Checklist: what to do before you rent out your Property

Posted On Monday, 6th March 2017

Checklist : to do before you let your property

A landlord checklist of things to do before tenants move in

Legal must dos...

Check tenants have the ‘Right to Rent’

Landlords must ensure tenants can legally reside in the UK before letting to them. The penalty for renting to someone without the right to rent is a £3,000 fine or even imprisonment.

The government has issued a list of commonly available documents to check. If your tenants have the right to rent, take a copy of the document and keep it on file.page1image5560 page1image5720

Protect the deposit

Deposit protection is a legal requirement for landlords. Landlords must protect deposits within 30 days of receiving funds, or face a fine of up to three times the deposit amount.

Make your property fire safe

A smoke alarm must be on all floors of the property, and carbon monoxide detectors must be in any rooms with fuel-burning devices. If your property comes with furniture, it should be flame resistant.

Make sure your Gas Safety Certificate is up to date

If there’s a gas supply at the property, you must arrange a gas safety inspection each year. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy.

Make sure your EPC is up to date

Landlords must have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to let a property legally in the UK. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy.

Give tenants a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ guide
This guide lists landlord obligations and tenants’ rights. You must either give tenants a hard copy or email it to them as an attachment. A link to the guide is not enough. Landlords who fail to do this are unable to evict tenants under a Section 21 Notice.

page1image19584

Make sure appliances are in working order

All appliances in the property must be safe to use. Anything not working should be replaced or removed.


A landlord checklist of things to do before tenants move in: 

Reference your tenants

This is the best insight into your tenant’s ability to pay their rent on time. A good referencing service will check affordability, employability, credit history, and a previous landlord reference.

page2image3640

Get a tenancy agreement

A tenancy agreement outlines tenant and landlord responsibilities. It clarifies legal rights, and helps keep landlords protected.

Prepare an inventory

Although not a legal requirement, an inventory is vital for getting funds from the deposit. If tenants disagree with your deductions, you won’t be able to claim anything without a signed inventory.

Take meter readings

This keeps things fair. It means tenants will know what they’re responsible to pay, and helps prevent landlords from being left with outstanding payments.

Update utility suppliers

It’s a good idea to update utility suppliers with new tenant details. This ensures any utilities tenants use will be billed to them.

Provide emergency contact numbers

Important — especially for minimising any damage caused to the property. If a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, for example, your tenants need to know who to call.

Change the locks

Some might view this as an additional expense, but it could be essential for the safety of your new tenants. If you don’t change the locks, you must be confident your previous tenants were trustworthy enough to return all copies of the keys.

This checklist serves as a guide only. If in doubt, please speak with a legal expert.


Protect yourself: many of these must be done before tenants move in. 

Your landlord checklist: legal must dos

1. Do your tenants have the ‘Right to Rent’?
Landlords must ensure tenants can legally reside in the UK before letting to them. The penalty for renting to someone without the right to rent is a £3,000 fine or even imprisonment.

The government has issued a list of commonly available documents to check. If your tenants have the right to rent, take a copy of the document and keep it on file. Protect yourself and make sure you tick this off your landlord checklist.

2. Have you protected the deposit?

Deposit protection is a legal requirement for landlords. Landlords must protect deposits within 30 days of receiving funds, or face a fine of up to three times the deposit amount.

3. Make your property fire safe

A smoke alarm must be on all floors of the property, and carbon monoxide detectors must be in any rooms with fuel-burning devices. If your property comes with furniture, it should be flame resistant.

4. Make sure your Gas Safety Certificate is up to date

If there’s a gas supply at your rental, you must arrange a gas safety inspection each year. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy.

5. Make sure your EPC is up to date

Landlords must have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to let a property legally in the UK. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy.

Need an up-to-date EPC or Gas Safety Certificate? Make sure both are ticked off your landlord checklist.

6. Give tenants a copy of the government guide, ‘How to Rent’?

This guide lists landlord obligations and tenants’ rights. You must give tenants a hard copy or email it to them as an attachment. A link to the guide is not enough.

7. Are appliances in working order?

Any appliance left in the property must be safe to use. Anything not working should be replaced or removed. Test appliances before tenants move in and tick this off your landlord checklist.

8. Have you referenced your teants?
This is the best look into your tenant’s ability to pay their rent on time. A good referencing check will look at affordability, employability, credit history, and a previous landlord reference.

Need to know more about your tenants? Tick tenant referencing off your landlord checklist — and at no extra cost to you.

9. Do you have a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement outlines tenant and landlord responsibilities. It’s one of the most important things to tick off your landlord checklist. It clarifies legal rights, and helps keep landlords protected.

10. Have you arranged an inventory?

Although not a legal requirement, an inventory is vital for getting funds from the deposit. If tenants disagree with your deductions, you won’t be able to claim anything without a signed inventory.

11. Take meter readings

This keeps things fair. It means tenants will know what they have to pay, and helps prevent landlords from being left with outstanding payments. Meter readings are often overlooked, so make sure you tick this off your landlord checklist.

12. Update utility suppliers

It’s a good idea to update utility suppliers with new tenant details. This ensures any utilities tenants use will be billed to them. It can be quite easy to miss, so make sure you tick this off your landlord checklist.

13. Provide emergency contact numbers

Important — especially for reducing damage caused to the property. If a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, for example, your tenants need to know who to call.

If you’d like to avoid tenant calls in the early hours, take a look at our property management service. With 24-hour emergency repairs co-ordination, we’ll take care of anything that goes bump in the night.

14. Change the locks
Some might view this as an extra expense, but it could be vital for the safety of your new tenants. If you don’t change the locks, you must be confident your previous tenants were trustworthy enough to return all copies of the keys.