Rental property checklist: prepare your let property

Understanding how to make that all-important first impression
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Before you decide to let your home, you need to prepare your let property. First impressions are hugely important, so it's vital that your house looks its best for tenant viewings. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to rent my house?

In this article we’ll explore some common issues that residential landlords need to address in order to get the best reaction from prospective tenants with tips for renting out a house.

1. Undertake any structural repairs

When preparing to let your property it’s easier to do repairs before putting your home on the market. Treat any damp areas, re-paint the exterior of the property, fix broken windows and doors.

2. De-personalise the décor

When preparing your home, it is best to have neutral, plain or light-coloured wallpaper or painted walls as it is much more appealing and has more longevity than patterned wallpaper or brightly-coloured walls. This lets your prospects imagine their belongings in the property, and can be easier for spotting changes or damage when it comes to doing the inventory.

3. Prepare your property by cleaning it thoroughly

Cleaning your property from top to bottom is an essential step when preparing to let your property. Hiring a steam cleaner can be extremely useful as it allows you to clean the floors, any furnishings and even the curtains. Clean the kitchen and bathroom thoroughly, ensuring there is no trace of mould or damp stains anywhere in the property. The tenant will be agreeing to keep the property in the same good quality state during the tenancy, with an allowance for normal “wear and tear” of course, so you want to set the standards high!

4. Check the plumbing

Ensure that the boiler, hot water supply, sinks, baths, showers and toilets are safe and fit for use.

5. Kitchen appliances

If budget allows, upgrading all appliances around the kitchen before the tenant moves in is a wise move. It makes the property much more appealing and can ensure you don’t incur expensive repair bills and disgruntled tenants for broken-down appliances during the tenancy.

6. Tidy the garden

When preparing to let your property your garden should be left neat, tidy and rubbish-free. If there’s a lawn it should be cut short before the tenant moves in. If you require the tenant to keep the gardens in good condition, it’s reasonable to expect the tenant to do so if you leave the tools with them but you might stipulate responsibility for this in the tenancy agreement too.

7. Prepare information for the tenant

If you have instructions for the kitchen appliances, boiler, security alarm, Council rubbish pick-up leaflets then it’s a good idea to make a copy and leave them in a folder for the tenant to use. There are bound to be questions at the beginning of a tenancy but this sort of information should be made readily available.

8. Get spare keys cut

Whilst you’re in the process of preparing your house to let you should get a spare set of house keys cut. There needs to be a set or two for the tenant, a set for you and perhaps a set for the lettings agent if you choose to have the property managed on your behalf. Make sure you leave the window keys and any patio door keys in the property for the tenant to use.

If you are concerned about losing the keys to your home, you could opt to buy HomeProtect Lost Key Cover with your home insurance policy. 

9. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

It’s compulsory to have one of these and to provide the tenant with a copy. You should contact an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA)to arrange for one of these for your property. It would be best to try and get the certification while you are preparing your home to let. The certificate has a scale of A to G; the most efficient homes that have the lowest fuel bills are in band A. The certificate is valid for 10 years and can be an important decision-making factor for tenants nowadays.

10. Gas Safety Certificate

Ensure that all gas appliances are maintained in good order, and pay for an annual service from a CORGI approved tradesman. Like the EPC, you must also give the tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate.

11. Electrical safety

When preparing your home, you should ensure that all electrical appliances provided with the property are checked by a professional and are safe to use. 

Find out more about safety regulations and legal requirements for landlords.

12. Furnished lettings

If you are letting a furnished or part-furnished property, then a Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations label must be in place on all furniture.

13. Arrange your landlords insurance

Normal home insurance will not cover you in the event of needing to claim for an accident or damage to the property once you have let it out to tenants. As soon as you have agreed who your tenants are, and obtained your Gas and Energy certificates, then you can arrange your landlords insurance.

HomeProtect offers comprehensive cover for landlords with options of either just Buildings or Buildings and Contents cover if you are letting a furnished property.

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