Managing a rental property: Preparing for tenants

It’s easy to think that welcoming a new tenant is a simple case of handing the keys over and leaving them to it, in reality, however, there is a substantial checklist of legal and functional obligations. Here are several compelling reasons why it’s worth putting in the effort in the first place.

Published under Lettings and Our blog — Mar 2024
Managing a rental property: Preparing for tenants

How to prepare for new tenants

It’s easy to think that welcoming a new tenant is a simple case of handing the keys over and leaving them to it, in reality, however, there is a substantial checklist of legal and functional obligations. Before we go into detail, here are several compelling reasons why it’s worth putting in the effort in the first place:

Get the relationship off to a good start

Building a solid relationship with a tenant from day one can make life a lot easier in the long run, being better placed to work through any issues and they may stay in the property longer, saving you the hassle of starting the process again. At Hamptons, this relationship starts at the very first viewing and is strengthened when our property managers introduce themselves.

Stay on the right side of the law

There are many rules governing how landlords operate in the UK to protect you and the tenant. Making sure you’re on top of your legal responsibilities from the start will put you in a much stronger and safer position should anything unfortunate happen during the tenancy. At Hamptons, we can help you and your property remain compliant, from EPCs to deposits.

What to consider before your tenant moves in

With the tenancy agreement signed and a move-in date agreed upon, here are our top steps to complete before the event.

Does the property need a final lick of paint?

Whilst it may look acceptable to the naked eye, make the effort to refresh any areas that need it. Scuffs, dents, and other marks of “wear and tear” really add up over time and between tenancies is your best chance to refresh the property with a lick of paint. It will help you secure better tenants and set expectations of the standard you expect them to keep in the property. Showing a tenant that you care about their living conditions also starts the relationship positively.

Carry out final health and safety checks and ensure compliance

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, introduced on the 20th of March 2019, emphasised a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their rental property is fit to live in from the start of a tenancy and throughout.

Ideally, you’ll have had a good idea of whether your property was up to standard when you put it on the market. However, it’s still essential to carry out the necessary checks before your new tenants move in to ensure their safety and protect yourself from potential liability issues.

You’ll need to check your yearly Landlord Gas Safety Certificate, CP12 (comprehensive gas-related equipment check by a Gas Safe registered technician) is still within date and ensure you hand a copy to your tenants. The Electrical Installation with a satisfactory certificate is usually called an EICR, it's also recommended that any electrical equipment you’re providing should have a portable appliance test (PAT). You’ll also need to install a working smoke alarm on each floor and within each main living area, as well as a Carbon Monoxide detector adjacent to any fixed combustion appliance, these will need testing on the day the tenancy starts.

The act also covers elements such as heating, damp, and pest infestations. It’s also worth identifying any areas that might need repairing, as it’s your responsibility to do so should they pose a risk to your tenants’ health and safety.

In addition to the act, the tragic death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak in 2020, due to mould in his family home, highlights the importance of monitoring damp and mould, with that landlords must treat cases of damp and mould with the utmost seriousness and act promptly to protect their tenants’ health. Recent guidance published by the government makes clear, that tenants should not be blamed for damp and mould. Damp and mould in the home are not the result of ‘lifestyle choices’, and it is the responsibility of landlords to identify and address the underlying causes of the problem, such as structural issues or inadequate ventilation.

Consider landlord insurance

While it’s not a legal requirement, it may be worth considering if you need landlord insurance before renting out your property. Landlord Insurance is not the same as regular home insurance. As well as the buildings and contents cover, you’ll also be able to include cover for loss of rent and landlord liability, giving you added peace of mind should any problems crop up.

Update your utility and council tax providers

It’s good to let your local council and utilities providers know that new tenants will be taking over responsibility for the bills associated with your property. If you have previous or current tenants, they will only be responsible for the bills when they were in the property unless they moved out before the end of their agreed notice period. You shouldn’t rely on your new tenants to do this themselves, so doing it will help to avoid the wrong people being chased for money they don’t legally owe. Take photos of meter readings and ideally do so with your new tenants present so they can confirm the readings. All Hamptons’ let properties are invited to use our home move experts and receive a complimentary service.

Put together an up-to-date inventory

Your inventory needs to be a clear and professional document with written and photographic details of the condition and contents of your property. Inventories can help reduce the risk of a dispute at the end of a tenancy should any damage or suspected theft occur.

The amount you need to cover in your inventory will vary depending on whether you’re offering your property furnished or unfurnished, but make sure to include in-depth details of all your furniture, equipment and fittings as well as notes of any marks or rips to carpets or wallpaper. At Hamptons, our property managers will assist with creating an inventory at the start of a tenancy.

What about instructing a letting agent?

Being a landlord can be time-consuming, especially if you’re new to property management, balancing it alongside other work responsibilities, or perhaps managing multiple properties.

Many of the tasks detailed above could be handled by our experts here at Hamptons. It may be worth weighing up your options if you think you could benefit from a professional managing agent’s service during the move-in process or later in the tenancy.

Why not read the next steps for when the big day comes and your new tenants move in? Find out more here.

Get in touch

If you have any additional questions regarding managing a property, get in touch with your local lettings experts below.

Related articles

Image of how we can help you sign

Thinking of selling?

Our role is pretty simple really. We find you the right buyer at the best price, with a timeline that suits you. The marketing strategy we come up with will be designed specifically for your property...and you. It might mean a traditional launch, an open house, or an off-market arrangement.

Looking to Sell?

Book a valuation