Are you thinking about renting out your house?
Perhaps you’re looking to profit from periods of time when you’re not using your home, thinking about buy-to-let, or just don’t want to sell your home when you move to a new property. Whatever your reasons, renting out your house can be a great way to generate additional income.
If you’re new to being a landlord, the process of getting tenants moved in can be a little daunting. Here are the key areas you need to think about before renting out your house.
Present your home as if you’re selling
When preparing your property for rental, treat it like you would if you were trying to sell it. You need to present the best version of your home to potential tenants.
Start by dealing with any repairs now, so you can avoid a problem later on. Once the basics are done, you can focus on making your home inviting and desirable. Declutter, clean thoroughly, tidy up any outdoor space, and consider decorating in a neutral colour scheme to appeal to the maximum number of viewers.
It’s also vital that your property is a safe place to live. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working properly, appliances are serviced, chimneys and air vents are clear, and general fire regulations are met.
Check legal implications
Becoming a landlord means you need to comply with a range of regulations. Do your homework thoroughly before advertising your property; there’s a useful resource at gov.uk to get you started.
If the house you’re renting is mortgaged, you must also contact your mortgage lender. Renting may break the terms of the mortgage contract.
Arrange landlord insurance
Getting adequate insurance is a crucial part of renting out your house. Standard household insurance isn’t enough here; you need specific landlord insurance that is designed to cover properties that are rented out.
As well as covering you for the usual areas like damage, fire and theft, landlord insurance can also provide cover against loss of rent and tenant theft or malicious damage. It’s a good idea to compare landlord insurance policies to work out the best option for your specific requirements.
Marketing your rental
A lot of tenants look for rentals online. Consider using a rental listing service to get your property in front of as many people as possible. If you’re using a letting agent to take care of your rental, there is usually an option to market your house through them too.
You could also explore advertising your property in local newspapers, social media groups and estate agents, or simply spread the word with friends and colleagues.
In order to list your property effectively, make sure the following details are included:
- Rental price (check out similar properties in your area or use an online rent calculator tool)
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Fixtures, fittings and utilities that are included
- Good quality photos of each room and the outdoor space
- Local amenities and attractions (including school catchment information)
Obviously, you want to rent your home to tenants who will take care of it and pay the rent on time. Aim to screen all potential tenants with this in mind.
Look for evidence that a tenant can pay in full on a monthly basis, and if possible check their credit rating and criminal history. If they can provide references from previous rentals that’s very useful too.
Insist on a written tenancy agreement
You need to protect yourself legally in case things go wrong, so insist on a written tenancy agreement.
Your tenancy agreement covers things like the responsibilities of the tenant and landlord, the situation with regards to security deposit, notice period for moving out, and any building regulations that are in place. You can also add in specific requirements such as no pets or late payment fees.
This government guidance is a good reference point for new landlords. It’s a very good idea to get some professional input when creating your tenancy agreement, as it needs to be legally binding. A solicitor or letting agent will both be able to help here.
Be prepared for emergencies
Just like a home you live in yourself, a rented property will most likely need an urgent repair at some point.
It’s worth establishing a relationship with a plumber, electrician, locksmith, roofer and general handyman, so you can quickly get in touch if an emergency repair is needed. Having tradesmen on call can take a lot of the hassle out of dealing with a repair, and also prevent additional damage caused by delays.
Hopefully these tips for renting out your house will help you to decide whether it’s a good option for you, and make it easier to tackle the project. If you’ve got a top tip for renting out your house do share it in the comments.