The team at HomeLet asked me to share some of the lesson’s I’ve learned from being a landlord over the past few years. Their site https://homelet.co.uk/ is full of information for both landlords and tenants as well as a wide range of insurance options.
A lot of my friends are quite jealous of the fact that I already own property but it’s not as fun as it may seem and there are definite benefits to renting over buying a place.
Obviously I don’t live in the property that I own at the moment – it’s 500 miles away, that would be one hell of a commute. Being a landlord is a great way to make some extra money but it with its own set of challenges. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way.
1) Keep it legal and organised
Make sure you do things properly – make sure you have permission from your mortgage provider to rent out the property, get yourself on the landlord registration list and ensure that you register for self assessment with HMRC too. If you get all of this done at the beginning and make sure to keep proper records. If you do this properly from the beginning then come tax season filing should be a breeze!
2) Screen your tenants
We’ve all heard horror stories about the tenants from hell so it’s really important that you screen potential occupants well in order to yourself the hassle. Get references, make sure that their salary can cover the rent that you’re charging and if you’re unsure then ask them to provide a guarantor. Most importantly, if you’re screening them yourself, trust your gut. Sometimes you just know without really knowing why if something is or isn’t a good idea. The last thing you want is missed or late rent payments when the mortgage still has to be paid on time.
3) But treat them well
Most tenants are very reasonable and will only complain about things that are having an adverse effect on their life. You don’t have to have high-end fixtures and fittings throughout the property but it should be homely. The more welcome they feel the more likely they are to stay long-term which is what you want really.
4) Do regular inspections
My letting agent do quarterly inspections on the property to ensure that it is being kept in good order and to check if there are any minor repairs that are required, this stops issues building up and the tenants getting resentful. It’ll also give you peace of mind that your property is still in one piece!
5) Always be prepared
Things will go wrong so make sure you’re prepared for them. My letting agent has approval to go ahead with any works deemed and emergency up to a certain amount. I keep a separate bank account for everything related to my rental property and any money I make from it just stays in there just in case. I also have landlord insurance as a backup because you never know what might happen.