The first phase of letting a property is typically the busiest and arguably the most tasking for new landlords venturing into the private rental sector.

A lot of effort and research is involved in getting a new let ready for renters, and there are also a lot of expenditures to consider for things like advertising and upkeep.

There are various laws that landlords must follow, including those pertaining to security deposits, fire precautions and electrical inspections. Future rental reform, which may affect renters’ rights to have dogs in rental properties, should also be considered.

However, following some key steps can set you up for success. Here are a few things you should do as a new landlord.

Get Familiar With Local Laws And Regulations

As a new landlord, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the local laws and regulations that apply to renting out property. This may include laws related to fair housing, tenant rights, and eviction procedures. Additionally, you may need to obtain necessary licenses or permits and comply with zoning and building codes. It is a good idea to consult with a lawyer or a local housing authority to ensure you know all relevant laws and regulations in your area.

You should be aware of the Housing Act 1988 and 1996. These acts outline the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. They include provisions for protecting tenants’ deposits, the right to a safe and healthy living environment, and the right to challenge illegal eviction. You should also be conversant with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. These regulations require landlords to ensure that all electrical equipment and appliances provided with the property are safe to use.

In addition, as a new landlord, you need to know about Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). It is required if you intend to rent a property in England. A home electrical certificate will be provided once the inspection is complete. This can be used to show tenants that the electrical work in property is in good condition.

Tenancy Agreement

Creating a tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out the terms and conditions of the tenancy. It outlines the rights and obligations of both parties, including the rent payment and any rules the tenant must follow while living in the property.

In creating a tenancy agreement, it is essential to include the following details:

  • The address and type of rented property, such as an apartment, house, or condominium
  • The length of time for which the tenant will rent the property, known as the term of the lease
  • Both parties’ rights and obligations relating to the rental of the property

If both the landlord and tenant agree, a let agreement can be amended through an additional written agreement. It is important to have a signed rental agreement, as it is legally binding and holds all parties accountable for what they have agreed upon.

It is also important to include a clause regarding the termination of the tenancy agreement, such as the tenant giving written notice to the landlord with not less than twenty-eight days’ notice to terminate the tenancy.

Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is the process of gathering information about potential tenants before deciding who to rent to. Landlords use various methods to screen tenants, including asking questions, collecting information through an application form, conducting background checks, and checking references. With tenant screening, you will reduce the probability of problems with rent payments, neighbour disputes, or eviction. However, you need to keep in mind that screening does not guarantee that problems will not occur.

If you are a landlord in the UK, you are required to check the immigration status of tenants and certain occupiers before granting a tenancy. You can conduct a Right to Rent check through the government’s online tool or by other means approved by the Home Office. It’s important to ensure that the tenant can afford the rent if you consider their income and any other financial obligations they have.

Maintenance Planning

Maintenance planning is a process used by landlords and property managers to ensure that rental properties are kept in good condition. It typically involves creating a schedule of routine maintenance tasks, such as inspecting and repairing heating and plumbing systems and budgeting for any necessary expenses. Various tools and resources are available to help landlords and property managers plan and organise maintenance, such as maintenance management software, written schedules, and excel sheets. Additionally, laws and regulations in some areas may require landlords to take certain steps to maintain their properties, such as responding to tenants’ requests for repairs.

Keep records of all repairs and maintenance that have been done on the property. This will help you keep track of what has been done and when, and it can also be helpful in case of disputes. Provide tenants with emergency contact information for the landlord, or a designated maintenance contact, in case of any urgent repairs that need to be done.

These tips, among many others, will help first-time landlords find their footing when taking on this exciting new adventure. Understandably, there might be a few stumbles to begin with, but these will help to create good landlords who know what works and what should be avoided.

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