Many landlords choose to let properties in areas far away from where they live, which means that they often aren’t able to visit their lettings on a frequent basis.
For example, some landlords buy holiday homes near the coast to let out during the summer months while they are based in a city in another part of the country.
This ultimately means they become what is termed an absent landlord, however even though a landlord is absent, it doesn’t mean they don’t have responsibilities and things they need to take care of.
Know your tenants
One of the issues of being an absent landlord is that you won’t get to know your tenants as well as if you lived in the same area as them.
If you are a long way away from your property, your tenants will probably be in touch with you less often, which means that you need to make the effort to make contact with them on a regular basis. Not only does this improve your relationship with your tenants, but also means that you know about everything that is going on in your properties. You could call every quarter to ask if there is anything they need fixed in the property or if they have any other concerns.
It’s always best to make contact with your tenants and find things out yourself instead of waiting to hear from them and finding out there has been an issue for a number of months.
While it may be difficult to arrange frequent inspections of your properties, there are times when it is essential that you visit.
When a tenant moves out or just before a new tenant moves in are the best times to visit your properties, as it means you can inspect the state of the property and ensure that there are no damages you didn’t know about.
This ensures that your inventories will be as up to date and concise as possible and you won’t end up having to claim on your landlord insurance for damages that were caused by your tenants and not just wear and tear.
Even if you have a tenant with a long-term lease, you should try and visit at least twice a year to ensure that they are looking after the property and that there are no issues with the tenancy.
Talk to your letting agent
Most absent landlords hire a letting agent in the area the property is based to manage their tenancies and ensure that any issues are dealt with as quickly as possible.
However, just because you have had the same letting agent for a number of years, it doesn’t mean you are getting the best value for money. This is why it is essential you make frequent contact with your letting agent to find out what is happening with your property and if there is anything you should know about.
As good practice, your letting agent should be contacting you regularly to provide updates. So if you feel that they are not doing this, you should find out why and make sure that they are managing everything properly.
It may come to a point when you find that letting a property in an area far away from where you live becomes unfeasible, which means that you may have to think about selling the property.
If this is the case, you will firstly need to check your Assured Tenancy Agreement to see how much notice you are legally required to give your tenants.
It is important that you don’t rush into this decision just because you are going through a difficult time, especially as the property market is currently fluctuating. Make sure you explore all other options before selling your property, such as having your letting agent manage more of the tenancy or even allowing a local landlord to sub-let it.
As the private rental market is currently doing so well, it may not be financially wise to give up on your investment too quickly.
Being an absent landlord can be extremely rewarding as long as you have a suitable system in place that ensures that your property is well managed at all times.
Remember, even if you are struggling, there are a number of ways to find help and information so that you can benefit from your investment no matter where it is based – check Landlord News for all the latest news and updates for the sector.