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So, you want to rent your property – now what?!

Taking the first steps as a landlord can be both exciting and daunting. With over 150 Acts of Parliament to keep track of it may be difficult to know where to start, particularly if you are one of the many who become ‘accidental landlords’ through inheriting a property or moving in with a partner.¬† Which is why we’ve taken some advice from the NRLA

This page is designed as a primer for landlords taking these first steps in England. Whether you have chosen to invest or you are an accidental landlord, this guide will get you up and running on the path to being a responsible landlord. We provide clear guidance on the things you must do and downloadable templates and resources to help you do this.

As with everything РPreparation is key! Before you let out your property, proper planning is crucial for a successful tenant / landlord relationship. It gives you the chance to familiarise yourself with your obligations, decide on the type of tenants you want to let to and make any adjustments you need to the property to prevent issues arising later.

It also gives you the chance to properly vet any prospective tenants. Less than 10% of tenants fall into arrears in the course of a year and fewer than 1% of tenancies end through a landlord going to court. The odds are good that if you research your tenants they will be responsible.

There are a number of things to consider before marketing your property too! Such as, who are you going to rent the property to? What does your tenant profile look like? Speaking with other landlords and letting agents are a great way to find out what the demand is like in the area; is there a higher demand for DWP tenants? LHA tenants? Etc… Then, who will manage the property? As a letting agent, we’re usually contacted in the very early stages of investment or early stages of thinking about renting out your property. It’s also key to start thinking about your legal obligations – joining a deposit protection scheme, gas safety, electrical safety etc…

Within the PRS there are a number of different types of tenancy that you can grant. The most common of these, and the one you will find it easiest to find advice for is the assured shorthold tenancy. This type of agreement will be the default where:

  • the rent is more than ¬£250 per annum or less than ¬£100,000 per annum;¬†and
  • you don’t live in the same building;¬†and
  • you are letting to people rather than companies;¬†and
  • your tenants will use the property as their main home.¬†

 

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Choosing your market

Along with the type of tenancy, you should also consider what your market is. The PRS is made up of a number of different niche tenant markets providing homes to groups such as students, young professionals and families. Each has their own specific need and in some cases additional rules.  

Which one you choose will depend on the location of your property. However¬†if you have the opportunity, your responsibilities will be lessened if you rent to a family. This is because most of the other markets are ‘houses in multiple occupation‘; homes where the sharers are not related and you have additional legal responsibilities.

The rest of this guide assumes you are choosing to rent to a family.

Who will manage/market the property?

Self-management is appropriate for landlords who live close to the property and have the time and knowledge to meet their obligations. Since most landlords have alternative employment and may not live locally, the use of agents is commonplace. 

If you do choose to use an agent they can offer services ranging from marketing the property on online portals like Rightmove or Zoopla, to fully managing the property for you. 

If you do decide to engage an agent¬†you need to be aware that you are ultimately responsible for their actions so it’s important you choose a responsible agent for your property.