Taking the step of renting out your property is undoubtedly a big one but as many landlords all over the UK will have found out, the rewards are undeniable.
As with most new things in life, there are many things to consider before becoming a landlord. Here at Letting Solutions, we have come up with ten of the most important things you will need to know and do before opening up your property to tenants, here they are:
1. Read around the subject: It may sound old fashioned but reading up around the Private Rented Sector (PRS), landlords and Buy-to-Let is the best place to start. There are some great books out there and even some fantastic online resources and blogs (like this one!) that will help you get into the mindset of a landlord and leave no stone unturned.
2. Register your interest: When you have decided you’re serious on letting your property out in Scotland you will need to register as a landlord with your local authority before this becomes a reality.
3. Advertise your property: However you decide to let your property – through an agent or on your own – you will need to advertise your property properly to find tenants quickly. These days, portals are king so you will need a web-friendly ad. Meanwhile, most letting agents still place adds in the local press which remain a great way of securing additional exposure for your property.
4. Make sure the property is clean: Before tenants come anywhere near your property, make sure it has been cleaned thoroughly. What’s more, decide on what items you would like to leave in the property for the tenancy’s duration and remove anything which is of personal value to you or will not be required by your tenants.
5. Ensure your tenant’s safety: You will need to install and maintain a smoke detector and in all likelihood a carbon monoxide detector. You can maintain the smoke detector by cleaning it and checking the battery supply on a regular basis. Landlords offering an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) to three or more tenants should seek further advice from an experienced lettings specialist as well as their Local Authority Environmental Health Department to meet the more stringent regulations associated with this type of accommodation.
6. Provide an EPC: Your tenants will need to be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate, often referred to as an EPC. One of these shows the energy efficiency of the home and must be provided whenever the property is let to a new tenant.
7. Carry out an inventory:Inventories are an important part of preparing your property for a tenancy and go hand in hand with a properly drafted lease agreement. By conducting an inventory check prior to and at the end of the tenancy you can make sure everything is accounted for. You can carry this out yourself, via an agent or via an independent inventory clerk.
8. Protect your deposit: When you take a deposit from your tenant you must make sure it is protected within 30 days of receipt and serve a statutory deposit notice to the tenant/s. If you do not comply, you are subject to heavy fine. See more info from us here on the subject of deposit protection.
9. Maintain your rental property: Once the tenant has moved in that is not an excuse for the property to go to ruin. Keep the property in good repair for your own piece of mind as well as the tenant’s quality of living. That is not to mention that local authorities do have the power to take action against you if the property contains serious health and safety issues.
10. Do you need a letting agent? As you can see, this becoming a landlord stuff is no small job. You will need to decide whether you need the assistance of a professional letting agent to do this work for you or whether you will do it yourself. If you do decide to use an agent, make sure you have a written agreement so it is clear what responsibilities they have been enlisted to carry out on your behalf.
Well, that’s ten things to think about. That said, this list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other things that you will have to provide for your tenants and take into account. Not the least of these are other regulatory and safety requirements such as gas and electrical certification, Repairing Standard and tenancy pack requirements as well as special Legionella checks for landlords. But hopefully this will help you on your way.
If you require any additional information on how to let your property, we would be delighted to help, please get in touch on: 0845 520 1420. Alternatively, to find out how much your property could earn in monthly rents you can gain a free online free property valuation here.