Renting Property: How to Get Started
Renting an unused property can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Getting started renting property in the UK is quite easy. In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to get your property ready to rent.
1. Tenancy Type: Who is the Property Best Suited For?
You must decide if you want to rent your property as a single let home (for a single person or family unit) or as an HMO (houses of multiple residents, commonly known as a flat share).
You can earn a lot more money—or save a lot of hassle—depending on the tenancy type you choose.
Single let rentals bring in less money but are generally much less labour-intensive. This is because families usually stay for longer and put less wear and tear on the facilities.
HMOs, which are rented to at least 3 non-related adult tenants, require more work as there are more contracts, tenants and turnover. However, they generate a lot more cash.
If you’ve got the time and you like interacting with people, an HMO tenancy is for you. If you work full time or don’t live near the rental property, a single let tenancy might be better.
2. Meeting Government Safety Regulations
You can’t legally rent your property until it satisfies all government safety regulations. This includes ensuring the property is free from health hazards like mold, fire, injury risk, poor ventilation and more.
If you have an old property, it might take a considerable amount of work to meet these regulations. Local authorities can come to inspect your rental at the request of tenants or at their own behest at any time, so it’s critical that your home is in top shape before any tenants move in.
Here are a few boxes you’ll need to tick before putting your rental on the market:
- Install fire alarms and equip the property with extinguishers
- Have a plumber check the pipes and toilets
- Hire an electrician to change old wiring and check for fire hazards
- Fix injury hazards such as uneven stairs, loose rails and old flooring
- Replace air filters and clean ducts
- Ensure food storage and food prep spaces are sanitary
- Perform pest control
You’ll also need an energy performance certificate for your rental.
This may seem like a lot to do (and spend), but most homes only need a little work to meet regulatory standards. Your town or county may require some specific requirements as well, so check with your local council for HMO advice before letting your property.
3. Preparing a Tenancy Agreement
There are no standardised tenancy agreements in the UK, so you can make yours however you like. Though, we wouldn’t recommend drawing it up by hand. There are premade rental agreement templates available for download online, like this Simple Tenancy Agreement Template from Simply Docs, that cover all the basics, including:
- Names of the landlord and tenants
- Start and end dates of the agreement
- Rental cost, payment dates, and security deposit
- Costs covered by tenants and the landlord
- Who is allowed on the property and for how long (e.g. guests)
- Landlord’s access to the property and facilities
- Damaged property policy
- Rules particular to the property (e.g. no pets, no loud parties)
Once the property agreement is drawn up, you may need to amend it before signing depending on the needs of your tenants.
4. Seeking out Tenants
If there’s one thing that landlords moan about the most, it’s not regulations or repairs—it’s finding good tenants. How do you find tenants that will respect the property, pay on time and stick around?
First, you’ve got to advertise your space in the right places. If you want families to stay, you can advertise on the local paper’s website. If you’re looking to rent an HMO, you could easily find tenants by advertising at a local university. Though nowadays, most people use online rental sites like Rightmove or Zoopla to list and search for rentals.
Once you’ve got some applicants, you’ll need to do your homework by interviewing them and checking their backgrounds and credit histories. Asking for references from professional contacts and past landlords is also common.
After signing the agreement, be firm about payment deadlines. But be diligent in your responsibilities too. Tenants behave better and stay longer when a landlord takes upkeep and maintenance seriously.
Are You Ready to Rent?
Getting started renting property is easy in the UK. If your home is in good shape, you could list it and be interviewing tenants by next week. What will you do with the extra income? Follow the above steps to rent your property and find out how fulfilling it is to provide a home for someone in need.