Preparing the property - Comply with current regulations. Make sure that your property is nonhazardous and has the necessary gas and electrical safety fittings. Your local council will be more than happy to offer advice. Note: In Scotland landlords must be registered and meet all the required criteria for registration.
Keep décor neutral. Magnolia walls and darker flooring work well. Bear in mind you have to maintain the property so don’t waste money on expensive flooring or wall coverings. You want the property to appeal to the majority but also be easily freshened up at the end of the tenancy.
Avoid fancy landscapes. There’s no guarantee that a tenant has green fingers so plain patios and basic, easily maintained lawns are the best option.
Finding a tenant - Word of mouth, on-line advertising platforms and social media are all good ways to advertise your property for free. If you are happy to rent to tenants in receipt of housing benefit,bear in mind you probably won’t get a security deposit and the tenant will still be responsible for paying you directly (not the local council). Ask the council directly about any rental history on tenants they suggest.
Checking references is a must. A good tenant will have nothing to hide and is worth their weight in gold.
Tenancy Agreement - Get a written and signed tenancy agreement. Again, your local council can probably supply you with a sample copy of a short assured tenancy agreement. It’s not uncommon to ask for one month’s deposit in advance plus one month’s security deposit.
Maintenance - A stitch in time saves nine, so don’t let any little repairs build up. A missing tile or a leaking tap can become much bigger problems. It’s a good idea to set up a monthly rolling maintenance contract with a utility company as parts and call out charges are all included. Have reputable and contactable tradesmen lined up in advance for other repairs.
Contingency plan - One of the biggest worries small landlords face is lack of cash, as being a landlord involves unexpected expenses. These range from tenants suddenly ceasing to pay their rent, to unexpected repairs. It’s worthwhile setting aside some cash for all eventualities and resist the temptation to use it for anything else.