Huw Worthington discusses the many pitfalls to be aware of when renting out your property and the precautions to take before admitting a tenant.
The first thing you should do is get written permission from your Lender if you have a mortgage. Once you have consent check with your Buildings Insurance that you can extend cover for Tenants.
It is essential that you do some homework on the prospective tenant. It is far too tempting to let a tenant in once they have given you one months rent - do this at your peril because if payments dry up it is expensive to evict them.
Always ensure that a Tenancy Agreement is completed. This will cover defaults such as the monthly rent, payment method whether in advance or arrears, the term (usually six months or one year) and the notice period.
A monthly deposit and a third party to act as a Guarantor are very important as experience proves that there is less chance of rent arrears if these are in place.
An inventory is essential should you be leaving furniture although you have to be aware that general wear and tear has to be expected and allowed.
Finally - and most importantly - for all Landlords the Rates Collection Agency have made it clear that they will hold all Landlords accountable for Rates and will be tightening up on payments even though a house be vacant. Landlords should therefore factor rates payments into any Tenancy Agreement.
Huw Worthington, is a founding Partner of Worthingtons Solicitors Northern Ireland and is head of the private client department. Huw specialises in Residential property and Estate Planning Solutions, Wills and Probate.
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