There is no set way to run your property investment business. As long as you are following the law, you are in charge of the rest. The length of the tenancy, the amount you charge for rent and who you allow in your property are all up to you, as long as legal responsibilities are met.
However, there are some basic dos and don’ts to consider, if you want your career as a landlord to thrive and to maintain a constant occupancy of your lets. Best practice for a landlord can mean a number of things, so here are our tips to help you stay focused on making the right decisions:
Once your tenants have moved in, be sure to arrange checks on the property. You don’t need to overdo it, but having them throughout the year, such as one per season, will allow you to keep on top of any maintenance issues.
Thorough background checks
Before agreeing a tenancy, are you certain you want them living in your property? Get a reference off their previous landlords or ask for a character reference from an employer, to get to know them better.
Theresa May’s Right to Rent scheme also requires landlords and letting agents to check that individuals are legally allowed to rent in the UK.
Keep up-to-date with changes
The law can change all the time for landlords and letting agents. This year alone, we have seen changes to the minimum EPC rating required for a let to be legal and a ban on lettings fees.
We work together with our sister company, Landlord News, to keep you updated. Our websites provide the go-to place to find the latest news and guides on how to look after your property investment business.
Do research on lettings agents
Don’t just go with the first letting agent you see or choose one simply because you have heard of them. Take a look at reviews from other landlords and ask around to find who is really worth taking on to manage your properties.
A letting agent registered with a regulatory body will be required to follow a code of practice and monitored by that body.
Keep your receipts
If you ever need to charge a tenant for damage or deduct from their deposit, you will need receipts to prove the amount you wish to claim is necessary. Rounding up or down to the nearest £1 would be acceptable, but overcharging is unacceptable.
Pass on discounts
During your time working in the property industry, you may end up with go-to suppliers and tradesmen who will give you discounts due to repeat custom. This is great and can save you money, but don’t keep these savings to yourself.
If repairs are made to your let due to damage by a tenant, don’t be tempted to charge them the full amount and pocket the difference. Again, it would be unfair and dishonest to overcharge them.
Keep in touch
From the very beginning of the tenancy, you will want to be able to contact your tenants in the case of an emergency or simply to schedule an inspection visit. Having their correct details, such as email address and phone number, is vital. The same goes for yourself – make sure they can also get in touch with you.
If you have enlisted the help of a letting agent to manage the tenancy, be sure to make it clear who should be contacted during different circumstances.
Your responsibilities as a landlord don’t stop here, but these tips provide a solid starting place. The world will always need good landlords, and so you should do your part to make a difference to the private rental sector in the UK!