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Dos and Don’ts for Landlords
Whether you’re thinking of becoming a landlord for the first time or you’re a well-seasoned property developer, it pays to be sensible in your property dealings. We have put together a list of common ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for landlords to help keep you, your tenants and your agents happy!
- Make your mortgage and insurance providers aware you are letting your property. The terms and conditions for buy-to-let mortgages and rental insurance differ from those for owner-occupied properties, so your mortgage and insurance agreements will be invalid if you don’t get the right cover.
- Be sure to use a lettings agency that follows professional standards and belongs to an organisation such as ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents). This way, you can ensure that experts are on hand to assist you.
- Sign up to a tenancy deposit scheme. This helps to protect both you and your tenants in case of a deposit dispute, and is required by law. A good lettings agent will be able to arrange this for you; all of our tenancies at Julie Twist Properties are registered with the TDS.
- Make sure your property is gas safe. By law, you must have gas appliances checked once a year. It’s also a good idea to have electrical appliances tested for safety at the same time. You must also fit carbon monoxide detectors (for homes supplied with gas) and smoke alarms on all floors.
- Write a detailed and accurate inventory for your property. This allows you to keep tabs on your belongings and of the condition of the property, and can help prevent disputes at the end of a tenancy.
- Consider using an experienced managing agent to oversee your tenancies. This is particularly helpful if you live far away but is advisable for any let. A reputable agent will make sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on both tenants and the property, and that a legally accurate tenancy agreement is drawn up. Make sure you do your research before choosing a managing agent; you should use a firm that you know you can trust.
- Be an overbearing landlord. It’s important to create a relationship of trust with your tenants and to respect their privacy. If you request visits every five minutes, this could harm your relationship and potentially cause good tenants to leave. Similiarly, never turn up unannounced for a visit. You should always give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice if you intend to stop by.
- Take your eye off the ball. Although you don’t want to crowd your tenants, you need to keep tabs on your property to ensure that it remains in good condition. Remember: property letting is a business. You should treat it as such to ensure that your investment remains secure.
- Forget about tax. It’s all too easy to overlook this important matter, but rental income is taxable and you must declare your earnings. However, some items related to property letting are tax-deductible and it’s worth speaking to a professional accountant to ensure that you are paying what you should be.
- Let the figures take a back seat. You mustn’t forget that your property is an investment and you want it to make money for you. Set the rent too low or pay too much for furnishings and you may find yourself spending more than you are earning.
- Be too rigid. You want your tenants to feel at home; that’s how you get them to stay (and to keep paying rent). So if your tenant asks to put some pictures on the wall, consider whether this is acceptable before you answer with an outright ‘no’. Similarly, if they want to bring in their own furniture and put some of yours into storage, think about whether it might be worth your while agreeing to such a change.
- Neglect to use proper end-of-tenancy procedures. It is illegal to throw your tenant out of the property without giving them notice in the appropriate way, regardless of the circumstances. Speak to a reputable agent about Section 8 and Section 21 notices for more information on ending a tenancy the right way.
At Julie Twist Properties, we have a range of management packages for landlords. From arranging a let to taking care of it all for you, we are here to help!
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