Preparing to rent out property

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Preparing to rent out a property for the first time can seem like a dauting task and it is important to do it right otherwise there could be financial and legal penalties.

Are you eligible to rent?

If you have a mortgage on the property you plan to rent out, then ensure you check that it is acceptable to take in tenants. You may need to contact your lender and possible switch to a more suitable buy-to-let product.

Be sure to check that your insurance covers you to lease out the property. If not, there you will need to investigate special policies that are designed specifically for landlords.

It may be obvious, but consider where your property is suitable to rent out. If the electrics are old, the boiler is an antique or the bathroom has seen better days then it may be worth taking some time to complete these jobs before looking for tenants.

Get the necessary paperwork

Legally all landlords must have a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) to show to tenants. Introduced in 2008, these certificates show how energy efficient a property is and gives renters an ideal of the running costs before they sign up to a contract.

In order to obtain a EPC, landlords need to contact a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). It is straightforward to find a DEA - there is an online directory of suitable qualified ones or you can seek out personal recommendations.

If the property you plan to rent out is furnished, then landlords are required to ensure that all the items comply with current fire safety regulations. In addition, all electrical installations and gas appliances, such as boilers and fires, must also be checked and given the all-clear by a professional.

Set up a tenancy agreement

Once you have found a tenant, then the next step is a tenancy agreement to make sure both parties are clear on expectations and obligations.

Landlords should also make sure they run a credit check to assess the ability of the tenant to met the monthly rent commitment.

Remember if you take a deposit then you must make sure it is held in a secure Tenancy Deposit Scheme, with all the details of the plan provided to the tenant.