Landlord News

Top Tips for Letting your Home, from ARLA Propertymark

Rose Jinks - March 1, 2019

If you’re a homeowner who is thinking about letting your home to tenants, there are many things to consider before putting it onto the rental market. 

From practical advice to your legal responsibilities as a landlord, ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents) has some top tips to get you started.

Peter Savage, the President of ARLA Propertymark, says: “With the 50th annual English Housing Surveylast month finding the private rented sector shrunk from 4.7m dwellings in 2016/17 to 4.5m in 2017/18, there has never been a greater need for landlords. 

“Letting your property is a big decision, though, both for you and the tenants that will be living there, so it’s important you understand what being a landlord means. We’ve put these tips together to ensure you understand your responsibilities as a landlord, know how to protect your property, and keep your tenants happy, dealing with any issues that may arise.”

Do your research

The first thing you should do is get to know your local housing market. Research similar properties in the area and find out how much they are being let for per month. If your rent price is set too high, then prospective tenants will be instantly put off. A letting agent will be able to advise you on this.

Once you’ve done your homework, set a competitive rent and aim to keep your property filled at all times, to minimise void periods.

Check with your mortgage provider

By letting your home, you go from being a homeowner and occupier to a landlord, and, with your new status, comes great responsibility. In the first instance, you need to check if your mortgage permits you to rent out your property, as some agreements include caveats to prevent homes being let to tenants. 

If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage lender and they will be able to advise you accordingly.

Know your responsibilities

Being a landlord is a 24/7 job, so you should be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time during the day or night. Some issues will need immediate attention, and, unless you have a managing agent, you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance.

Get the property ready

Make sure that your property is clean and any modernisation or DIY projects are completed. It will be more attractive to prospective tenants if it’s had a fresh lick of paint, all repairs are done and, if necessary, new flooring has been installed. 

You should also think about the type of tenants that your property would be best suited to, for example, young families, students or single professionals. This will determine whether you should let it furnished or unfurnished. If possible, offer both options, so that the agent can market your property to a wider audience.

Top Tips for Letting your Home, from ARLA Propertymark

Sort out the insurance

Your existing home insurance provider must be made aware of your intention to let your property, as your policy will probably need to be amended. While specific landlord insuranceisn’t a legal requirement, it’s advisable, as the policy will protect your buildings, contents and investment as a whole. 

Rent guarantee insurance is also available to protect your rental income against tenant rent arrears.

Legal requirements

When it comes to being a landlord, there are more regulations to comply with than you could even imagine. To put it into perspective, there are currently around 150 laws that landlords must adhere to while letting a property. 

At the start of a tenancy, you must conduct Right to Rent checksunder immigration law, protect your tenant’s depositand ensure that all the essential paperwork is in place.

While it isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a very good idea to have a written tenancy agreement in place, so that both you and your tenant understand your rights and responsibilities.

The safety of your tenants is also essential, so you must also arrange a gas safety checkevery year. It’s also wise to make sure that all electrical appliances and wiring are tested regularly, too, as the Government will soon be introducing mandatory checks. Finally, it goes without saying that your rental property must be fitted with smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide detectorswhere necessary.

By law, your property must have an Energy Performance Certificate(EPC) that is rated E or above. You won’t be able to legally market the home unless you reach this standard and have a certificate to prove it, so get it sorted as soon as possible – they’re valid for ten years.

Regular inspections

It’s important to undertake regular inspections of the property, although, remember that you can’t enter the home without your tenant’s permission. This is classed as trespassing and is illegal. Give them at least 24 hours’ written notice and stipulate your periodic inspection schedule in the tenancy agreement.

Choose the right agent

If you want to make the process of letting your home pain-free, then use a letting agent to manage the property and guide you on everything that you need to know. A good agent will take away the stress of finding suitable tenants and will ensure that your let complies with the right regulations.

If you use an agent, make sure that they have Client Money Protection(CMP) in place, which ensures that, if the agent goes bust or runs off with your money, you will be reimbursed. 

Good luck if you’re planning on letting your home to tenants in the near future!