From the outside, the idea of being a landlord may seem like a relatively straightforward role to play, but there’s actually a lot to manage. Thankfully, using a trusted letting agent can be a helpful option for landlords, as they can be assisted by industry experts every step of the journey.
In this article, we’ve put together a detailed landlord checklist, which will give you a strong idea of the typical considerations that need to be thought over when looking to rent out a property.
The process of finding a tenant can often be a challenge, especially finding a tenant that meets your desired requirements. Tenant referencing is an essential process which most landlords will want to go through in order to get a more detailed idea of the person who is going to be living in your property. Some of the most important details that need to be looked up during the reference include the following:
- Proof of ID
- Employment status
- Financial status
- Credit check
- Previous living history
- Guarantor information
- Previous landlord references
It’s also a legal obligation to conduct a ‘Right to Rent’ check – and ignoring this could lead you to a hefty fine. If a tenant does not pass the right to rent check, you legally cannot let out the property to them.
You’ll also likely want to consider a tenancy agreement. Although not a legal obligation, tenancy agreements are viewed as essential by the majority of landlords as they outline the rules of the living situation. Tenancy agreements can be complicated if you are new to them, so it’s always worth getting expert advice.
Before renting out your property, you’ll want to ensure it’s in top shape. No one is going to want to rent a property that is damaged or has various issues. Firstly, you’ll want to check that the structure of your property is all in order and that there are no major renovations required. You’ll also want to check walls and ceilings for damp and if there are any signs of damp, you’ll need that dealt with before anyone moves in.
You’ll also want to deep clean the house from top to bottom. Ensure all rooms have been vacuumed and surfaces dusted down. It may also be worth deep cleaning the carpets if they are looking a bit old and dated, or even replacing them.
The other major consideration for your property will be whether you want to furnish it. There are pros and cons to renting out both unfurnished and furnished properties, so you’ll want to go whichever decision suits your situation the most.
Finances are one of the main considerations for landlords, and you’ll need to be prepared for how the financial process will work. Firstly, you’ll need a valuation of how much you’re going to charge for rent – there’s a lot of factors to consider when determining a price and you’ll need to ensure renting the property out is financially viable.
Other financial considerations include deciding whether you, the landlord, or the tenant will pay the council tax, and whether you will include utilities as part of the rental fee. Deposits are another thing, and you’ll need to decide how much you want the tenant to put down before moving into the property.
You should also consider tracking your tenants’ payments, as this will make things easier when it comes to managing your finances. Finally, you’ll need to consider whether to take out landlord insurance. You aren’t legally obliged to do so, but it is highly recommended that insurance is taken out by most landlords.
Some landlords choose to manage everything themselves, but most find that property management is incredibly challenging and time consuming and is best left to the professionals.
Using a trustworthy company that offers property management services can take a huge burden off your shoulders.
Of course, you’ll want everything to be squeaky clean legally, so there are several aspects to check over. Your property legally needs an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in order to comply with regulations as well as a gas safety certificate. Other legal essentials include ensuring your property has working smoke alarms in every room and carbon monoxide monitors.
The previously mentioned ‘Right to Rent’ check is a big legal requirement, and you’ll need to ensure your tenants deposits are protected legally. This is just an example of some of the legal requirements, but you’ll want to thoroughly ensure everything is in place before putting the property on the rental market.
As you can see, there’s a lot of considerations. If you think you have the time and patience for managing it yourself, you may save yourself some costs. However, most landlords end up handing the management and maintenance responsibilities to a letting agent, as this lets professionals deal with the issues and takes off the stress of managing everything yourself.