Whether you’re a reluctant landlord who was forced to rent their house to move to a new property or a landlord who has built a property portfolio, there’s a minefield out there in terms of finding the “perfect” tenant. It’s important to take the time to think about your property, what it has to offer and market it to and through the right people in order to attract your dream tenant. It’s also vital to ensure you have landlord insurance should you ever run into any problems. Landlord insurance from HomeLet is a specialist insurance tailored to the specific needs of landlords.
Three things landlords should know before they rent out property
If you advertise your property for rent there are key things you need to know.
Marketing and Advertising your property
In these days of social media, it’s tempting to think that you can turn letting agent yourself and find your own tenant. Certainly, many people successfully advertise properties through Facebook and other social media. However, finding a tenant is not for the faint-hearted and there are numerous potholes along the way to which you can easily fall foul of. For example, there is rigorous anti-discrimination legislation which means that you can’t pick one tenant over another simply because you like the look of them. Doing so can leave you open to legal action and potential tenants can utilise anti-discrimination legislation, so it’s important to be very aware of this.
Some people opt to advertise through a letting agent and then manage the property themselves. This is quite a good half way house where the agent can take care of all the legal side, the credit checks references, and deposits. They can also offer advice and intelligence on potential tenants because they may have previous experience of that tenant and be able to guide you in this respect which can be invaluable.
Responsibility for health and safety
As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring that your property meets all the rigorous electrical and fire safety regulations which apply to landlords. It is your responsibility to fit and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and comply with fire safety regulations for properties which are part of a block of flats or are adapted into flats. This includes, for example, fitting fire doors, supplying the property with fireproof furniture (if let as furnished), a fire blanket and fire extinguisher. Councils in Scotland, England and Wales are entitled to do a
Councils in Scotland, England and Wales are entitled to do a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection to determine if your property is hazardous. Your tenant has the right to request such an inspection and if you fail to comply with the basic regulations your property may be deemed unfit for rental and you may be prevented from using or renting the property until hazards are addressed.
It’s vital to draw up a legally binding tenancy agreement which clearly sets out yours and your tenant’s rights and responsibilities. All tenants who rent the property should sign the tenancy agreement and you should also have somewhere a guarantor can sign it. A guarantor is legally responsible for any damage or rent default should the tenant fail to meet the tenets of the agreement. It also lays out exactly what each person is responsible for in terms of maintenance which can save a lot of disagreements with any areas which may appear to be grey, such as blocked drains or garden or building maintenance.
Regardless of your experience in property rental, you’re never too late to take professional advice as regulations are constantly changing and professionals will always be there as a guiding hand to help you avoid the pitfalls.