Smoke alarms; by law these must be on every floor and tested regularly. (Please note HMOs may differ)
Carbon Monoxide alarms; these are only law if there is a solid fuel source, best practise if there is only gas in the property and no open fuel source but I would always recommend installing one to be safe as this legislation may come into force later.
Electrics; New legislation regarding electrical safety is imminent but unconfirmed, you should consider an electrical safety check if you are purchasing a Buy To Let property and seriously consider PAT testing on appliances (i.e. white goods) that come with a property.
Gas Safety; A gas safety inspection must be completed annually before the expiration of the previous certificate and be provided to tenants before they move in to a property. Visit https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ for more information.
This list goes on and on … please call me for advise on any aspect of lettings safety and legislation.
Energy Performance Certificate; If you have recently purchased your investment I would sincerely hope that it came with a valid EPC but if you are considering letting out a property that has not been sold or let since before 1st October 2008 then you will need to instruct an EPC assessor to provide one. They last 10 years and we cannot market your property without it.
To Paint or not To Paint?
Yes please! Neutral colours, no feature walls, keep it clean and basic but well maintained and anticipate that you will need to consider redecorating every 3-5 years depending on how often your tenants change over. Fresh, clean properties let quicker and will attract a higher quality tenant so please spend a little bit of time and money on this aspect.
Carpets – If you have them professionally cleaned before tenants move in then we have a better chance of being able to insist that tenants do the same when they vacate. You don’t need to have expensive luxurious carpets (in fact I wouldn’t recommend them in a tenanted property) but do have them cleaned and include a flea treatment if pets have lived in the property previously as fleas can lie dormant for a long time.
Gardens – Your neat borders and glorious rhododendron bushes may look beautiful but it is unlikely tenants will maintain them quite like you can! Keep gardens tidy and as basic as possible. Garden maintenance is a tenants responsibility unless something grows over head height in which case I would recommend you take responsibility for it (so nobody can fall off a ladder).
What’s in your loft? – Goodness knows! Clear it or lock it with a padlock and insist on a clause refusing the tenants access. I’m not insured to go in your loft so most inventory clerks won’t be checking it at the end of the tenancy either and you could end up with all sorts up there before you know it.
Chimneys – If you have an open fire and it is working then please sweep it before you let it out and provide us with a receipt, that we way we can enforce the tenants do the same annually. It’s safer too!
Furnishings – If you wish to let your property with furniture already in place then please remember these rules. Upholstered furniture; must have a fire-resistant filing, must have passed a ‘match resistance’ test and should be able to pass a ‘cigarette resistance’ test. Look for the label that refers to the 1988 safety regulations.
White Goods – If they are in the property when the tenant moves in then you are responsible for them for the duration of the tenancy. You cannot pass this cost or responsibility onto the tenant so think about this before you buy anything or even if you remove everything. Some tenants may not be able to afford white goods and may ask you to provide them anyway.
To Let Boards – Can we put a ‘To Let’ board up? Is the property a flat and therefore under a lease/head leaseholder/freeholder who needs to give permission? Would you prefer we didn’t put one up? Contrary to some recent media hype; boards do work and we will always try and get a board out ASAP when we have a property on the market so it’s worth checking before we are instructed!