Why you need a tenant welcome pack and what you should include
According to our recent Good landlord quiz, two thirds of landlords provide a welcome pack for their tenants.
While this is great news, it means that 33 per cent of landlords don’t.
At Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance we believe welcome packs form an integral part of providing a good service and developing a healthy business relationship with your tenants.
What’s the advantage of a welcome pack?
Tenants often only see a property once before they move in and it can look very different when the previous tenants’ belongings are gone.
New tenants may also be unfamiliar with the local area. And if you use a letting agent, they are unlikely to have a connection with you directly.
It’s important to get things off on the right foot. A comprehensive, detailed and well thought out welcome pack is a great way to make that happen.
A welcome pack should include a combination of legal or administrative necessities, useful advice, tips on the local area and, if you can provide them, a few thoughtful touches. Think about giving it to them in person, too.
This will help open a channel of communication between you and your new tenants and get the relationship off to the right start.
Here’s a list of the essentials you should include in any welcome pack when you meet new tenants.
Not sure where to start with creating a welcome pack? Our welcome pack template has everything you need.
What should you include?
Your tenant should have already signed the tenancy agreement before move in day, but it’s nice to include a copy of the agreement in the welcome pack so they have another copy to refer to.
A tenancy agreement is essentially a contract between you and your tenant. It describes the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy. Tenancy agreements can be hard to write from scratch but Landlord Action can help with drafting legal documents such as AST agreements. If you are creating your own, here’s a handy list of suggested contents from GOV.UK:
- The names of everyone involved
- The cost of rent, the date it should be paid and any account details
- How often the cost of rent will be reviewed
- The amount of deposit required and how it will be protected
- Specific details of the circumstances that will lead to the deposit being partially or totally withheld
- The address of the property
- When the tenancy starts and ends
- The landlord and the tenant’s obligations
- How often you will conduct inspections and the notice you will give
- Which bills you will pay and which the tenant is responsible for
- Whether it’s possible for the tenancy to end early and the circumstances that can lead to this
- Any special clauses relating to tenant behaviour that might result in the tenancy ending, such as repeated noise complaints or disrespectful behaviour towards members of the community
For more information, Citizens Advice have plenty of great advice for landlords and tenants.
Renting out a flat without a tenancy agreement is risky. Oral agreements don’t mean much in a court of law and if you end up in a dispute with your tenant without a tenancy agreement in place, you don’t have much of a legal footing.
Many insurers (including Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance) also won’t insure a rental property without a tenancy agreement.
The more time, effort and detail you put into your tenancy agreement, the clearer all parties will be on their responsibilities and the more recourse you will have if either party neglects those responsibilities.
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After the tenancy agreement, your inventory is the second most important document that you and your tenants need to sign and have a copy of. An inventory is a detailed description of the property, its contents, fixtures and the condition of every item. Ideally, it should be supported by time and date stamped photographic evidence.
The goal of the inventory is to establish and record the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancies. It often takes the form of a ‘check in’ report and a comparative ‘check out’ report. Any change between the two is recorded and evidenced, making deposit deductions simpler to carry out and making disputes easier to settle – it’s hard to argue with photographic evidence.
According to Suzy Hershman, Head of Dispute Resolution at mydeposits, most disputes are won or lost on the quality of the inventory documentation. Here are seven tips for a watertight inventory:
1. Always date the reports
2. Define any of the terms or abbreviations used within the documents for consistency
3. Fully describe the condition and cleanliness of the property and its contents
4. Photographic/video evidence should be used to support your reports
5. Any photos which are not included in the main report should be digitally dated and, if not, signed and dated by your tenant (tip: check your phone/device/camera settings)
6. You must allow the tenant the opportunity to see and sign the reports
7. Reports can be compiled by anyone but where they are prepared by a landlord or letting agent the tenant’s signature is a MUST
If you want an easier way to design a welcome pack, take a look at our welcome pack template.
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Our tenant welcome pack helps them help you
Every property is different and many homes, especially those that aren’t new-builds, have certain quirks that it’s helpful to know in order to prevent issues like condensation or damp. Housekeeping advice is particularly useful if you’re renting to younger tenants.
Your property may be one of the first that they are having to look after single-handed. Certain things that are common sense to landlords may not be to their tenants.
Every landlord wants their property to be looked after and the more support that you can give your tenants the more likely they are to take care of your property.
To help you look after your property we have designed a series of useful advice sheets for your tenants that contain tips and practical information. Here is a list of topics you might want to consider.
Damp is a common issue, especially over the winter months.
Tips such as leaving on the background heating, keeping the property ventilated, managing condensation created by showers and drying clothes can make all the difference.
You may also want to leave them a dehumidifier, with instructions on how to use it.