Landlord Advice

How To Let Your Property Privately – What You Need To Know As a Landlord

You’ve made all the changes to your property. You have all the certificates you need to let. But a question hangs in your head…

How do I get tenants into the property?

There are a number of different methods on how to let your property privately and if you are just starting out, it can be confusing trying to figure out the best option for you. That’s why we’ve written this handy guide to help you get tenants into your property without all the confusion.

So if you:

  • Are looking to start renting your property out;
  • Are confused about whether you need a letting agent or not;
  • Might want to try marketing your property by yourself.

Then read on!

Preparing your property

Before we start, let’s double-check that you have everything that is necessary for renting out your property:

  • EPC (Electrical Safety Certificate) — You must ensure your property has at least an ‘E’ rating!
  • Gas safety certificate — any gas appliances or fixtures must be safe for use.
  • EICR — This checks electrical installations and their safety.
  • Make sure the water system is free from legionella disease. Tests can be bought online.
  • Complete any renovations to your property that might be required (especially important if you’re an HMO landlord).
  • The property must be cleaned thoroughly before renters move in.

With that done, let’s move on to actually getting tenants into the property. 

Renting out a property using letting agents

Letting agents are excellent for landlords that don’t have an abundance of time on their hands to manage every aspect of their properties. They can be used to manage different parts of the letting process. As a landlord, you have a few options, which will be discussed below.

Finding tenants

These are often the bread and butter type of letting agents that most landlords use. It’s easy to see why, as oftentimes marketing your property by yourself can be a taxing procedure. 

The letting agent will usually take photos of the property and will market it effectively. They can also organise viewings, take inventory of the property, check right to rent etc. 

Basically, everything that is required to get tenants into your property. Plus, it is often a one-off charge! So, regardless of how long your property remains empty, you won’t have to continually pay for it to be marketed. 

Rent Collection

Letting agents will take over responsibilities for collecting rent from tenants, over multiple properties if needed. This option can be excellent for those landlords who don’t have time to collect rent themselves or chase up on tenants who go into rent arrears. The letting agent takes care of all of this and can even serve notices and advise you if a tenant repeatedly refuses to make payment. Depending on your letting agent, some offer insurance against rent arrears, which means you won’t be hit as hard financially. 

Full management

This is when a letting tenant takes over all responsibilities. This includes marketing, rent collection, organising maintenance and inspections and everything else that is included in property management. 

As you can imagine, this usually comes at a much higher cost than the previous two options. This option can be great for landlords who don’t have the time to manage multiple properties. However, if you are letting a single property, it might be best to look into the other two options first, as full management will eat into your profits. Plus, you’ll still have to pay even if there are no tenants paying rent in your property

How to let your property privately without letting agents

While letting your property completely by yourself can be risky, you can also maximise your profits. There are a number of things you need to keep in mind before doing everything yourself though. You need to make sure that you have the time to be able to manage every aspect of your property and that you have a good knowledge of the rules and regulations concerning becoming a landlord

While managing your rental property at every stage might seem like a scary prospect, once you’re armed with the right information, you should manage just fine. So let’s get started! 

Marketing your property

Oftentimes the most worrying aspect is marketing your property by yourself. It is often the most time-consuming part of the letting process, but there are some added bonuses to marketing the property yourself. Namely, you are able to vet potential tenants yourself through the interview and viewing process. So, what should you do in terms of marketing your property?

