Support for Kent Landlords

How to get started as a landlord

There can be any number of reasons why you might find yourself becoming a landlord, including moving in with a partner, or a temporary but long-term relocation for work.
Letting boards outside rental properties

There can be any number of reasons why you might find yourself becoming a landlord, including moving in with a partner, or a temporary but long-term relocation for work. Whatever your reasons, it can be an exciting but daunting prospect, so here’s a simple guide to help you get started.

There are some very important things you need to do before letting out your property, for the safety of your tenants and your investment.

First, an easy question: Do you want to rent furnished or unfurnished? If furnished, all furniture must be fireproof.

What is the condition of your home? To let it out, the property must be safe and free from health hazards. This includes ensuring all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained – which means you must carry out annual gas safety checks with a registered technician.

Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms? If not, why not? These are a sensible investment in any home, and a mandatory requirement for landlords to provide in a rented property.

You also need to check your mortgage lender is aware of the change of use and that your insurance is suitable for a rented property. You may also wish to consider dedicated rent guarantee insurance.

For probably less familiar paperwork, you need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate; make arrangements to protect your tenant’s deposit in an approved scheme; and confirm the person has the legal right to rent your property. You must also share the government How to rent checklist with your tenants. Not forgetting length of residency, price, and the all-important contract to keep you protected should you have any issues with tenants.

As a first-time landlord it would be wise to seek professional advice when arranging these. This could be through your solicitor or through an established letting agent. For the latter, most reputable letting agents will give you the option of managing the paperwork; marketing your property and finding a tenant; and even carrying out ongoing property management.

The level of service you choose will depend on your personal preference, as with all things: don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions to ensure you are happy before you sign on the dotted line.

For more information about landlord responsibilities, visit the Government website.

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