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Posted 21 Dec 2023

How To Rent Out Your House Or Flat: Our Guide

checklist / landlord / to let

It's hard to know where to start when renting out a property for the first time. Here's what you need to know about how to rent out your house or flat.

Not sure how to rent out your house or flat? I don’t blame you – there’s plenty to think about, but in the long run, the monthly rental payments you receive should make the process well worthwhile!

Did you know that in the UK, out of roughly 23.5 million homes, landlords let out 33% at least to private and social renters according to Statista? The rental market is a valuable source of income for many homeowners.

But before you can make a start, there are some upfront requirements to work through that help get the rental ball rolling. And once you begin renting out to the first tenant, there’s more to do in terms of property management too.

Here’s my 12 point guide to renting out a property for the first time. And at the end of this article, I’ll explain how help is at hand if you just want to do the first few steps yourself and let an expert take care of everything else!

#1 Notify your mortgage provider

When renting out your property in the UK, it’s crucial to inform your mortgage provider to avoid any contractual breaches.

Notify them well in advance and inquire about the necessary permissions and potential changes to your mortgage terms. Failing to inform them may have consequences, including penalty fees.

Ensure compliance with the terms of your mortgage agreement by keeping your provider in the loop about the change in property usage.

#2 Make a call on furnishing, smoking etc.

It’s worth considering market demand, the property condition and any personal preferences to make informed decisions that also align with the type of tenant you want to have.

Furnishing a property often involves higher initial costs, but can help attract younger tenants and those moving from overseas.

Permitting smoking is another personal preference, but be aware that smoke damage can limit potential tenants and may impact property resale value. In terms of allowing or refusing pets, that’s more complicated.

If your property has a leasehold agreement where the freeholder prohibits animals, then you can insist that tenants do not bring pets. Otherwise, in many cases, you can’t unreasonably turn down a tenant’s request to bring their pet.

#3 Estimate your budget

While renting out your property will earn you money, there are some additional costs to plan for as well, including:

  • Marketing
  • Rent insurance
  • Property maintenance
  • Landlord insurance
  • Income tax on your rental income

You will need to declare your property income and expenditure on a self-assessment tax return form, unless earnings for the tax year are under £1,000 (at the time of writing). However, the good news is that mortgage interest payments qualify for 20% tax relief.

As a landlord, whether you live in the UK or not, to check if you must send a self-assessment tax return form to HMRC, use the tool here provided by the government.

If your property is empty for a while between tenants, also set aside some budget for council tax, utility bills and so on.

And of course you need to factor in the original non-rental specific costs – such as the mortgage, plus ground rent and service charge for leasehold properties.

#4 Work out a competitive rental rate

Setting a competitive market rate for your property is essential for attracting the right tenants and maximising your income.

Conduct thorough market research to understand local property values and tenant demand, but also consider factors like location, amenities and property condition.

Pricing too high can deter potential renters, while vice versa, pricing too low may result in missed revenue.

#5 Check landlord licensing in your area

London and some other parts of the UK have a licensing scheme up and running. Some examples include:

  • Selective licensing: Landlords need to apply to their council for a licence and pay a small fee
  • Mandatory licensing: This is a prerequisite for a house in multiple occupation (HMO)
  • Additional licensing: A council may ask for an additional licence if the council argues that mandatory licensing terms need to be strengthened for a HMO, for example

Check your local council’s website – find it here using the government’s search feature – to see if they have a landlord licensing system in place.

#6 Brush up on landlords’ legal responsibilities

There are plenty of legal requirements for landlords to be aware of. Start by familiarising yourself with your obligations around the following, first and foremost:

  • Gas Safety Certificate
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations
  • Electrical safety regulations
  • Fire safety regulations
  • Right to rent checks
  • Tenancy deposit scheme
  • Energy Performance Certificate

For more information, check out the latest government guidance on how to let.

#7 Make a tenancy agreement

When writing a tenancy agreement, clarity is key. Outline terms such as security deposit, rental payment instructions, tenancy duration and how the break clause works.

Specify responsibilities regarding maintenance, utilities and any restrictions. Include clauses on renewal terms and conditions for termination. 

