For a landlord, the start of a new tenancy can be a hectic and stressful time. With so many important steps to consider and so much to prepare, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a handy checklist to help you cover all the bases. By following these steps, you are ensuring the smoothest possible start for you as well as your tenant. Although completing these tasks in order isn’t essential, we strongly encourage you to complete them all before your tenant moves in.
1. Right to Rent
It is your responsibility as a landlord to check that all prospective tenants aged 18 and over have the legal right (and the associated documents) to rent your residential property. Illegal renting can result in civil penalties.
2. Tenant deposit protection
Once you’ve received your tenant’s deposit, you must transfer it into a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving the funds. This is a legal requirement and failure to adhere to it can result in a hefty fine, so this is an important one to tick off early.
3. Tenancy agreement
The tenancy agreement is an official contract between you and your tenant, outlining your responsibilities as well as theirs. Be sure that your tenancy agreement covers every important factor such as the duration of the tenancy, information about notice periods and a breakdown of payments.
4. Landlord insurance
For your own protection and peace of mind, we recommend taking the time to make sure that you are familiar and happy with what your Landlord Insurance covers you for. Protecting your investment should be one of your top priorities.
5. Utilities and appliances
Test all of the appliances before your tenant moves in. Anything that’s not in good working order should either be replaced or removed.
Update the utility suppliers with your new tenant’s details to avoid any billing issues. It’s also a good idea to take note of the meter readings before your tenant moves in.
6. Phone numbers and manuals
Give your tenant a list of handy contact numbers – plumber, electrician etc. That way, if you can’t be reached for any reason, your tenant will have pre-approved points of contact for emergencies such as a burst pipe. It’s also advisable to leave appliance manuals in the property for their reference.
7. Clean and repair
Be sure to action any necessary repairs to the property, including appliances and fixtures, before the start of a new tenancy. Make sure that the property is cleaned thoroughly and remove any leftover waste or mess from the previous tenant, if applicable. As obvious as it sounds, it’s your duty to provide your tenants with a clean and safe environment.
Compiling an inventory is strongly recommended as it’s the most practical way to ensure that everything is accounted for and the condition of the premises is recorded in an unbiased, written report. Your tenant should check and confirm the inventory in writing. In order to protect against any potential deposit disputes down the road, many landlords include photographs in their reports.
Landlords are legally required to have a gas safety inspection every year and provide a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate to the tenant at the start of their tenancy and every year thereafter.
The Energy Performance Certificate (commonly known as an EPC) is used to show the energy efficiency of your property. It’s a legal requirement that the EPC be included in all property-to-let advertisements, so make sure that yours is valid and available to your tenant on the day they move in.
10. Safety installations
Landlords are required to install working smoke alarms on every floor, and carbon monoxide detectors in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance. Make sure they are working properly before your tenant moves in. It’s important that they take responsibility for their own safety as well, so advise them to test that the alarms are functional every month.
Working through the above tasks and making sure everything is present and correct not only adds to your peace of mind, it also gets your relationship with your tenant off to a good start. By being a conscientious and organised landlord, you’re ensuring happy tenants and increasing the chances of them renting your property for longer, which will ultimately save you having to go through this process again too soon!
Thanks to Total Landlord Insurance for this guest blog.