When entering into the property journey, a lot of Landlords are tempted to self manage their assets. There are several reasons why they choose that option. It may be that they have one or two properties and no other major commitments like jobs or families and they have the time available to self manage. Also self managing landlords might want to see what managing properties is all about, that way they can make more informed decisions if and when they decide to hand over their properties to a letting agent.
Either way, we believe there is no clear right or wrong when it comes to choosing to self managing your own rental property or using a letting agent. We believe it depends on the circumstances of the landlord, and where they are on their property journey. However if you choose to self manage it’s important you do it right and in accordance to the latest regulations.
Here are some top tips how to successfully let and manage your rental property:
1. Choose the right Tenants target group for your property and your area - In order to target students your property needs to be suitably near a University, ideally within walking distance. Equally, If the property is located in the country side without good public transport links to the city centre or business centre, you may struggle filling the rooms with professional sharers. Ideally you need make that decision before you buy the property. However, in some cases that option to buy for a specific target tenant isn’t there, as there are a lot of Landlords who just simply want to rent their previous family home or their inherited asset. Thinking about the target Tenants based on location will make the whole process a lot easier and lead to more successful and longer lasting tenancies.
2. Property advertising portals - be open minded and explore what is available out there in terms of the letting portals. Whilst Rightmove and Zoopla will work well for families or single lets, you may want to consider Spare Room and Facebook for your room rentals. We advise to advertise on all possible portals to make sure you attract enough of attention. It is a numbers game. You need to conduct at least 8 viewings to find the right Tenant.
3. Prepare your property - whilst in some areas “anything rents”, this is not the approach you want to take. We always encourage to hand over a clean and well maintained property. You don’t really need to refurbish it after every tenant (especially if you keep maintaining your property during the tenancy), but you need to make sure at all times that the house is tidy and appealing. In the end, people tend to look after the properties that have been handed over in a good condition. If the tenants see that you don’t look after the property, why would they?
Do not forget to prepare your property so that it meets all the regulations. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide installed, where applicable. Smoke alarms should be fitted on each floor. You should have in place a valid EICR and gas certificate.
4. To stage or not to stage? - It all depends on the market. If it is a competitive one and there is more properties than the prospective Tenants, we encourage you to go the extra mile. If the property is furnished, then add some soft furnishing, plants and curtains. Create the feeling of being “at home”, so the Tenants can imagine themselves living in the property straight away. If the property is unfurnished, then make sure the walls and the floors are in a good condition and focus on adding some staging items in the kitchen and bathroom. While it may not be necessary for single lets, we found out that it is a great way to have your HMO rooms tenanted within a couple of days.
5. Adverts - construct the adverts in a way that you attract the right Tenants. State clearly who you are looking for, and include all the information that are relevant:
- The location, including the street name and the postcode
- Information on transport links, local amenities, the distance from the city centre and main employers
- Type of Tenants you are looking for - students, professionals, single occupants, couples
- Do not use the phrase “NO DSS” as it is illegal and your property listing can be removed
- If you accept pets, make it clear. It will attract a lot of interest
- Information on the current occupants (if renting the individual rooms)
- Information on the bills (included/not included/partially included)
- Information on the deposit
- Information on the available date
- Minimum stay
- Good photographs, that clearly show all the rooms, including any additional storage, parking and garden. We encourage to take the pictures that show the actual size of the rooms. Do not apply any filters and don’t try to make the house look bigger. You will waste your time by conducting viewings when the Tenant realises that the room is not that big.
By including all this information you reduce the number of questions that people ask before they book a viewing.
6. Viewings - your adverts are up, you receive the enquiries and what happens next? Remember that the viewings can take a lot of your time, so it is crucial you show it to the people that will most likely become your Tenants. These are some questions that may help you to make sure you book a viewing with proceedable tenants:
- Move in date - some prospective Tenants will be looking for a property way in advance. If you need to rent your house immediately, it is better to check what is their situation and when they can actually move
- Their situation - are they students / professionals / couple? If you ask you will know whether they are in your target Tenants group
- The reason for moving - that can give you a hint if this person is most likely to stay longer in your house or whether it is a short stop
- Before scheduling a viewing, always ask the prospective Tenants, if they checked the location of the house, and whether it is convenient. Some Tenants come to the viewing, and then they realize the property is too far for what they need. It could have been avoided, by simply asking the question. Make sure you spend your time, showing your property to the right people.
Covid-19 somehow forced all of us to do more work online. Taking a video of the property can save you a lot of time. We encourage you to take a good video (a bad one can actually do more harm than good) and send it to the prospective Tenants before booking a viewing. If they like the video, then it is a good sign to proceed with the physical viewing.
7. Renting your property - the work definitely doesn’t end at selecting a Tenant. There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done, and if you fail at providing some documents you may be in trouble later on. Here is a check list to make sure you protect yourself against potential future problems:
- Always vet your Tenants. Ask about references, right to rent, proof of employment, run credit and background checks. Spend a bit of time chatting with them and get the right feel for it. Some things are not visible on the payslips. Make sure your put your time and energy at checking if you are renting to the right person.
- When signing the contract explain all the terms and conditions. Make sure they know the procedure of ending the tenancy. Explain what will happen if they want to move out before the fixed term ends, and how they should proceed if they wish to give you a notice.
- Provide all the necessary documents prior to the move in date. You must give to the Tenants the following documents:
- Gas certificate (if there is gas in the property)
- EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) - new regulations came into force in 2020 and 2021. If you need more information, read our article on that topic: https://www.streamlinelettings.co.uk/news/eicr-deadline-approaching
- EPC - unless your property is exempt
- Deposit Protection Certificate and Prescribed Information
- How to rent handbook - make sure your provide the latest version
Remember, that even if you do everything right, there are some unpredictable events that still may happen, but making sure you have the law on your side, will help you to solve most of the problems. If you need any help with the process, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We have also created a Letting checklist, if you wish to receive one, please drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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