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Letting Out Property: What Do I Need to Know?

Property: it’s life’s biggest investment. And for those who have bought property with the intention of letting it out to others, there’s no denying that things can get tricky. With a whole host of landlord laws and regulations, tenants’ rights, and the complications of contracts, it can be difficult to know where to start – which is why we’ve put together our handy guide on how to go about letting out your property…

The first thing to look at is the state of the property itself – is it in a liveable condition? It is vital, particularly if the property has not been occupied for some time, to go through each room and check its condition. Ensure that there are no draughts in windows, no damp issues and that all appliances and white goods are in proper working order. A clean, tidy and well-ventilated property will be snapped up far quicker, and will also help to prevent any future tenant disputes.

The next step to getting your property on the lettings market is to get a valuation – speak to a reputable letting agent with established knowledge of the local area, and you will get a fair and honest valuation of how much your property is worth in rent. If you’d like a free, no-obligation valuation, just contact our team!

Never underestimate the importance of inventories – the more thorough and rigorous the better! Note down the state of all appliances, white goods, furniture, curtains, cupboards, carpets, doors and windows – leave nothing un-noted. Ideally invest in a video inventory, which will help to prevent any disagreements over written notes of condition, but a second-best option is photos: take photos of whole rooms, and close ups of any objects which could be a cause of debates, such as items which already have some wear and tear.

Another legality to remember when thinking of renting out your property is deposit schemes. In accordance with UK laws, all landlords with tenants on an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common type of tenancy) must keep tenant deposits in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme – you cannot hold the deposit yourself. This could be with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These third-party deposit schemes are in place for tenant protection – in case of deposit disputes (for example, over rent arrears or damage to the property), the scheme holds the deposit safely until resolved.

As well as deposit laws, there are an incredible number of landlord laws and regulations, and it’s vital to swat up on these! Learn how much notice you have to legally give your tenants before entering the property, and for what reasons you are allowed to enter. You must learn everything from the rights tenants have in terms of living standards, to the correct way to serve an eviction notice (commonly known as a Section 21 notice). If you let property in Wales, it is now becoming law that all landlords must be certified with Rent Smart Wales – a course filled with all of the information needed by landlords to safely and legally rent their property, with a test at the end. Even if your property is not located in Wales, it’s a great way to learn about all of the landlord laws in one place.

If you have any questions about becoming a landlord or letting out your property, get in touch with our friendly teams who will be more than happy to help!

Top Tips for Moving House With Pets

The prospect of moving house is so exciting: it’s a brand new chapter in your life.  Everything is planned to perfection, right from the labelling of moving boxes (maybe?) to telling all your family and friends.  However, you’ve not been able to sit down with your furry friends and explain to them that their world is about to change!

On the run up to the move you may want to check your cats and dogs into a cattery or kennel so that you know they’re safe and not distressed by all the upheaval in the house.  The best thing is to base your plans on their personalities, if they’re confident and relaxed then you have no reason to worry about them on moving day.  What about if they’re not?

Your pets may struggle being in a new house that doesn’t have their own scent, and this could affect how safe they feel.  Blue Cross recommend taking a cloth and rubbing it gently over your dog or cat’s face and then transferring their scent onto walls or furniture.  This will help give them a sense of familiarity and keep them calm.  ADAPTIL diffuser plugs can have a calming effect on your dog and create a nurturing environment in your new home.  It would be useful to have it in a room that your dog spends most of their time in.  Feliway is the equivalent for cats and it contains a synthetic copy of natural cat pheromones which will make your cat feel more comfortable in their new environment.

With cats being more independent than dogs you may need to keep an eye on them when letting them outside.  If you haven’t moved far away, you can the run the risk of your cat picking up old routes and finding a way back to your old house.  To be on the safe side, keep your inquisitive feline indoors until they are more settled.  It would also be useful to update your contact details on your pet’s microchip so if they go walkabout, you’ll be able to locate them.

If you’re travelling further away to your new home and you know your pet isn’t a good traveller it would be worth popping into your vet for a chat about ways to help.  Vets can prescribe drugs that’ll combat travel sickness making for a stress-free journey.

When taking your dog for a walk in your new neighbourhood, keep them on an extendable lead, so that they have a chance to explore.  This is the perfect way to help your dog acclimatise to their new surroundings.  To make sure they have positive associations with your new house, give them plenty of attention (they won’t complain)! Give them a meal routine, plenty of playtime and grooming during exercise and at home.

If you keep your pet content and happy in their new home they’re less likely to pine for their old one.  It will most definitely make your own transition a lot more smooth sailing.

 

Footsteps Through Cheshire

It’s the start of the summer, and what better time than to soak up the scenery of Cheshire and go on one of the many walks that this beautiful county has to offer? We’ve picked our top three rambles to take in the glory of the Cheshire countryside…

Cheshire has walks to suit all ages and abilities, but if you’re feeling particularly motivated the Sandstone Trail is worth a try: one of the most popular long distance walks in the North West.  The trail looks out over the beautiful scene of the Cheshire plain and it has recently been extended, so that you can now walk into the towns of Frodsham and Whitchurch for a well-deserved tea break!

For a more challenging walk why not sample the stunning views of Cheshire’s Peak District on the Gritstone Trail.  There are three sections of the walk which can each easily be walked in a day.  The trail itself stretches from all the way from Disley to Kidsgrove and features the parkland landscape of the stunning Lyme Park, which has its own claim to fame: did you know that it was used in the filming of Pride and Prejudice?  Along the way, you’ll find plenty of pubs, cafes and shops so you can be sure you’re well-rested before you continue your adventure.

For a challenging but rewarding adventure, the walk to White Nancy above Bollington is accompanied by rolling hills and small pockets of woodland.  White Nancy is a historic (although admittedly, a little odd looking!) landmark that sits on the far northern tip of the Saddle of Kerridge.  She was built by the local Gaskell family in 1820 to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo.  On a clear day, there will be views across Macclesfield and the Cheshire Plain to the Mersey Estuary and the outline of the Pennines towards the North.

If these walks are making you want to pull on your walking boots and head outdoors, perhaps it’s time to take the right path (pun very much intended) and move to Cheshire!