Being a landlord is a huge responsibility, but not without its plethora of benefits. You may have a spare room or a spare floor that would like to put to use, and putting it up for rent is certainly the most viable choice.
There is a lot that landlords need to keep in mind before they rent their house, and here is a handy guide that will walk you through the most important things that you need to know.
1. Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document that you are legally bound to present to the prospective tenant or buyer. You will need to get an EPC before putting your house on rent, because, since 2008, the law in Britain states that you have to insert the EPC rating in the advertisement when you put up your house for rent or sale.
What is Included in an EPC?
The EPC rating lists the data about the typical energy consumption and energy costs of the house, with suggestions on how to save energy. The rating scale goes from A to G, where A is most efficient, and G is least efficient.
If you are living in Scotland, you must display the EPC inside your property.
Energy Efficiency Rating
Depending on the various energy factors, your house will be given a score. The score will then determine what rating you receive. Here is the energy efficiency rating chart:
1 – 20
21 – 38
39 – 54
55 – 68
69 – 80
81 – 91
Apart from the current rating, the EPC also shows the rating that your house can achieve if the recommendations provided in the EPC are followed. This rating is the potential rating of your house.
Estimated Energy Cost
The EPC lists down how much the resident of your house will spend on lighting, heating and hot water. Both the current costs and the potential costs are listed. In addition to this, the amount of money you can save by following the energy recommendations in the EPC is also listed.
Summary of Your Home’s Energy Performance Related Features
All the various elements in your house, such as the walls, roof, main and secondary heating, windows, floor and lighting are listed in this section, along with their description and their energy efficiency. The total energy use in a year per square metre of your home is also provided.
Why Should You Get an EPC?
The Energy Performance Certificate lists down all energy details thoroughly. Nothing is hidden in this document, and this gives way to creating transparency with the prospective tenant. The tenant will be more trusting.
Where to get an EPC
Once you get an EPC, it will stay valid for a decade. You need to find an assessor who is credited for assessing your house and providing you the certification. Here are the links to apply for the EPC:
- If you are living in North Ireland, England or Wales, click here.
- If you are living in Scotland, click here.
Changes in EPC
2. Ensure that Your House Has All the Safety the Tenants Would Need
Tenants have a right to a secure home and you need to make sure that all the security checks are done before renting your property in the UK. Here is a checklist that you should have handy:
- Make sure all of the gas equipment is installed safely.
- Make sure all of the electrical equipment is installed safely.
- Make sure all the wiring in your home is properly in place and maintained.
- Install smoke alarms on each floor of your house.
- Install smoke alarms in every room with a fireplace or woodburner.
- Any and every furnishing in your house should be fire-safe.
- Make sure the proper escape routes (in the case of fire) are available.
After a Tenant Moves In
Once you have successfully rented your property and the tenant moves into your home, there might be a few cases in which you may have to pay for the damages that are likely to have a health or safety hazard if left unsettled. Moreover, the tenants have the right, under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), to ask the council to intervene if you do not take care of the repairs. If the damages are assessed as hazardous, appropriate action will be taken to repair the damages.
3. Use an Agent to Make the Rental Process Easier
Renting your house in the UK can be a burdensome project if you take it up all on your own. Getting the help of an agent who has extensive experience in the field will do wonders for you, and make the entire process smoother and less stressful. The agent will effectively shortlist the best tenants for you, and this will eliminate the trouble of receiving non serious viewers.
The most important part in renting your home is to market it properly. A good advertising will make sure that your house gets the right exposure and increases the chances of receiving profitable clients. Currently, there has been a change in Britain’s estate market, and people have started to refer to the online estate agency portals like Rightmove and Zoopla. According to a survey, about 55% of British tenants found their rental home on Rightmove. Since most of the population searches online to look for viable houses, using these portals will maximise your exposure to the public.
This is why using an online estate agent will work better than the traditional agent, since the former would be skilled in advertising your house online.
4. Price it Right!
Setting the price right for the rent is a significant decision to make. You need to do your research for this. See what the rate is in your area, and discuss it with your agent to settle on the right price taking into account all the amenities that you will be offering to your tenants. You can search market rents by town and postcode online as well.
5. Prepare Your House for Viewings
Remember this important titbit: Your prospective tenants will inspect all the nooks and corners of your home and will look for any damages that they could use to negotiate down the price. You need to prepare your house so that you don’t give them that chance. Many homeowners do not put much thought to it when they are renting their home in the UK since they have this notion in mind that only sellers should prepare the home for viewings.
