Need a quick reminder of what’s required before letting a property
Invested in your very first buy-to-let or just need a quick overview of what’s required of you before letting a property? Our helpful checklist covers all the essentials.
1. Permission and Protection
Before you let a house or flat especially if you have a mortgage you may need permission to do so – get permission in writing. It is absolutely vital you arrange a landlord’s insurance policy before letting – this covers you for claims for injury or worse from the occupants, visitors or the general public, plus malicious damage and for any void periods – usually up to 30 days.
2. Letting your home
If this is your own home and you may wish to return to live there you should, just prior to letting, serve a written notice under Ground 1 of the Housing Act 1982 Schedule 2. This informs the tenant you may wish to return to live there yourself and will ease the process of re-possession for you.
You will need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It shows the energy efficiency of the property and must be provided by law whenever the property is marketed to let to a new tenant. This is valid for 10 years, if however should you do any works, renovations it is advisable to have the EPC updated. To Let a property there is a minimum standard of an E required.
4. Gas Safety Check
If the property has a gas supply you will need to arrange a Gas Safety Check and issue Gas Safety Certificate. Any gas appliances in the property will need to be tested as part of this – this is a legal requirement with heavy fines for non-compliance.
5. Periodic Electrical Inspection Report
Although not a legal requirement in England yet, it is recommended that you arrange a Periodic Electrical Inspection Report (PIR) from a qualified electrician before letting and every 5 years thereafter. You must use an approved registered electrical contractor to comply with Building Regulations Part P. It is also recommended that all portable electrical appliances be tested prior to each tenancy. This called a P.A.T. test and can quickly be carried out.
6. Smoke Detectors
Make sure your tenants are safe by installing and maintaining a smoke detector on each floor of the property and if there are solid fuels appliances, a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted and maintained. (this is currently not a legal requirement for gas but we advise this as best practice). Properties built after 1992, will have automatically been fitted with smoke detectors wired into their electrical circuits. They will in addition have a battery fitted. The smoke detector should be cleaned at least once per annum and the battery backup changed as necessary.
If the property is offered fully or part furnished check that the Furniture and Furnishings provided comply with current fire regulations. You are not liable to check furniture provided by tenants, only the furniture you provide as a landlord: three piece suites, sofas, arm chairs, scatter cushions, seat pads including dining and desk chairs, bean bags, beds, padded headboards, mattresses, pillows, convertible sofa beds, futons, loose and stretch covers for upholstered furniture, nursery furniture, conservatory furniture, garden furniture suitable for indoor use. All must meet safety standards as per the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1993. Look for the fire safety labels.
8. Maintenance/Risk Assessment
Do your own safety, security and maintenance inspection / risk assessment report for the whole property making sure there are no obvious dangers such as lose stair rails and treads, slippery surfaces, faulty locks on doors and windows, faulty electrical cables and plugs, sockets, wrong electrical fuse types, blocked gutters and rains, items needing decorating / painting etc. Having written evidence that you have carried out these checks could be a life saver in the event of a claim.
9. Professional Clean and Removal of Valuables
Professionally clean the property including any flooring/carpets. It would be fair and reasonable to expect the property cleaned to the same professional standard on exit although this can no longer be a term of their tenancy. Remove any items which you value or that could cause a danger to anyone in the property. Don’t leave any more appliances than are necessary or agreed with the tenant/s.
Have an independent inventory/schedule of condition report done prior to the tenancy commencing. Leave a property guide at the property, this gives the tenants all the information they may need including the location of all stop taps, fuses, switches, alarms and operating / safety instructions for all appliances.
As a Landlord be aware that you will have on-going costs and some maintenance from time to time, we advise keeping a reserve with us in preparation for this. Here is a list of some of the essential costs and a timescale of these requirements:
- EPC certificate – every 10 years
- Gas Safety Certificate – every 12 months
- Letting agents fees – initial tenancy set up cost
- Deposit scheme fees if you use an insured scheme. The DPS custodial scheme is free
- Boiler service – annually
- Landlords insurance
- Void allowance – allow one month’s rent per annum in case of vacant periods.
- Council Tax and Utility Bills – you will be liable to pay this if the property is empty between tenants.
- Ground rent and service charges – if the property is leasehold
- White Goods and Furnishings – any appliances you provide must be maintained and replaced as necessary
- Redecoration/Repairs/Maintenance – as with any property over time you will need to do general repairs and maintenance.
Being a good landlord is as much about your state of mind; Try to leave your emotions at the door and allow us to manage your tenants in a helpful and supportive way, even when they don’t behave as you and I would like them to.
Book a FREE Valuation of your investment property and find out how our expert lettings team finds you the best tenants, deals with tenancy problems as they arise and crucially ensures you keep your tenants longer - avoiding having vacant periods with no rent coming in.
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