Before going to market it is advisable to present your property to potential tenants in the best possible condition and fully compliant. LPandM have created a 3 stage check list of all the essentials to consider before letting applicants come by and view their potential future home.
Stage 1 - Appearance
Decorations and Carpets - It is always a good idea to go for neutral colours. If the paint work is looking a bit tired there is no harm in giving it a fresh lick of paint. A high quality property will attract a better quality tenant.
Furnished or Unfurnished? - That is the question. It actually doesn't make a lot of difference from a rental income point of view. Unfurnished properties tend to have carpets and white goods; this is usually the preferred choice by landlords as it means that they are not responsible for any furniture and annual testing/maintenance of additional appliances. Any Furnishings you do let with the property will be required to comply with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire and Safety} Regulations 1988 (as amended}. Landlords are required to ensure that all furniture and furnishings carry appropriate fire-resistant labels. AU landlords have a duty of care under common law to ensure that their rented property is kept in a safe condition.
Garden - The gardens should be kept to a good standard prior to a letting, the tenants will be responsible for its maintenance during their occupation and when they vacate it should be left in the same standard it was let.
Cleaning - As most lettings require the property to be handed back in the same condition it was taken, it is best to ensure the property is clean top to bottom ideally including carpets and windows. That way it is nice a clean for the next tenant to move in.
Stage 2 - Utilities and White Goods
Gas, Electric and Water - These should be left connected and in the colder months the heating should be left on even if the property is empty to avoid the property getting cold and damp.
White Goods - Most tenants expect to rent a property with at least a cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine in place. These items will require regular testing to ensure they are safe, on our full management service we ensure these are carried out and certificates are on file.
Instructions and Manuals – It is ideal to leave these somewhere safe at the property that way the occupying tenants will have access to them when needed. It's also quite usefu1 to leave a note of the bin collection days, stopcock location and local services such as council, doctor etc.
Stage 3 - Compliance & Safety
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulation 1994:
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances within the property are installed and maintained in good order and checked for safety at least once in every twelve months, to comply with the gas safety (installation & use) regulation 1994. These installations and checks must be carried out by contractors who are gas safety registered, and such checks must be recorded and retained by the landlord and be made available for inspection by the tenant.
Full details and information can be reviewed here - https://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/faqlandlord.htm
Electrical Safety Standards In The Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020:
It is now a legal requirement for residential rented properties to have an electrical installation test. The new regulations will apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. Landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is “qualified and competent”, at least every five years.
Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested. Breaches of the regulations could result in financial penalties of up to £30,000.
Full details and information can be reviewed here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994:
These regulations came into effect on 9 January 1995 and apply to any electrical equipment between 50v and 1000v of alternative current, 75v to 1500v of direct current. In simple terms, this applies to new and second-hand appliances such as kettles, TV’s, cookers, immersion heaters, irons, etc.
It is necessary for the landlord to have tests carried out to show that the appliances are safe and the tests should be carried out by a suitably qualified electrician. Each item should then be labelled to show that it has been tested and carry details of the tester’s name.
It should be noted that there is no legal requirement for this to be done annually, but trading standards’ advice is, that an inspection should be made at the start of each new letting. Our own recommendation is that this should be done no less than once a year.
It should be noted that any equipment supplied within a property after 1 January 1997 is expected to have a CE marking, either on the appliance or the packaging, and that all instruction manuals relating to appliances should be left in the property.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
Since 1 April 2020, it is a legal requirement for rented properties to have a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E or higher before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants, unless they have a valid exemption in place.
If you are currently planning to let a property with an EPC rating of F or G, you need to improve the property’s rating to E, or register an exemption, before you enter into a new tenancy. If you are currently letting a property with an EPC rating of F or G, and you haven’t already taken action, you must improve the property’s rating to E immediately, or register an exemption. If your property is currently empty, and you are not planning to let it, you do not need to take any action to improve its rating until you decide to let it again.
Full details and further information can be reviewed here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance
Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022:
Private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove).
Since 1 October 2022, landlords are now required to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
Landlords are responsible to ensure that the alarms are in place and working at the start of each new tenancy. After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the landlord is required to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.
Full details and information can be reviewed here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords/the-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-england-regulations-2015-qa-booklet-for-the-private-rented-sector-landlords-and-tenants
Furniture And Furnishings (Fire & Safety) Regulations:
All property let for the first time since 1 march 1993 containing furniture must which comply with the furniture and furnishing (fire & safety) regulations 1988 as amended by the furniture and furnishing (fire & safety) regulations 1993 and any subsequent amendments thereto.
All additional or replacement furniture supplied since 1 march 1993 must comply with the regulations. Furniture manufactured before 1 January 1950 is not covered by the regulation as detective inflammable materials were not used prior to that date.
Full details and amendments can be reviewed here - https://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/