Make sure you comply with legal requirements. Clearly define the roles and expectations of both parties to mitigate potential disputes.

Use reputable templates to ensure your tenancy agreement aligns with UK legislation and safeguards both landlord and tenant interests.

#8 Create a marketing plan

A well-executed marketing strategy enhances visibility and attracts suitable candidates for your rental property.

Wherever you showcase the property in online or offline listings, use high-quality photos and detailed descriptions to attract potential tenants.

Highlight the property’s unique selling points, such as its proximity to the local amenities or any recent renovations. 

Consider offering virtual tours as well as in-person ones, since some tenants may struggle to attend an in-person viewing, particularly those currently based overseas.

#9 Screen potential tenants

Respond promptly to tenants’ inquiries and be transparent about the rental terms. Then when you accept an offer in principle, it’s crucial to get the due diligence right.

Conduct thorough background checks – including credit history, rental references, and employment verification.

Adhere to anti-discrimination laws to ensure fair assessment. Implement the Right to Rent check and other relevant tenant checks.

By diligently vetting tenants, you mitigate risks and promote a secure, compliant rental process while protecting both the property and investment.

#10 Protect the tenant’s security deposit

In the UK, landlords must secure a tenant’s security deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt. Find out more about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Provide the tenant with prescribed information about the scheme, including its terms and how to resolve disputes.

This legal requirement ensures fair treatment and protects both parties. Securing the deposit appropriately helps build trust between landlords and tenants.

#11 Host a tenancy check-in

One of the best ways to help the tenancy go smoothly is by getting the check-in right at the start.

Conduct a thorough inspection before the new tenant moves in, documenting the property’s condition and taking photos.

Provide the tenant with an inventory list, then ask them to review and sign it. Explain how the utility meters work and share any property-specific instructions.

Also address any immediate concerns and encourage open communication. Comprehensive check-ins help to set clear expectations, prevent disputes and build a positive foundation for the tenancy.

#12 Stay on standby for ongoing property maintenance

While tenants play a key role in day-to-day upkeep and reporting minor problems promptly, landlords need to step in when required too.

They should promptly address and rectify structural issues, ensuring the property continues to meet safety and health standards. Regular inspections can identify issues early.

Establish clear communication channels for maintenance requests, and provide guidelines for routine tasks. A proactive approach to property maintenance upholds the property’s value and ensures a comfortable living environment for tenants.

Final thoughts: How to rent out your house or flat

If you’re daunted by any (or all) of the above steps, don’t worry! That’s what experienced property managers are there for, to take care of the finer details so you don’t have to.

Once you carry out Steps 1-3 to get ready, everything from Step 4 onwards in this guide is something that I can help with. This is particularly beneficial if you’re living outside the UK and need a nearby expert to oversee your property’s tenancy when you rent it out.

With two decades of experience, rest assured that everything from setting a competitive rate to ongoing property maintenance is no trouble at all here at Fine Living. Enjoy peace of mind as you receive the rent – Fine Living is part of the Propertymark Client Money Protection scheme

I hope this guide has helped you think about how to rent out your house – but if you haven’t bought one yet, here is my first time buyer checklist. Additionally, here are my favourite questions to ask when viewing a house or flat you’re looking to buy.

If you have any queries about renting out a property for the first time, or you’d like to ask about something in our portfolio, we are here for you! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

GOOGLE REVIEWS

Simon has been a great guide and support throughout our tenancy. He was always available, helpful and he managed the communication with our landlord perfectly.

Paul Biard

08/15/2023

Simon manages a rental flat for us and we very much enjoy working with him. His service is exceptional. He takes care of everything for us and we feel totally reassured that our property is in great hands. Any little issues our tenants might have, such as small repairs etc are dealt with right away in an efficient and professional manner. We recently had a change of tenants and Simon did a fantastic job of marketing the property and finding us excellent new tenants. He is proactive, communication is excellent and he is a lovely guy to work with too! Highly recommend.

