Letting Your Property

Letting your property

by Caleb James on 9 Sep, 2011

With rental prices and demand for rented accommodation high, coupled with all time low mortgage rates, it’s no wonder that more of us are choosing to rent out property, seeing this as a savvy investment. However, preparing your property to acceptable standards is essential and legal, but great preparation can lead to maximum returns.

First impressions are everything both inside and outside so here are some simple, practical tips to get you going.

This is what potential tenants see first. Tidy up gardens, mow grass, weed the flowerbeds and spray weed killer on paths, trim hedges, fill patches in the lawns and take any rubbish to the local tip. Check you don’t have any exterior large cracks in the outside rendering and repair as necessary. Wooden window and door frames may need a fresh coat of paint or uPVC windows/doors cleaned thoroughly around the frames. Revitalise tired looking sheds with some fresh wood stain.  Don’t forget to wash the glass, as you will be surprised how much difference this can make when viewing from the inside. Finally, make sure your house number is easily seen to visitors and even consider buying a new, up-to-date house numbersign.

You will not be able to let your property if there are signs of serious neglect such as subsidence, large cracks in plaster, damaged ceilings, damp and so on. You must get this repaired properly before you go to market. Simple redecoration does not cost too much and can give the impression of a new flat/house. Be ruthless with clutter and unnecessary items (books, kids toys that are never used, huge CD collections and so on). Check all your lights work, taps are not leaking and bad tiling is replaced. These are inexpensive to repair and can really put tenants off if they’re not attended to. Clean the place really thoroughly and even use a toothbrush on hard to reach areas. Finally, buy some air fresheners and disperse around the rooms, as bad smells will instantly turn off tenants.

Once you’re done with the physical property, you will need to turn your attention to numerous other matters. There are too many to go into details here but they are mentioned below and your letting agent will be able to help you too:

  • Check safety of gas appliances by CORGI registered engineers and electrical appliances by qualified electricians.
  • Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
  • Get permission from your mortgage lender to let your property.
  • Tell your freeholder if you are leasing a flat.
  • Change your insurance from normal home insurance to a landlord’s insurance.
  • Tell the council your property is now rented and let the council tax department know you’re no longer living there.
  • Let Land registry know you have let your property and give them your new address and phone numbers as this can help protect you against fraud.

Letting Agents

For a relatively modest fee, usually around 10% for rent collection and 15% for full management, a letting agent will be money well spent. They will take care of vetting tenants, taking references, obtaining credit checks, organising tenant agreements and inventories, keeping your property occupied and for the highest possible rent in your area and organise repairs if necessary. They will assist you in evicting bad tenants and ending tenancy agreements when the time comes.

For further information on renting out your property, you can check www.lease-advice.org

About the Author

Caleb James

Caleb James is a financial advisor and journalist, who contributes regularly to financial blogs and industry publications.