4 tips for first-time landlords

As the housing market slows, increasingly more people are being driven to rent property – enjoying less commitment, expense and responsibility. However, given the current climate, people who have struggled to sell their property are becoming landlords for the first time, opting to rent it out instead.

Becoming a landlord sure has its perks. Providing the property is occupied – and tenants are paying their rent on time – there is a consistent source of income. But it’s no secret that a lot of work goes into owning a rental property, which means you need to have plenty of time on your hands to:

  • advertise the property
  • find tenants
  • arrange viewings
  • collect deposits
  • deal with tenant queries
  • coordinate maintenance and repairs
  • collect rent

With the demand for rental properties being higher than ever before, there really is no better time to generate some extra income as a landlord. But where do you start?

Here we share a few top tips for first-time landlords:

1. Prepare your property for tenants

Before potential tenants view your property, you need to decide whether you’re renting it furnished or unfurnished. If you’re going to be providing contents, ensure you have the basics covered, i.e. a sofa, TV and coffee table in the lounge; a bed, wardrobe and bedside table in the bedroom, and tables and chairs in the dining room. Either way, make sure that every room is spotless and presentable and don’t leave any DIY jobs unfinished.

Although getting the décor and furnishing right might not increase the value of your property too much, it can help you to improve your chances of securing a tenant in today’s competitive market. And making your property pet-friendly can attract long-term, trustworthy tenants too.

2. Know your legal responsibilities

Being a landlord can be highly rewarding, but it comes with its fair share of legal responsibilities and challenges. Typically, you must ensure the safety of tenants and make sure that the appropriate measures are in place. This includes things like smoke alarms on each floor, carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with a coal fire or wood-burning stove, gas safety certificates for appliances, and access to clean, potable water.

Another thing to point out is that, as a landlord, you need to protect the tenancy deposit with a deposit protection scheme that is approved by the UK government. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine and make it difficult for the deposit to be returned at the end of the tenancy agreement.

There are many other legalities to be mindful of, so it’s well worth taking the time to understand your rights as a landlord and what your tenants are entitled to whilst staying at your property.

3. Take out landlord insurance

Many first-time landlords believe that their standard home insurance policy covers them when they rent out their property, but this isn’t the case. Although landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it can protect your financial interests and give you peace of mind should anything go wrong during the tenancy.

A good insurance policy will offer protection for both you and your tenants, as well as a loss of rent, unoccupied periods, emergency cover, accidental damage, legal expenses and liabilities. Policies that include rent protection and guarantee are also favourable.

4. Use a letting agent

If you don’t have the time to manage the rental yourself, or you don’t fancy having to deal with tricky tenants or chasing late payments, using a letting agent is a great idea. Although their services will come at a cost, they can offer as much or as little support as you need.

For example, if you just need a hand marketing the property and finding tenants – and you can sort maintenance, repairs and inspections yourself – opt for ‘let only’. But if you want even less hassle, many letting agents in Warrington, like Easylet Residential, can fully manage your rental property and take care of every aspect. They are on hand to guide and advise you every step of the way – not only making your job as a landlord a breeze but providing you with the peace of mind that your rental is in safe hands.