Whether you’re taking on a property that’s let only or managed check out these tips to ensure the tenancy runs smoothly.
This is a checklist, so make a checklist
Start with the simple stuff – make a list that is relevant to your landlord and their property, tick it off as you go; it will be a long list but there is nothing complicated, you will regret it if you don’t.
The obvious prerequisites
Lets assume that the landlord and building are insured, the tenant screening and referencing process has been completed, there is a good legal tenancy agreement, produced an inventory and have your necessary EPC and Gas Safety certificates – if any of these are missing then you are not ready.
Pretty much all are fundamental if the landlord wants to; A/ Stay out of legal trouble, B/ Get their rent, C/ Get their property back and D/ Be able to claim on the tenants deposit.
One third of tenancies go into arrears, although not a legal requirement, on my checklist is always a rent warranty product, there are many out there – ensure it has no excess and at least £40,000 legal cover.
Is the place ready?
Check that the place is safe and there are no hazards that could hurt someone, think particularly around electrical safety and ensure all furniture displays the fire safe labels.
Are smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide alarms if applicable) all working properly? Strictly speaking this has to be tested on the day of move in.
Ensure the blinds are safe, comply with the law and do not pose a choking hazard to children.
Check everything works and any repairs are completed.
All appliances must have manuals, if you are missing any, most can be found online and downloaded, put them in a file and make sure it’s on the inventory.
If there is an alarm ensure instructions are provided.
Write a quick document/take a picture showing the location of stop cocks, electrics or isolator valves – you will be grateful for this as if you get a leak the tenant will be able to turn off the water.
Ensure you have the necessary keys for doors, windows, outbuildings etc.
Get your legal paperwork in order
Ensure the landlord and tenant have copies of the agreement, the deposit prescribed information (some will follow later after the deposit is lodged), the inventory, the gas safety certificate, the EPC and a copy of the government “How to Rent” guide that you must be given to the tenant. – it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
In the previous point we mentioned the prescribed information that must be given to the tenant, this is really important to do properly if there is any chance of claiming on the tenants deposit later ultimately avoiding fines of up to 3 times the deposit. Read up on it, legislation is always on the move.
- Utilities and Council Tax
Ensure that the utilities of the property and local council have been notified of the new tenants details, you can’t rely on the tenant doing it and landlords will not want to be liable for the bills.
Ensure that the landlord has a post redirect in place, there have been occasions where tenants have stolen their landlord’s identities and even re-mortgaged their properties, put a redirect in place to be certain the landlord will receive all of their important post.
Also the landlord has obligations to check the ‘right to rent’ of all tenants, this involves carrying out ID checks. Regardless of this legislation, ensure that photo ID of the tenants has been checked before they move in. If they are not who they say they are the landlord is likely to face trouble down the line with no redress since you cannot track them down.
- The Keys
Before handing over the keys ensure that funds for the deposit and rent have cleared and that all parties have the signed documents. Handing over a spare set may save you a call in the middle of the night.
- And Finally
Setting the relationship off on the right note will make all the difference when the inevitable teething troubles arise. The tenants are making a big commitment to the landlord and both want a long and happy relationship.
We encourage landlords to leave a ‘Welcome to your new home’ card and a bottle of wine – on the back of their property investment, it will be the best tenner they have ever spent.