Top ten tips for new landlords

Posted: 4th Jun 2014

If you are considering entering the letting marketplace by becoming a landlord and letting out your property, then as you may already have realised, there may be a lot to think about.

It may not just be as easy as popping an advert in the local paper and waiting for your first tenants to arrive. You need to be:

  1. identifying your target market – who do you envisage letting property to? Tenants come in all shapes and sizes, each bringing their own considerations and requirements;
  2. finding the right property – different types of tenant may be looking for very different types of property. The type of property that will attract a family with younger children, for example, may not appeal to a childless couple, a group of professionals sharing, or a group of students;
  3. meeting statutory safety requirements – if you are intending to let on a furnished basis then items of furniture and soft furnishings may have to conform to fire regulations and standards;
  4. remember too that gas appliances like a central heating boiler, water heater, fire or cooker, may all have to be serviced at the start of each tenancy and at least once a year thereafter;
  5. making the right impression – in a competitive market, making a good first impression may be key to letting success. Having a well presented and well maintained property, both inside and out, may be critical in attracting potential tenants and might also be important in helping you achieve your anticipated rental income;
  6. keeping people informed – if you have a mortgage on your property then you may obviously need to ensure that your lenders are happy with your plans to let it out;
  7. tenants have rights – as a landlord you may have a number of obligations to keep your property well maintained and to an acceptable standard. Don’t underestimate the ongoing costs this may involve for you;
  8. carefully consider the levels of landlord insurance that you may need to protect your investment. If you have a mortgage then you may be obliged to have at least buildings cover as part of your lending agreement. This may protect your bricks and mortar from events such as floods, fires, earthquakes, damage from falling trees and branches and vandalism etc. These days policies may not always include subsidence cover as standard (though ours do!) so it may be worth looking out for when choosing your policy;
  9. if letting on a furnished basis, you may wish to carefully calculate the value of your belongings and then decide whether or not to insure them on a new for old basis;
  10. bear in mind that while insurance for your property is another call on your resources, there may be ways you can help influence the level of your premiums. If you agree to take a higher excess on the policy, you may find that premiums might be reduced by as much as 40%.