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Agony Agent

6th May 2017

Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners.  Agony Agent, is here to help!

Q:  I am about to complete on my first BTL property purchase.  What would you recommend we do to get the apartment ready to let?

A:  I would recommend you start with the following:

Make sure that you have obtained permission to let from your mortgage company, and/or the freeholder if it is a leasehold.

Make sure you have any necessary planning permissions.  This may be needed if you are converting the property to an HMO (house of multiple occupancy), so it is something you should check out if you are going to have more than two tenants who are not members of the same family, in the property.

If there are any gas appliances at the property you will need to comply with the Gas Regulations.  The appliances will have to be checked by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register, who will give you a certificate.  The check must be done before the tenants go in, and annually thereafter, and the tenants must be given a copy of the certificate.

You will need to comply with all the various safety regulations, for example, all furniture provided must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations.  This means that all soft furnishings, e.g. sofas, headboards, cushions and cloth covers on seats, mattresses, etc must be fire retardant and carry the relevant label.  Under the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations, any electrical equipment provided must be safe.  If the items are not new, it is a good idea to have them tested by a qualified electrician.  Make sure that plugs have no bare or damaged wires on leads.

You must fit smoke alarms on all floors where there is living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms with a solid fuel burner.  These need to be tested on the first day of the tenancy.  Although it is not a general legal requirement at present (unless your property is an HMO), you should get the electrical wiring regularly checked, as you will be held responsible if it is found to be defective.  Also note that landlords need to give tenants an Energy Performance Certificate before they move in.

Make sure you have adequate insurance cover, as general household insurance will not be sufficient.  There are specialist policies available for landlords.

Keep records of all work done, all receipts e.g. for items bought and any repair and other work done, and any certificates and guarantees.  It is a good idea to have an independent inventory done to list all furniture, electrical equipment, and general items in the property, with a note of their general condition; and check this over every time the property is vacated and then re-let.

If this sounds like too much of a headache for you then contact me today to see how I can assist you.

Richard Bond

Lettings Manager

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