Updated: 20 June 2017
10 Things to consider prior to letting your property
Letting out your property may seem very straight forward, but actually there are a number of important factors that you will need to consider, organise or arrange. We have set out below 10 pointers that will steer you in the right direction.
If you are considering letting out your main residence or have a second property that does not have a specific buy to let mortgage you will need to contact your mortgage provider to obtain permission from them that you are able to let the property.
It is important that having determined that your property can be rented out, that you obtain this approval in writing for your records.
Not only will your buildings and contents insurer need to be made aware you are intending to let your property, but you will need to ensure that your policy gives you the appropriate cover including Public Liability. This is important as any tenant or contractor that has an accident e.g. falling down the stairs or being hit by a roof tile may be entitled to claim against you.
If you have a leasehold property you will need to consider the terms of your lease. If you do not have a copy of your lease your solicitor will be able to obtain one for you. It is a common requirement that permission to sublet will need to be approved by the freeholder or management company. Once this permission is obtained it is prudent to maintain a written record for future reference.
Legislation introduced in October 2008 stipulates that landlords must have a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) to give to their tenants. These certificates show how energy efficient a property is and will also detail any green deal loan. We would also draw to your attention that as of 1st April 2018 you will not be permitted to let your property if its EPC rating is in band F or G and further energy efficiency improvements will need to be undertaken prior to letting.
We would recommend that landlords provide instruction manuals for any appliances as well as the central heating boiler. This will not only help tenants settle into their new surroundings but avoid unnecessary enquires.
Paint, repair and fix
Well maintained properties are in high demand and will attract a better quality tenant. Our experience also suggests tenants take greater care of well maintained properties and therefore prior to letting your property we would recommend that any holes in the walls are filled and if the decoration is looking tired a fresh coat of paint is applied. We would also recommend repairing or replacing any carpet that shows signs of damage or are still stained after a professional clean. Fix or replace any damaged tiles, loose cupboard doors, replace defective lightbulbs etc. If you decide to undertake redocoration it is best to appeal to the masses with neutral colours.
Ensure you get your tenancy off on the right foot. Tenants expect their rental property to be clean so have this done professionally, to include carpets. Professional cleaners can clean all areas of your property – from scrubbing the skirting boards to cleaning the oven, no room should be left behind. If the property is professional cleaned tenants know how they are expected to return the property to you.
Research Rental Figures
You would be prudent to take advice from an experienced letting agent with regard to the most appropriate asking rent. An experienced letting agent will have local market experience and knowledge and will be able to advise you upon the appropriate rent. Setting your asking rent at the appropriate level is very important; if it is too low you will not obtain the best return and set too high the property may not attract enquiries and may potentially be left vacant for extended periods.
When it comes to marketing photography is king and buy-to-let landlords should ensure that marketing literature offers their property in a good light. Photography should be undertaken after a good clear up, removal of clutter and a good camera with flash will ensure the property is presented in its best light. Make sure that a good selection of interior shots of your property are included and if the image is not good enough, leave it out.
Online descriptions of rental properties are typically brief and generally offer a summary of the accommodation. Floorplans will offer potential tenants an impression of the layout and size of the property, at the touch of a button.