Renting out a property or estate can be a great source of residual income – and given the difficulty of buying property and getting on the ladder, it is an ideal time to be renting out flats, homes and more. In the fact, the UK has over 2 million landlords who rent out a total of 5 million properties, and the number of renters has doubled in the last decade.

tenant liabilitiesHowever, there are risks of renting out to total strangers which can include loss of rent, damage to the property, vandalism, property depreciation and more. Our guidelines below explain how to overcome or mitigate some of the risks from tenant liabilities.

Prior checks

Carrying out prior checks on tenants is a sensible option to ensure that they are going to pay rent on time and treat the property with respect. This includes carrying out credit checks to protect your rent being paid and asking for things like references from a professional they know or previous landlords.

Agreements

Having a tenancy agreement is so essential when renting out to tenants for period of time, whether they are students, families or working professionals. This agreement should highlight all the key terms of their accommodation including clear information about things like smoking on the premises, having parties, pets and other uses of the property such as commercial or business use.

This agreement should help outline what the tenant is allowed and not allowed to do and by signing it, they acknowledge their responsibilities. Failing to maintain the clauses of the tenancy agreement means that you as the landlord have a strong case if they break any rules. As a last resort, your tenancy agreement will hold up in court and can help cover any potential mishaps or damages causes.

This is essential for long term stays for a minimum of 3 months. For the case of country houses to rent over the weekend, this is unlikely going to need a large agreement but certainly some small documents to cover yourself is necessary.

Get deposits

A safety deposit, usually of at least one-month’s rent, is a way to get the tenant to commit financially and uphold their part of the deal. Whilst this deposit should be refunded upon leaving the premises or their stay at this property, it must be made clear that any damages or costs can be deducted from this deposit, and the tenant risks losing their money.

Buildings and contents

Having buildings and contents insurance is essential to protect against any damages to the physical structure of your building and the contents refers to any goods inside such as white goods, furniture, TVs and computers.

By having cover, you can get these replaced through your insurance. If it is the fault of the tenant, your excess can be paid out of their deposit.

Be sure to keep warranties just in case anything breaks and needs to be replaced.

Loss of rent insurance

One can also apply for loss of rent insurance, so if a tenant goes AWOL or falls behind on payments, this is something that can be covered through specialist policies. You must be able to demonstrate a history of regular rent in order to be eligible.