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We are live on Rightmove!

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HW Residential Lettings are live on Rightmove!

We have a very exciting announcement.. We are officially live on Rightmove!

Check out our Rightmove page here:

If you have any more questions regarding letting your property…

We understand that letting your property can seem daunting at first. Feel free to call HW Residential Lettings, and we will happily provide you with free advice you need.

Call us: 01484 680308


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A quick guide to Tenant Referencing

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A quick guide to Tenant Referencing


As a Landlord, you can never predict how renting a home will go, making tenant referencing an important task. Adequate referencing doesn’t always stop problems arising, but it hopefully minimises the risk of having a tenant who has issues paying rent or looking after a rented home.


What is tenant referencing?

Tenant referencing refers to a thorough referencing check that helps landlords decide whether a prospective tenant is suitable to rent their property. It provides information on the tenant’s employment history, ability to pay rent and previous dealings with landlords. Tenant referencing also includes Right to Rent checks, which are legal requirements for all landlords letting in England.

HW Residential Lettings can organise these tenant referencing checks on your behalf.


Why is tenant referencing important for landlords?

Profiling tenants allows landlords to consider potential risks and increase their chances of letting to a tenant who will look after their property and pay rent on time. Landlords with rent guarantee cover will also have to show their insurer that adequate references were made before the tenant moved in if they want to make a successful claim against the policy. Millions of tenants live in private rented homes without a problem, but a small number of rogue tenants can set a bad example.

Thorough referencing aims to confirm several points:

  • To identify the tenant

  • Affordability check to ensure they can pay rent

  • Checks for any past renting issues e.g. falling into arrears or failing to look after their rental

  • The tenant’s Right to Rent a home in England As mentioned, evidence to support a rent guarantee insurance claim

How does the tenant referencing process work?

Tenant referencing involves several checks to give the landlord all the information they need in order to decide on whether the prospective tenant’s suitable for their property.

Comprehensive checks will include:

  • Proof of address – recent utility bills and bank statements. Proof of ID – a copy of a driving licence or passport.

  • Bank statements – three months of bank statements can give key information regarding their financial situation. This will show when and how much the tenant is paid, how they spend their money and if they live within their means.

  • Right to Rent checks – legally required to check the prospective tenant has the right to live in the UK. This must be carried out within 28 days following the start of a tenancy.

  • Credit check – will show if the tenant is in debt or has any County Court Judgements (CCJs). Tenant’s permission will be needed to carry out a credit check. Most rent guarantee insurers want to see every tenant is credit checked and passed the affordability check before the tenancy starts.

  • Affordability check – will confirm if the tenant can cover the rent from their income. Affordability is assessed with income multipliers – e.g. some property professionals suggest 2.5x the salary for tenants and 3x for guarantors. A tenant paying £600 a month (£7,200 a year) rent needs an annual salary of at least £17,400 to afford the payment. A guarantor would need £21,600.

  • A previous landlord/letting agent reference – will provide tenant’s rental history, any arrears, damage or disputes. However, be cautious if checking a current landlord; if they are trying to evict a tenant, they may give an excellent reference to get rid of them.

  • Employment reference – will confirm the tenant is paid regularly and is who they say they are.

Do it yourself or use an estate agent to tenant reference?

Tenant referencing can be a time consuming task. You can either arrange a reference check through a property professional, or you can do it yourself. A property professional will likely complete the referencing in two/three days. A private landlord can expect to take longer. Professionals are likely to charge for referencing each tenant plus other fees such as credit checks and accessing the Land Registry (if the guarantor or former landlord’s identity is needed).

It will be cheaper for you to do it yourself, but it will be more time consuming, and may not be as thorough as a property professional.

At HW Residential Lettings, tenant referencing is included in both of our lettings services, free of charge.


What happens if a tenant fails the referencing check?

The majority of prospective tenants will pass their referencing checks, but some may fail part of the process.

There could be valid reasons why a tenant fails part of the referencing process and it doesn’t always mean that a landlord can’t let their property to them. For example, if they failed their credit or affordability check, you could still consider letting to the tenant if they can provide a guarantor who will pay the rent if they are unable to.

It’s important to consider letting a tenant who has failed their referencing and whether it will invalidate your insurance policy. It’s also important to note that if they fail their Right to Rent check, it’s illegal to let your property to them.


Using a Guarantor

If the potential tenant fails their referencing check, you can ask them for a guarantor. A basic check on the guarantor will be carried out to ensure they are who they say they are and can afford to cover the tenant’s rent if they are unable to pay.

