How to be a successful landlord
The trade body for UK landlords pointed out that the recession resulted in increased tenant demand and higher rents in many areas. However, it is still important for landlords to keep a close eye on their finances, particularly in light of the ongoing changes to the tax regime which will reduce the income of many higher rate taxpaying landlords going forward. In line with this view, the NLA has issued ten top tips for landlords.
1. Thoroughly research the rental market in your area to make sure you are charging the right level of rent and not pricing yourself out of the market.
2. Buy-to-let borrowers having difficulty keeping up with mortgage repayments should speak to their lender and try to arrange a new repayment plan. If you are coming to the end of a deal, search the market for a mortgage which best suits your needs.
3. Marketing your property is important to ensure you do not experience rental voids (periods when the property is unoccupied).
4. Courtesy, reliability and availability will make for a happier tenancy all round. Communication is critical.
5. Landlords should carry out proper checks on prospective tenants, including credit checks, bankruptcy searches and previous residency information.
6. Complying with the long list of rules and regulations for landlords is imperative to ensure your tenants are happy and you do not risk your reputation and your bank balance. This includes placing tenants’ deposits in a government-approved protection scheme.
7. Drawing up an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy will reduce the likelihood of any disputes once the tenant moves out.
8. Taking out insurance may also be a good idea. Your lender will require buildings insurance, but the NLA also highlights the need for cover against injury to tenants and their guests, and insurance for void periods.
9. Start a rainy day fund to cover any emergency expenditure on repairs or maintenance.
10. Join a landlord association to benefit from the advice and experiences of other landlords.