satisfied customer and landlord!
iConn and their predecessors have marketed our property for six years. They have always given us sound advice and Vicky Cranthorne in particular has always gone “the extra mile” to help. The new e-mail Bulletin has regular updates on matters of interest to landlords and tenants as well as more light-hearted items, which make it palatable.
We have been using iConn Property Management Ltd for the past three years. We have always found the staff incredibly helpful with all enquiries we’ve had.
They provide a very professional and friendly service. If ever we have a problem or issue it is always resolved in a matter of hours where other agencies in the past have taken much longer even to acknowledge the issue. Having built up a rapport with the staff, it makes it easier for all when looking for a new property as the team already know our likes and dislikes.
We have always received a quality service from iConn. They care about you, your situation and how you want to live, they don’t just forget about you when you sign the contract. We would recommend them to anyone looking for a Property Management / Lettings company
From the start I have been impressed with the efficiency of iConn. Tenants were found within a couple of days for our property and all matters relating to it have been dealt with efficiently and well. I would have no hesitation in using iConn again in the future.
We have used iConn Property Management since September 2007 and have been very grateful for their continued support and reliable service. We have been successful in always having our property let throughout this period. iConn have been nothing but professional in ensuring that our flat is always occupied; from advertising, organising tenant viewings, and finally agreeing contracts, iConn have also proved very helpful in organising routine maintenance and upkeep on the flat. iConn have taken the trouble out of renting our property. With a husband in the Royal Navy, two small children and living more than 100 miles away from the property their service has proved invaluable. I would have no hesitation in recommending iConn to others.
I was unhappy with their services of another agent and came across iConn. I spoke with Iris O’Connell and was very impressed with her professionalism and experience and took the decision to instruct iConn as the new Agent for the property.
In comparison to a similar level of service received elsewhere, I can honestly say that I am very confident that iConn work hard to ensure that my flat is occupied and well maintained and always seem happy to go that little bit further. I am secure in the knowledge that my flat is in “safe hands” which affords me the luxury of having a rental property that I don’t really have to worry about. They keep me regularly updated on both my flat and industry requirements/standards and endeavour to go further by providing handy hints and tips via newsletters etc. Any items that are required are fully investigated and I do feel that they try to get the best deal for me when it comes to any maintenance costs. Their fully managed service provides exactly that: a very high standard in managed service requiring very little input from me.
I couldn’t be happier with the service I receive and furthermore, the level of service has not waned or declined at all and remains at the same high standard as when I first instructed them.
I would give them the highest possible rating based on the fact that 1) I receive an impeccable service 2) I have had no reason for complaint 3) my flat is kept in good condition by tenants 4) I receive a good deal of relevant communication in a timely fashion 5) my flat is regularly occupied despite quite a high turnover of tenants 6) a pretty seamless service between rental and maintenance departments 7) they don’t have a call centre.. if I need to speak to someone about my flat I just call iConn and speak with someone that actually knows the property and finally 8) they answer their phones quickly and if the individual I need to speak to isn’t available I know that someone else can help or that the person required will get back to me in a timely fashion.
iConn definitely receive my seal of approval (and I can be a fussy customer!)
I have been using iConn in it’s various stages of development for the last fifteen years as a rental agency for my house in Canterbury. The company has been extremely professional in finding suitable tenants every year, maintaining the house in good condition and relaying problems, suggestions and legal matters promptly to me by mail and E-mail to my addresses abroad. This year my family will be returning to take up permanent residence at our Canterbury home, and I can heartily recommend the company to anyone who wishes to either rent out or rent an abode in the Canterbury area.
iConn has been my letting agent for the last 7 years and undertakes a full management service for me. I have been impressed with the efficient manner in which they have undertaken this role and the professional way they handle issues. As a ‘distant’ landlord, I rely on effective communication, timely resolution of issues whilst keeping me fully informed of developments. In each of these aspects I rate them highly. During the tenure of my agreement with iConn thus far, the accounting aspect has been first rate with rental income invariably paid on time and any missing sums urgently pursued. I very much value the relationship and look forward to it continuing for many more years.
