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Cheat Sheet

Renting Out Your Property For Dummies (UK Edition)

From Renting Out Your Property For Dummies, 3rd UK Edition by Melanie Bien, Robert S. Griswold

Got a property to rent but worried about everything that’s involved with being a landlord? Use this Cheat Sheet for tips on marketing your property, finding the right tenant and managing the rental process from start to finish.

Handling a Telephone Call from a Prospective Tenant

As the first point of contact between yourself and a prospective tenant for a rental property, the initial enquiry over the phone is extremely important. Use these tips to ensure you’re prepared:

  • Have near your phone a pen or pencil, a blank notepad, and all the information on your rental property and the area.

  • Answer the telephone professionally with a business-like greeting (such as ‘Chris Jones, how may I help you?’) within the first three rings.

  • Provide basic information about the rental property while obtaining information about the prospective tenant.

  • Use open-ended questions and try to build up a rapport with the prospective tenant.

  • Ensure the prospective tenant is suitable by outlining your rental selection criteria.

  • If the tenant is suitable, convince him of the benefits of renting your property.

  • Anticipate and be prepared for objections - these are a sign of the prospective tenant’s interest.

  • Convert phone calls to a viewing, because even the best rental properties can’t be rented over the phone.

Avoiding Problems upon a Tenant Moving Out of Your Rental Property

The end of a tenant’s contract can often be a tricky time with lots to do and lots to remember. Use these handy hints to guide you through this process so that you’re on top of everything and nothing is left to chance:

  • Know exactly when the tenant is moving out.

  • Don’t allow the tenants to regard their deposit as covering their last month’s rent. This way, if the tenants leave the property in a poor condition, you can use the deposit for what it was intended.

  • Get a forwarding address for your tenants.

  • Provide tenants with a letter that clearly communicates your expectations regarding the condition of the rental property and the return of the deposit.

  • Immediately conduct an inspection of the property with the tenant when she moves out. Compare the condition of the property to the checklist you made when the tenant moved in.

  • Take photos and have contractors or suppliers provide detailed invoices for any work required in order to repair damages.

  • Promptly schedule the necessary repairs to make the property ready to rent again while looking for any other damage done by the vacating tenant.

  • If you consider deductions from the deposit are necessary, you must agree these with the tenant. If the tenant disagrees, he can raise his dispute with the relevant tenancy deposit protection scheme. In the meantime, return the undisputed sum to the tenant.

  • If the deposit itemisation form and refund cheque are returned from the tenant’s last known address, keep the envelope. They can serve as proof if your former tenant ever alleges that you did not attempt to return the deposit.

  • Always look out for signs that the tenant has abandoned your property, particularly if the current rent is late and/or you are pursuing legal action against the tenant.

Preparing to Show a Rental Property

First impressions really are everything! So make sure your rental property is spick and span and ready to be snapped up by your prospective tenant.

  • After you have legal possession, remove all of the prior tenant’s personal possessions and any rubbish.

  • Check all plumbing (toilets, taps, and pipes) to ensure they are working properly. Make sure that there are no leaks, that the plumbing has the proper pressure, and that there is adequate drainage.

  • Check all appliances to ensure they are working properly. Run the dishwasher through a full cycle. Be sure that all the racks are in the oven.

  • Check all hardware. Change the locks and ensure they are operational. Pay attention to all catches and latches.

  • Check all windows, curtains, and blinds. They should be clean, unbroken, secure, and operate properly. All window locks should be working.

  • Check all walls, ceilings, and skirting boards. The paint and/or wallpaper should provide proper coverage, without holes, cuts, scratches, nails, or bad seams.

  • Check all carpets, rugs, lino, and wooden floors. They should be clean and in good condition. The flooring should be properly installed, with no bad seams.

  • Check bathrooms. Thoroughly clean the toilet, bath, shower, sink, mirrors, and cabinets. Check the toilet roll holder and towel rail to ensure they are clean. Put a new toilet roll in each bathroom.

  • Check all cupboards, wardrobes and storage areas. Rails, hooks, shelves, lights, floors, and walls should be clean.

  • Check all counters, cabinets and doors. They should be clean and fully operational, presenting no hazards.

  • Check smoke detectors and all lighting for proper operation.

  • Check all patios, balconies, and hallways. They should be clean and railings should be secure.

  • Check the heating to make sure it is working properly.

  • Check the rental property’s kerb appeal, including the front and back gardens, drive and path up to the front door. Keep them as neat and tidy as possible.

  • Perform a final inspection of the entire rental property for appearance and cleanliness. Be sure to recheck the property every few days that it lies empty.

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