Looking to invest? Since the advent of buy-to-let mortgages in the UK, buying a property and then renting it out has become increasingly popular. If you’re interested in a relatively safe method of investment that combines the benefits of real estate investment with a monthly income from tenants, becoming a landlord might be the right option for you. Beyond the basics – finding a property, purchasing it and finding a tenant – there’s a number of essential things you need to do before you can rent out your property.
By law, you’re required to keep your property safe and free from health hazards. This includes PAT tests for any electrical equipment you supply, as well as having the gas installation checked by a qualified engineer. There’s also a requirement to have the property assessed for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), with the familiar scale (A-G) to rate the energy efficiency of the property. Once you’ve got this certificate, it’s valid for 10 years.
Carry out repairs
While your tenant will take on some responsibility for repairs and maintenance – usually internal decorations and furniture, gardens and things like changing light bulbs – it’s your job to maintain the structure and exterior of the property. This includes making sure the roof, walls and guttering is in top condition before you rent out the property. While it’s the tenant’s job to keep drains and sinks unblocked, any major problems with the plumbing are your responsibility as well. This goes for the gas and electrical supply too.
Whether you offer the property furnished or unfurnished is up to you, but at the very least you’ll probably want to supply bulky, expensive white goods such as a fridge and oven. Beyond that, you can provide the tenant with anything from the basics – bed, sofa and table – to a complete package including wardrobes, cabinets, bins and more. Suppliers like David Phillips Furniture cater specifically for landlords, offering such time-saving services as complete furniture packages for a flat rate, plus free delivery and assembly.
In a worst case scenario, could you afford to pay for the repair of the entire property if the structure and furniture was severely damaged? Probably not – so make sure you have landlord insurance to cover damage whether it’s accidental, deliberate or caused by a natural disaster like flooding. Other useful policies to consider are rent insurance to cover missed payments by your tenant, or insurance to cover empty properties – you’ll still have to meet your mortgage payments even if the property is vacant.