Whether you’re a new or established landlord, there are steps you can take to help your rental go as smoothly as possible. Follow these, and avoid the potential pitfalls of renting a domestic property:
- Choose your agent carefully
Make sure the agent you use is accredited by at least one professional body, ideally more. Nationally recognised agencies include;
- the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), which has its own Propertymark protection scheme.
- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which runs its own accrediation scheme for estate agents.
- The UK Association of Landlords.
- The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).
The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) also has a useful landlords’ service.
- Define the length of tenancy
Carefully choose the length of any tenancy you want to offer. Most tenancies last for 6, 12 or 18 months, but these are not compulsory. Renters may ask for longer tenancies.
- Consider a break clause
Break clauses in leases give landlords and tenants the chance to give notice and withdraw from their contracts. You may want to include one, especially on longer leases.
- Make and inventory
Carefully itemise the contents of your property and what condition they are in before you offer a lease. Use the value of this inventory to set your tenants’ deposit.
- Itemise utilities
Print out details of each service provider for your property, and give a copy to your tenant/s at the start of the lease. On termination, make sure any outstanding bills are paid before you refund any deposit.
Prepare Your Property
Once you are prepared to offer a lease, give yourself the best chance of acquiring a good tenant. These are some simple steps you can take to achieve this:
- Tidy outside
The outside of your property is the first thing your potential new tenants see. It is vitally important you make sure it looks clean, tidy and well looked after.
- Repaint inside
In between tenancies, take the chance to repaint any surfaces which have been damaged or faded. If the previous tenancy was lengthy, you might also benefit from replacing flooring.
- Leave it to the professionals
When your property is ready to view, trust your agent to do the rest. They will show your property to its best advantage and attract the right tenants. As people live busy lives, this may well mean showing potential tenants your property outside of business hours.
When everything is in place and your new tenants are ready to move in, you must provide them with the following:
- A Gas Safety Certificate. These need to be up to date and are renewed yearly.
- An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Government regulations mean that, as a landlord, you must provide an EPC. This does not apply if your lease is part of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) with shared facilities.
- Electrical safety inspections. These need to be carried out regularly on all electrical appliances.
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (C)O detectors.
- Building insurance in case of flood or fire damage.