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Measures to take before renting out your property


While it may seem easy to privately rent out your property, there are some important measures to take take before plunging into being a landlord. To help ensure your letting experience is as smooth as possible, we’ve compiled this handy checklist that every landlord should read through before renting out a property for the first time. Even if you’re a seasoned landlord with a few successful rentals under your belt, we advise popping the kettle on and taking five minutes to read through these top tips to make sure you aren’t falling into bad habits….

Take out a proper landlord’s insurance policy

Whether you’re renting to friends, family or complete strangers, a landlord’s insurance policy is an absolute essential. As well as providing you with all the usual home insurance cover, a landlord specific policy will protect you in the case of any major structural damage caused by tenants, and any legal action they may pursue against you. Keep in mind that most landlord insurance policies do not cover non-payment of rent, loss of rental income due to damage or liability for any accidents or injuries that occur in the property. You should also inform any new tenants that their personal belongings are not covered by your policy.  

Find an effective rental platform

If you’re planning on privately renting you property, you have a number of different options. Sites such as Gumtree and Craigslist can be useful however they are unregulated and offer nothing in the way of support. A much savvier option is to go with an online letting agent such as iamtheagent.com. The rental market is more competitive than ever with more using buy to let as a way to get on the property ladder and shore up other incomes – the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show a 43% increase in the number of buy to let mortgages approved in April 2014 compared with the same month last year and a 57% increase in overall value. In real terms, that means there are more rental properties flooding the market and more competition for tenant income so finding an effective rental platform that can help your property stand out is a no brainer.

I Am The Agent is efficient, cost effective and unlike most estate agents, operates on a no commission policy. Whoever you choose insist you’re your platform of choice markets your property on sites like Rightmove, Zoopla, FindaProperty.com, Globrix, PrimeLocation, Property Index and Up My Street.  

Ensure your property complies with legal requirements

Before renting out your property, there are a number of health and safety guidelines you will need to comply to. Even if you are coming off the back of a property that has just recently been vacated by tenants you’ll want to check that it remains compliant with any new legislation. 

As a general rule of thumb the main legal requirements to consider include obtaining an Electric Performance Certificate (EPC) and a copy of the Gas Safety check record or certificate to issue to the new tenant. As well as the paperwork, you will also need to check your property complies with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. For a detailed list of these and other requirements, check out our informative FAQ page

Prepare a tenancy agreement

Unless you prefer to use a bespoke agreement, The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement has been used as the default agreement for most residential tenancies since 1998. The major clause states that the landlord will receive the property back when the tenancy ceases. If you plan on fixing an AST that is longer than three years, you will need to enlist the help of a solicitor to draw up a deed.   

Establish tenancy criteria

If there are specific rules or requirements you would like your new tenants to adhere to, outline them in a tenancy criteria document and ensure that both parties understand what is expected. This can include your position on smoking and pets as well as any specific requirements relating to furniture or the garden. 

Take pictures of the property

This is a simple step yet so it’s one that often flies under the radar. A condition report can come in incredibly handy if any disputes over damage arise in the future. Having photographic evidence is a quick and easy way to clear up any issues and determine whether or not the tenant is liable for the damage.  

Spring clean

When your new tenants move in, they will expect the house to be spotless. As such, it’s important to give your property a thorough clean. If budget allows, it’s generally best to hire a professional to do a deep clean. While fresh paint, new carpets, upgraded fixtures and a manicured garden are not essential, they will help attract more desirable tenants and will encourage residents to keep the house looking its best. These measures also mean your tenant is likely to stay, reducing the need to go through this whole checklist again in six months time! 

Don’t forget, I Am The Agent offers all the services you need as a landlord, from EPCs and gas checks to tenant referencing and tenancy agreement templates. Find out more in our online lettings section. 

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