Some people fall into it almost accidentally. Some people plan for it meticulously for years and years. Others seem almost born to it.
However you end up getting into it, becoming a landlord can be a rollercoaster ride - full of thrills and spills, sometimes bumpy, often enthralling! If you are relatively new to the game or you’re thinking of investing in your first buy-to-let, here are some top tips for ensuring you don’t end up feeling green about the gills.
Treat it like a job
One of the things that catches many new landlords out is that first time their tenants call to tell them the fridge has packed in or they need them to come and fix the boiler. “Why are they calling me?” they wonder. Well, that’s your job - as a landlord, you are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property. If you go into renting property expecting not to have to do any work, you will be in for a nasty shock. Like they say, you don’t earn money for nothing.
Treat your tenants like customers
As per the last point, when you become a landlord what you are effectively doing is going into business. Your tenants are your customers, and what is the first rule of customer service? When you hear horror stories about dreadful landlords, you should think of it like this - when those tenants up sticks and leave, that landlord loses their income. It doesn’t make sense, so when you get good tenants who pay their rent on time and respect your property, do everything in your power to keep hold of them. It’s easier than having to go out and find new people to pay you rent.
Discuss your tenancy agreement with a lawyer
The truth is, very few tenants in rented properties ever sit down and read their tenancy agreement. They’re pretty boring. But as a landlord, you don’t have much choice. There are all sorts of regulations you have to make sure you comply with and, if the terms of your contract don’t stand up legally, you might not be entitled to even get paid. When you become a landlord, you should ask a lawyer to draw up your tenancy agreement, and spend time discussing all the terms and conditions you want to include - like, for example, who is responsible for repairing damage caused by the tenant.
Weigh up the value of a management agency
If you are the sort that doesn’t like to be woken up at 3am to go and do some emergency plumbing, you might want to consider the value to hiring a lettings and management agency to do all the dirty work for you. For around 10% of your rental income, you may be glad of the undisturbed sleep.
Get your insurance in order
Finally, if you supply any appliances or furnishings with the property - cookers, refrigerators, freezers, beds, sofas etc - you are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these (although clauses about acceptable use and wear and tear can be built into your tenancy agreement…) This will mean they are not covered by your tenant’s home contents insurance and, if they fail, you will have to fork out for their repair or replacement. A similar principle applies to boilers, which every landlord must supply, whether the property is furnished or unfurnished.
If you don’t want to be landed with any nasty unexpected repair bills as soon as something goes wrong, it is sensible to take out your own insurance on anything you provide with the property. Starting at just £1.49 - yes, you read that right - Row.co.uk offers comprehensive cover for landlords to protect all appliances and boilers in every rental property they own. We also provide Landlord Home Emergency Cover, which includes 24/7 emergency repair call out, meaning you can get your beauty sleep and save a few quid on a letting agent.