12 important tips to turn your home into a rental property

Whether you are moving out of your house or have bought a second property you will not want to leave it standing empty. Although history has shown that in time your property will always eventually go up in value, you are well advised to leverage your asset by having tenants who will pay your mortgage and hopefully also provide you with a steady monthly income.

If you have not prepared a rental property before then you may be worried about what is involved but here are the twelve most important tasks that you should be planning to do.

1. Inform your mortgage company that you intend to rent your property.

You must do this to ensure they have no objections. There will likely be a fee but this should be small. This permission may only be valid for a year but if there are no problems then it should be easily extended.

2. Find a good rental agent. Unless you are looking to do all the work then it will be beneficial to have an agent who will know where to find the best tenants and know how to manage the property for you. This way you will be able to let your new business run by itself and so the relatively small loss of profit will be worth the cost.

3. Inform the tax office that you will be receiving rent. If you use an agent then they are legally bound to withhold the tax until they receive confirmation you have told the tax office. You will need to declare the income anyway in a tax return.

4. Make sure you have the necessary certificates such as gas and energy performance. This is another reason for using an agent as they will help you know what you need and how to get them.

5. Carry out all of those repairs to the property that you have been putting off. If you do not do them now then it will be harder to get tenants and when someone does move in, they will complain and you will have to do them anyway.

6. Get the chimney cleaned. You are likely to be asked for evidence that this has been done within the last year.

7. Decorate to a high standard. If you think about the times you have stayed in holiday or hotel accommodation you will remember that you expected a higher standard than your own home. Your prospective tenants will expect a high level of cleanliness and decoration. It may cost a lot to do but it will be worth every penny.

8. Think about replacing all your white goods. These can be quite reasonably priced and you will then have a fresh warranty for each unit that you or the agent can call upon. These do not have to be luxury items, just the basic easy to use equipment.

9. Do not forget the garden. It is best to cut it right back so that the new tenants can make something of it.

10. Cancel all of the local services. These will be the responsibility of the new tenants.

11. Arrange for a local company to take on the maintenance of the boiler, gas and plumbing. Then either they or your agent can call them out if there is a problem.

12. Finally create a helpful folder for the tenants to tell them about the property so they know how to use the appliances and where to turn off the water and change the fuses.

Your local requirements may differ a little but if you carry out these basic 12 tasks you will be well prepared for rental of your property.

Dave Corby

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