Top Tips for Landlords Renting Out a Property
There is no reason to make renting out a property more stressful than it should be. Being prepared is the best renting tip we can give to tenants. However, to make things even easier, we’ve put together a checklist. Check out our list of 10 best renting tips for landlords.
Check If You Need to Have a Landlord License
First things first. Before you rent out your property, you’ll need to make sure that you do so in compliance with the law.
Property licensing was introduced in 2006 to protect tenants and improve the health and safety conditions of properties rented out by landlords. Licensing typically applies to:
• Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – homes shared by 5 or more people in which some tenants share a bathroom or kitchen
• Additional HMOs – homes shared by 3 or 4 people in 2 or more households in which some tenants share a bathroom or kitchen
Licensing can also apply selectively as decided by local councils for properties in a specific area.
The best source of information about property licensing is your local council. Check with them to see if your property falls under any of the applicable legislation.
Take Out Landlord Insurance
Landlord insurance is not mandatory per law, but it may be a financing requirement for a buy-to-let mortgage. Either way, you can never be too cautious. The right insurance can keep you safe against unfortunate circumstances. These could include property damage, loss of rent, or legal expenses.
The best tip for landlords as far as insurance is concerned is to talk to an insurance broker or an insurance company that specializes in landlord cover. They can tell you more about cover options and you can choose the one that suits you best. Also be aware that your normal property insurance may become invalid if you don’t specify the fact that you are renting out the property.
Check and Solve Property Safety Issues
When it comes to your property, safety is the number priority. The best tip for landlords is to ensure their property is safe before putting it on the market. This will allow for enough time to make the property “rental ready” if it should need repairs or replacing any equipment.
Safety is also key because unsafe properties can lead to landlords having to pay significant fines for any breaches.
As a landlord, you must ensure that your property is fitted with:
• smoke alarms on every floor
• carbon monoxide detectors in every room where solid fuel is used
• legally certified gas appliances (valid Gas Safety certificate)
• certified electrical system (inspected and tested every 5 years)
Make a Final Tour and an Inventory
Once you feel everything is in place, another good tip is to make one final tour of the rental property before putting it on the market. This is also a good opportunity to make an inventory if the property is furnished or partly furnished.
Make sure everything is clean and attractive, go room by room and list any furniture or equipment, and check electrical sockets, alarms, or any equipment once more. Having a clear list of everything in the property will also serve you well in case of any disputes with the tenant.
Another good tip is to read the property’s meters before you start a new tenancy. Take a few photos and write down the readings for your records.
Have the Right Documents Ready
As a landlord, you are bound by law to provide the tenant with certain documents. Make sure you have them before you rent out the property to avoid any last-minute panic trips.
First of all, you will need a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This certificate determines the property’s EPC rating and you need to have it before you start showing the property. The minimum rating for a rental property is “E”. You will need a new EPC each time you let the property to a new tenant.
Not providing a valid EPC to your tenant is grounds for invalidating a Section 21 notice in the unfortunate event you will want to evict your tenant. So, make sure you do provide it.
The How to Rent Guide is also mandatory. All landlords must present it to their tenants prior to them starting to rent the property. You can find it on the Government website here.
Make sure you also give your tenants your contact information (name and contact details) within 21 days of starting the tenancy. Otherwise, you risk paying a fine.
Increase Your Property’s Visibility
Once you’ve settled all the property and document details, it’s time to start marketing the property.
It is always a good idea to enlist the help of an experienced estate agent. However, you can always take on the task yourself.
To increase your chances of getting a good rental price and finding good tenants, you must get the property ready for your ideal tenant. Imagine who you would ideally want to rent the property out to and arrange the home to suit that person/family’s needs.
If you want to rent out to a student, make sure the furniture is not old and shabby. Create an inviting, clean, and youthful space. If it’s a family, consider their needs and provide things like a kitchen island, storage space, or added safety details.
Make sure the rental ad focuses on the property’s key advantages, as well as the area’s. Highlight things like easy access to the city centre, access to green areas, or amenities. Your ad needs to make potential tenants already envision themselves living there just by reading it. Promote your ad online and make it as visible as possible by adding keywords, photos, and catchy text.
Tenant Right to Rent and References
All landlords must perform checks on prospective tenants to see whether they have the legal right to rent in the UK. Tenants need to provide identity documents such as passports or identity cards for this purpose. Failure by landlords to perform these checks is punishable by fines of up to thousands of pounds per tenant.
You will also need to perform reference checks. Usually, employment details, bank statements, and former landlord references are enough. This is not a mandatory step. But, it can help you avoid taking on bad tenants that may cause damage to the property or leave you with months of unpaid rent.
If you enlist the help of a letting agent, they can handle all tenant checks for you.
Follow Tenant Deposit Guidelines
When it comes to tenants’ deposits, landlords have the obligation to put the money in a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. That is, no later than 30 days from the date you receive the deposit.
You can choose from three schemes:
• Deposit Protection Service
• Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Once the money is deposited, you will have to provide the Deposit Protection Certificate and Prescribed Information to your tenant.
Draw Up a Solid Tenancy Agreement
The tenancy agreement is what makes the tenancy official. Usually, landlords opt for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), which is the most common form of tenancy.
To draw up the tenancy agreement, you will need to have the tenant’s basic information, as well as supply information about yourself and the property.
In the agreement, you need to add the duration of the tenancy, payment details, and notice periods. You can also add additional information depending on the specific terms you discuss and agree upon with your tenant.
Inspect the Property Every Quarter
Once you start a tenancy agreement, it is essential that you inspect it every quarter. You can also choose to have a professional do that for you such as a property manager or a letting agent.
Property inspections are your right as landlord according to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985. Based on this law, you are allowed to enter the property to check its condition and state of repair. You can conduct these inspections at reasonable times of day and with a 24-hour notice.
Through periodic inspections, you can check that the state of the property is in order and your tenants are complying with the tenancy agreement. This way, you can avoid any repairs and maintenance issues or agreement breaches.
These were our best renting tips for landlords. There is more where that came from and our letting agents are always available to walk you through your options and provide advice that can safeguard you from unpleasant tenant situations. To learn more about how to rent out your property stress-free, contact our experienced letting agents at 0207 055 0441.