Tips for DIY landlords letting a property
Most landlords hand over the business of letting their property to an agent and with all right so. Letting your property carries a lot of work but if you think you have the opportunity, ability and time you can most definitely do it on your own. If you do go ahead and decide to let it by yourself there are a few things to think about and this guest post fro Zaparoom, the flat-sharing platform, aims to cover these.
First, before you even start looking for potential tenants or how much you can charge there are a few things you need to do.
- you need to contact your mortgage provider as they may require you to rent your property on an Assured Shorthold basis.
- let your insurance provider know that you are now letting the property otherwise it may not cover you in the case of theft, fire or damage to the property.
- Get your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) as this is required for rental properties by law.
If you have a freeholder you should inform them of the letting as well.
Once you’ve made sure the above is dealt with its time to get your property ready. Now it is time for you to decide whether you are going to let your property furnished or unfurnished. Depending on layout and location one may be preferred over the other. This is also determined by who you are planning on letting it to. A student will most definitely prefer a furnished flat whereas a couple or family is likely to have their own furniture. If you decide to let your property furnished remember that the look and feel of a place can be a deal breaker so try to keep the furniture united and follow the same style and colour scheme. It can also be worth doing a bit of cosmetics touch ups done such as a lick of paint and updating outdated appliances which will save you the trouble of coming in and doing updates like that once your place has been let. Servicing your boiler, checking smoke alarms and changing filters on fans are also good practice.
Now that your flat is refreshed and in good shape
- give it a good clean
- declutter it
- remove personal items
- put basic decorations in (this makes it easier for potential tenants to see themselves living there if your letting it furnished)
- get rid of odour and smells
Next you could either do your best at taking the most favourable pictures of your flat or you can hire a professional to do it. You can easily find budding photographers that would do it for a fair price as they are building their portfolio and experience. When you’ve got great shots of your place it’s time to put them in front of potential tenants. There are a couple of sites available where you can do that such as https://my.gumtree.com/login , http://zaparoom.co.uk , https://www.spareroom.co.uk. Our recommendation is that you use two or more to get a wider reach but that is of course up yourself and your budget. When you post your ad make sure to include as much information about the property itself but also about the area. Include attributes that you may not think of as crucial such as double glazed windows and closest tube and bus stops as well as the proximity to shops and restaurants. Even the presence of a big employer can get tenants to choose your flat over another.
Part of your ad will be to price your property appropriately and while you might have an idea of what you are hoping to charge it is always a good idea to do some research. This can be done by walking into an estate agent in your area and tell them that you are thinking of letting your property and ask what the average price for a similar property is. You can also use our friend Google as well as the existing ads posted on the sites mentioned above, that will usually give you a good idea of what landlords are charging and what people are willing to pay.
When people reach out to you in response to your ad try to answer them in a timely manner as many tenants are under time pressure to find a suitable place. If inquiries to view the property comes from someone you would consider a potential tenant, then organise for them to come and view your property at the earliest convenience. Once a suitable time has been agreed make sure the flat looks spotless.
- dirty dishes in the sink
- clothes on the floor
- unmade beds
- messy cupboards or bathrooms
…and you’ll be good to go.
Hopefully the viewing goes well and the potential tenant wants to move ahead. Then it is up to you to sort out a tenancy agreement. There are plenty of basic ones online like this from Lawdepot https://www.lawdepot.co.uk/contracts/tenancy-agreement/#.WIe7T7GcaqA to help you out. Further it is a good idea to do an inventory check of all the things that are in the flat when the tenant move in. Put together a simple list of everything in the property and then go through that list properly with the tenant upon them moving in. Have them sign the inventory list together with the contract and make sure they keep a copy of both.
That’s it DIY landlord friends! Hopefully this post has given you a basic understanding of what you need to think about and do before letting your property. However, the work doesn’t stop here, by deciding to let your property on your own you’re also responsible for looking after it and helping your tenants out whenever something happens or goes wrong. There are specific management companies that you can hire to deal with the actual managements of the property, that is repairs and maintanence, but if you only have one or two properties and you live fairly close chances are you’ll do just fine on your own.
Good luck and happy letting
The Zaparoom Team
Zaparoom is a flat-sharing platform catering to a new way of renting hoping to bring ease to both renters and landlords. Their passion lies in helping people find a home and make renting simple for both UK originates and expats.