Whether you are renting your property or selling it, the same rules apply for both when you are preparing your house. If you need an extensive guide, here is one that covers the most important things you need to do to prepare your house for a viewing. For your ease, we are listing the most important tips below:
1. Make sure there are no problems with your HVAC system
Make sure that your HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) system works perfectly and that there are no leaks. Leakages make for energy inefficiency and high bills, which will create a bad impact on the value of your house. Make repairs as necessary so that the ducts and pipes are all leak-proof.
2. Make sure you have guttering for mould and moss
Proper guttering should be in place to prevent the moss and mould from ruining your walls. This is a tiny detail, but it shows how much you care for your property, and your tenant will follow your cue.
3. Small details matter most
Check the little details: Making sure that the faucets and door locks work properly, and that the hinges don’t creak. It creates a bad impression when a prospective tenant walks in and your door creaks open like a haunted house.
The damages that stand out most are ruined carpets and floorboards, and broken windows. Make sure you repair them so that your house looks great. The best part is that these repairs won’t empty your bank, either!
5. Clean the house before viewings
A clean house makes a great first impression. Remove all the clutter in your home so that it looks spacious and clean all the pesky stains from your table tops and shelves to give it a brand new look.
6. Remove personalisation from the house
Personalised items can either have a good impression on the prospective tenant (if your taste matches), or a terrible one (in the case that you have different taste in decor). Since the hazards of a bad impression are dangerous, and you might turn away tenants, remove all personalised items from your home to remove this risk.
7. Improve the curb appeal of your home
The curb appeal plays a vital role when you are renting your home. You need not to make costly upgrades, as you might when you are selling the house, but simply improve the look enough that it will stand out in your neighbourhood. Remove the weeds from your lawn and mow it, repair any damages to the landscaping, and have a paint job done on the exterior of your home.
8. Take care of the wallpaper
Take care of the peeling wallpaper in your home. You don’t necessarily have to replace it, but just make sure that you take care of any peels that are unsightly.
9. Paint the interior in a neutral colour
Paint a neutral colour in your house so that it is a clean slate for the tenants.
6. Screen the Prospective Tenants
In order to minimise the risk of renting your home to a complete stranger, you need to screen the tenants thoroughly. This process would be much easier with an online agent on your side, who will screen the tenants’ credit scores for you and will ensure that you get the best tenants your way.
Right to Rent Check
From February 2016, the law states that all new tenants in England must be checked if they can legally rent a property. As a landlord, you are required to make this check for every tenant of the age 18 and above.
For this, you need to check the tenants’ documents that allow them to reside in England. You can either perform these checks on your own or let an agent do it for you.
Important Note: You cannot discriminate against the tenants and only make checks on people you think are not British citizens. ALL tenants must be duly checked.
7. Arrange an Agreement
An agreement is an important step in the process of renting your house, as it is the legal document that shifts the right to live in your house to the tenant, and you, as a landlord, get the right to receive a monthly rent that has been agreed upon.
The common type of tenancy agreement is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). In this agreement, all the basic details of the property, landlord and the tenant are included, as well as the duration of the tenancy, the dates, the payment structure, and the details of notice periods if the contract is terminated before the set date.
A good communication with your tenant will make this process straightforward for both f you. Sit down with your tenants and lay down all the details and instructions, and make sure that both of you are in consent with each and every point. This will eliminate the risk of future troubles. If you lay down the set rules at this time clearly, your tenant will follow them happily, as compared to springing up new rules every couple of months after your tenant moves in.
Don’t rush this step. The decisions you make in the agreement will affect the whole period of tenancy, so tread carefully and smartly.
8. Protect the Deposits of Your Tenants
When your tenant hand you the deposit, it is now your responsibility to protect it. If you are renting your property on the AST agreement, then you are required to place the deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. The schemes vary in different areas.
For Wales and England:
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Deposit Protection Service
- SafeDeposits Scotland
- MyDeposits Scotland
- Letting Protection Service Scotland
9. Conduct an Inventory with the Tenant
Conducting an inventory with the tenant before and after you rent your house ensures that everything is accounted for. Make sure that the tenant has a copy of the inventory in order to avoid any dispute.
10. Check Your Insurance
Anything can go wrong when you are renting your home, and there may be a time when there is an emergency situation outside your control and costly repairs must be made. To prepare for such an event, make sure that your insurance is in place.
If you are looking forward to rent your property, and require a skilled online agent to help you through the process, you can simply contact iMoveEstates. You can even look at their renting packages and choose the one that best fits your needs.