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Everything a First-Time Landlord Needs to Think About Before Letting Their Property

If you don’t know what to do with a property which has suddenly come into your possession, letting it via an agency can be a good extra source of income. However, becoming a landlord unexpectedly can be a daunting prospect.

There’s a lot to consider when becoming a first-time landlord – if you neglect to complete certain tasks, you could fall foul of legislation and face fines or, worse, prosecution. It’s a good idea then, to review our comprehensive checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything out.

Before Letting the Property

☐ Clean the property
☐ Carry out improvements and decorate if needed
☐ Ensure the Energy Performance Certificate is valid and get a new one done if not
☐ Ensure the Gas Safety Certificate is valid and get a new one done if not
☐ Have an Electric Installation Condition Report (EICR) compiled
☐ Ensure working smoke detectors are installed on each floor
☐ Ensure a working carbon monoxide detector is installed in any room using solid fuel
☐ Have risk assessments for fire, legionella and asbestos completed
☐ Ensure that building and/or landlord insurance is valid and get new insurance if not
☐ Set up a self-assessment tax account with HMRC as a business owner
☐ Compile inventory of contents
☐ Take photographs to advertise the property
☐ Decide whether smokers and/or pets are acceptable
☐ Prepare an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and other documents to be signed


When a Tenant Has Been Found
Ensure the tenant provides the following:

☐ References
☐ The full specified deposit amount
☐ Evidence that they have the legal right to rent in the UK

When all parties have confirmed they would like to move forward:

☐ Create and jointly sign Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
☐ Jointly sign guarantor’s form with guarantor if needed
☐ Get written confirmation from tenant they are happy to receive letting documents
by email
☐ Jointly sign inventory
☐ Get tenant’s contact details
☐ Take deposit from tenant
☐ Take first month’s rent from tenant
☐ Tenant to set up direct debit with you for rent
☐ Take meter readings
☐ Notify local council Council Tax Department of new tenants
☐ Notify utilities companies
☐ Protect deposit within 30 days of receiving it

Provide the tenant with the following:

☐ Signed hard copy of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement
☐ Signed hard copy of the Guarantors Agreement (if needed)
☐ Signed hard copy of the contents inventory
☐ Your contact details
☐ Your bank details for direct debit
☐ Signed hard copy of current Energy Performance Certificate
☐ Signed hard copy of current Gas Safety Certificate
☐ Up-to-date copy of the “How to Rent – The Checklist for Renting in England” guide
☐ Copy of current Electrical Safety Certificate if carried out
☐ Copy of instructions for electrical and gas appliances
☐ Certificate of Deposit Protection
☐ Signed hard copy of Deposit Protection Prescribed Information and Clauses
☐ Electrical Installation Certificate for any new or modified electrics
☐ Minor Electrical Installation Work Certificate for any new or modified electrics that do not include a new electrical circuit
☐ Deposit Protection Scheme information leaflet
☐ Guarantors Agreement (if needed)
☐ Copied evidence to prove tenant has a right to rent in the UK
☐ Keys for all doors
☐ Window keys
☐ Keys to outside structures such as garages or garden sheds
☐ Meter box key if applicable

During the Tenancy

☐ Re-serve the most up-to-date copy of “How to Rent – The Checklist for Renting in England” between renewed tenancies if applicable
☐ Re-protect deposit if you create a new tenancy agreement
☐ Log all communications with tenant and create and maintain a letter/email trail
☐ Respond to written complaints in writing within 14 days
☐ Address anything that falls under your responsibilities

Periodic property inspections

☐ Inform tenants at least 48 hours ahead of time
☐ Note the condition of the property, jobs that need doing and any tenant concerns
☐ Feedback your property inspection findings along with follow-up actions if required


At the End of the Tenancy

☐ Serve the correct form of notice depending on the circumstances of the tenancy coming to an end
☐ Ensure current tenants give access to prospective new tenants to view the property
☐ Collect keys and any other items given to tenant
☐ Take meter readings
☐ Check inventory and list deductions
☐ Tenant to sign list of deductions from deposits and amounts
☐ Return whole/part of deposit