  • High-quality photos of the property This one is easy! You can either take the photos yourself or hire a professional photographer. Try and make the property look as attractive as possible, as this will be the first impression that prospective tenants will have of your property. 
  • Marketing online With the information age in full swing, marketing online has never been easier. There are a number of online letting sites that allow you to advertise your property for a small fee. It’s also the easiest way to advertise your property to a large audience of people who are specifically looking for rental properties.
  • Explore different marketing avenues Let’s cover all bases. Marketing locally is also easy and there are a couple of different strategies that you can explore. For instance, you can put a notice in a local shop advertising your property, which won’t cost you a thing. Your local newspaper can also be helpful, as they provide property listing spaces as well and also reach a large audience, especially among older demographics. 
  • Be punctual with your replies Generally speaking, you should try to reply within 24-48 hours in regards to an inquiring tenant. We recommend preparing a document beforehand listing the rules of the property and any other requirements that you might have, like a security deposit, or a request for income qualifications. You can also vet tenants by providing links to your criminal and credit check applications. 
  • Viewings Organise a viewing schedule that works both for you and your prospective tenants. Oftentimes, this means the weekend. You can make it easier by arranging an open house style viewing if you have multiple tenants showing interest in the property. Why make repeat viewings when you don’t have to? Highlight the positives of the property and try to be open and honest with any questions that possible tenants may have. This helps build a level of trust instantly, which will pay off in the long run. 

A contract that works for both parties

While it might be easy to just copy a template from the internet, it is always best to get a solicitor to draw up the contract. Laws can change and the conditions on an internet contract might be dated, so to ensure that neither party gets caught out, hire a solicitor.

HMRC and tax

When letting your house privately, you’ll need to inform HMRC immediately once you start making profits on your property. If you don’t inform them and you get audited, you could be liable for heavy fines, including a bill for the tax you should have paid over a period of time. You can check the regulations on the HMRC website.

Landlord insurance

The private rental sector has seen a huge boom over the years and in turn, so has the number of companies offering insurance for landlords. With such a competitive market, it should be easy to find a good deal that will cover you in a number of different circumstances. There are two types of cover available.

Landlord property protection

This is the most common type and ensures that if there is any damage to your property that you need to fix, you won’t be hit as hard financially. You’ll need to shop around, as each provider will have different deductibles (the amount you pay in damages before your insurance kicks in) and maximum limits (the maximum cost that your provider will cover). Check the market and see what’s right for you! 

Landlord liability protection

Another important insurance policy, that will cover the costs of medical expenses or legal bills if you were liable for a tenant’s injury on your property. For instance, if a tenant takes a nasty fall on damaged flooring that you were responsible for repairing, your tenant can take you to court if they so wish. A nightmare for any landlord, but liability protection can help lessen the blow on your pockets. Again, it is best to take a look online for the best deals, as liability protection also has its own policy on deductibles and maximum limits.

Make regular contact with your tenants

Regardless of how reliable your tenants are, it’s always best to stay in regular contact with them. This ensures that if there are any repairs that need completing, you’ll know about it. Plus, it can also give you an insight into how your tenants are treating your property. Consider visiting the property every couple of months. Not only will you make sure that your let is in good shape, but it helps to build a rapport between you and your tenants. Treat them well and they are more likely to treat you and your property with respect.  

Need help getting your property prepared for letting?

Our team at Fantastic Services can help! We provide a number of services that you will need to complete before letting your property. So, if you need: 

Then look no further! The professionals we use are fully vetted, equipped and qualified to deal with any job that you need doing. We’ll make sure that your property is ready for any new tenant. Plus, have a look at our deals on boiler cover for landlords, giving you peace of mind that you’re covered if anything goes wrong with the boiler in one of your properties. 

One last recommendation! It is always best to take an inventory of all possessions and items within a tenancy. This can be incredibly tedious to do by yourself, so why don’t you leave the inventory to us? The professionals will list every item in the property, take meter readings and provide you with photographic evidence to support what is already documented. So save yourself the time and hassle and contact us! 

Need an inventory of your tenancy?

Find a professional to take care of it for you!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

Takeaways

  • You can either manage your rental property yourself, or go through a letting agency
  • Marketing your property has never been easier, with options both online and offline
  • Be aware of the rules and regulations for being a landlord
  • Keep in contact with your tenants! It helps in the long run! 

***

We hope you found our article on how to let your house privately helpful! If you have any questions or some helpful tips of your own, then feel free to leave a comment with us. 

Image source: Shutterstock/ Andrey Blochin

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