Landlords – what are the top 7 most vital factors to consider before letting a property out?
Thu 23 Dec 2021
Renting out a property can be a minefield for landlords. There are so many things to consider, from a legality and safety point of view, as well as the aesthetics of the property.
With this in mind, we wanted to provide you with some top tips before you open your door to new tenants.
Ensure you’re legally ready
Is your rental property mortgaged? If so, it’s important you obtain your mortgage lender’s approval to rent out the property. Insurance is also required when renting out a property – it might be beneficial for you to enlist the support of a trusted letting agent, as they will be well versed in dealing with this and will ensure you get the right insurance for your property.
Adapt your property to match tenants’ needs
More people are working from home than ever before – with 46.6% of people in employment completing some work from home in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics. Due to this shift, renters are likely to value different factors when looking for a property. Having an office or creating space which tenants could easily turn into an office could be key. At the very least, you should be thinking about purchasing a desk if your tenants are expecting a furnished property.
In addition, if your property has a front or back garden, terrace or balcony – really market these to their full potential – especially as the importance of outdoor space during the various lockdowns will likely be front of mind for tenants. Buying new plants or mowing the lawn if you have one can make a real difference.
Never compromise on safety
There are specific requirements which landlords must adhere to in order for their tenants to be safe. You must ensure that a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm is fitted on every floor of the premises where there’s a room used as living accommodation. Failing to do so can not only put your tenants at risk – but it also could mean you face a hefty financial or criminal penalty.
Your property is also legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - although looking at the energy efficiency of your property shouldn’t just be a legality. In a previous blog, we stressed how much tenants value environmental sustainability when looking for a property, and how they would even be prepared to pay a higher rent if they knew that changes had been made to their property to make it more environmentally sustainable.
Location, location, location!
One of the most important factors to maximise rental income and minimise your chances of having a vacant property is having a property in a prime location. You can alter the fixtures and furnishings, even the layout and size of a property – but location is the one thing you can’t change.
So, when you’re advertising your property – make sure you include lots of information about its location. One of the main things people will want to know is how well-connected your property is to transport links. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a series of lockdowns, being close to open spaces is also something people are looking for, so be sure to highlight that to potential tenants too.
Is your price right?
The rental market can change quickly – so it’s important to keep abreast of the changes and ensure that your property is priced right. In the year to the end of September 2021, the rental costs of two-bedroom properties increased above the average 12 month UK CPI inflation rate of 1.5% in 10 out of the 18 areas of Scotland – with the largest increase being 7.1% in West Dunbartonshire and 6.8% in the Ayrshires. It’s crucial that the rent you charge your tenants is professionally reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that you don’t put off potential tenants.
Show your property some love
Tenants can instantly tell when a property is well cared for, so spending money updating some of the fixtures and fittings can help to secure a regular rental yield. Whether that’s getting a new powerful shower, purchasing new sofas or updating the light fittings – a little can go a long way. Showing that you care about your property now will also imply to potential tenants that you would be more willing to fix or purchase furnishings for the property later down the line, should it be required.
Give your property the exposure it deserves
Have you chosen to enlist the help of a lettings agent to help attract the right tenants at the right price? It’s important to consider the benefits of using an agent to manage your investment. By doing so, there is usually a requirement to hold professional indemnity insurance cover together with bonding – protecting you against any monetary loss.
If you’re looking for advice on how best to take care of your rental property – not just at Christmas but all year round – then get in touch with Letting Solutions, West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency.
We are continuing to operate throughout the pandemic. You can find out more about our current hours of service and our current ways of working here.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us, even if you are not a current client. You can ring us on 01506496006 where our team are waiting to help. Or you can email us at: email@example.com.