Once you have decided to let your property, there are a number of ways to get your home ready. Here are our top tips:
- The property and your contents should be adequately insured, both while the property is empty and while it is let.
- Your insurers must be told that the property will be let, or you could risk invalidating your cover.
- Security systems, including locks on windows and external doors, lights, and even full-alarm systems, are valuable additions.
- They are also taken into consideration by all the leading insurance companies when calculating premiums.
Decorations and Carpets
- Choose fresh and neutral colours and styles.
- Letting a well-presented property could mean the tenants treat it with more respect.
Furnished or Unfurnished?
- Demand is highest for properties that are unfurnished, which traditionally includes carpets, curtains and a cooker.
- An unfurnished property has the advantage, from the landlord’s perspective, of avoiding the need for additional maintenance/replacement and for annual testing of electrical appliances.
- Tenants would expect furnished properties to be fitted with everything they need for daily life.
- Whether you choose to let your property furnished or unfurnished, it's still a good idea to have an inventory carried out on your property, as this documents the condition of everything from carpets to sofas.
- These should also be of good quality and condition. They are subject to regular servicing, which you will be responsible for.
- Leave instructions on the premises to help the tenant.
- Gas and electrical appliances must meet legal safety requirements and oil appliances should be tested annually.
- Let the property in a clean condition.
- Professionally cleaning the property throughout, including all carpets, is part of establishing a benchmark that will be recorded in the Inventory and Schedule of Condition.
- Ensure the exterior is in good seasonal order when it is let.
- This will set a standard for the tenants, who will be responsible for maintaining the garden.
- If the garden is particularly large or is a little complicated to maintain, it may be appropriate for you to retain responsibility for maintenance.
- If this is the case, the cost will be reflected in the rent.
Gas, Electricity and Water
- These services should be left connected for the tenant. The services will need to be transferred into their name.
- Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, tenants must be able to control and regulate heating systems.
- It’s a good idea to have at least three complete sets of keys.
- It is sensible to give the tenant two sets so that they have a spare, supply one for the letting agent and keep one set for yourself.
- If a telephone line is already installed at the property, instruct the provider to put a temporary stop on the line when you vacate, and send you a closing account, then you won't be charged for any potential telephone fees.
If you're looking for a buy-to-let property, contact your local Guild Member to start your journey.