If you’re thinking about letting out your home, there are a number of important factors to consider before putting it up for rent. From practical advice to legal responsibilities, our handy guide has got you covered.
Do your research
First things first, get to know your market. Take a look at similar homes to yours in your local area and find out how much they are being let for per month.
If your rent is set too high, or too low, prospective tenants will steer clear. Think about your target demographic and consider who your property would be suitable for – young families, students, single professionals?
Once you’ve done your homework, set a competitive price and aim to keep it filled at all times to minimise rental voids.
Getting your property ready
Before you make your property available to rent, you’ll need to decide whether to let the house as furnished or unfurnished. Personal belongings or items of value should be removed from the property, and be sure to clear out anything that is old and tired, not fit for purpose or an ‘acquired taste’.
A property that offers a blank canvas is often more appealing to prospective tenants. Neutral colours will allow renters to picture themselves living in the space, and will also make the property easy to maintain at each check-in/check-out. And don’t forget the exterior of the house – general sprucing of outdoor spaces will make the property more attractive to renters.
Think about hiring professionals to give your home a deep clean. Professional cleaners will scrub everything from the windows to the oven – they’ll even get down behind radiators!
Make copies of any keys that a tenant may need for windows and doors, or for gas and electricity meters. It’s also a good idea to dig out instruction manuals for the boiler, alarm system, cooker and any white goods, so the tenant has them to hand as soon as they move in.
It is very important that your current buildings and contents insurer is made aware of your intention to let your property, as your policy may need to be amended.
Consider arranging landlord insurance, which will cover any financial losses connected with your rental property. Whilst landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it is advisable as the policy will protect the building, your tenants and your investment as a whole – some will also pay out if your tenant misses their rent payments.
Know your responsibilities
The decision to rent your home will mean that you go from being a home-owner and occupier to a landlord, and with your new status, comes great responsibility.
In the first instance, check that your mortgage allows you to let out your property, as some agreements contain caveats to prevent homes from being rented. If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage lender and they will be able to advise you accordingly.
Being a landlord is a 24/7 job, so be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time during the day or night, as many issues will need immediate attention (such as a gas leak, or broken boiler for example). You will be accountable for all repairs and maintenance and taking care of refurbishment of the interior and exterior of the property when required.
The legal stuff
When it comes to being a landlord, there are more regulations to comply with than you can shake a stick at – to put it into perspective, there are currently around 150 laws that landlords need to adhere to when letting a property.
Landlords are expected to carry out credit and right to rent checks in line with immigration laws, take and protect deposits, have all essential paperwork in place and ensure the property is fit for habitation and safe for your tenant – and that’s just for starters.
As well as fire, gas and electrical safety requirements, landlords are also responsible for adhering to carbon monoxide regulations and undertaking a risk assessment for Legionnaire’s Disease. We have put together a guide to landlord safety responsibilities which looks at basic protection requirements for rental properties.
Tenants must be provided with a rental information pack – which vary depending on whether you’re in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales – and landlords must order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and recommendations for tenants about how to reduce energy use and save money.
It is also important that you understand your financial responsibilities, and how and when to pay Income Tax and National Insurance. All landlords are subject to paying Income Tax if the revenue from the property exceeds £2,500 per annum.
You can find more information about your legal responsibilities on the gov.uk website.
Making finding a tenant easier
If you’re looking for a tenant and not sure where to start, why not speak to your local ARLA Propertymark letting agent today. An agent will undertake the reference and credit checks (and right to rent checks if you’re property is in England) on potential tenants to ensure everything is reliable.
If you choose not to use an agent you will need to do this yourself.
Choosing the right agent
If you plan to use a letting agent, it is important to use an expert who follows best practice, meets all requirements of the profession and works to industry standards. Propertymark Protected letting agents are experienced and trained professionals who work to a code of practice in order to help landlords manage their homes.
Not only will an agent advertise your property for you, deal directly with the tenant on your behalf and complete all relevant paperwork, an ARLA Propertymark agent will have Professional Indemnity insurance, and you and your money will be covered by Client Money Protection, giving you peace of mind throughout the letting process.
You can search for your local ARLA Propertymark agent using our Find an Expert tool.