Recent research carried out by ARLA has shown that 34% of member offices surveyed saw an increase in the number of properties coming onto the market because they couldn't be sold. However successful letting isn't simply about finding a tenant, signing a contract and handing over the keys. There are important steps any landlord should take when letting out a property that was once their home:
Presentation of Property - You may need to pay some attention to the decor in the property. Brightly coloured walls may be to your taste but they may make the property less desirable to others. Neutral walls are also easier to re-touch at the end of a tenancy, make a property seem fresh and light and will match any furniture. We would also recommend using a wipe-down paint if you are aiming for the family market. We find that a well presented property is usually better looked after by the tenants.
Furniture - You will need to decide whether to let your property furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. If your furniture is valuable or you have emotional attachment to it, then take it with you or arrange for it to be put into storage. Furniture also needs to be compliant to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1993).
White Goods - There are regulations for the installation of electrical equipment in rental properties. Part P Building Regulations 2005 (electrical safety in dwellingsYou will need to ensure that they are checked regularly and prove that your property is safe. The same is true for gas appliances and you will require a valid Gas Safe certificatein order to let the property. Recent government regulations require that you have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) carried out on the property before it can be rented out.
Property Management - If you choose to instruct an agent to manage your property, take the time to choose an agent that you like and trust, and one that is an ARLA regulated agent. Choosing an agent to look after your property can be a real help, especially if you are moving away from the area or have a busy job. As an ARLA regulated agent, College and County are able to ensure that your money (and your tenants' money) is protected.
Let Go! - You need to remember that it is no longer your home - no matter how much you love it, it is now a home for someone else and hopefully an investment for you. There is a chance that accidental damage will occur and that tenants will make comments on the condition of the property. Try to keep a clear, detached mind when these issues are raised and don't take it personally. We find that our landlords take these criticisms less personally as they are using an agent and it detaches them a bit more.