You’ve found your tenants. Now you need to prepare the property for the tenants’ arrival and check them into the property.
Here are our top tips on what you need to think about when letting out your property to new tenants.
- 1. Meet your tenants and set up a rapport with them
Get to know your tenants and form a working relationship with them. This will help you to communicate better during the tenancy and to hopefully avoid disputes in the future.
- 2. Reference your tenants fully
Arrange a detailed reference of your tenants to check out their credit history. It’s important to get employer, bank, previous landlords’ and character references. The employer’s reference is the most important as it gives some assurance that the tenant will be able to pay the rent.
- 3. Ask tenants to pay for referencing fees
If the tenants suspect that they are going to fail the reference, they will pull out saving you time and money.
- 4. Arrange a standing order
Use our standing order mandate template to ensure that your tenants pay their rent on time.
- 5. Make a detailed property inventory
All landlords should create a property inventory, whether the property is furnished or not as it protects your property from damage. Also, under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, owners wanting to claim money from their tenants’ deposits now have to prove that damage has been caused, so an inventory is vital.
- 6. Arrange the gas certificate for the property
Before a property is let, and annually thereafter, all gas appliances must be checked by a Gas Safe-registered plumber. You must hand a copy of the gas certificate stating that a check has been made and detailing any work done to the tenant at the start of the tenancy and provide it to them annually thereafter (within 28 days of the annual check being completed).
- 7. Assess the property for fire safety
To protect your investment, it’s advisable to check out your property for risk of fire. Lawpack’s Fire Risk Assessment can help you to do this easily. Make sure that there is adequate means of escape in case of an emergency. Fit smoke detectors and consider having a fire blanket and a small dry powder extinguisher in the kitchen.
- 8. Obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
By law you must obtain an Energy Performance Certificate, which rates the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property, from an accredited energy assessor and provide a copy of it to the tenant at the start of the tenancy.
- 9. Register the deposit within 30 days
A deposit is required for all assured shorthold tenancies. If you’re going to take a deposit which will be subject to the tenancy deposit statutory schemes, you need to have decided in advance which scheme you will be using. Within 30 days of taking the deposit from the tenant, you must also give them details of the tenancy deposit scheme being used. You can use Lawpack’s Tenancy Deposit Protection form or download a form from the appropriate scheme.
- 10. Give your tenants a tenancy agreement
All landlords should ensure that their tenants have signed a written tenancy agreement prior to going into possession, as informal oral arrangements can be a recipe for disaster. If you intend to take a damage deposit, then you will need to have a tenancy agreement.
- Why you need a rental inventory
- How to vet your prospective tenants
- Why a written tenancy agreement is necessary
- Why HMO landlords must do a fire risk assessment by law
- Regulations you must know before letting property
Published on: October 9, 2012