We have 2 properties which have been let by iConn since around 2005. I only have positive words to say about iConn, the staff that we have contact with (namely Vicky) is always helpful, friendly and efficient. Any problems have been dealt with professionally and swiftly and therefore we have the utmost confidence in them. I also know that they are helpful to our tenants. We have the pick of lettings agents here in Canterbury, but as we receive such an excellent service, I have no reason to move my business elsewhere – a completely satisfied customer on all counts!
The service level of iConn in terms of professional communication on all matters from tenancy agreement, proactive property inspections, quotations for works required etc. and looking after the landlords interest as if the property is their own is better than I have experienced from any other letting agent. With iConn’s managed services package I’m confident our properties are in good hands and therefore have not had to visit our properties that are managed by them for the last 8 years.
I have a small portfolio of buy to lets and over the years I have dealt with many estate/lettings agents. The reason I have had experience of several lettings agencies is that I have invariably found that although they have initially been keen to make a good impression, their management of my properties has deteriorated over time. This has resulted in me switching agents, and so the cycle would be repeated …..until I discovered iConn.
Iris O’Connell leads a dedicated team who have managed my properties as if they were their own. They have offered sound, impartial and professional advice and competitive fees. They provide a Rolls Royce Service and I have had no hesitation in recommending them to other landlords. They most certainly deserve to win the Lettings Agency of the Year Award. Whether they win or not, they will always be Number 1 Letting Agent for me. I commend them to you.
We have been associated with iConn for four years and have found the company to be very efficient and professional. Any queries we have had have always been promptly and clearly answered. On visiting your office one is met by a warm and business-like atmosphere. It is good to know that, if one asks iConn staff to sort a problem it will be diplomatically dealt with. All communications from the company can be relied upon with confidence.
Although we are new clients of iConn Property Management we have been impressed by their knowledge of legislation governing the rental market.
Having been badly let down by our previous agent we immediately felt that iConn offered a professional and more importantly a ‘caring’ service. The advice and assistance (given free) in resolving our previous difficulties was first class and enabled a smooth transition in the takeover of our property. The staff are well versed in customer relations and provide a competent efficient and friendly service. In comparison to the services other agencies provide iConn are market leaders. We look forward to enjoying a long and happy business relationship with them
iConn Property Management have always provided a top quality service, I have let my property through them for over four years and I hope there will be many more years to come. They maintain an honest approach and always keep my informed as to the progress of letting my property. Over the four years there has never been a void period and this is down to hard working fully trained staff and quality marketing. I will certainly not be using any other agent and would recommend iConn to any Landlord.
iConn have at all times been most professional and helpful. I have had other properties which have been handled by well known agents and none has reached the high standard of service that I have had from iConn.
I was very impressed with the initial outline of the service offering from iConn which I thought was fair and reasonable. I am pleased to say that their service has enhanced our initial perception of them as a company. Everyone is extremely efficient and helpful and “things just get done” without any hassle to me at a reasonable cost. I am sure the tenants are a lot happier now we are using iConn. We recently marketed the property for next year’s intake of students and iConn filled the house quickly and organised all references to verify the tenants.
We are delighted with the service we have received to date and I wish they had an office closer to some of our other properties!
Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:
All student tenants for July 2012 to June 2013 can view a copy of the tenancy agreement which will be used for their tenancy by following the link below:
Access Codes are provided on tenants emails sent 26.03.12 but if you need them again please call our office.
Iris O’Connell, Managing Director for iConn Property Management writes:
ARLA has recently created this great article to help explain what this years budget announcements will mean to us; definately worth a read: ARLA Budget News
Sam Douglas, Accounts Co-Ordinator for iConn Property Management writes:
The Localism Act comes into force on April 6th 2012 and makes an important change to the timescale for protecting deposits.
The timescale for registering deposits and serving Prescribed Information has increased from 14 to 30 days – but the 30 days is an absolute deadline.
Our prescribed information will be updated in our current tenancy agreements and terms of business and this change will only really affect tenancies created after the 6th April but current clients may wish to take note of these changes for any future tenancies.
Vicky Cranthorne, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:
EPC legislation changes – April 2012
The DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) have proposed changes to the legislation regarding energy performance certificates (EPC’s) for properties are due to come into force on 6th April 2012. This is the legislation that was originally due to be implemented last October but was subsequently delayed and revised.
