Whether you are a veteran landlord or an aspiring one, there are lots of things to consider when becoming a landlord. By being one of the ‘good guys’ you have an opportunity to create loyal tenants, that will renew their contracts with you, look after your property and help you get the most out of your investment.
Here are some top tips that we think are key to consider when you are letting out your property.
First impressions are important. Before letting potential tenants view your property, make sure it’s looking its best, have the property cleaned and finish any little DIY jobs. Making the right impression is vital to your property being snapped up or sitting on the market for a long time.
As a landlord you have a legal obligation to ensure that your property meets the safety standards set out by UK law. This includes gas safety checks, electrical safety checks and ensuring that fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and working efficiently. These need to be checked annually, by not complying with this law you are not only putting your tenants at risk, but your landlord insurance could be invalidated.
Letting agent Vs doing it yourself:
The choice between using a letting agent and managing the process yourself is up to you. The two main factors are time and money. Employing an agent to manage your property will take a lot of the stress out of finding tenants, managing your legal obligations, referencing and being a point of call for any day to day issues that may arise. Of course this will cost money, the fee for managing your property can be between 8 – 15%. It is essential that you choose a good agent who will deliver the best value for money, as well as giving a great service to both you and your tenants.
Finding the right tenant:
With the right property, at the right price, you will most likely have a number of potential tenants to choose from. Obtaining references is your best tool. Always follow these up to ensure that they are genuine. Even if you have employed a letting agent to manage your property it’s always a good idea to stay involved in the initial process, if you can carry out the interviews yourself and go with your gut instinct. A good relationship with your tenant is worth much more than anything that is written on a piece of paper.
It is common practice to ask for a deposit, the amount is often between 4 – 6 weeks rent to offer protection against any damage caused by the tenant. Since April 2007, new legislation was introduced which insists that all landlords must register their tenants deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. The main thing to be aware of here, is that if you don’t protect your tenants deposit when required, they can take you to court. You could end up paying them up to three times the amount of their initial deposit.
A detailed inventory:
An accurate inventory can be one of the most important documents that you create. It is even more important if you are letting your property furnished. This document is proof of how the property was provided to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. It should describe everything in as much detail as possible and should be clear for both parties to understand. Taking photos is a great way to ensure that you are protected should a dispute arise.
Residential landlords insurance:
The responsibility of insuring your property comes down to you, the landlord. Most standard house insurance policies won’t give you the level of cover required. You need to take out a residential landlord’s insurance policy that will cover you not only for the building but for the type of tenant that you are renting the property to. Letting to students or DSS tenants will often require different cover then letting to professionals. Finding an insurance policy that is flexible to your needs is essential for your peace of mind and your tenants.
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