For first-time landlords, the initial prospect of renting out a property can seem daunting. You’re faced with a lot of legislation to wade through and a lot of decisions to make.
We’ve put together a list of important legislation to be aware of as a first-time landlord so there are no nasty surprises further down the line.
Key things to know as a first-time landlord
This will be determined by your local council, so make sure to check the licensing procedures where you are. The purpose of this legislation is to make sure standards for rented properties are sufficient across the board, and it helps to weed out rogue landlords.
Energy Performance Certificates
It’s important to serve your tenants with an EPC, or you could face a hefty fine. An EPC contains all the information a tenant would need to know about the energy usage of the property. It contains recommendations for how to reduce energy consumption and save money.
Gas Safety Record
You are legally required to safety check all gas appliances in your property annually, and keep all checks within the property’s gas safety record.
Make sure you keep your investment safe with the right insurance. It can cover non-payment by tenants, damage, theft and legal expenses. Tenancy has more of a risk factor as you’re placing your property and furnishings in the hands of another for an extended period of time, so more factors need to be considered in your insurance policy than in standard home insurance.
What sort of landlord do you want to be?
With ‘Generation Rent’ on the rise, being a landlord can be a great stream of revenue – but also a commitment and responsibility. It all depends on how involved you want to be.
Some things to consider:
How much responsibility do you want?
Are you looking to fully manage your property, or do you require help from a lettings agent? It all depends if you’re seeing yourself as ‘landlord’ or ‘investor.’ A hands-on landlord would deal with the lot – from marketing the property to dealing with repairs.
A ‘let only’ service from an agency can help you source the right tenant and arrange rent, and then leave the rest to you. If that sounds like too much for you, then a full management service might be best. This would cover everything, including sorting any maintenance issues.
Who’s your ideal tenant?
Are they families? Students? Pet owners? Non-smokers? All of these are important factors to consider at the beginning of your landlord journey, as they define how you market your property and how you stage it.
Check out similar properties on the market to yours. Research the neighbourhood and see how close you are to schools, universities or city centres. Consider how to attract those ideal tenants to your property.
Furnished or unfurnished?
This question leads on nicely from thinking about your ideal tenant. If you’re thinking of renting out a spacious house to families, you may want to consider the unfurnished route, as they may well have a lot of their own furniture to bring with them.
But if you’re targeting student tenants, chances are they won’t have accumulated many pieces of large furniture yet, and a ready furnished option would suit their lifestyle.
Be prepared to replace furnishings regularly as wear and tear happens.
Where will you advertise?
If you’re using a lettings agent, make sure they are promoting properties on all the major property portals and are proactive in their approach. Other options include local press, social media and message boards like Gumtree.
How will you market?
There are no second chances at a first impression, as they say, so really make sure you prioritise your photography. If you’re a DIY landlord, consider investing in a professional camera.
If you’re going down the letting agent route, be sure to research how they market their properties. Often, the best way to do this is to check out some of their most recent homes on property portals. If you’re not impressed with the images, chances are your prospective tenants won’t be either.
Getting your property ready for a rental is similar to staging a property for a viewing. You want to make it look as attractive as possible, but keep it neutral so the prospective tenant can imagine their own belongings in the space.
If you’re going down the furnished route some small touches like bright cushions, or decorative flowers, can give a room an appealing quality.
Can we help? If you’re a first-time landlord in Hertfordshire and Essex and you’re exploring your options, it would be great to have a chat to see if we can be of any assistance.