This checklist serves as a guide only. If in doubt, please speak with a legal expert.

1. Reference your tenants

This is the best insight into your tenant’s ability to pay their rent on time. A good referencing service will check affordability, employability, credit history, and a previous landlord reference.

2. Double check that you have met all legal requirements

Landlords are required to fulfil a number of legal responsibilities:

  • Have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation, and have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel appliances are contained.
  • Arrange gas safety checks every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • All furniture must meet safety standards and display the appropriate labels.
  • Any electrical devices must be safe for use.  An Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is recommended to ensure you are compliant.
  • Landlords must have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to let a property legally in the UK. The EPC rating must also be an E or above and lasts for 10 years.
  • Follow the The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act

Landlords of HMOs must make sure that:

  • The property is not overcrowded

  • There are enough cooking and bathroom facilities for the number living there

  • Communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair

  • They have a licence from the council if the HMO:

    • Has 5 or more unrelateHas 2 or more separate households living there

    • Has 2 or more separate households living there

3. Update utility suppliers

It’s a good idea to call and update all utility suppliers with new tenant details. dates they moved in and meter readings. This ensures any utilities from previous and new tenants use will be billed correctly. You should also provide new tenants with a list of suppliers.

4. Get a tenancy agreement

A tenancy agreement outlines tenant and landlord responsibilities. It clarifies legal rights, and helps keep landlords protected.

5. Prepare an inventory

Although not a legal requirement, the inventory report is a document, accompanied with images or videos, that documents the property, it’s condition and contents. A signed inventory is important for both landlords and tenants when the tenancy comes to an end and the deposit needs to be returned.

6. Provide emergency contact numbers

Important — especially for minimising any damage caused to the property. If a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, for example, your tenants need to know who to call.

7. Change the locks

Some might view this as an additional expense, but it could be essential for the safety of your new tenants. If you don’t change the locks, you must be confident your previous tenants were trustworthy enough to return all copies of the keys.

8. Clean the property

Whilst there is an expectation for tenants to leave a property clean at the end of their tenancy, there is no guarantee that it will be cleaned to an appropriate standard. We recommend paying for a professional end of tenancy clean, no tenant wants to move into a dirty or unkept property!

9. Fix any issues

Fix any outstanding issues in the property before you rent it out. This will save you and the tenant stress and potential conflict in the long term.

This checklist serves as a guide only. If in doubt, please speak with a legal expert.

*This article is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this page was first published.

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