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What do landlords need to do before tenants move in?

Mon 24 Jun 2019

If you’re a landlord looking to welcome new tenants into your rental property, there are certain steps you will need to take.

And, while your letting agent will be on hand to take care of most things – such as handling the deposits and inventory arrangements – it’s worth knowing yourself what needs to be done during the process.

Here at Letting Solutions, we’ve outlined exactly what these are, which will enable you and your property to be ready for new tenants.

Prepare an inventory

You will need prepare a thorough inventory at the start of the tenancy. While an inventory is not compulsory, this document is certainly essential as it can help to reduce the chances of disputes over  the condition of the property occurring at the end of a tenancy.

As part of an inventory, you will need to list all fixed and free-standing items within the property, as well as their condition and location. You will also need to record any damage and any existing defects at the beginning of the tenancy.

Of course, your chosen letting agent can handle this for you, or you can create your own detailed inventory yourself. Alternatively, you could get an independent inventory clerk to do it for you.

Check smoke alarms

There are a number of rules relating to smoke and heat alarms that landlords need to follow in order to ensure the safety of their tenants and protect their property.

These regulations apply to houses, flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). To meet the standards in Scotland, the following is required:

  • One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes.
  • One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings.
  • One heat alarm installed in every kitchen.

The Scottish Government has more information on fire and smoke alarms in rental properties here.

Check your landlord insurance

While tenants will be expected to purchase their own contents insurance, as the landlord you’ll be responsible for providing adequate buildings insurance.

It’s important to note that standard home insurance does not cover many of the risks of letting that full landlord insurance does, which means any claims you make could be invalid. For more information on this, we recently outlined the key differences between landlord and home insurance.

If you are letting the property fully furnished, it’s worth taking out cover for that, and you will need to inform your insurance company as it’s likely to affect the premium.

Preparing your property for tenants

Lastly, and just as importantly, you will need to ensure your rental property is clean, tidy and presentable for your new tenants. This not only creates a welcoming environment, but it sets the standard you expect from them. Remember that in between tenancies is the best time to make non-urgent repairs, too.

We also recommend carrying out the following steps before the tenancy starts:

  • Check the keys to the property work properly.
  • Take away any post that may have been delivered in between tenancies.
  • Leave your new tenant practical instructions about the property, such as security codes, stopcock location, meters etc.
  • Make sure your tenant knows how to reach you in case of an emergency

Of course, the above tips are just a summary of some of the things you need to do before a tenancy. But by taking these points into consideration, and meeting all of your compliance obligations, you can prepare your rental property for new tenants and enjoy a smooth-running tenancy with the help of your letting agent.

Here at Letting Solutions, we are West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, equipped with local knowledge and expertise to ensure you get the most out of your rental property.

For more information about the services we provide, as well as how we will manage the tenancy on your behalf, please get in touch with us on 01506 425693.

Additionally, we can provide a free and instant online valuation to give you an idea of how much you could be charging in rent each month.

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