May 19, 2022 10:54 am

Before deciding to rent your property you need to prepare it for letting. It’s vital that your house looks at its best for tenant viewings so you need to ask yourself what you need to do to rent out your house or better still, what type of tenant could you attract to your property to rent and make a home.

In this post we will look at some of the more common issues that landlords need to focus on in order to attract the best prospective tenants.  It's only natural that the best tenants that will look after your property well will want a well looked after property to live in.

And for this reason, it is paramount that should your property be prepared well and make a great impression both in the marketing and during the views, you will attract the very best kind of potential tenants to rent your property.

preparing your property to rent
Here is your 14 step rental property checklist:

1. Clean your property thoroughly

A high standard of cleaning is vital when renting out your property.  Remember, your tenants sign to agree to leave the property in the same condition that they left it so it's up to you to make that start clean and fresh for them.

Make sure all curtains, furnishings and carpets are cleaned, hire in professionals if you need to, the initial outlay will pay off as you give a better first impression and start things off on the right foot.

Also make sure that the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly including the oven, all surfaces and inside cupboards; the bathrooms are important too, make sure there are no signs of mould or damp anywhere in the property. 

This brings us nicely onto point 2.

2. Take a full inventory

A professional inventory details everything in your property be it a blemish on a wall or anything more major, both you and your tenant sign to agree the inventory at the start of the tenancy, this includes every included item from baths and showers to utensils and handles.

Tenants have a right to fair usage of the property and a reasonable level of wear and tear but this inventory protects you if anything goes beyond that.

A full inventory can be a reference point for disputes too, if say the carpet near the front door comes up in the second year of the tenancy and is shown to be partially worn during the inventory then you would likely be liable for the repair, however if the inventory showed the carpet and surrounding areas in good condition and there was evidence of soiling, marks on the walls and skirts where the door had been slammed, shoes kicked off and bags thrown down then it could be shown that the tenant might be responsible for that repair.

Inventories are for both sides, they reduce and remove any disputes that might arise and most importantly are the key factor when looking to claim any deposit back at the end of a tenancy.

Think of an inventory like a one off payment for insurance across the entire tenancy.

3. Upgrade the kitchen appliances

If you can install new appliances then do so and pay for the extended warranties available.  As with the inventory this is a way of making sure you're protected going forwards.

Often at times it's not the most cost effective thing to do as the property already has appliances but it is worth looking at if this is an option for you.

Repair bills and upset tenants can be avoided as well as making the property much more appealing for rental.

4. Plumbing MOT and gas certificate

You've got to have a landlords gas certificate by law so why not have the plumber that performs that essential legal safety check give a once over to all your water outlets making sure nothing is likely to leak.  

There's one case that we had where a poorly fitted kitchen had a shelf in the cupboard under the sink pushing against the waste pipe so over time it started to leak and it took 3 repairs before finally the shelf issue was rectified, a plumbing check (that we like to call an MOT) would've prevented these bills for the landlord.

You must provide the tenant with a copy of the gas safety certificate.

5. Redecorate and depersonalise the decoration.

Bright colours and wild patterns are a definite no no when renting out a property, taste is personal so even if you're an incredible artist with fantastic talents be sure to put that aside and make your property neutral for your tenants.

Light neutral colours last longer and are more appealing and allow your prospective tenants to imagine living in the home rather than how they might work with or around the snazzy wall or orange living room.

It opens you up to more tenant choice as some may not want to live in a brightly coloured or patterned property.  This also helps the inventory as everything is clean and clear to see.

6. Complete all structural repairs

If your property has any outstanding repairs now is the time to do them, from slipped tiles to external cracks, it's easier to do them now than later.  

If you let an item of repair go then you may have to attend to it later ion once it's worsened and caused more damage, a slipped tile can lead to two and then three, it can lead to water ingress, damp issues, rotten roof timbers and then that requires quite extensive work.

Insurance is next but it's worth considering the excess payable and what is covered, your insurance would likely have to pay for temporary accomodation for your tenant so it would be quite a sizeable claim.  this is why insurance is important as is doing repairs first before letting out your property.

This includes stiff locks, faulty window seals, doors with quirks such as ones that have to be closed a certain amount or way for the lock to work etc.

Make sure the property is ready to be rented out in good working order and it will save you a lot of time, money and headache in the long run.

7. Landlords insurance

Accidents and damage can happen so it is worthwhile having insurance.  Landlords insurance is different to home insurance and it's important to have the right one.  

The vast majority of landlords are underinsured, the value of a property is not the value to rebuild that property in the event of catastrophic damage such as say a fire would cause.

it's important to have good insurance, it's your property, it is of high value and it needs to be protected. 

8. Rent guarantee insurance

We offer comprehensive rent guarantee insurance with all of our rentals, it's an optional extra but if a tenant stops paying for any reason then it ensures you still get paid.  

The insurance company pays for and handles the legals and evicts the tenant too if needs be so it's a great thing to have in your pocket.

9. Tidy the garden

Gardens for rental should be neat and well kept, the grass should be cut and the bushes cut back and tidied, make sure all garden waste is removed.  This will be shown on the inventory so make sure it's as you want it kept and left after the tenancy.

It's important that you provide at the bare minimum storage in the form of a shed or garage for items such as lawnmowers and garden shears otherwise the tenant will find it very difficult to upkeep the garden.

You could provide some items such as a lawnmower too but remember it will either need to be new or PAT tested if you do which brings us on to:

10. Electrical safety

A landlords electrical safety certificate is a legally required document to be completed once per year.  It ensures the safety of the electrics in the property for both the tenant and yourself. 

If you are providing any electrical items then you will also need periodic portable appliance testing (PAT) certificates for those too.

You must provide the tenant with a copy of the electrical safety certificate.

11. Fire and carbon monoxide safety

This leads me onto smoke and fire alarms, you must provide these in certain areas such as kitchens and one on each floor, if you are renting out a shared house or a property across three or more floors then you will require a more extensive linked system.  

Make sure that you are compliant legally as failures here can cause death and injury to your tenants which would leave you liable and very likely with invalidated insurance too.

12. Bins and bins and bins

The UK has quite a complex waste system which your tenant needs to be aware of, rubbish can pile up very quickly if you miss a fortnightly or 3 weekly collection, make sure that each type of bin is available, food waste, cardboard, general waste, garden waste, plastics and any other bins your council might have.

13. Gather information for the tenant

Instructions, how-to guides, manuals and leaflets are very important, you might know how to set the hot water to turn on at 6am but your tenant probably doesn't.  Likewise the oven might have a cleaning function accessible if you leave the manual there for them.  

Most importantly though are the bin schedules and safety information.  If you are renting out an apartment in a block then you will need to provide fire safety information including a muster point.

14. Cut spare keys

A good tenancy agreement will prevent the tenant from changing the locks or having keys cut so it's important to give them plenty of copies, three per external door is usually good practice.  your lettings agent will need at least one, probably two so they can have one out with a tradesman and one in the office for emergencies and you will need at least one as well so probably two just to be safe.

That's seven keys per door, seems like overkill but if the tenant has three, maybe one for each adult and a spare, the lettings agent has one for trades and an emergency reserve / spare and you also have two then it does make sense.

Are you sure that your property meets all of the compliance regulations? Non-compliant landlords face up to £30,000 in fines.

Check that you are fully compliant today with our free comprehensice compliance guide, helping to keep landlords, tenants and properties safe.

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