If you have decided to rent out a property that has not been rented out before, here is our guide to getting it ready for rental.
1. First impressions count
Check the front of your property. Is it clean and tidy? Is the door number clearly labelled? Is the garden neat? Does the outside light work properly? Are paving stones aligned, secure, and clean so as not to present a trip hazard? Are fences and boundaries in a good state of repair? Are rubbish bins tidied away or in a bin store? Are the windows clean?
These are all important as a prospective tenant will immediately start forming impressions of the property as they approach the front door, and you want these to be favourable.
2. Clean and well maintained
It is vital to ensure that your property is clean and well maintained as this will show the tenant that you are a responsible landlord and also make it more likely your property will let quickly.
Go around the property checking for any repair or maintenance issues and get these attended to.
Bathrooms need some extra attention, so check that all the grouting is clean and that the bath and shower are sealed properly. This gives a good impression and also minimises the risk of water leaks during the tenancy.
Check all light bulbs and down-lighters are working properly. Replace any missing or blown bulbs.
Check all carpets are battened down correctly to avoid possible trip hazards.
Ensure that all door handles and cupboard handles are properly attached, as these can often become loose and later fall off.
If you are including appliances, make sure these are working properly.
3. Get the boiler serviced and a Gas Safety certificate issued
Heating and boiler problems can be expensive, so it makes sense to prevent these, rather than have to cure them, not to mention that you are legally obliged to provide a safe and compliant home for your tenants.
It would be prudent to have the boiler serviced so that you know it has a clean bill of health.
You are then required by law to have a gas safety certificate and this should be issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
This Gas Safety certificate must be served on the tenant at the start of the tenancy.
4. Install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (as appropriate)
You are legally obliged to provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (for example a coal fire or wood burning stove).
5. Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) undertaken
It is a legal requirement to have an EPC for tenants to view before you market your property to rent. A copy of the EPC should also be served on the tenant at the start of the tenancy. If you do not serve one, you will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice later down the line.
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
New laws that came into effect in 2018 made it an offence to let out properties with the worst energy efficiency ratings.
The legislation states that landlords must not let out properties with the two lowest energy efficiency ratings, F and G, after April 2018 at the latest.
So an EPC is a legal requirement and, as with the Gas Safety certificate, tenants must be given a copy of the EPC before they move in to a property, otherwise you’ll be prevented from serving a Section 21 notice.
Many landlords feel this document is not important, often stating that tenants are not interested in them. However, just as a property buyer needs to be made aware of all material information about a property before purchasing, a tenant should too.
6. Provide window coverings
If the property is being let unfurnished, it is still important to provide window coverings – whether that be blinds or curtains or a mixture of both.
While you could leave the tenant to do this, it is an additional expense for them, and if window coverings are an extra cost, it might put them off renting your property while installing these is a tax deductible expense for the landlord.
There is also the issue of tenants doing a “bodge” job of putting up curtain rails.
If the tenant does not put up window coverings, they will often hang a sheet over the window which looks unsightly for your neighbours and is often a sign of an un-loved rental!
Blinds and curtains are also an important consideration from a security point of view, as the tenant can close them when they are out.
So window coverings, along with bathroom and hall mirrors, hooks on the back of doors, and shelves, are the very basic requirements of providing an unfurnished property for rent.
We also recommend providing a runner in the hall and rugs in other high traffic areas to protect the carpets.
If all of the above sounds a bit over-whelming, or you are too busy to organise all of this, then Northwood’s fully managed service is ideal for you.
We will take on your property and get it ready for rent, find you suitable tenants, move them in, and manage the tenancy, leaving you free of dealing with these issues.
Your local Northwood office is more than happy to assist first time landlords get their properties up to rental standard and fully compliant, so pop in to find out more how we can help and support you, your property, and tenants for a safe and smooth-running rental experience all round.
Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised estate agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.
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