Sarah Faulds

11/15/2023

I was really impressed by the service I received here, in particular from Jack. He was 'on it' from the start and took his time in understanding what kind of property we were after and our other requirements. He was knowledgeable, professional and gave us an all-round easy experience and personal service. To be honest, I'm still pinching myself that he managed to find us such a great place to rent. Would highly recommend.

India Semper-Hughes

02/15/2021

Simon was very accomodating and helpful throughout the rental application process

Brett Felsenthal

02/15/2023

5 stars at least! Moving abroad with a property in London and a busy life I wanted someone to deal with my property. Simon has been amazing as he is personally taking care of everything. He is quick, he explains what I do not know and he is very professional. He takes on the responsibility and take actions. 100% recommended

Erika Felici

02/08/2024

I've known Simon for quite a while now and his expertise and effort to attend to clients/tenants queries and problems are second to none. Simon is efficient, which comes from his years of experience and therefore things get sorted quickly. In a time where things are so fast paced, it's nice to know there is someone competent in charge dealing with the situation.

Pete-Sam

02/15/2023

Positive experience working with Simon & team, from the start with the viewing, they were very responsive and timely in getting all the my questions answered and documents sent during the letting process. Would 100% recommend their services!

Joseph Chung

02/15/2022

Simon is truly a special estate agent. He's knowledgable and cares about the relationship with customers going the extra miles to inform properly and not to rush in his viewing. He makes you feel extremely taken care of and guided alongside the process.

Davide Cavagnino

02/08/2024

The service received from Simon was excellent. From ensuring all maintenance jobs were attended to, all legal requirements were adhered to and actually finding the tenant. A very seamless process. Would highly recommend.

Jennifer Nursiah

02/15/2022

I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot ch

05/13/2023

Simon was a great agent. Understood what we were looking for, excellent communication and a very nice guy to work. Would highly recommend.

Luke Russo

02/15/2023

We've been working with Simon for a number of years now and he has always been efficient and pragmatic on each letting, doing his best for both the landlord and tenant. He has also overseen works for us and is thorough in his inspections. Overall, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with.

E M

04/11/2024

We noticed a significant difference when our landlord change from our previous management company to Fine Living. We received information and response to our inquiries very quickly and when needed, we were able to communicate more effectively with the landlord. We felt that Simon cared not only about the landlord but also us, the tenants.

Alejandra Cordero

02/15/2023

This is truly a unicorn of an organization! Simon is approachable, thoughtful, and extremely knowledgeable about his property. He made the entire process completely painless from the viewing through to signing the lease. He’s incredibly communicative and ensured that our rental was finished to the highest standard of cleanliness and repairs. We are now the proud tenants of the most wonderful home and are so grateful that we found Simon. 10/10 service, no notes!

Michaela Zamloot

10/15/2023

Can’t thank Simon enough for helping us secure our first flat here in London. He was super helpful during the whole process and was always available for any questions. We are really happy!

Abby Wilson

10/15/2023

Simon was extremely professional and a pleasure to work with in securing a flat in London. Would certainly recommend to all

Tommy Griffin

04/25/2024

Simon is absolutely fantastic to work with. He is authentic, honest and trustworthy. As first time renters in London, Simon explained everything to us and remained accessible throughout the entire process. Definitely the best agent experience we have had.

Jackson Smith

09/15/2023

Simon is fully hands on and on top of everything. Has made my life so easy while being an overseas landlord.

Roxanne Cohen

12/15/2023

Excellent service from Fine Living the second time around. Always kept updated & the process was thorough & seamless. Would highly recommend!

Jennifer Nursiah

02/15/2023

Simon was fantastic as both a lettings and sales agent. Very communicative and flexible in his approach.

Chloe Nankivell

02/15/2023

I engaged Simon and Fine Living for the legal work on letting my home, his knowledge of the lettings market and the legal aspects made me feel very comfortable using him. We’ve got a great tenant and Simon is available should I need him for any assistance.

Kirk Smith

02/15/2023

Simon is great to work with, super friendly and responsive. I would highly recommend house hunting with him!

Kelly Lenihan

02/15/2023

An absolute pleasure to interact with Simon. A true professional with a mastery of the London property market. Very knowledgeable on all his properties, with high quality virtual viewings tailored to the current climate. Highly recommended.

