Letting your property out for the first time can be both overwhelming and exciting. Achieving success as a landlord is rewarding as you can use the extra cash to put towards your own mortgage or to supplement your income. However, just like any other business venture, this comes with a number of risks and challenges that may hold you back from success. Here are some pitfalls you need to be aware of and avoid at all costs in order to have a stress free let, giving you the best returns you can possibly gain.
For first time landlords, below are some useful tips you may consider to have an easy time and to mark yourself as an expert landlord. Read on!
- Go through the housing laws
Unfortunately, many landlords are not aware of half of the existing housing laws. To be on the safe side, always be up to date with the latest leglisation. Just because you are the homeowner, it does not give you the right to do whatever you want. Did you know that discriminating your tenants based on their race, color, disability, family status, religion or even sex is an offence? Another law is that, legally you should keep your properties in a habitable condition for your tenants. You need to regularly remind yourself on rental related issues such as setting of the rental rates, assistance animals and tenant eviction rules that you are expected to abide with, or a risk of a fine, or even prison.
- Price your house right
Pricing your houses correctly can save you from having long vacancy periods and also ensures you can still make a profit. To price accordingly, do some research; what rates do your competitors offer their rentals at? You could also ask a letting agent to come round and offer their valuation.
- Have a prepared lease agreement
A lease agreement is the written contract between the tenant and the landlord that outlines the terms of the tenancy that has been agreed to and signed by both parties. It clearly states the responsibilities and rules; property maintenance, smoking rules, keeping of pets, etc. thus aiding in avoiding disputes between you and your tenants. As a first time landlord, you may consider hiring a solicitor to ensure that your lease agreement document is valid.
- Book Keep
Ensure you have good bookkeeping records, this will enable you to be more organised. It is impossible to know exactly how your properties are doing; good or bad, without having proper records and paperwork. You may have all your documents backed up on different devices to ensure none of them get lost, and you can easily retrieve them, upon request.
- Make rent your priority
Be firm when collecting the rent, especially for late payments. However, be ready to be understanding that on given occasions, your tenants may be facing a financial crisis, but they should always communicate with you beforehand to let you know.
Other measures that you may consider looking into include:
- Collecting security deposits
- Taking inventory of your rental properties
- Have a good marketing/advertising strategy
- Be responsive
- Have insurance cover
Rental properties are a great source of income, if well managed. Ensure you avoid any traps that may end up draining your finances, rather than generating more. Hopefully, the above-advice will aid you in achieving success. Our lettings team are always here to help, get in touch with us today to guide you on your next step.