People become landlords for lots of different reasons. It may be that you’ve invested in lots of properties to rent out, there may have been an unexpectedly property inheritance and you’re not yet in a position to sell it or perhaps you’re planning on going travelling and wish to let it out while you are away.
Regardless of whether it was planned or a total surprise, our guide for new landlords should hopefully answer some of the questions that you might have and help you to think of aspects that you may not have already considered.
The idea of becoming a landlord can be very exciting, especially if it comes with the prospect of earning a regular supplement to your income. In reality, it can be costly as there are a number of expenses you still have to pay. So ask yourself, can I afford to be a landlord?
Although long term rental can provide you with a steady income, you can’t always guarantee that you will have someone renting the property 100% of the time and so it might be worth preparing a plan B, in case you need to fund the payments in the interim.
As well as covering the cost of any rent while the property is empty, generally speaking a landlord is also responsible for maintaining the house and some of its contents, like boilers and plumbing. Meaning you’ll want to have enough money set aside to be able to deal with any maintenance issues that may come your way.
If the property is mortgaged then this is something you will need to check with your mortgage lender. However the onus is on you as the landlord to arrange your property’s building insurance and any contents insurance to protect fixtures & fittings or your own possessions in the property, such as white good or furniture.
Some people prefer to manage the whole process themselves which is perfectly acceptable, whereas others prefer to use a letting agent. There are positives and negatives to both; it really depends on how much direct contact you want with your tenants, as a letting agent will work as a middleman.
If you choose to use a letting agent then they will generally do the leg work for you when it comes to finding you the right tenant. You’ll also have the reassurance that they’re experienced in the field and know what they’re doing, plus they can be a good point of contact if you have any questions or are looking for guidance in a particular situation.
On the other hand, if you choose to find your own tenant and you don’t already have a friend or family member in mind, the internet can be a great asset, as there are online sites you can use to either advertise or find a tenant. When you’ve found someone, you can ask them for a reference from their previous landlord, a copy of their rental history and their credit ratings to give you some peace of mind that they are a good fit for your home.
Not only is the property your investment, if there are any problems with the place you will be contacted and the responsibility sits with you to address it. Therefore it is in your best interest to fix any problems as soon as possible because being a reliable landlord will help keep your tenants happy.
Another way to keep you tenants on good form is by making the property homely and clean. By taking the time to make the property appealing, your tenant will feel more comfortable in their new home and will appreciate the effort you’ve put in. It might even encourage them to want to stay in the property long term if it’s that attractive.
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