Thinking of investing in the rental market? Converting a property into a rental and enjoying a regular monthly income from it is an obvious incentive, but there is a lot to consider. At the very least, the property needs to be habitable and provide enough space for all tenants to live comfortably. The interiors also need to be hardwearing and appeal to as wide a market as possible. And above all, it needs to be cost-effective if you want to ensure you get a good return on your investment. If you’re wondering how you can accomplish all of the above, read on for some top tips from the property experts at Revere Contracts.
Licenses and legalities
Check with your local authority to ensure you hold all the relevant licenses and you have had all the necessary checks completed. For example, you will be required to update your HMO licence every five years, and you will need to pass a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment.
Before commencing any renovation work, consult your local authority to ensure you meet all guidelines for minimum HMO room sizes. These include:
Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51m².
Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22m².
Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64m².
It is likely you’ll you will need to convert the use of some rooms. For example, a reception room may become an additional bedroom and a bedroom may become an additional bathroom. Spend time weighing up the best use of space before committing – some renters might be put off properties with no living room, for example. Consult a professional before knocking down or constructing walls, and seek planning permission if necessary before commencing any major work.
The safety of your tenants should be your top priority, therefore it is essential that thorough checks are carried out regularly. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed, as well as fire doors and emergency lighting at the exits. Any furniture and furnishings you provide must meet the current fire resistance regulations. Electrical tests should be carried out on all appliances and the boiler should be serviced annually. If installing a new boiler, ensure it is a sufficient size to cope with the size of the property, number of tenants and usage, and that it comes with a warranty. Make sure the pipes and workings are easily accessible – don’t be tempted to conceal them behind tiles for example. And send a valid gas safety certificate to your local authority each year.
Fixtures and fittings
When it comes to fixtures and fittings, it’s best to keep things simple – above all they need to be functional and easy to keep clean. But that’s not to say you should go for the cheapest option. You know what they say, ‘Buy cheap, buy twice!’ so it pays to invest in good quality materials, fixtures and fittings that will withstand wear and tear.
It is also vital you don’t scrimp when it comes to ventilation. Failure to fit a suitable cooker hood or bathroom and kitchen extractor fans could lead to condensation and costly damp and mould issues further down the line. Similarly, opt for double-glazed windows that have trickle vents to let the air circulate.
A clean sweep
When considering flooring, practicality should be top of the list. Laminate, vinyl, tiles, or engineered wood are sensible alternatives to carpets which are difficult to clean and less likely to withstand traffic.
To appeal to as many potential renters as possible, and to keep the property looking fresher for longer, opt for neutral colours on the walls, such as white, off-white and soft grey for a light and airy feel. This will also effectively offer renters a blank canvas, enabling them to add their own touches to the property – injecting colour with their own choice of soft furnishings to make it feel more personal and homely.
It’s good to talk
When the renovation is complete and your tenants are settled, ensure you keep in contact with them so they can report any issues as and when they arise. Dealing with them with quickly is the best way to avoid potentially larger issues in the future.
Find out more
To see examples of how Revere Contracts has transformed rental properties, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And if you’d like to embark upon your own conversion project, call us on 0345 241 7010 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment.