Thoughts for the Landlord
There are a few things that you will need to bear in mind from a legal point of view, and also some things for you to consider just to help your new tenants into their new home. In our experience, a property that goes out in a good order is more likely to be returned in a good condition, and will also attract a similar quality of tenant.
If you have a garden or courtyard, ensure it is left nice and tidy, and ideally is easy to manage. Tenants can tidy and trim but if you have something more elaborate you may wish to pay a gardener to visit.
Ensure the house is left clean - it is much easier to let a clean property. A well presented property is more likely to attract the quality of tenant you are looking for.
Safety is Paramount. Landlords have a duty to keep their tenants safe, and failure to do so could lead to hefty fines or even prison! The General Product Safety Regulations (1994) specify that any product supplied in the course of a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of Lettings, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. It is recommended to check for obvious signs of danger, such as a leaning walls, broken glass, and sharp edges, and also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items such as hot surfaces and electric lawn mowers for the Tenant.
A current Gas Safety Certificate is required by law, these usually cost around £50, or around £70 if you require the boiler serviced at the same time. The certificate lasts one year.
Landlords have a Duty of Care to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances are compliant. Trading Standards state that the Landlord must be able to demonstrate that electrical appliances are safe before the property is let. We therefore strongly recommend annual PAT and 5 yearly wiring checks on all tenanted properties. As a guide, the fixed wiring test is around £120, and a PAT £36.
Smoke alarms are now a legal requirement (one on each floor of the property), with a carbon monoxide detector being required in any room with a Solid Fuel Burning appliance. It is however recommended that a CO alarm be fitted in any room with a gas appliance.
All furnishings must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. This means any items of furniture without the necessary labeling must be removed from the property prior to the commencement of any tenancy.
For general safety, the chimneys on all open fires and woodburners should be swept at least once in every twelve month period. Any fuel burning appliance must also comply with appropriate building regulations. We are of course happy to discuss this in more detail should you require.
Much of the above list can seem a little daunting, but we are here to help and to take the worry out of renting your property. Talk to us, we are here to answer any questions you may have no matter how big or small your concerns are. We want you to feel comfortable with your decision to rent your property, and it's important to us that you feel you can call us anytime, or pop into the office for a coffee and a chat.