Becoming a landlord is both exciting and daunting at the same time. It is a great way to earn some passive income while providing a wonderful place to live for a person or group of people - depending on the property.
But being a first-time landlord comes with a lot of responsibility that can have serious legal repercussions if you don't do everything you're meant to. The property needs to be considered fit for habitation, and this means adhering to a set of rules and regulations set out by the government.
In this article, we'll be providing advice to new landlords about things they should consider before renting to a tenant.
Ensure The Electrical Safety Of Your Property
Most people may only consider fire, smoke, and heat sensors when they consider electrical safety. Appliances like microwaves, electric cookers, kettles, toasters, fridges, freezers, washing machines, and so on also need to be appropriately checked.
Ensuring these appliances have fuses and safe cabling is a must to lower the risk of a fault causing a fire.
There are very specific legal requirements to be met for electrical safety before a property can be rented to a tenant. One of the biggest changes as of late has been the change to legislation about smoke and fire alarms. It is now mandatory to have interlinked smoke and fire detectors in all properties.
Aside from this, the internal wall cabling and wiring need to pass a series of stress tests as well as safety tests before a property can be deemed habitable. For this, they need to be tested by NICEIC-approved contractors, and your property needs to pass an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
Experienced electricians - such as AC Gold - are the people to go to for these services. They are essential to renting a safe property.
Use Hardwood Or Laminate Flooring
If your property needs to be renovated before it can be rented to a tenant, then opt to go for laminated or hardwood flooring. Any kind of engineered wood will do. Opting to go for this over flooring material like carpet is a great way to keep your property clean.
Carpets stain and will eventually need to be replaced over time. Laminated and hardwood flooring will also succumb to wear and tear, but it takes far longer than it does with a carpet. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure the flooring is in good repair, and this includes carpets.
Using harder materials such as laminated flooring will reduce the maintenance costs for the property in the long run.
Stay Pet Friendly For Rental Properties
Many landlords are reluctant to label their properties as pet friendly. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that animals can cause property damage and, if you are pet friendly, this damage would constitute fair wear and tear.
But staying pet-friendly opens up a whole new market of potential renters. Not only that but an agreement can be reached about the damage a pet could cause. For example, a waiver agreement could be drafted that stipulates your tenant should pay for any damages to the property caused by their pet.
If you do decide to stay pet friendly, it is absolutely worth investing in pet-friendly features such as a dog or cat flap for the front or back door.
Keep Your Light Fixtures Accessible For Your Investment Property
If you are a new landlord with your first investment property, keeping your light fixtures simple makes sense. It may be very tempting to add built-in ceiling lights or counter display lights to jazz up your property and attract high-income renters. However, these lights tend to be very difficult to replace and cannot be changed without the help of a certified electrician in most cases.
This can even be a negative selling point for smart renters that will realise this is the case. Keeping your light fixtures open and easily accessible will simplify everything.
Not only will it mean the property is easier to maintain, but it also means you or your principal contractors won't need to deal with it. If it is a simple case of changing a lightbulb, most tenants can handle this by themselves.
Welcome Your Tenants
This is such a small thing but think about the last time a landlord greeted you for your move-in date when you were renting. Can't think of an occasion? This is exactly why you should break the mould.
Even if it's a quick five-minute hello, followed by a small welcoming gift such as a small bottle of wine, or a basket of pastries from a local bakery, small gestures like this go a long way toward forging a great tenant-landlord relationship.
There's a lot to think about when becoming a first-time landlord, but hopefully, our article has given you some useful pointers.
Now go out there and apply them!