Advice for landlords before you let your property
Renting out a property that you own can be both an exciting yet challenging decision to make. However, you may have decided that you will do just that this year! Here are some of our top tips and advice for landlords to help you prepare to be successful when renting out a property.
Consents from mortgagees and other authorities before letting
One of the first things you will need to do is gain consent to rent out your property from your mortgage provider. If your mortgage is not a “buy to let” one, this is crucial. When your mortgage lender grants you consent to let, it will usually be for a specific term. Typically, they will grant consent to let until the end of your fixed-term mortgage, but some lenders work on a 6 or 12-month basis.
Check also if a Headlease or any covenants is restricting letting.
Is the property a house in multiple occupation (HMO)? If so, check with your Local Authority what licencing requirements are needed.
Taking out landlord insurance before letting a property
Although not required by law, we strongly recommend you take out comprehensive landlord insurance to cover all eventualities. When making your decision, you should consider the following insurances as part of your cover:
- Buildings Insurance – this covers damages to the property caused by events such as lightning, earthquake and fire. It also covers permanent fixtures such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Contents Insurance – covers damage to, or loss of, your possessions, including carpets, furniture, fixtures and fittings, and white goods. It is also worth checking whether boiler cover is provided within this section as you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the boiler is in good working order. This is even more important to keep on top of during the winter months!
- Rental Protection – this covers any loss of rental income, which could be if your tenants are forced to move out temporarily for any reason. It could also be beneficial in the current COVID climate as people are struggling with their finances.
- Property Owners’ Liability – this protects you against claims if you are deemed liable for any injuries caused to your tenants or their visitors to your property.
There are other add-ons that can protect you against accidental damage and the property standing empty for a period of time, so make sure you do your homework to find the best cover to suit your needs at the most competitive price.
Advice for landlords on checking tenants before renting to them
You should always engage in a comprehensive referencing process to ensure that you have found the most suitable tenants to rent your property. You are also legally required to check the immigration status of all tenants (“Right to Rent” checks). Tenants checks are a very important part of our advice for landlords.
As part of the referencing process, you will need the following:
- Proof of ID – Current Passport/Driver’s Licence
- Proof of Address – Recent Utility Bill/Council Tax Bill (dated within last 3 months)
- Immigration Status Check for anyone over 18
Our advice for landlords would also be to secure the following checks:
- Previous landlord checks – to see if prior rents have been paid on time
- Employment Checks – to clarify salary, length and term of employment and character reference
- County Court Judgements
- Credit Check – you must get written permission from the prospective tenant before undertaking a credit check. This must be done through a third-party agency that W.T. Parker can arrange on your behalf
- Health and safety considerations for landlords
Before renting out your property, you must make sure that your property is safe. You have a legal obligation to fit at least one smoke detector on every floor and carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with appliances using solid fuels, such as coal and wood fires. You must also ensure that they are in full working order at the start of the tenancy.
You must also abide by current fire and safety regulations which state that all furniture and furnishings must be made from fire-resistant materials. It is also advisable that you regularly check that all fixtures and fittings are in good working order and encourage your tenants to inform you immediately if they have any concerns.
Certifications required by law for letting a property
You are required by law to provide the following certifications to your tenants before they move in:
- Copy of Gas Safety certificate – you must have all of the gas appliances in the property checked each year by a Gas Safe Engineer and provide your tenants with a copy of the most recent certificate.
- Copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – you must have all electrical items checked every five years and provide your tenants with a copy of the most recent certificate.
- EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) All privately rented properties must have a valid EPC certificate above the current threshold (currently Band E or above). EPCs are valid for 10 years.
Documents you must give your tenants before signing
- The latest version of “How To Rent” guide (online government document)
- Deposit Protection Scheme Prescribed Details – if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), you must protect your tenants’ deposit in a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. You must do this within 30 days of receipt of their deposit.
- EPC Certificate
- Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
- Gas Safety Certificate
It is essential to have a well-drafted Tenancy Agreement and a detailed Inventory and Schedule of Condition.
Contact W.T. Parker, Estate and Letting Agent Chesterfield
We understand that there is a lot to consider when preparing to be a landlord, but we are here to help you on this journey. We specialise in property letting services and advice for landlords.
If you require any further assistance in letting your property as a landlord, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01246 232156 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more advice for landlords using the links at the bottom of this web page.