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How to prepare your property for a new tenancy

Posted on 2016-12-02

As a landlord your work is rarely always done and when one tenancy ends, it's time to start thinking about the next one. If the property is being fully vacated there are a number of things you'll need to do to make sure it is ready for your new tenants.

Below we've outlined the essential tenancy preparation tasks as well as some additional things to think about...

Cleaning

Cleaning appliances like the refrigerator and oven are particularity important as there will be nothing worse for the tenant than moving in to find these essential features are unclean. When it comes to ovens, it's often advisable to hire the services of a professional oven cleaner. After a long tenancy when the oven is unlikely to have been cleaned thoroughly too frequently, a lot of grease and mess can build up.

An important part of this process is clearing away rubbish. Leaving piles of full black sacks outside or in wheelie bins just isn't good enough – tenants are paying for a fresh start so they should be given one.

Property maintenance

After a tenancy it's quite likely that there'll be a few maintenance jobs that need sorting out. This could range from filling cracks, chips and holes in the walls to replacing roof tiles or guttering. You will need to make sure that all fixtures, fittings and appliances are in good working order and as advertised, while generally fixing anything that is broken or damaged.

Again, depending on the how the tenant left the property, you may be able to deduct costs from their deposit if they have damaged or broken things. What's more, the Wear and Tear allowance covers costs for things which need to be replaced each year. You can read up here about the overhaul of the allowance which was introduced in 2015.

It's certainly best practice to do as many of these small jobs between tenancies. Not only will new tenants appreciate a property that's 'finished', but it's easier for you to get these jobs completed while the home is unoccupied.

Safety checks

Landlords have a number of legal safety obligations and between tenancies could be the ideal time to address what you need to do. For example, does the Energy Performance Certificate need updating?

Also, a gas safety check must be carried out each year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer – if yours is due, while the property is vacant could be the perfect time to get this done.

Since October 2015 it's also been mandatory for landlords to install smoke detectors on every floor of their property where someone is living or partially living. Carbon monoxide alarms must also be fitted in any room within a rented property where there is a solid fuel-burning appliance, including open fires and wood burners. Before moving in new tenants, it's crucial that these alarms are tested to make sure they still work. The RLA recommends to fit ten-year long life tamper proof alarms, otherwise there is a problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced.

Garden and outdoor space

It's often wise to give any garden or outdoor space the once over. Garden maintenance depends somewhat on your tenancy agreement – some landlords take responsibility for upkeep of outdoor space while others don't.

If it's summer or springtime, then it will be pleasing for tenants to have an appealing garden that they can use. Meanwhile, if it's autumn or winter, it can be beneficial to make sure it doesn't get too overgrown as unruly gardens are more expensive and difficult to deal with.

General property upkeep

This includes fixing and mending very minor things that wouldn't necessarily be considered 'property maintenance'. For example, a drawer might need fixing or a handle might need mending. What's more, you'll need to make sure all windows and doors are working properly.

Another aspect of upkeep which can have a positive effect on your rental property is repainting. Touching up a few walls and doors can make a big difference to the overall feel of a room. And remember, it's always best to keep the colour scheme relatively neutral in a rental property.

Other things to consider

A welcome for tenants

It may be a nice gesture to leave a welcome note for your new tenants – and maybe some flowers or a bottle of wine. This could help them to feel at home and will also help to reinforce the notion that you are welcoming them into your property which you care about.

Practically speaking, if there are any complicated appliances or things that need explaining it could be worth leaving a note detailing what needs to be done. On top of this, some basic cleaning equipment may also go a long way.

Changing the locks

When one set of tenants leave, some landlords will feel inclined to change the locks in order to make the property as secure as possible. If you have a burglar alarm, between tenancies is also a good time to check that it still works.

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