The Letting Process

Prior to Letting

Before putting your property on the market to let, it is wise to make sure that is is clean, tidy and re-decorated (if necessary) in order to ensure that the property presents well during viewings and to encourage your tenants to return the property to you in the same condition when they move out. You must also ensure that all manuals/instructions for any gas or electrical appliances are left in the property. Finally, you will need to obtain permission to let from your mortgagor, buildings insurer and freeholder (if any).


Letting agents offer free rental valuations and it is wise to obtain a few of these. The agents should recommend a suitable market rent in order to encourage good quality viewings, advise you regarding lettings safety regulations and tax obligations and go through their services and fees with you. They will probably take room measurements and photographs for marketing so make sure the property presents well for the valuations.

Choosing an agent

Choosing a letting agent is a tricky business, there are many cowboys out there. You want an agent who knows their business, is organised and communacative in delivering that business and as you will be developing a business relationship with them, it helps if you like them. So, choose the agent who gives you the most helpful information, who is prompt with providing correspondence following the valuation and who you like best.


Your letting agent will then commence marketing your property for let. Ask them before you instruct them as to where they advertise properties to let and check that your property has been placed in all the quoted medias after you have instructed them. All agents will have a website, upload to major property portals such as rightmove and findaproperty and more than likely advertise in the local press. To Let boards are an effective marketing tool so agree to your agent placing one outside your property if you can.


The more viewings you have, the quicker your property will be let so be flexible. Although most potential tenants view properties during the evenings and weekends, you should still expect people to want to view your property during the day. Also bear in mind that whilst some kind of notice that a viewing will be happening is preferable, when a potential tenant walks into a letting agent's office, they often want to view properties immediately. The letting agent will have several properties for which they hold keys and can visit without notice and if yours can be one of these, then you won't miss out. If you have tenants in the property, make sure the letting agent has their details so that they can arrange viewings direct with them and do your best to ensure that the property is kept tidy but more importantly clean at all times.

Potential Tenants

When you receive an offer on your property, the main two things to remember are:

  1. Now is the time for negotiations and stipulations, not later. You may want to make this clear to the potential tenants as well.
  2. It's your property. Letting agents work on commission so they want you to accept the offer. If there is something you are not comfortable with, try and solve the problem but if all else fails, don't be afraid to reject the offer.
Having said that, you need your property to be occupied so don't frighten the potential tenants away by asking for too much. Where there are parts of an offer you are not comfortable with, problem solve - this is what lettings negotiators do. For example, ask for a larger deposit if they have a pet or offer a break clause if the tenants want the security of knowing they can move out of the property if they don't like living there. Tenants can often seem demanding and awkward but remember that landlords and letting agents don't have the best reputations and many tenants have had a deposit witheld unreasonably.

The move in

Before you release keys to your tenants, ensure that you have their first months rent and deposit in cleared funds (Bankers Draft, Building Society Cheque or Cash - do not accept personal cheques which can be stopped or bounced). Get them to read and sign the tenancy agreement, arrange with them as to which utilities they will be paying, take meter readings and make sure they set up accounts with those companies. Finally, go through the inventory with them and make sure they sign it to avoid and deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.

When dealing with a letting agent, bear in mind that you will not receive the rent on the day the tenants move in. The tenants will pay that money to the letting agent who will then deduct their fees and forward the balance to you. Where money is tight, make sure you are clear as to when you will receive these funds from your letting agent. Whether you take the deposit or your letting agent does, it should immediately be transferred to a regulated Tenancy Deposit Scheme such as the one we use, the Deposit Protection Service (DPC).