Some property professionals will recommend a guarantor is taken for every tenancy, regardless of the tenants work and affordability. It can be a valuable backup if something goes wrong during the tenancy. This is completely up to you, whether you ask for a guarantor every time.

If you have any more questions regarding letting your property,

We understand that letting your property can seem daunting at first. Feel free to call HW Residential Lettings, and we will happily provide you with free advice you need.

Call us: 01484 680308


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10 savvy ways to keep your house warm without paying more for heating

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10 savvy ways to keep your house warm without paying more for heating

With the new energy price cap increases in 2022, the majority of us are worried about the rising cost of energy bills. Millions of Brits are looking to heat up their homes for less as winter weather sets in.
So which ways can we heat our home up without spending a fortune on heating? Here are HW Residential Lettings top tips to keeping your home warm this winter.
1. Reshuffle your furniture
The trick is to place major furniture such as your bed and sofa close enough for your radiators to feel the benefits of the heat, but with enough space away from them for the heat to circulate. Obstructing your radiators with large pieces of furniture can impact the temperature of your room. Ensure your radiators are not blocked by furniture so your room is open and easy to heat.

2. Keep curtains open until 3pm
Whilst having your curtains closed at night is recommended to keep the heat in, it is suggested that you keep your curtains open until 3pm during the day. Any sunlight hitting your windows will naturally heat up the room. At this time of year, we are starting to lose around 4pm, so this gives you a good few hours of sunlight during the day before it is time to draw the curtains closed.

3. Draught-proof your windows and doors
Doors and windows are designed to be openable, which may result in draughts, particularly in older buildings with single glazing. There are small things you can do to drought-proof the gaps and create a short-term solution. Draught proofing windows is a simple, DIY task. Analyse where the draughts are coming from around your windows and invest in some window strips/foam.

Another draught-proofing technique used for doors is making use of door draught-excluders. These will prevent any cold from entering through the bottom of your doors.
4. Bleed your radiators
It’s always a good idea to check your radiators regularly. If you find cold spots, you should consider bleeding it, as it signifies that your radiator has trapped air inside it. Trapped air stops the warm water from properly circulating your radiator and results in taking longer to heat your room.

5. Don’t hang your clothes on radiators
Particularly in winter, it can be tempting to dry your clothes on your radiators, however, doing so can prevent the heat from reaching the rest of the room. Not only can it prevent warming up your home, but the condensation from your clothes can cause excess moisture in the room, leading to patches of mould on your walls.

6. Fit a floating shelf above your radiators
Fitting a floating shelf above your radiators will help deflect heat around the room and stop it rising up to the ceiling. By hanging a shelf above a radiator, the shelf acts as a shield, helping the heat to shift outwards from the radiator.

7. Add thermal curtains to your room
Our homes can lose a considerable amount of heat through the windows, and curtains can be a great solution to preventing heat loss. Curtains help with heat retention by limiting the flow of air between the warm and cold areas of the room.

8. Get your boiler serviced
A well maintained central heating system will run more efficiently than a non-maintained boiler. Defective boilers can increase your heating bill as they will need to work harder to bring your home up to the desired temperature. Not only that, a serviced boiler will reduce the chance of a costly emergency repair.

9. Use a terracotta heater or candles
A terracotta heater is a great way to keep warm without using any more energy. They heat up slowly and retain heat well, meaning they can warm up the area surrounding it.

Similarly, although candles cannot heat up a whole room, they can make the surrounding area a little warmer.
10. Layer your floors with rugs
If you have uninsulated floors, then they can cause up to 10% of your home’s heat loss. Adding rugs to tiled or wooden floors can help warm the room up. Wool is a natural insulator, so a rug in this material is ideal.

If you have any more questions regarding letting your property…

We understand that letting your property can seem daunting at first. Feel free to call HW Residential Lettings, and we will happily provide you with free advice you need.

Call us: 01484 680308


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Renting Out A House For The First Time

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Renting Out a House for the First Time


There are lots of reasons why you might be thinking of renting your property, and sometimes setting up a rental property can be a surprisingly complex endeavour. First time landlords need to tick off a few things before finding a tenant, with a variety of logistical, legal and financial issues to take care of before your property hits the rental market.

Here are our 5 top tips on what you need to think about when renting out a house for the first time.


