Before any potential tenants come in to view the property, make sure it is up to standard. There may be a demand for properties, but that doesn’t mean tenants should be obliged to move into houses that are not clean and presentable. Give it a fresh coat of paint - neutral is best - and make sure it is deep cleaned, from the windows to the carpets and everything in between. The better the house is to start with, the more likely your tenants will look after it.
There are specific health and safety laws that landlords are bound by in the UK. These include ensuring that all gas equipment is fitted by a Gas Safe registered engineer and are checked once a year. Electrics must be safe, as should be any provided appliances, smoke alarms are fitted on each floor, and carbon monoxide alarms are in any areas with a solid fuel-burning appliance.
Many landlords decide to manage the property themselves and deal directly with tenants. That is fine, and it works for some people. However, for those who would rather be a little more ‘hands-off’ or are inexperienced, a reputable letting agent can be a good idea. They can give you an idea of what to market your property to get the best out of it and help you stay on top of your obligations and responsibilities. If you have any issues with tenants, they can sort them out on your behalf.
If you decide to go down the letting agent route, they will do the hard work for you. They will advertise your property, take information from potential tenants, run the credit and reference checks for you, and help you to decide whether to accept them. Credit checks are an integral part of this process to give you an idea as to whether they are likely to pay the rent. Also, be aware that many insurers won’t cover you if you take on tenants with poor credit history,
Once you have got your tenants sorted and they are almost ready to move in, put together an inventory. Again, this is something you might leave to your letting agency, or it may be something you do yourself. Walk around your property and make notes of the condition and what is included. This is particularly important if it is furnished. At the end of the tenancy, you can check against this to ensure the property is left in a reasonable condition.