17th August 2020
When you are preparing your property for rental, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? What are the things that you look for when you are checking the home for potential tenants? Is it the standard of the décor? The appearance of the carpets and flooring? It’s likely that you will be looking at these things, envisaging it through the eyes of the tenant – but before you even take those things into consideration, you should be thinking about safety.
When a tenant looks around the property, they won’t be able to see whether or not the electrics are up to standard. They won’t be wondering whether the boiler has been serviced. Because they will expect that you, as the landlord of the property, has done all of the work required to make sure that the property is safe and secure. Don’t let those things escape your attention; these are the things that could cause you the most problems down the line.
Our advice, particularly to first-time landlords, is to focus your attention on the safety first, before anything else. It really doesn’t matter if the property isn’t ultra-modern in its décor or furnishings – first and foremost, it needs to be completely safe.
So make sure that you take the time to check your compliance with Gas Safety Regulations, make sure that you have adequate smoke alarms placed in key places throughout the property, and that they are in full working order, and that you have fitted carbon dioxide sensors in places where there are risks.
Touching a bit more on that – if your property has an open fireplace, regardless whether it is used or not, it is essential that a carbon dioxide sensor is fitted nearby – if, as has happened in the past, the tenant decides to go against your advice, and use the fireplace, then you as the landlord would be liable. So make sure that you’ve considered everything, and cover yourself.
All aspects of safety for the property are the responsibility of the landlord. Keep all safety checks, such as electric and gas etc. up to date – that way you have proof if something were to go wrong.
Make sure it’s clean
This seems pretty obvious, but always make sure that the property you are renting out is clean before you show it to potential tenants. There is nothing more off-putting than walking into a home which has a bad odour, grubby door handles, and unsightly marks on the carpets.
The cleanliness of a property is the first thing your potential tenants will notice, so if you are unable to get it up to standard yourself, make sure you get a professional cleaner in to get the jobs done for you.
Key things are:
Remember; if the property is in a clean and tidy state when the tenant moves in, then they are more likely to keep it that way. And of course, you can insist that when they vacate the property, they leave it in the same condition as when they moved in – this will be noted in both your contract and your inventory.
Present to suit your market
This is something else that is often overlooked – presenting your property to attract the type of tenant you want. You’ll want to take into consideration the kind of area the property is in, and the demographic. If you’re in an area of town where there are a lot of retirees, then you should make sure that the property is set up and decorated in such a way to attract an older clientele. If it’s somewhere that tends to attract professional couples, then they will be more attracted by modern décor and slick modern appliances. And families will have different requirements again.
Something else to consider is, how will you attract the kind of tenant that you want? For example, if your property is a bit run down, hasn’t had any investment in the overall décor, kitchen, bathroom, then think about the grade of tenant that you’re likely to attract.
And to add to that, the more you are willing to invest in getting your property modernised, the higher rent you’re likely to get for it, as people are willing to pay for the convenience of having modern appliances, adequate storage, a good number of plug sockets to suit their needs, and any little modern touches that will make their lives within the home easier and more comfortable.
Of course, these are just a few of the many things that you as a landlord will want to consider when you rent out your property – join us for part 2 of this series where we will guide you through some more of the requirements and legalities you will face when looking to fill your property.