Alfie Ashton

02/15/2021

Renting our first London apartment through Simon was an incredible experience! Handling everything from abroad was made effortless by Simon's exceptional assistance. He accommodated our requests promptly, addressing all queries without delay. Our experience was flawless, and we're immensely grateful to Simon. We highly recommend his services to anyone seeking to rent in London, especially from overseas.

Zvika Weksler

12/15/2023

Jack and Simon done an incredible job working around the current restrictions with the pandemic and managed to secure a sale on our property within months. They took on all the strain and pressure of securing a sale within a tight timeframe and made us feel at ease. They took every precaution to ensure we were safe during viewings and ensured everyone followed strict rules to ensure our safety and the safety of others. Both were great at communicating and offered constructive advice throughout that helped secure our sale. Thank you both for everything

Amal Jaber

02/15/2021

I recently purchased a flat through Fine Living and I couldn't be happier with the service I received. From the very beginning, the communication was outstanding. They kept me informed every step of the way, promptly answered all my questions, and were always available to address any concerns I had. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. Simon and Steve were professional, efficient, and made buying a flat a positive experience. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell a property.

K L

05/31/2024

I would highly recommend Simon and Fine Living to anyone looking for a professional, attentive and transparent real estate agent to work with. Simon went above and beyond what I expected in order to successfully complete the sale and always did so with a helpful and respectful manner.

Alan Casey

02/15/2023

I recently had the pleasure of working with Simon, and I must say, he exceeded all expectations. Simon's professionalism was evident from the get-go, and his friendly demeanor made the leasing process an absolute breeze. What truly impressed me was his lightning-fast response time to all of my inquiries. No question was too small, and he always made me feel like a top priority. If you're in need of leasing assistance, look no further than Simon. He's the epitome of excellent customer service and professionalism.

Laura Giersdorf

03/06/2024

Simon has been an excellent professional. He was very helpful and trustworthy since the first time I visited the flat. He went out of his way to make sure my needs and the landlord's were met and the lease signed as quickly as possible. In the uncertain environment of the London property market, having Simon's help was invaluable.

Nicola Speranza

05/15/2023

Excellent service, would highly recommend.

Kirk Pereira

02/15/2022

Simon is the most reliable trustworthy letting agent you can find! Paying attention to all details and doing fantastic job!I know him for 5 years, did few flats with him and all went smoothly. Try yourself and see.

Yael Epstein

02/15/2023

Very professional and offers excellent service. You will be well looked after. Impressed with the technology and quality of virtual viewings. Thank you Simon!

Arta Alfere

02/15/2021

Simon is professional, pragmatic and efficient. He gives us great confidence that our properties are being managed well.

Richard

04/11/2024

Simon’s service was top notch. Professional, quick to respond and a great mediator between me and the landlord. Definitely a good experience overall. 🙌

Isauro López

09/15/2023

Really smooth move in process, Probably the best I’ve experienced so far living in the city! It’s been really nice having Simon/fine living as our estate agent - you can really tell they look after the tenants which can be quite unheard of nowadays.

Fleur

03/15/2023

Simon has been great throughout all the process. He is extremely professional and reliable, I would definitely recommend him.

Luca Baldini

05/01/2024

Simon is one of the best estate agents I have ever worked with. He really cares about looking after his clients and properties and makes the whole process easy and stress free. Would highly recommend

Manal Shaker

02/15/2023

I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot chollet

05/15/2023

It's been a great experience renting a flat through Simon, he is always very kind and helpful

Tijana Markovic

02/15/2023

Easy, quick and smooth experience overall.

Ana Maa

02/15/2023

Seriously knowledgeable, very reassuring and the friendliest chap you could hope to meet. Goes well beyond "just" an estate agent. More like a high end property consultant that can talk about investment decisions, interior design and everything in between. Highly recommended!

Dipta Malik

05/07/2024

The whole process was a breeze, and everything happened in a blur. I moved from a foreign country and Fine Living was able to get everything done within a week, from answering my first message to handing over the keys. I absolutely recommend!

Merwane Drai

02/15/2022

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