Whether you are an experienced landlord or you are considering your first buy-to-let investment, we understand that you will have some big decisions to make on a hugely valuable asset. We will be there to guide you through the entire process, from finding the right property to securing reliable tenants.

Preparing to let your property

The first stage of preparing your property to let is getting any planned works and decorating completed before marketing the property – or at least ensuring that any work will be done before a tenant is found and the inventory needs to take place.

We also need to check you have the relevant safety documents, that there are enough keys, and if you are renting your property out as furnished, that you have the correct fire labels for all furniture.

The property must meet all health and safety regulations and not contain any hazards, such as frayed or loose carpet thresholds that could trip tenants or visitors and cause injury.

Valuation of your letting property

We want to achieve the highest possible rent for you while remaining realistic. During our initial conversation with you, we’ll gather all the details about your property and learn about your needs as a landlord. After that, we’ll send you an information pack about us and how our expert team are here to help, then arrange a date to visit you at the property.

When we meet you at the property, we’ll cover the following points:

  • Your goals and how you’d like your property managed
  • The services that we can provide for you
  • Your legal responsibilities, e.g., safety regulations, compliance, and insurance.

Once the valuation process has ended, we’ll consolidate all the information we’ve taken and send you a recap of everything we’ve discussed for your records.

Conducting viewings

When we’ve marketed your property and no doubt received plenty of interest, it’s time for the viewing process to begin.

Ahead of the scheduled viewings, we’ll call all applicants to confirm their time slot and the property details.

Once we’re at the property, we’ll ensure it’s ready for viewings, and that lights are on and windows are open where necessary. When applicants arrive, we’ll introduce ourselves, walk them through the property and tell them any specific details about each room – for example, if white goods or pieces of furniture will be staying for the duration of the tenancy. We’ll give each applicant time to look around and answer any questions they may have. We will also provide the property particulars, either by email or as a printed document. At the end of the viewing, we’ll ask each applicant what they think, and explain what the next steps would be if they are interested.

Proposing a tenancy

After the viewings, all interested applicants will be put forward to you, and we’ll confirm each potential tenant’s details with you. While we can advise on each applicant’s individual situation, we cannot make the decision on the landlord’s behalf.

When you have chosen a tenant, they must then complete the referencing form. This form asks for employment and income details, credit history, previous addresses, and references from previous landlords where applicable.

We’ll keep you updated during the referencing process and will let you know the outcome of the referencing report. Read more about tenant referencing in the next section.

The tenant referencing process

The prospective tenant must complete and sign the declaration form that shows they consent to the referencing process, and once they have done so, we create the tenancy on the Goodlord lettings platform.

The applicant is then invited to sign up to Goodlord, so that they can confirm the terms of the agreement and pay the holding deposit. They will also be able to access the following documents:

  • The ‘How To Rent’ guide
  • Tenancy guide
  • Draft tenancy agreement

Once the applicant has signed the above documents, as the landlord, you will receive the landlord’s offer, which comprises confirmation of the applicants’ details and a draft copy of the tenancy agreement.

The applicant will then receive the referencing form to complete and a guarantor request if applicable.

Goodlord confirms the applicant’s identity by using ID documents with facial biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure the Right To Rent checks are faster, more secure, and more reliable. When submitting their reference forms, applicants are asked to take a selfie when they have uploaded their ID document. Goodlord will then check in real time to see if the picture is blurry and will ask the applicant to re-take them if this is the case.

Once the ID section has been completed, the applicant will proceed to fill out the rest of the reference form. Goodlord will confirm the applicant’s employment by contacting the individual’s employer and confirming their start date, contract type, and salary.

Goodlord will also request payslips or a contract if an employer does not respond.

A credit check will also be carried out on the applicant to see if there is any history of adverse credit – for example: CCJs, IVAs, or bankruptcy.

The final check Goodlord does is residential status. If the applicant is currently renting, Goodlord will contact the landlord and ask them to provide the start and end date of the tenancy, whether the tenant adhered to the terms of the agreement, what rent they have been paying and if it has always been paid on time, and if the tenant has caused any damage to the property.

Once the referencing process has been completed, we will inform you and the prospective tenant of the outcome.

Safety checks and inventory

If the new tenant has asked for any additional work to be carried out or any appliances/furniture to be provided, these must be in place and working, with the relevant manuals available.

It’s also vital that all relevant safety measures are completed prior to the start of the tenancy. These include:

  • A valid Gas Safety Record (GSR)
  • A valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
  • A working smoke alarm installed on each floor of the dwelling
  • A carbon monoxide alarm installed and tested if the property has a solid fuel-burning appliance

A couple of days before the tenancy is due to start, an inventory clerk will visit the property to record the condition of the property and its fixtures, and to note down any items left in the property and their condition.

An inventory can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about damage or cleanliness at the end of a tenancy, so we strongly advise that as the landlord, you either prepare an inventory yourself or you instruct us to do so.

Without an inventory done at the start of a tenancy, it can be very difficult to prove whether a tenant caused damage or neglected to take care of the property, and this can result in landlords being unsuccessful in making a claim against a tenant’s deposit.

Once the inventory is done, it’s time for your tenant to move in!

How to let your property

We can give you tips for renting out a property, attracting tenants, and be your property letting guide in East Sussex. Whether you just have one property or a whole portfolio, we will take you through the entire process, find you a trustworthy tenant, and collect a good return on your investment.