Ten things landlords should do before a tenant moves into their property, by the experts at Belvoir Lettings…
1. Come clean
“If I was to let out my property I would ensure the property was immaculate throughout with gardens freshly cut,” says Luke Mason proprietor of Belvoir Hitchin. “It goes without saying that landlords should make sure the house is clean, however, some don’t and this does not get things off to a great start.” Proprietor of Belvoir Glasgow North Sharon Walker adds, “You should also finish any small odd jobs that need to be done before renting out your property too.”
2. Helpful inventory
Put together an inventory of all furniture and fittings… and make sure the tenant agrees and signs it before they move in. “Conduct a proper photo inventory depicting the exact condition of the property prior to tenants moving in,” says Zain Mahal proprietor of Belvoir Stratford. “This will help to settle deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.”
3. Appliance guidance
Leave instructions/manuals for all appliances that will be left at the property, including cookers, washing machines, fridges and freezers. Not only is this helpful for the tenant, it’ll save you having to answer phone calls about how to turn the cooker on! “Give the tenant all the information upfront so they won’t have to bother you with small issues later,” advises Luke Mason. Any appliances left should be in a good condition and be fit for use too. “And, if you’re renting out your own home, don’t forget to empty, defrost and clean your fridge/freezer either,” adds Michael Betteridge proprietor of Belvoir Poole and Westbourne.
4. Tried and tested
“Obtain safety certificates for gas safety and an energy performance certificate (EPC),” says Zain Mahal. “The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords to ensure electrical installations and electrical appliances are safe for use and electrical safety and PAT test reports must be provided. No tenant should be allowed to move in without the safety certificates and checks having been carried out.” If you are letting your property furnished, your furniture will need to comply with fire safety regulations and have the correct labels to prove this too.
5. First contact
Compile a list of emergency contact numbers for your tenant, including your own. Plus, put together a trouble-shooting sheet so tenants know how to react in an emergency. “Provide tenants with a written process of how to handle any emergency situations, for example, burst pipes, gas leak or robbery etc,” advises Zain Mahal of Belvoir Stratford.
6. Postal orders
Before a tenancy, take meter readings and transfer all utilities and Council Tax (if it’s not included in the rental agreement) to the new tenant. “Arrange for the final readings of gas/water/electricity meters (give at least 48 hours notice),” says Michael Betteridge. “Also arrange for your final telephone bill and notify the company of your change of address.” And redirect your mail too. “Be sure to redirect all mail if you’ve previously lived at the property as tenants often get annoyed with landlords coming back to the property each week to pick up their post,” says Luke Mason.
7. Safety first
Explain how to use any safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets, plus point out any fire doors or window locks and show the tenant how to work the burglar alarm, if you have one. “Functioning of all vital connections, points, stop valves, fuses and security devices should be fully explained to the tenants in case of any emergency,” says Zain Mahal.
8. A warm welcome
For that added personal touch, put together a useful welcome pack for your tenant. “I think it’s lovely when a landlord makes a quick welcome pack for a tenant,” says Luke Mason of Belvoir Hitchin. “This could include information such as how to use certain items and when the bins are collected etc. It usually gets the relationship between the landlord and tenant off to a great start and, unfortunately, not enough people do this.”
9. It’s good to talk
Ensure that the tenant knows what is expected of them during the tenancy and make sure you know what they expect from you too. “It is mandatory to explain to tenants their obligations to ensure that the property is handed back to the landlord in the same condition it was given,” says Zain Mahal of Belvoir Stratford. A face-to-face meeting is usually a good idea as it will help to establish a rapport between you both and give them the opportunity to answer any questions they may have.
10. Management matters
Make your life easier by asking a good property management agency, such as Belvoir, to do all the hard work for you. If they take on the full management of your property they are likely to do much of the above on your behalf.
– Get keys cut
– Redirect mail
– Clean the property
– Put together an inventory
– Get safety certificates
– Get the necessary insurances
– Collect tenant references
– Transfer utilities and Council Tax
– Take meter readings
– Leave instructions for appliances
– Explain all safety equipment
– Put together a welcome pack
– Compile a list of emergency contact numbers, including your own
– Arrange a meeting with the tenant
– Get a property management agency to do all the hard work for you.