As house prices continue to rise at a pace which few people are able keep up with, the numbers seeking to rent a property rather than buy, especially in a big city like London, grow with each passing month. What this means is that finding a suitable property has become more difficult than it’s ever been, meaning tenants are far more likely to find what they’re looking for if they search via a well-established agency. The other upshot of this boom in demand for rented property is that it provides a fantastic opportunity for landlords to earn income, but with this opportunity comes responsibility. If you’re thinking about letting a property then it’s vital that you don’t rush into things but instead take the time to get every detail exactly right.
As is the case with tenants, landlords with flats to rent in London are far more likely to get the best possible deal if they work with a larger agency. The staff at such an agency will know exactly what the rental value of every type of property actually is, and will be able to advise on all of the legal aspects of renting out, as well as handling the day to day administration required. On top of this, however, there are certain steps which any landlord can take to ensure that the property they wish to let out creates the best possible first impression on would be tenants. Not only will this make it far more likely that someone will actually want to rent out the property in the first place, but it will also help to maximise the rental value. Amongst the things you can do to ensure that your property is prepared in the best possible manner are the following:
Outside The Property
The exterior of your property is the first thing which any tenants will see. The impression it creates will have a vital impact upon whether they find it appealing or not. In order to create the best possible impression, it’s vital to take steps such as tidying the garden, mowing the lawn, getting rid of dead or unsightly plants, perhaps planting a few new plants and making sure that any hedges are neatly trimmed. Besides this, you should repair any cracks or faults in the exterior brickwork, repaint door and window frames, put the dustbins somewhere unobtrusive and make sure that the number of the house is plainly visible, even putting up a new number if need be.
Inside The Property
Make sure the property looks as spacious and free from clutter as possible. Would be tenants will want to be able to imagine it as their own home, and this will be more difficult if it’s crowded with too many of your bits and pieces. Put some of your furniture into temporary storage and clear away things such as books, ornaments and knick-knacks which don’t strictly speaking have to be there. Do this with items which are out on view but also have a look inside cupboards and drawers. Any tenant who is seriously interested in renting your property will probably want to take a look through the storage space available.
Take a careful look around the property and undertake any of the minor repairs which you may have been neglecting. When you live somewhere it can be tempting to simply put up with things like dripping taps, broken light bulbs and cracked tiles but to someone thinking of renting these may seem to be signs that bigger problems might be lurking out of view.
Give the property a thorough cleaning, making sure that everything from carpets and windows to kitchen work surfaces is as clean as possible. Always try to look at your property as objectively as you can, putting yourself in the position of someone who has never seen it before. Think about how the place smells as well as how it looks. If you have a pet, for example, or are a smoker, then you may have stopped noticing any unpleasant odours thus produced. If you feel it’s necessary then undertake some minor redecoration. A few pounds spent on fresh gloss paint to touch up the likes of radiators and woodwork can make a huge difference.
Besides dealing with the physical appearance and state of repair of your property it’s vital to ensure that you’ve met all of the legal requirements placed upon landlords. This means meeting things such as the safety standards for gas and electricity as well as any other obligations arising from the number of people who might be living there.
Having prepared your property to the highest possible standard, you should then spend some time considering how you’re going to advertise it and what sort of tenants you’re looking for. Some factors to weigh up will include deciding how many bedrooms the property will be advertised as having (some rooms, for example, may be classified as a study or storage room rather than a bedroom). You should also decide whether the property will be let to a family sharing the space or separate individuals renting their own rooms. Make sure you’ve noted the day to day running costs of the property – things such as council tax and utility bills – as these will have a bearing upon deciding a reasonable rent.
It would be a wise move to actually draw up a physical check list of things to be ticked off before you’re certain that your property is ready to let. The items on this list should include:
- Making sure your property and contents insurance is adjusted to allow for the fact that you’re taking in tenants.
- Obtaining any permission which might be needed from your mortgage provider
- Ensuring that the furniture and fittings comply with the relevant fire safety rules
- Make sure that a qualified electrician checks the wiring and passes it all as safe
- Get approval from the local council planning office if you are going to change the use of the property or make any structural changes
- Have the gas appliances and equipment checked by a CORGI registered engineer and ensure that any safety records or certificates are safely stored
Where all of the above is concerned, working with an agency to let your property will make it easier to remain on top of exactly what is required. Any recent changes in rules and regulations will be brought to your attention, and any questions you might have will be ones which have been answered many times before.