Preparing a Property to Let 1st May 2016

‘Accidental landlords’ is a term given to those landlords who find themselves in the role, rather than consciously choosing to get into buy to let investment. This may be because they have inherited a property, or they are unable to sell the property they are living in and so are forced to rent, for example.

In these sorts of situations it can be very difficult to remove emotional attachment, and to view the property as a business. However it is essential that the mind-set is changed to exactly this.

The following considerations may help landlords who find themselves in this situation:

Lease Length
Is renting a long term plan? You have to be willing to put tenants into your property for an absolute minimum of 6 months if going with a short assured tenancy. If this does not work for you, consider short term/holiday lets.

Property Type and Location
This will likely dictate who your tenants are. Bear this in mind when preparing your property for renting, and how much you want to spend.

Seek Professional Advice
There are numerous things you need to think about in relation to renting out a property, and so speak to the professionals. You may need to consider mortgage advice. Have you thought about insurance? Put your business hat on and consider whether it would be wise to engage the services of a letting agent, who will deal with everything for you (safety certificates, advertising, finding tenants, referencing, inventories, deposits and rents, inspections, maintenance issues, check ins and check outs etc) – perhaps invaluable if private rented housing is not a world that you understand.

Property Preparation
Tenants these days are looking for well-presented properties; expectations are much higher than they were a few years ago. Colour schemes should be neutral – this goes for both walls and carpets, along with other furnishings. Consider whether the bathroom or kitchen needs upgraded. Get rid of all personal belongings. If the property is furnished, anything you are leaving must meet safety standards and be in good working order. Broken mismatching crockery is unacceptable – replace with a new but well priced supermarket alternative. The property must be spotless for viewings. Remember tenants are far more likely to be house proud if they are going into a beautiful, clean home.

Safety Regulations
There are a number of regulations you need to comply with these days. See our April newsletter on the news page of our website (www.thekeyplace.co.uk) for further information. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, loss of rent and criminal records, so make sure your property is fully compliant in this respect. Keep abreast of all legislation, as rental regulations are changing constantly. A good letting agent such as The Key Place will be able to advise.

You should also ensure the property is safe in practical terms, both internally and externally, as you do not want to find yourself being liable for an accident that could otherwise have been preventable.

Invest in Your Property
It is essential that you spend money on your property throughout its rental life, in order to protect your investment. It may also be worth considering upgrades. Higher rents will be achieved for good, well-presented properties. A recent report by Paragon Mortgages has revealed that landlords are shifting away from buying new properties, and instead are upgrading existing portfolios, with the aim of achieving higher rents. If this is the case then it is important that your property is able to compete with a similar, upgraded property.

The rental market is the strongest it has been for years and this is set to continue. Landlords can get ahead of the game by taking steps to increase the value of the property. Investing time and money will likely see an increase in rental income, as well as attracting quality tenants. However issues need to be addressed regularly in order to maintain the value of the property and keep rent at an optimum level. The Key Place can advise.
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