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A Guide to Moving in Day for Landlords
Regardless of if you are welcoming your first tenant through the doors of your rental or it is almost time for your existing tenants to move on, preparing your rental property for new occupants is something universal to owners. Whilst everyone will find their own routine that best suits their rental, a meticulous approach is always best. So, to help ensure the transition is as seamless as possible here is our guide to moving in day for landlords.
- What Should a Landlord Do Before You Move In?
- Build a Relationship with Your Tenant
- Make Sure It’s All Legal
- Clean the Property
- Take Meter Readings
- Carry Out a Property Inventory
- Produce a Tenant’s Info Pack
- How to Rent Guide 2021
- How Clean Should a Rental House Be Before Moving In?
- How Long Does the Letting Process Take In the UK?
What Should a Landlord Do Before You Move In?
New landlords may fall into the trap of thinking that the start of each new tenancy is as simple as signing the agreement and handing over the key, however there are many things a landlord must check to not only ensure that their property is ready for new tenants, but they are compliant with existing letting laws and regulations.
Build a Relationship with Your Tenant
We don’t mean become best buddies with your tenant overnight, but rather chat with them and establish some sort of friendly relationship. That way they’ll feel you’re approachable if anything goes wrong on their side. And likewise, you won’t feel too bad about sending them a reminder if the rent is late once in a while.
Make Sure It’s All Legal
As can be expected, upon moving in the occupant will have already signed the tenancy agreement, detailing the address of the property, confirmation of the landlord, and how much the occupants can expect to pay in rent, amongst other terms.
Once the agreement has been signed, the landlord is legally obligated to provide their tenants with a series of documents relating to the tenancy and the rental property. With this in mind owners will need to offer the residents a valid energy performance certificate, or EPC. An EPC will reveal how energy efficient the rental property is, alongside giving renters an estimate as to its running costs. Further to this tenant must be provided with a gas safety certificate and EIRC, confirming that all gas and electrical appliances, installations, outlets, pipes and flues are safe and operational for the tenants.
In order to comply with fire safety regulations landlords must ensure that there is a working smoke alarm on each floor of the rental property that contains any living spaces, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any area that are used to store solid fuel.
Under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act you are also obliged to ensure the property you are renting out is free from damp, mould, infestations and other potential risks that would pose a threat to the occupant’s safety and wellbeing.
Clean the Property
A quick paint of the walls to freshen things up never goes amiss for a new tenancy (especially if the last tenant was there for several years). It shows the new tenant you’ve made a real effort to have the place look nice for them – and hopefully they’ll keep it nice in return! No doubt you will already have had the property professionally cleaned after the last tenant moved out. But, if some time has passed between then and now, it’s not a bad idea to nip round with a duster and hoover.
Take Meter Readings
Taking meter readings with your new tenant present means you can chase up any outstanding bills with the previous tenants. This also gives the new tenants the appropriate information to begin the search for a new provider.
Carry Out a Property Inventory
No landlord wants to get involved in a bitter dispute over tenancy deposit deductions come the end of the fixed period. Taking a thorough property inventory alongside your new tenants is essential for both parties, making the condition of the rental property at the start of the rental period irrefutably clear. Photographs should be taken to make later discussions over wear and tear more transparent, with any existing signs of use, wear or damage also being documented.
Produce a Tenant’s Info Pack
As mentioned previously there is a series of documentation that landlords must provide to their tenants when moving into a rental property. If a landlord fails to offer their tenants this correspondence, then they will be prevented from later serving them with a section 21 notice, if they later become a problem tenant.
We know that landlords will need to provide their tenants with an EPC and valid gas and electrical safety certificates once the tenancy agreement has been signed, but what else do landlords need to give their new tenants?
Once the landlords takes a tenancy deposit from the new residents, they will need to enter this sum into a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. Confirmation of the scheme’s details, the rental property, landlords’ identification and the sums protected will then need to be provided to the tenants within 10 days of the amount being paid.
How to Rent Guide 2021
Landlords will need to provide their new tenants with the most recent edition of the government’s How to Rent Guide. This document will aid new renters in all aspects of their tenancy, detailing their rights and responsibilities, alongside where they can turn if they are in a dispute with their landlord, the property is unsafe, or they are having trouble paying their rent.
How Clean Should a Rental House Be Before Moving In?
It goes without saying that tenants will expect a clean environment when first moving into a rental property. Once a tenancy comes to a close many owners choose to have their rental professionally cleaned, particularly if the previous occupants rented alongside their pets. Whilst this is a common route for many landlords it is essential to note that tenants cannot be charged for this as it is prohibited under the tenant fees act. If the property has been left vacant for an extended period, has had recent repairs carried out then it is best to clean the rental before the all-important move in day.
How Long Does the Letting Process Take In the UK?
How long the letting process takes for landlords is, of course, highly dependent on the amount of time it takes for aspiring renters to become interested in your rental opportunity and place an offer. Naturally, it goes without saying that you should not go with the first tenant that send you an offer and that all applicants must go through the tenant referencing process. Whilst this will commonly only take around 48 hours, if you offers are being received days or even weeks apart, the timescale for vetting your potential future tenants becomes less prominent. It is also worth noting that many landlords will start carrying out in person viewings of their rental property around a month or two before their existing tenancy is due to end, helping them to avoid lengthy void periods and a heavy decline in rental income.
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