Are you thinking about letting your first property? Before you take the plunge into landlord life, there are certain things you need to consider. From establishing your legal obligations to calculating your revenue, here are five top tips for every first-time landlord.
- Understand the local market
Make sure you research rental properties in the immediate and surrounding area to see how much they are being let for. This is essential for calculating a fair rental price for your property. Setting rent too high or too low may affect how attractive your property is to prospective tenants – so it’s important to get it right.
It’s also worth considering the demographic you are targeting. For instance, is your property a 3-bed semi with gardens? Then you are most likely to attract young families. Or are you letting a one bed flat? Then this may be suited to young professionals or couples. It’s important that the price is right for the tenants you’re targeting.
- Identify your responsibilities
Before you can be fully ready to rent your property, you need to get to grips with your responsibilities as a landlord. You must ensure that the home adheres to all legal requirements, for instance that there are smoke alarms on all levels and that carbon monoxide alarms are present in any rooms with fuel burning appliances. You must also make sure your gas safety certificate and EPC are up to date and provide these to the tenants at the start of the rental period. You can find more information on the tenant rights and landlord responsibilities on the government website.
- Get the house rental ready
It’s important to carry out any repairs or maintenance work required before tenants move in. This will avoid any issues getting worse any costing more to fix in the long term. Plus, it means your tenants will be much happier in their new home. Once you’ve done this, do an inventory which includes pictures of the property and items within. This will make it easier to settle the cost of any damages once the tenants move out. If you have rented the property before to different people, it’s worth paying to get the locks changed. While this may seem a non-essential expense, it’s important for the safety of your new tenants.
- Ensure tenants have the right to rent
Legally, landlords must check that their tenants have the right to rent before they let the property. In other words, that the tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. There are certain documents that landlords can check, such as the prospective tenant’s passport, national identity card or an immigration status document issued by the Home Office. Once you’ve obtained adequate proof of their right to rent, you should keep copies on file. There is government advice on right to rent document checks which may prove useful for first time landlords.
- Prepare for the unexpected
There are certain situations that you just can’t prepare for when renting a property. But you can take out certain insurance that will protect you from potential risks. Home insurance is important as policies typically cover both the physical property and the contents within. Should anything unexpected happen such as flood damage or a robbery, you’ll be covered.
Perhaps more importantly as a landlord, you should take out specific landlord insurance. Companies such as Homelet offer policies that protect your rental payments, so if your tenants fail to pay you won’t be left out of pocket. The insurance will also cover legal expenses should you need it.
Know you know the key things to consider before letting your property, you can take your first steps towards becoming a landlord.