Renting out your own property

Q: I own a property but am being relocated abroad for work; I’d like to rent it out, what do I need to consider?

A: First of all you need to know exactly when you’re moving and what date the property can be advertised as available from. You also need to decide what items you want to leave; all personal effects should be removed, for example ornaments, art work, bed linen, and so on, as most tenants would prefer to bring their own, so you’ll need to arrange storage if this is a temporary move.

Then decide whether you want to have the property managed on your behalf and, if so, which company you would like to do this for you. I think independent management companies are often more motivated to deliver a better job than an in-house team at an estate agency but obviously this varies. A good management company will help you with a lot of the admin such as getting you registered as a Non-Resident Landlord with HMRC, ensuring that your property complies with regulations and so on. If you self-manage the property you will need to make these arrangements yourself, arranging safety certificates, smoke alarms, a pre-tenancy clean, and so on.

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Then decide which estate agent or online portal you want to advertise your property with; a good management company will be able to advise you and will be able to negotiate discounts on the letting agents’ fees. Make sure you’re upfront with the letting agent about the type of tenant you’re looking for and how long you’ll be away for – there’s no point them showing your property to a corporate tenant who wants it for three years if you’re only going to be away for one.

You can then wait for offers to come in. Do be realistic on pricing – if offers aren’t coming in but the property is presented nicely then don’t be stubborn, reduce the price to get the property occupied. Ideally, you want to leave knowing that a good tenant is in place and rental income is coming in.