Thursday, 1 May 2014

How to Get Your House Rental Ready

Being a Private Landlord in your head is ace.  You get paid, your home is looked after and you don't really do much.  Hmmm, it can be like that or it can be a right royal pain in the rear.

The first house I rented out was one I bought to live in.  There was a few things I needed to do before I could actually let the house out.  Legal things too!  Here's what you need to get done.

1.  Gas and Electricity Checks.  These are the most important as this is what you can go to prison for if it all goes
horribly wrong!!  You need a Gas Safe Heating Engineer/Plumber to do the check and if there are any defects or if your system doesn't meet the standard, you need to get it sorted before anyone can move in.  An electrician needs to test the switches, sockets, light fittings and they need to earth the bathroom suite and any other sinks. If you are letting on a furnished basis with unpluggable electric equipment, they will need Portable Appliance Testing.  The gas and Portable appliance testing need repeating every 12 months.  The wiring needs doing every 5 years.

2.  Remove Your Stuff.  You can't legally go in and get it once your tenant takes possession of the property.  If it's something you don't want get rid of it.  If you are letting on a furnished basis then the tenant can use it but you need to add it to your inventory (step 4) or it could be as if it never existed.

3.  Decorate and Clean.  Get the house to the standard in which you want it when it is returned to you.  I guarantee it won't be as it will have been lived in but if you get it to a high standard you will attract better tenants and you know how it was when you left it.

4.  Take Photos and Do an Inventory.  Take photos of every little thing and bit of damage as you may be arguing over these when it's time to pay the bond back. Also when you do photos, write a log as you go along as one skirting board looks very much like another.  The inventory is a list of everything in the property.  Include carpets, light fittings, appliances, kitchen cupboards - yes - things actually attached to the house.  You will not believe what I have seen and heard from other landlords.  People do take kitchens and if its not on the inventory, how do you prove it was there.

5. Set Up a Rent Account and Contracts.  I download my contracts from the Residential Landlords Association (no affiliate link, its just who I use).  They are always going to be with current law then and you will need that contract to be watertight if you want someone to leave.  There's bags of information about the type of tenancy you can offer and the pros and cons, so please read through their site before you embark as a landlord.  The rent account is an account solely for your rent payments to go in and your mortgage to go out.  I never keep a great amount in this account, I transfer it out to savings accounts as I just don't trust anyone with my bank details particularly those living in a house I once lived in!!

So do all that before you are actually ready to get a tenant to reduce the time the house is stood empty and not earning for you.

This is the first part in a series of posts about the delights and pitfalls of being a Landlord.  Subscribe to make sure you don't miss a post.  Next week is How to Get House Viewings.

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