Do Sign Up for Deposit Protection
Landlords are required by law to place their tenants’ deposits in an accredited tenancy deposit scheme. While this may create extra paperwork, it’ll be worth it in the long run – if this step is missed and a landlord is perceived to have misused a tenant deposit, they can be fined up to 3 times the value of the deposit.
Don’t Feel Obliged to Furnish the Property
Before diving head first into an expensive home decoration project, take a step back and think about the types of tenants your property will suit. If your property is for commuters, keep the furnishings simple but practical. If your property would better suit young families, it might be best to leave it unfurnished and let your tenants make it their own. What is more important is a clean and fresh décor.
Furnished vs unfurnished is a hotly debated topic amongst landlords and is one that was covered in a vlog by Paul Broomham at Jones Robinson, Newbury.
Do Your Homework on Safety Regulations
Make sure you fully understand your legal responsibility regarding making the property you let safe, and free from health hazards. It’s surprising how many landlords are unclear on just what their legal responsibility is.
As a landlord, you must ensure that all gas and fire alarms are in full working order. All electrical items must be safe for use and the property must adhere to fire safety rules (this last point is particularly important for those renting out HMOs). For a full list of landlord responsibilities, click here.
Don’t Forget to Budget
When calculating the potential return on investment of becoming a landlord, it’s important to remember that whilst there is profit to be made, typically this is a long term investment.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all the rent will go into your bank account; rental income is taxable and there will no doubt be expenses to pay, including property repairs and mortgage repayments.
Do Confirm Everything in Writing
When communicating about important issues, be sure to get all agreements down in writing. This will not only help you keep track of what has been agreed and if work needs to be carried out on the property, but will also help ensure that everything falls on the right side of the law.
In the event there is dispute, you will have written evidence of what both parties have agreed, which will help clear up any misunderstandings and misrememberings more smoothly.
Don’t Get Too Attached to the Property
Many rental properties are previous homes of the landlord themselves or of their family members. Whilst these properties no doubt hold sentimental value, when making the decision to turn them into an income it’s important to step back and detach your emotions.
If the property is now being used to generate income, you must have a business head on and make decisions based on what’s good for business. Whilst the 80’s style décor might bring back childhood memories, it’s not necessarily going to appeal to prospective tenants. Being mindful of these conflicts of interest will help you succeed.
Unless you are a competent handy man who lives 10 minutes away from your rental property and has a lot of free time, our advice would be to not self manage. Tenants will expect quick responses and for certain maintenance issues to be addressed immediately.
If you live quite far from your property, the service you offer your tenants may not be responsive enough in emergency situations. Poor landlord support can cause tenants to leave, increasing the likelihood of costly void periods. Enlisting someone to manage the property for you will take all the stress and day to day management away, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the benefits.
For more words of wisdom from our experienced lettings team, or if you have any questions or would simply like to have a chat about your property needs, call the office on 01380 730200.