Five checks you should make in preparation for a new tenancy
Whilst many landlords choose to work with letting agents who handle a majority of the admin tasks a new tenancy brings, it is important to be aware of some procedures which will ensure a smooth start for a new tenant in a rental property.
To ease the inevitable stress of a new tenancy, we’ve made a list of five things we think should be on your checklist as a landlord.
Prepare and check an inventory
Drawing up an inventory which details the condition of all fixed and freestanding items in your property before a tenancy begins is a sure-fire way to help you in any potential disputes later down the line. Having this document prepared (and done correctly!) will save you time and money in the future should the condition of the property come into question. Done well, an inventory will leave no room for ambiguity should this ever be the case.
An inventory favours both the landlord and the tenant in many respects. For example, it makes sure any damages or missing items on the tenant’s behalf can be accounted for and charged as appropriate, whilst also ensuring landlords are not mistakenly raising charges against tenants when it comes to inspecting the property at the end of the tenancy.
You should, however, remember to check over the inventory document with the tenant beforehand. This is to make sure both parties are satisfied with the judgement of the properties condition and contents.
You can find out more about the inventory process and property inspections in more detail here.
Check the building insurance
Although landlords are not expected to provide contents insurance for their property (this is at the discretion of the tenant), they are however, responsible for providing sufficient building insurance. This type of insurance protects the fitted or permanent fixtures in a property, in addition to covering the cost of any structural damage to the building which may make it unsafe to live in.
Different policies will protect different components of the house – so make sure you know exactly what it is your policy offers. This may be especially important if you are renting a furnished property, as you may be able to cover these items on your policy.
A wide array of resources offering more detailed information about building insurance can be found online, so be sure to do your research beforehand and shop around for the best quote prior to a new tenancy.
Check the property’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Something often overlooked by landlords is the importance of maintaining their properties smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. As of late 2015, landlords have a duty to ensure safety alarms are in full working order on the date a new tenancy begins, therefore, checking these alarms are in working order should certainly be a priority on your pre-tenancy checklist.
Whilst it is imperative these systems are working at the beginning of the tenancy, they must also be maintained throughout the course of the rental period – so make sure you are regularly checking them in the interest of safety.
Find out more about the regulations for landlords in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Booklet published by the UK Gov.
Check the property is clean
Setting aside a bit of cash to have your property professionally cleaned prior to a new tenancy is a smart investment, particularly in building and maintaining a good relationship between you and the tenant(s).
Not only will a clean property demonstrate that you care about your tenants by providing a presentable and welcoming environment, but it also sets an example of the cleanliness you expect from them throughout their tenancy and also upon their departure.
Many cleaning companies provide ‘start/end of tenancy’ cleaning services. We recommend taking advantage of these services, as a professionally cleaned property at the beginning of a tenancy will form the foundations for a healthy relationship between both parties.
Prepare and check the property information sheet
As every property is different, making sure tenants are provided with information regarding specific information exclusive to their new home will help in avoiding tedious phone calls and emails later down the line.
In preparing for a new tenancy, we recommend making a document with all the necessary information and FAQ’s regarding the property. This document may include important information such as the landlord’s emergency contact details, to perhaps more property-specific details such as how to turn on the kitchen fan (should it not be immediately obvious to a new tenant) or how to find the property meters.
Setting aside some time to create this document will certainly benefit both landlord’s and tenant’s – saving them time and hassle, so we recommend having this ready prior to the start of a tenancy. We also recommend checking over and revising this sheet at the beginning of new tenancies in the future to make sure everything is up-to-date.
If you are and landlord and need advice about letting your property, you can get in touch with us here.