Letting out your home for the first time is an exciting prospect – but there are some industry tips every first-time landlord should know. What do you do first? How do you deal with furniture? What legal obligations need to be met? It can be complicated, and so we’ve compiled our top tips for you budding first time landlords.
Decide on the furnishings
One of the first things you’ll have to do is advertise your property to potential renters, so decide if you want renters to come with their own furniture or if you want to provide it for them. There’s pros and cons of both, but there are no strict rules on whether a landlord should furnish a property. Furnishing has a larger upfront cost, but could attract renters quicker if they know they don’t have to worry about furnishing the property. Part furnishing – where the landlord supplies white goods and larger pieces of furniture apart from beds – is popular with lettings agents as it gives great flexibility (essentially renters can bring as little or as much furniture as they like).
Consider first impressions
Just like buying a house, you’ll want potential tenants to have the best first impression of your property. Have a thorough check of the property to see what you can do to improve its aesthetic. After all, achieving a great first impression also means gaining the best possible tenants and a great rental price.
Brush up on health and safety obligations
This will generally help you give your tenants the best and safest experience in your property, and also avoid you being sued or prosecuted if tenants are injured. There are a number of protections in place that tenants will expect of their landlord, including:
- Fire safety: All furniture must be fire resistant – that’s any item that contains upholstery. Check your beds, mattresses, children’s furniture, even pillows.
- Gas safety: Make sure your gas equipment is serviced every 12 months (this is required by law).
- Electrical safety: get wiring and sockets tested by a certified electrician.
Essentially the golden rule when it comes to health and safety guidelines is: don’t let tenants suffer through anything you wouldn’t personally put up with in your own home, especially if it is potentially dangerous!
Take out a tenancy agreement
Potentially the most important document in your inventory – this legally binds you and your tenants in contract for a set period of time, usually 12 months or more. The agreement puts the onus on both landlord and tenant to provide notice to vacate the property. Make sure the agreement is approved by a solicitor so it’s legally watertight.
Create a property inventory to know what should stay
The inventory of the property – damage, marks, and its contents (especially if you decided to furnish the place) – will need to be addressed on the first day of the agreed tenancy.
Know your rights as Landlord and your tenant’s rights too
Unfortunately, becoming a first time landlord also requires you need to brush up on quite a few legal issues, one of which is your rights as a landlord, and the second is the rights of your tenants.
Make sure to secure a deposit
Securing a deposit from a tenant is not uncommon and protects the landlord if anything could possibly go arwy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
At iLet, we’ve got years of industry and local knowledge to help you make that first move as a landlord. Drop us an email today to find out how we can help you on your journey.