Preparing A Rental Property - An Essential Checklist
Landlords are responsible for ensuring their properties are clean, safe and in good condition before handing the keys over to a new tenant. That said, preparing to let a property can be an overwhelming task - not every tenant prioritises the cleanliness and maintenance of their rental property. In fact, a recent survey discovered that 73% of residential landlords claim their properties are left in a poor condition after tenants leave. Here are some common issues many landlords face and how to rectify them for your next tenancy.
Book An End Of Tenancy Clean
Although your previous tenants may have done a reasonably good job at cleaning once they'd moved their belongings, many landlords still choose to book an end-of-tenancy clean. Much more thorough than a simple spring cleaning, end-of-tenancy cleaning is a deep clean that involves disinfecting, stain-removing and carpet cleaning. If your previous tenants had pets, it may also be worth requesting an anti-allergy clean to clear the area of embedded pet hair and dander that could exacerbate health concerns for future tenants.
Many landlords allow their tenants to redecorate within reason, provided they return the property to its original blank canvas upon moving - this may include painting, wallpapering and replacing hardware like light fixtures and door handles. The level of creative freedom tenants are allowed varies from landlord to letting agent; however, most will request a property be returned to magnolia, cream, and similar shades once the fixed-term tenancy ends. That said, not every rental tenant is an expert decorator, and you may wish to hire contractors to carry out more complex tasks like replastering and fitting carpets.
Conduct Necessary Repairs
No tenant wants to move into a property that requires maintenance. A home should be fully functional in terms of electrical wiring, ventilation, plumbing and structural integrity. Everything from dripping taps to persistent damp should be thoroughly assessed and rectified before the start of the next tenancy. Once your new tenant moves in, they should report any further problems in due time - failure to do so may result in deposit deductions.
Replace Furniture If Necessary
If a rental property is furnished, some items may require repairs or replacements. Renting a fully furnished property is less expensive and may appeal to short-term tenants, students and working professionals moving to an area indefinitely. Offering a furnished rental property comes with risks - furniture is easily damaged, stained, and, in some extreme cases, stolen. Furthermore, low-quality furniture won't last long, so you may need to invest in robust, durable furniture items to save on ongoing replacement costs.
Electrical Safety Checks
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties meet the legal requirements in terms of electrical safety. Every landlord should procure a valid landlord electrical safety certificate per property owned. Landlords should also get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every five years to identify damage, defects and non-compliances with the current BS 7671 requirements. An ECIR will also recommend the remedial work required to rectify any electrical issues, which must ensue within the following 28 days.
You can read more about electrical safety standards here.
Electrical Performance Certificate
An Electrical Performance Certificate (EPC) outlines vital information regarding a property's energy use. It categorises energy efficiency on a scale of A-G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least, although the average for England and Wales is band D. Failure to procure a valid EPC could result in repercussions from the Local Authority Building Control department and a fine of between £500 and £5,000. Once purchased for as little as £60, an EPC is valid for ten years.
Fire And Gas Safety
By law, landlords are responsible for arranging annual gas safety checks to be carried out on all gas appliances and flues by a CORGI-approved tradesperson. You will then receive a Landlord Gas Safety Record, a copy of which should be supplied to new tenants at the start of their tenancy.
Under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022, all landlords must ensure that at least one functional smoke detector per storey is installed and one carbon monoxide detector per room with a fuel-burning appliance such as a stove or space heater.