If you are thinking about renting out your home you should start by doing your research and checking in with your mortgage lender.
That’s according to ARLA Propertymark, the body which regulates letting agents, which is offering advice to potential-landlords who are considering putting their homes on the rental market.
According to the organisation, there is a ‘great need’ for landlords as the private rented sector shrunk from 4.7 million dwellings in 2016/2017 to 4.5 million in 2017/2018.
Peter Savage, president of ARLA Propertymark said: “Letting your property is a big decision though, both for you and the tenants that will be living there, so it’s important you understand what being a landlord means.
“We’ve put these tips together to ensure you understand your responsibilities as a landlord, know how to protect your property, and keep your tenants happy; dealing with any issues that may arise.”
Do your research
Getting to know your market is the first step, and ARLA suggests researching similar properties in the area to get an idea of what rent you should be charging. Don’t be tempted to go too high or tenants will be put off.
Check your paperwork
You will also need to check your mortgage because you will be changing from a homeowner occupier to a landlord with more responsibility. Check your lender allows you to rent out your property. If you are unsure, speak to your lender.
Notify your buildings and contents insurance provider as your policy will need to be amended. Specific landlord isn’t a requirement, said ARLA, but it is advisable as the policy will protect the building, tenants and investment as a whole. Some policies even pay out of your tenant misses a payment.
Prepare your property
ARLA suggests considering who your property is most suited to – families, couples, students or single professionals – and prepare accordingly. This will also determine if you should offer the property to let furnished or unfurnished. Ensure your property is clean and modern and that all DIY jobs are complete. A fresh lick of paint will also boost its appeal.
Ensure you meet the legal requirements
There is oodles of red tape involved in being a landlord. Indeed, ARLA Propertymark said there were currently 150 laws landlords must adhere to whilst letting a property.
It highlighted the Right-to-Rent checks which must be carried out in line with immigration laws at the start of a tenancy agreement. You must also protect deposits and have essential paperwork in place.
ARLA said it’s a good idea to have a written tenancy agreement in place so both parties understand rights and responsibilities.
Ensure you arrange a Gas Safety check every year, test electrical appliances and fit smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide detectors where necessary.
By law, you must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which must be above Band E.
You will also need to undertake regular inspections – although you cannot enter without the tenants’ permission so ensure you give them 24 hours’ notice.
Using an agent
ARLA Propertymark said, if you decide to use an agent to manage your property, its Propertymark Protected agents work towards a code of practice in order to help landlords manage their homes.
They also have Client Money Protection which ensures, if the agent goes bust or runs off with your money, Propertymark will reimburse you.
It said being a landlord was a 24/7 job so you should be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time. Some issues will need immediate attention and unless you have a managing agent you are responsible for all the repairs and maintenance.