Preparing Your Property For Letting
It may be the estate agent’s job to maintain a working relationship with the tenants, but it is also really important that the tenants feel comfortable in the property and with their landlord, so it is your job to create a great rapport with them! The key to a smooth-running tenancy is establishing a positive relationship with your prospective tenants, and maintaining this throughout.
It is your responsibility to deal with repairs and maintenance for the property, and at your own expense, unless there is established misuse at play. The central heating, hot water system, electrics, gas, waste and plumbing of the property must be safe and in a good working order for the tenants. It is a good idea to set up third-party service contracts, as they usually include costs of labour and parts too!
The older a property is, the more attractive and important these service contracts can be. If you have a preferred contractor who you usually use, you should notify your estate agent so they can use the same contractors. If they are unavailable and an emergency repair is needed, the estate agent can then pass the repair on to one of their own reputable contractors!
It is a good idea to provide two sets of keys for the tenant, and one set to the estate agent. You should retain a set of keys for yourself as well, in case of emergencies! These sets of keys should include all of the property’s access doors, the garage and the windows, which will account for any eventuality if one set becomes lost or broken. This will avoid any disasters!
Forwarding the mail
If you need to forward on mail to a previous tenant you can use the post office’s redirection services, if you have the tenant’s new address. Applications for this service can be found online or at your local post office counter, with only a small cost.
It is not the new tenant’s responsibility to forward mail on to previous tenants, this should all be arranged! Likewise, when a tenancy is over, their mail should then be forwarded to their new address, which is their own responsibility to set up.
We recommend that you leave minimal furnishings in the property during the tenancy, and these should be of reasonable quality. Don’t forget, it is also a good idea to leave the furniture in the property during viewings, so that the people viewing the property can get a realistic picture of how the property will look when furnished! This looks much better than an empty room as it adds personality and warmth.
All appliances you provide in your property should be in a good working order at the start of the tenancy. These appliances may include washing machines, cookers, fridge freezers and dishwashers. Repairs and maintenance for these items should be provided at your own expense, unless your estate agent can establish that there has been misuse by the tenant!
It’s probably wise not to leave electrical items such as TVs, video players, DVD players and Hi-Fi systems, unless these are requested specifically. If you do want to leave these items then remember that, like other appliances, tenants are perfectly within their rights to request a replacement if they are faulty or stop working! Whatever is there at the beginning of the tenancy is considered “included”, if they were there when the lease was signed!
Tenants are responsible to set up bills such as council tax, TV license and Wi-Fi, unless specifically stated in the contract. If you choose to include these services, you should state this clearly in the tenancy agreement and also specify which provider you have used. Remember that you should clearly outline the range of the TV license and which parts of the property are included.
Personal items and ornaments
It’s probably not a good idea to leave personal items and possessions behind if you’re letting out a property you used to live in. You should hold on to things like ornaments, photographs and books – particularly if they have sentimental value!
It’s a good idea to decorate the property with neutral, light colours, and ideally try to steer clear of bold floral wallpapers! It’s a good idea to redecorate every couple of years, just to keep everywhere looking fresh and appealing to prospective tenants.
Natural wear and tear will occur of course, such as chipping paint and scuffs, so a refresh every now and then is a good idea!
Before your new tenancy begins, the property must be thoroughly cleaned for the new residents. Likewise, at the end of the tenancy it is their job to clean the property and leave it in a similar condition to how they found it!
If they don’t leave the place clean, you’re entitled to arrange cleaning at the tenant’s expense. This is included in their security deposit, which you can return to them at the end of the tenancy – dependant on the condition and cleanliness of the property!
You should make sure the garden is clean, neat and free of refuse and debris! During the tenancy, residents should maintain the garden themselves, provided that they have the essential tools to do so. This includes basics such as a lawnmower! If you’re keen to keep your garden looking its best then you might want to arrange regular visits by a professional gardener. Your tenants are unlikely to be experienced gardeners, remember!
If you have a shared garden, your factors fee will most likely cover the cost of garden maintenance!
These are our top tips for preparing your property for letting! If you would like a more comprehensive insight into everything involved, please refer to our Landlord Guide to Property Lettings.