Becoming a landlord for the first time is an exciting prospect, with not only the opportunity to bring in some additional income but also the chance to expand your portfolio further and perhaps even start up your own property business.
However, it can be tricky to know where to start once you have invested in your first property and you DON’T want to be making too many costly mistakes.
Fortunately, you can avoid the most common landlord pitfalls by simply following Your Home Managed’ Seven Essential Tips for New Landlords.
1. Do your groundwork
Before you start to market your rental property and look for potential tenants, if you haven’t done so already, you first need to research the local area thoroughly.
Is your property near public transport such as a Tube station? Is it near a good school, university, or college?
This can be helpful in deciding what type of tenants your property will appeal to, for example, families, students or working professionals.
In London, most tenants rely on public transport for their day-to-day. If your property is 20 minutes’ walk away from a train station, tenants are less likely to be interested in your property.
It is also a good idea to find out how much similar properties in the area are currently renting for, as this can act as a benchmark for your own chosen monthly rental price.
2. Take out insurance
Although landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement for renting out a property, it is highly recommended as it covers everything from accidental damage to structural issues caused by hazards such as fire, snow or strong winds.
You may also want to take out rent guarantee insurance which protects you if your tenant fails to pay their rent. It can also cover the cost of any legal fees if you need to evict a tenant. You may also want to consider our Special Offer: www.yourhomemanaged.com/special-offer
Your tenants are responsible for taking out their own content insurance to cover their belongings.
3. Find reliable tenants
One of the easiest ways to find good tenants is through word of mouth. Speak to your family, friends, and work colleagues to see if they are aware of anyone who is looking to rent a property. This keeps things simple and keeps your property with a mutually acquainted tenant.
You can also use a letting agency to find suitable tenants. At Your Home Managed, we want to provide you the best possible service (and tenants) to ensure your investment is secure, which in hand means that you will return to us to provide the same service again. We take pride in the work we do, and the happier we can make you, the happier it makes us!
To attract the best possible tenants, we ensure your listing describes the property in full, including the properties features as well as local amenities. We include Professional Property photographs for all our clients, as well as advertising your property on major portals at a competitive market rate. On top of this, we proof each tenant before viewing and provide you with our genuine expert advice with each offer that is received.
You should always check a potential tenant’s rental history and credit score, as well as perform a criminal background check. At Your Home Managed, we organise Comprehensive Referencing Reports for each tenant and ensure the tenancy application is completely transparent when providing you with their offers, documents, referencing, and more.
Many Landlords decide to do this themselves but do remember that professionals are here to help you find the Perfect Tenants.
4. Create a tenancy agreement
Once you have found your tenants, you now need to draw up a written tenancy agreement that details all the terms and conditions of the tenancy and gives you as the landlord, and your tenants’ rights.
This is extremely important as it will ensure the protection of your property, set out the obligations of your tenants and help prevent any future disputes.
If you have found your tenants through a professional letting agency, the tenancy agreement can be professionally drawn up through the agent. There are extra costs for this so ensure you find an agent you can trust that will take their time to make your tenancy agreement as perfect as possible for your tenancy.
5. Ensure your property is energy efficient
You should also strive to improve your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), to reach the minimum energy efficiency standard. The minimum rating is E, and if your property is rated below this, you will not be allowed to rent your property to tenants. The minimum rating may also increase, so if you are completing some repairs, it may be worth taking the extra step now to save in the future.
Ways in which you can make your property more energy-efficient include:
- Upgrading your boiler
- Sealing windows and doors
- Installing double glazing
- Installing loft and wall cavity insulation
- Using energy-efficient lightbulbs
- Installing smart meters
Since April 2016, tenants have the right to ask their landlords to make their properties more energy-efficient, and furthermore, as a landlord, you are legally required to make adequate improvements.
6. Maintain your property well
We all know that emergencies and repairs happen, some often, and that they can really be a pain to deal with. We are expecting to have to spend money on repairs, especially emergencies, but the bigger pain is when your issues occur due to previous issues that could have been handled better.
There are many properties in London that suffer from structural issues, issues with home appliances such as the boiler, issues with pest control, or mould and condensation issues. Dealing with this effectively and efficiently is important to avoid them from happening again, especially when you can. Tenants don’t expect a brand new boiler, but if mould issues are recurring, you should consider a long term solution that may not be as cheap.
7. Maintain a good relationship with your tenants
Arguably one of the most important aspects of becoming a good landlord is ensuring that you are able to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your tenants. Effective communication, on both sides, is crucial if you want to avoid any problems or disputes. The correct Property Manager can do this for you, but Landlords always have a part to play.
Try and respond as quickly as possible to any requests from your tenants and listen to any concerns that they may have. Once you find reliable tenants who pay their rent on time and look after your property, you don’t want to lose them!
Maintaining a good relationship with anyone can be difficult, but we find tenants are incredibly happy with their Landlord when you act professionally and there is good and transparent communication, but most appreciative when you take the time to listen to them.
If you require Property Management services in London, call our team on 02081257780 for help and advice on all rental aspects. Our expert advice is always free.