10 important checks to make before letting an inherited property

If you’ve inherited a property, you might have decided to hold on to it and rent it out. In that case, you’ve got to make sure: a) you’re able to let it in principle, and b) it complies with the relevant legislation and can be legally let. 

This is a complex area with lots of different strands, so you will need to take specialist advice.


Here 10 of the key checks you’ll need to make:


1. Is the property mortgaged and insured?

If the property has a mortgage, it’s essential to make sure the lender approves letting it out to tenants as a standard mortgage won’t allow you to do this. Buy to Let finance is often arranged via mortgage brokers, the best thing to do is contact a specialist broker as soon as possible to discuss your financing options, including specialist insurance. You can request a callback from one of our finance team via our website.


2. Is there a demand from tenants?

Although there’s a general shortage of rented accommodation in the UK, supply and demand can vary wildly from one area to another. That means you need to make sure there’s a strong local demand for your particular type of property. 

For example, if you’re trying to let a five-bedroom family home in an area where the bulk of tenants are looking for a smaller house or flat, you might end up with a lot of voids. Call into your local Your Move branch and we’ll be happy to discuss how well you could expect your property to let. 


3. Is the property in good condition?

That’s not just the building itself, but also the fixtures, particularly the kitchen and bathrooms. Tenants’ expectations have (rightly) shot up over the last 10-15 years, so if the property is dated, you are likely to need to look at the cost of upgrading it.


4. What’s the energy rating?

To advertise and let a property, you have to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) that proves the energy efficiency rating is ‘E’ or higher or it’s illegal to advertise and let the property.  If the property you’ve inherited hasn’t been on the market within the last ten years, there may not even be an EPC, or any EPC that existed will need to be renewed. If you need an EPC, we can help organise one for you and discuss how you can raise the rating if required. 


5. Is the heating legal?

Any rented property with gas has to have an annual gas safety check, to make sure the system’s in good working order and safe for your tenants. If any work’s needed, you have to have it carried out to secure a certificate and let the property legally and you then have to give a copy of it to your tenants and, if requested, your local council at the start of the tenancy.


6. Are the electrics in good working order?

As a landlord, you’re legally obliged to make sure the electrical system is safe. Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules about when checks have to be made, Electrical Safety First recommends that you have an inspection carried out by a properly-qualified electrician at least once every five years. (If you let the property as an HMO, this is a legal requirement.)


7. Are there smoke alarms?

Since October 2015, it’s been a legal requirement for rented properties to have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor of a property, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where there’s a solid fuel-burning appliance (e.g. open fire or log-burning stove). Although we advise landlords always put both alarms in to help improve safety for all tenants. 


8. Does furniture meet fire safety standards?

If you’re planning to let the property either fully or partly furnished, the furnishings have to comply with fire resistance standards. Any furniture more than 20 years old is unlikely to comply, so you might need to invest in replacing some or all of it.


9. Are there any signs of damp? 

There are 29 specific hazards listed in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that landlords must protect tenants against and damp is one of the most serious. Mould can cause tenants significant health problems, so it’s critical that you eliminate any damp or mould issues before letting, especially as Local Authorities can now fine landlords up to £30,000 if issues are not fixed.


10. Is it tech-friendly?

It’s becoming more and more important to tenants that their home (a) has high-speed broadband, (b) that smart TVs and satellite packages function well there and (c) that they can get reliable mobile reception. So it’s worth making sure all your connections and aerials are up to date and perhaps investing in signal boosters satellite broadband if you’re in a rural location.


If you’d like to know more about our range of services, or have any questions about a property you’ve inherited, just call into your local Your Move branch or contact us via our website.


This firm usually charges a fee for mortgage advice. The amount of the fee will depend upon your circumstances and will be discussed and agreed with you at your earliest opportunity.


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