If you are considering buying a property in order to then rent it out, it is thoroughly worthwhile to properly research what is involved when it comes to being a successful landlord. Becoming one isn’t simply as easy as just being a friendly face to your tenants, there are many responsibilities involved, and you need to get yourself into the mentality. Here at Secured Loans, we’ve put together a guide collating our very best tips to help you be a successful landlord.
Don’t be known as a cheap fixer
As a landlord, it is inevitable that there will become a point when you will need to sort out repairs due to damage or general wear and tear in the buy-to-let property. Whilst you will be keen to keep costs low, you should do so with caution. If you choose to fix the issues by using the very cheapest, worst options available, it is likely that it will end up backfiring at later date. Why? You run the risk of damaging your reputation as a landlord, which could make it harder to find tenants at a later date, as well as damage the existing relationship that you have with people currently living in your property. Furthermore, it may end up costing you far more in the long run. As a rule of thumb, it is worth paying more initially for maintenance and repairs, as there is a much greater chance there will be less need for further repairs if the job has been completed well with quality items, whereas quick and cheap fixes could lead to maintenance work needing to be carried out far more frequently.
Have a well-drafted lease
It is extremely important to write a detailed lease that clearly states the responsibilities and obligations that the two parties have so that there is no confusion between the tenant and landlord and to avoid problems arising in the future. This should all be stated in your assured tenancy agreement (known as AST). If you do not feel comfortable in drafting your own lease, or you do not have the time to do so, there are a number of ways you can still draft one, such as:
- Websites such as the Residential Landlords Association have a number of templates you can look at to give you an idea as to how to draft your own
- A letting agent can also help you draw one up
- Your solicitor can also help with drafting a lease
Being easily reachable
If you have ever been the tenant of a property yourself, you will know just how important it is to have a landlord that is easily contactable if you need help. Even if you haven’t, it makes logical sense, after all, if you are having problems with a broken heater or the gas has stopped working, for example, you will want to make sure you can contact the landlord quickly and the problem efficiently dealt with. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you visit the property all the time to check if there are any problems that need to be dealt with, but rather making sure that your tenants have your mobile phone number (and remembering to give your tenants the new number if you change it at a later date) as well as your email address, and of course, responding promptly.
Don’t be a nuisance to tenants
Trust is extremely important when it comes to the relationship between landlord and tenants. If tenants feel that they are constantly being treated with suspicion and are being watched by the landlord (i.e., perhaps by turning up the property unannounced on a regular basis) then it is unlikely that they will be hugely keen to stay there, nor will future tenants. Consequently, it is vital that you give your tenants the space that they need, and it is also a legal obligation to provide them with at least 24 hours notice prior to entering the property in order to review it. Ultimately, it does not come down to your own personal feelings about the tenant, but rather remembering that this is a business relationship that you need to maintain.
Run it as a business
One of the main errors certain landlords make when they become a landlord is they do not necessarily always see it in professional terms, rather an additional form of income that is akin to a hobby, however, this isn’t the best way to go about it if you are serious about becoming a successful landlord. Seeing rental properties as a business can help you achieve far more success in the long run. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
- Do you quickly respond to tenants queries?
- If you are away on holiday or are ill, is there a system that you have put in place which means that tenants still can have problems dealt with speedily should they arise?
- Do you have an additional person who can be a point of contact?
- Are you spending all the rental income you have, or are you making sure that you leave a certain amount so that there is money to deal with potential maintenance and repairs problems in the property?
Make sure that the property is in good condition
This means making sure the property at all times is clean, safe and secure. You should always make sure that debris or rubbish is removed prior to renting out a property or remove items that do not need to be in there. In addition, you have legal obligations as a landlord to make sure that the building meets safety standards. This includes things such as making sure that you have the right carbon monoxide alarms that are installed, as well as checking that these are regularly reviewed to ensure they are still working.