How to Rent Out Your House

Thinking of letting out your property? Read our guide for help when considering your landlord responsibilities and the long-term care of your house before you put it on the market.

There are a number of reasons to rent out your house. Maybe you’re relocating due to work, or you’re moving in with someone else, or you’ve saved up enough to trade up or rent a bigger house. Whatever your reason, letting out your property is a great way to earn some supplementary income.

However, before you begin advertising your property, it’s important to understand all of your responsibilities as a new landlord. Make sure you:

  • Write up a tenancy agreement.

  • Ensure the safety of your house.

  • Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for your property.

  • Protect your tenant’s deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme.

  • Check that your tenant has the right to rent your property.

  • Understand how to pay tax on rental income.

  • Give your tenant a copy of the How to Rent checklist.

Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement clearly describes rental fees and rules for letting (e.g. “no smoking,” “no pets allowed,” etc...), which offers you some protection if they ever decide not to pay or if they break the terms of your agreement. On the flip side, this document also assures your tenant that their housing is well-maintained, that their deposit is protected, and that their rent won’t suddenly increase.

You’re legally obliged to provide your tenant with the main terms of their tenancy, in writing, within six months of them taking residence anyway. So a tenancy agreement simply satisfies that condition and ensures that there are no misunderstandings between you and your tenant.

Ensure that both you and your tenant have signed copies of this agreement prior to tenancy.

You can download sample tenancy agreement forms on GOV.UK.

House safety

Before renting out your house, you are legally required to ensure that your house is well-maintained and fit for habitation. This includes:

Fire Safety

You are responsible for fitting and testing all the required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in your house.

Gas and Electrical Safety

All gas and electrical installations and appliances in your house need to be well-maintained. You need to commission safety checks at least once every twelve months from an expert registered at the Gas Safe Register. Both you and your tenant should have records of these visits.

Property Repairs

Major structural and exterior repairs of a property are your responsibility. This includes maintenance needed on the walls, floors, roof, windows, piping, plumbing, wiring, and internal heating.

Health and Safety Inspections

While not a legal requirement, a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) will help you find and fix any critical issues before your tenant moves in.

Energy Performance Certificate

You must order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you begin advertising your property to potential tenants. The EPC rates the energy efficiency of your property and is valid for 10 years. Failing to show a potential tenant your house’s EPC may result in a fine.

Deposit Protection Scheme

Within 30 days of receiving your tenant’s deposit, you’re responsible for safeguarding it within a government-backed deposit protection scheme. You also need to provide your tenant with information about the scheme and their rights, including:

  • Details about the deposit (including amount, property address, protection info, etc.)

  • Conditions for release.

  • How to resolve disputes.

  • Contact details for all parties involved.

For more information on deposit protection schemes, visit our guide to the certificates landlords need to provide.

Right to rent

Before the start of a new tenancy, you have to verify that your tenant can legally rent from you. If you rent to someone who isn't legally allowed to rent property in the UK, you can be fined up to £3,000. You must check all new tenants—it’s illegal to check selectively based on race, sex, religion, or sexuality.

To make a check:

  • Check the tenant’s documents and ensure that they have the right to rent in the UK.

  • Verify that the documents are genuine.

  • Make and keep copies of their documents, including the date you made the check.

Tax on rental income

As a landlord, one of your responsibilities is paying your income tax on your rental property. You’ll need to calculate your rental profit by deducting your allowable expenses from your rental income, and then report your gain or loss on your Self Assessment tax return.

You may also need Class 2 National Insurance if your sole business is renting out and managing property.

For more information, visit our guide to paying tax on rental income.

How to rent guide

You also need to provide your tenants with a copy of The Department for Communities and Local Government’s How to Rent guide. You may find its tips useful too!

Long Term Care of Your Property

Many small deeds will go a long way towards preserving the condition of your house and helping it appeal to potential tenants. Before you let your home, consider:

How to rent your house, Towergate
  • Double-checking all appliances to ensure that they’re in good working order.

  • Applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls.

  • Making small repairs (e.g. fixing squeaky floorboards, etc.)

  • Touch up the caulking around tubs and sinks.

  • Assessing the carpets and floors and replacing them if necessary.

  • Removing valuable and fragile property if you’re providing furnishings.