Whether you are an ‘accidental’ landlord or you have bought a property with the intention of renting it out to generate an income, there are certain things that you need to do to make sure that is a smooth process not only for you, but your tenants, and if you use them, your letting agents as well.
In the UK, rights when it comes to the rental market tend to lean more on the tenant’s side. Obviously, while they live there, it is their home, but ultimately, you own the property, so you hold particular responsibilities.
Before you get into the rental market, it is important that you have considered all aspects of it and are aware of your rights and responsibilities. Here, we look at a few top tips for first-time landlords.
Carry out periodic inspections
Regular – but not intrusive – inspections are an essential part of renting your property out. While most tenants are responsible, there are always going to be a small number that may not be taking quite as good care over the property as you would hope. Carrying out inspections once a quarter or thereabout is a good way of keeping on top of any issues. It also gives the tenants a chance to feedback on any issues that they may be having.
Keep on top of maintenance
As a landlord, certain aspects of maintenance are your responsibility. The structure of the building, for example, and things like plumbing and electrics. Depending on the sort of tenancy you have – items like furniture and appliances may also be in your remit. If this is the case, make sure you can get parts to fix any problems – it will save you a whole heap of time and cash if you have somewhere you know you can go straight to for problems.
Make sure that if a tenant contacts you about a potential issue that you take steps to sort it out as quickly as you can and keep the tenant updated with what is going on and when they can expect things to be resolved.
Give your tenants flexibility
This is a tricky one. As we have said above, while your tenants are in the property and paying rent, it is their house, and so they should be allowed some flexibility in terms of hanging up pictures or painting a wall. However, you need to be clear in how far this can go. Would you be happy if they started changing the kitchen cupboards or ripping out fireplaces?
Make it clear in your tenancy agreement what they can and can’t do, and whether you expect things to be put back as it were at the end of their tenancy.
Handle emergency repairs immediately
As a landlord, you owe some responsibilities to your tenants concerning a let residence. Among many other things, ensure that you instantly handle all the emergency repairs. Emergency repair issues will mean that your tenants won’t have access to hot water, electricity, running water, bathroom use, or some basic facilities like windows and doors will be missing.
You are responsible for ensuring that your tenants have an uninterrupted water supply by carrying out repairs before things get worse. When a tenant raises issues about their water supply problem, ensure that you contact a certified plumber and have all the major problems fixed.
Being a good landlord is about give and take. Try not to breathe down your tenant’s necks too much if they are paying their rent and keeping the property in good shape, but also do not be worried about taking action if the relationship starters to break down.
Until next time, thank you for reading.
Helen, Nial and Lewis.