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Letting a property: A beginner’s guide

Looking to become a landlord? Whether you’re letting a property you already own or are buying one to let, there are few basics that you need to get in place. Read on, we’ll help you get started!

 

  1. 1.   Get the right mortgage

If you’re renting your property out, you need a ‘buy to let’ mortgage. The bad news is that these tend to be more expensive than the normal homebuyer’s mortgage – but there are still plenty of deals out there.

Tempting as it might be, don’t stick to a normal mortgage and hope for the best. Renting out your property is a breach of the contract you have with your mortgage lender. If they find out they’re entitled to apply heavy charges.

 

  1. 2.   Furnished or unfurnished?

Next, you need to decide whether you’ll let the property with furniture in it, or empty so that tenants can bring their own.

Think about what kind of tenant you’re trying to attract. Students and young adults are unlikely to already have furniture so if you provide it, it saves them time and money.

Letting an unfurnished property will attract people that have their own furniture, and they may well stay longer because of the hassle of moving. Importantly, any damage to furnishings is their problem, not yours!

In our experience unfurnished properties are generally more popular, however, tenants always want white goods (fridge freezer, washing machine, dishwasher etc) included, but remember what you provide, you have to replace.

 

  1. 3.   Managing the property

Something that’s important to consider is whether you want someone to do the hard work for you when it comes to finding tenants, agreeing on the contract and dealing with any issues.

You can save money by going it alone, but the services agents provide can be very valuable – from finding good tenants and vetting them with credit checks, to chasing the rent and dealing with plumbing issues or repairs. Often the agent will have deals in place with local tradespeople too.

 

  1. 4.   Cover up

Getting the right insurance cover is important too. You’ll need landlord insurance, which is often a requirement of a buy to let mortgage. There are different options – you can just cover the building, or the contents too if you’re letting a furnished property. You can even add on ‘loss of rent’ cover to provide an income in case your property is empty for a while.

 

  1. 5.   Safety checks

Before any tenants move in there are some important checks to do, to keep everyone safe. Any gas appliances must be checked and serviced by a registered engineer, and get an electrician to check all wiring. The furniture and other furnishings must all comply with the latest fire regulations too.

Then you need to let the council tax department and utilities know that your tenants will be paying the bills, and you’re all set!

Remember that in some areas of Peterborough you’ll be required to have a licence to operate as a landlord. Find out more about this here: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/housing/selective-licensing/selective-licensing-overview/

For any advice about finding tenants and letting your property, we’re always happy to help. Just drop into our office in Hampton or give us a call on 01733 293900.