So you’ve decided to rent out your property and become a landlord. Perhaps you’re downsizing and want to keep your property. Perhaps you need an extra source of income. Or perhaps you want to branch out into the letting industry.
Whatever the reason, there are some basic requirements that you need to sort before you are legally allowed to rent your property. Even after getting those things together, there are some things that you should consider as a first-time landlord that will make your life easier.
Firstly, your documentation needs to be up to date and correct, else you risk receiving a fine from the Scottish government or action from your tenants. If you are renting to three or more people, you must have your property approved by the council as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy), which will require your property to meet certain conditions and criteria. You must also have written up a tenancy agreement, which must be signed by both yourself and your tenants. Information on how to draw up one of these agreements can be found on the gov.scot website. Failure to provide a tenancy agreement (which is a contract that covers safety in the property, rent expectations, and the rules that you have set regarding behaviour in the property). You will also need to register as a landlord, for which the Scottish Government charges a fee depending on the type of letting. There are three components to this fee: a principal charge, a charge per property, and a service fee.
Ardanach Lettings, which specialises in Ayrshire lettings, also reminds landlords that they will need the following certifications: an Energy Performance Certificate, a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate, an Electrical Installation Condition Report, and a Legionella Risk Assessment. The conditions that need to be met for each of these certifications can be found online, but are entirely necessary for anyone who wishes to lease out their property.
Many of these certifications simply set out the need for certain installations. The most basic of these is fire alarms, for obvious reasons of fire safety. You will also need heat detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, all of which will need to be serviced regularly. HMO properties will require much more than these basic provisions, such as, for example, fire extinguishers. When renting out your house, landlords should take into account the expense of obtaining this licence.
In a furnished property, it is important to have compiled an inventory which lists all the objects in the house, with their current condition. That way should your tenants complain about missing things or needing furniture renewed you can be certain whether damage was caused by them or a previous tenant.
Lastly, you will require a certain amount of documentation from your prospective tenants. It is important for you to be sure that they can provide you with rent every month, and so proof of employment or some form of guarantor statement will be necessary. Furthermore, it is a good idea to meet prospective tenants and receive references for them, to make certain that they will treat your property with respect, and that they won’t cause you problems further down the line.