In simple terms it will mean that instead of just advertising the graph images on the property advert we will need to include the first two pages instead. It will mean that we must hold the full certificate on file for the property and not just the numbers on the graph. It is also mentioned that the EPC graphs must now cover any outbuildings included in the tenancy and not just the main property.
Key points in the new legislation:
- This only applies to properties coming to market after 6th April.
- The current asset ratings (EPC graphs) are no longer applicable in isolation. They are to be replaced by the first page of the new style EPC (typically an A4 document which contains the graphs and additional information).
- The EPC legislation is extended to apply to non-residential and rental transactions.
- Where property marketing does not include the full property address the legislation does allow for the address to be redacted in the EPC used for marketing purposes. It is still required on the full EPC document. NB. Although this is clearly indicated in the legislation, there is currently debate as to whether this only applies to commercial properties.
- Note: At this time of writing the format of the revised EPC is still subject to approval and release by DCLG.
- Further to this, we have gained confirmation that:
- The EPC does not have to be an integral part of the printed particulars. It can be provided as an attachment or insert.
- If sending details electronically as an attachment, the EPC can be provided via a clickable url.
For the majority of clients this is not a major issue they will need to be concerned with and more impacts the way the agent advertises but we will advise all clients who the legislation effects.
The guarantor documents need to be signed and returned to our office by the 1st April 2012.
*Applicants those guarantors are based abroad – the forms have been emailed to your guarantor – please ensure they have received them ok and if not please call our office to update their details if a new email address is required.
They are very important as your tenancy can not proceed without a signed agreement in place; please speak with your guarantors to check they have received the documents safely and to remind them of the deadline date. (If your guarantor has already returned their agreement please ignore this message but you may want to check with your other housemates to make sure all theirs are back also)
Once all agreements are received for your tenancy we will issue your pre-start pack. This will invite you to come into the office to sign and complete your new tenancy.
Without all guarantor agreements being received we are unable to proceed to this point.
If you have any problems or questions in the meantime then please contact me either on the office number.
Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:
It’s been a busy few weeks in the office and the rush for student properties in Canterbury has increased; We are now down to the last 15 student properties available. The smaller sized properties seem to have been the most popular this year; we have 1 one bedroom property left which is a spacious one bed cottage in a central location in Canterbury – ideal for single occupation or for a couple. We also have only 1 5 bed property left which is based close to Christchurch university – the landlord includes broadband in the rental which is a great benefit for the tenants. The interior is modern and the kitchen includes a dishwasher and a tumbledryer as well as the usual white goods.
For those who are still looking to secure their accomodation in Canterbury for next year I have listed the available properties below: (as of 24.02.12) You can also visit this following link to see the most up to date list http://www.iconnproperties.co.uk/search.php?town_postcode=&searchtype=student&search.x=16&search.y=11.
Iris O’Connell M.A.R.L.A, Managing Director for iConn Property Management, Canterbury writes:
Domestic electrical condition report & fire alarm certificate for domestic dwellings BS5839 PART 6.
Under health and safety requirements; it is obligatory that all Houses of Multiple Occupation are required to have the electrical installation checked at least every three years (depending on the condition and age of the electrical installation, some properties may need more frequent inspections) The Domestic Condition report will include lighting provision and its condition, socket-outlet provision and its condition, automatic fire detection and its condition and electrical hazards for fixed wiring. Please note the element including the Fire Alarm certificate is only valid for one year.
It is only inevitable that overtime and with the wear and tear of regular use, electrical installations will start to deteriorate. Connections can work loose (a potential fire hazard) sockets can be over loaded and general maintenance or building work can damage and effect wiring.
You may find that after having the electrical system in your property inspected that some remedial works may be necessary to bring the system up to date which will be charged separately to the report fee.
The cost of the condition report which includes the fire alarm certificate will be between £140.00 to £225.00 Inc vat; the actual price is determined on the day by the size of the property and the number of rooms.
For further information or advice on Landlords requirements for Letting a property then please call us on 01227 782040. You can also visit our website which includes a section for Landlords advice and FAQs: http://www.iconnproperties.co.uk/landlord_information.php