1. Weigh the costs against potential returns

Before you decide to let your property, you should analyse the returns alongside the expenses of becoming a landlord. You should assess the property’s rental yield and capital growth. Rental yield is the estimated annual return on investment from your rental property. Capital growth refers to the rate by which the property value increases/decreases.
While the rental yield and capital growth income may be appealing, you must also consider the required expenses. These can include:

  • Your mortgage repayments

  • Maintenance and refurbishments

  • Compliance inspections and documentations (such as Gas Safety & Electrical Safety)

  • Tenancy services e.g. inventory inspections and professional cleaning

  • Landlord insurance

  • Agency fees

  • Tenancy void periods (i.e. when your property is vacant, this includes lost rent, Council Tax, and utilities)

  • Landlord income tax


2. Meeting Safety & Legal Requirements

Health and safety is paramount. You must ensure that the property complies with gas, fire, electrical and furniture regulations. You or your agent should carry out safety checks on a regular basis. If you are a private landlord, you should keep a checklist for all necessary inspections, along with their latest inspection date can help you stay organised. Safety compliance requirements include:

  • EPC – the Energy Performance Certificate provides information on your property’s energy usage as well as typical utility costs. This must be carried out every 10 years.

  • Gas safety certificate – this certificate acts as a gas safety record for all gas appliances present within the property. A gas safety certificate is required annually.

  • Fire safety – the property and all furniture included must meet the minimum safety requirements.

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installation.

  • Licensing – most common with HMO properties, but can apply to all rental accommodation in a local authority area.

  • EICR – Since new regulations of 2020, a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report is required, with every rental property due for inspection at least every five years.

  • Deposit registration – all assured shorthold tenancy deposits need to be registered with a government approved deposit scheme.

  • Right to Rent – Landlords must legally comply with the Right to Rent. These are mandated checks to ensure the potential tenant has the legal right to live in the UK.

  • How to Rent – By law, Landlords/Agents must provide a copy of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide before they move into the property.


3. Ensure all financing and permissions to let are acquired

This focuses on the type of mortgage you have and whether you have permission to rent out your property. If you initially had a residential mortgage, you will need to gain permission from your mortgage lender for any letting purposes. Not informing your mortgage company about letting your property can result in the repossession of your property of immediate repayment of your entire mortgage.

If you are buying the property with the sole intention of letting, you will need a buy-to-let mortgage. Interest rates and deposits tend to be higher than the standard residential mortgage. A buy-to-let mortgage’s lending maximum is usually dependent on your rental income. Most lenders expect your rental income to be between 25%-45% higher than your mortgage payments. A standard buy-to-let mortgage deposit is around 25%.

Additionally, for Landlord’s that are not freeholders of their property, and are a leaseholder, permission will be required from the freeholder to let out the property. The lease agreement between the leaseholder and freeholder will have a clause obtaining the need for letting approval.


4. Will you be using an agency?

Letting specialists will help you with most aspects of the letting process. It is possible to carry out the process yourself, but agencies can help alleviate the workload of pre-tenancy, mid-tenancy and post-tenancy tasks. Some advantages of using a letting specialist are:

  • Stringent vetting and referencing procedures mean you’re more likely to attract reliable tenants,

  • The secure deposit protection scheme administration is taken care of for you,

  • Letting agents can handle all of the paperwork in relation to your property,

  • Rent can be collected and chased up on your behalf,

  • Letting agents can deal with all the day-to-day property management and maintenance issues,

  • As experts in their field, and with good knowledge of market conditions and demand. Letting agents are also up-to-date on current legislation affecting landlords,

  • If you need to evict a tenant, a letting agent knows the correct legal process.


5. Finding the right Tenants and arranging an inventory

We’ve all heard horror stories of nightmare tenants, and making sure you have a thorough referencing process in place can reduce your chances of having these types of tenants. Although you can do this yourself as a Landlord by paying a referencing agency, a letting specialist will have a referencing procedure to find the best tenants for your property and likely cheaper than a typical referencing agency.

Additionally, a robust written tenancy agreement will protect your rights and your property. Although a written tenancy agreement is not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended to have one. Disputes a very difficult to settle if you do not have a written tenancy agreement.

Lastly, before tenant’s move in, it’s important to organise an inventory inspection and schedule of condition to be drawn up on the property. Again, although this is not a legal obligation, we highly recommend that landlords do have one. An inventory records the condition of your property at the start of the tenancy and is updated at the end of the tenancy. If you do not have an inventory report, it is almost impossible to sustain a claim from the deposit scheme if they’re unable to provide a report as evidence that damage occurred during the tenancy. It means you may be unable to recover any cost for damage from your deposit.

If you have any more questions regarding letting your property…

We understand that letting your property can seem daunting at first. Feel free to call HW Residential Lettings, and we will happily provide you with free advice you need.

Call us: 01484 680308