With the demand for property, it is understandable many people consider becoming a landlord or letting their property. However, it is important you are aware that the process of letting your home can be time-consuming and complex.
We have provided you with a guide to letting your property, hopefully helping you find out what you need to know to make the most of this opportunity.
How to market to tenants online
While the internet has impacted on many industries, the property market has been hugely affected. Tenants looking for rental property are most likely to start their search online. Rightmove have provided figures that 92% of prospective tenants begin their rental property search online. Rightmove and Zoopla are recognised as two leading players in this market and at one point, Rightmove held close to 80% of the market.
If you are going to use a letting agent, it is important that you choose one who will promote your property on these sites. It is sensible to be where your market and when it comes to the rental market, your audience is on these sites. The impact of these sites is well noted and there have been instances where properties have been let within 48 hours of being placed online.
Use professional photography to promote your rental home
In a crowded market, you need to stand out and when it comes to standing out online, images say it all. A quality photograph will stop prospective tenants as they look through a choice of suitable homes and then when they peruse your listing in greater detail, excellent quality images draw people to your home.
Therefore, calling on a professional photographer makes sense. A professional photographer knows how to get the best angle, how to arrange the lighting and how to present the room to accentuate the available space.
Just because you likely have a decent quality camera in your pocket thanks to your smartphone doesn’t mean that you should use. Numerous studies reinforce the importance of superior quality images in selling a home. One study by Upad states that professional photography can increase the number of tenant enquiries by 8 times.
Consider the benefits of a featured listing
Another way to make your listing stand out from others is using a featured listing on the main online property portals. A featured listing places your home at the top of the search results while it will stand out from the other homes. Some sites also offer featured properties to display more images to sell the property.
You must vet and reference tenants
When you have a good standard of tenant, being a landlord is much easier. Therefore, before you agree on a tenant moving into your property, ensure that you vet the tenant. You should look to vet:
- The credit history of the tenant
- References from the tenant’s previous landlords
- A reference from the tenant’s current employer
- Taking these steps will give you a better chance of weeding out unsuitable tenants and ensuring your tenant will care for your property while paying on time.
- You need a tenancy agreement and to follow regulations with the deposit
You must have a contract between yourself and the tenant. This is commonly referred to as a tenancy agreement. There is a tenancy agreement template available to download from the Government website but your letting agent should be willing to draft an agreement for you.
Landlords are also legally required to hold a tenant’s deposit in a Government approved deposit scheme. This is an area where a reliable letting agent will advise. You should also seek assistance on setting up a Standing Order with the tenant to ensure they pay on time and in full each month.
Your rental home needs an EPC
From the 1st of April 2018, rental property for new lets must hold an EPC rating of at least an E. By 2020, this criterion will apply to all rental properties.
There is a legal requirement for rental properties to hold an EPC, and if you fail to provide your tenant with an EPC, you will not be legally allowed to evict them.
Your property must hold proper gas certification
A gas safety check must be carried out each year. This must be carried out by a gas safe registered engineer and it must be undertaken within 28 days of the annual renewal date for the property. Rental property must also hold carbon monoxide alarms and fire alarms that are I good working order.
Have you considered rent protection?
Many landlords find comfort in rental protection insurance. Rental arrears are rising, with close to 30% of landlords saying they have experienced a non-payment of rent in the past year. Therefore, you can be more confident in meeting your own mortgage payments with rent protection in place for your rental property.