It can be challenging being a landlord, particularly when you’re first starting out as you’re met with hundreds of questions you may not know the answer to yourself! However, with the demand for rental properties higher than ever, it’s an excellent way to generate additional income. There are an abundance of things to think about when preparing a new let for tenants – some to do with legal obligations, some to do with marketing and some to do with property maintenance.
So, what are your obligations as a landlord and how do you get your property ready for tenants in the area? It can seem like a bit of a minefield! Yet, with the right lettings agent by your side, you can sit back and almost forget about the day to day running of your rental having set yourself up for success.
1. Make sure your property rental is safe
Before you begin the rental process, you should first ensure the building is safe. After all, safety is paramount and should a tenant suffer as a result of your negligence, you could face a hefty fine or even prison! Landlords are required to install a smoke detector on every floor being used for living space while a carbon monoxide detector must be installed in every room where there’s a solid fuel-burning appliance.
Regulations are even stricter if you are renting a house of multiple occupancy, but details can be found on the Government website. Or, you can speak to a letting agent for guidance and support surrounding all safety requirements.
2. Give your property the right exposure
Whether you choose to rent your property out through an agent or off your own back, a good marketing strategy will be crucial to your success. Whilst you may not be planning on using a letting agent, they’ll have access to the online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla – the majority or renters will find their next property through one of these sites, in fact 98% begin their hunt here! So, it may be worthwhile reconsidering working with an agency and opting for their tenant-find service.
To secure tenants of high calibre, you’ll need to ensure your online advert is appealing – sharp and to the point, with professional photography showcasing the space in the very best light. Poor imagery and a lack of necessary information could significantly reduce the number of enquiries you recieve, leaving your property empty for longer than you’d like.
3. Reference your tenants
Whilst not a legal requirement, referencing your tenants can reduce the element of risk and ultimately put your mind at ease – particularly if you are a first-time landlord. A tenant reference will usually include all is in order in regards to the tenant’s basic information, their current employment details, addresses, bank statements and reference from another landlord.
A comprehensive tenant reference will enable you as a landlord, to make an informed decision as to who you allow to rent your property.
4. Use a letting agent
We’ve already touched upon the benefits of utilising a letting agent but this could be the difference between a stress-free experience as a landlord and one that gives you endless headaches!
There are two service options: tenant-find only, or full property management. A tenant-find only means that the letting agents will find the tenants and deal with all the initial paperwork, however, you’ll then be left to manage the property yourself. Opting for property management will see the agent finding the tenants and additionally, dealing with any day-to-day issues on your behalf for the course of the rental agreement – effectively acting as the landlord.
With the demand for rental properties outside the capital so high, it’s likely you’ll have many enquiries coming your way and the competition will be high amongst rental properties. Therefore, it can be highly beneficial to have not only an experienced, established letting agent by your side, but also one with invaluable local knowledge to persuade potential tenants it’s the right move.
5. Understand your future requirements as landlord
Unlike selling a property, you’ll still have regular communication with the new tenants after handing over the keys. So, as a landlord you need to understand what is expected of you over the course of the tenancy.
If you’ve opted for property management, you can sit back and allow your rental property to almost run itself! There may be occasional queries in which you are consulted, but typically this is a rather pain-free route to go down as a landlord. If you decide to privately manage your property, you’ll need to handle all maintenance and paperwork which may be confusing if you are new to the rental world. Ultimately, it depends on how involved you want to be on a regular basis.
Whilst this short guide just skims the surface on all there is to know about being a successful landlord, it will certainly help you on your way when you! Do you have a property you are thinking of renting out but aren’t sure where to begin? Speak to an independent letting agents with over 30 years in the market for more advice and guidance today.