Five things every first time Landlord should know

So, whether planned or accidental, you find yourself about to become a Landlord. What you imagine will, by and large, be predicated by your experiences garnered as a Tenant. Maybe you recently rented or still are a Tenant- in which case the memories are quite fresh but, more than likely, you have been out of the 'renting game' for some time. Either way, the likelihood is you have a lot to learn.

Here are our top 5 tips for newbie Landlords:

1. Finance- Mortgages & Insurance

Make sure that you have the following in place before you let your East London property. If you have a mortgage on the property, and it's not specifically a 'buy to let' product, then you will need to liaise with your lender and/or broker to make sure you are permitted to let out your property. You should also think about insurance- the vital ones being:

  • Buildings & Contents Insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Rent & Legal expenses warranty/insurance

2. Alone, online, hybrid or full-service agency

You have an almost unlimited array of options however you wish to go about letting out your property- from doing everything yourself to low-cost cut-back online offerings to hybrids to the full service of a quality professional agent. There is no right or wrong as everyone's circumstances are different. Key things for you to consider here are:

  • How much spare time do you have for the property?
  • What rent do you expect?
  • What services can you afford?
  • Do you understand all the legislation of being a landlord?
  • What would you do if the boiler broke down whilst on holiday?
  • What would happen if the Tenant couldn't pay the rent?

3. Legislative & Regulatory compliance

Renting has changed and, if you haven't been a Tenant of late, you'd be forgiven for missing this. Landlords are now required to comply with over 100 pieces of legislation (with some advising this is closer to 150)- many of which carry hefty fines or even jail time for non-compliance. The information is out there, however, if you intend to 'go it alone' or use a cut-back service it is your responsibility to make sure you understand all the laws and that you are fully compliant. Key pieces of legislation to look at (but by no means an exhaustive list) are:

  • gas & electrical safety
  • Right to Rent checks
  • AML (Anti Money Laundering) checks
  • Legionnaires checks
  • Smoke & CO alarms
  • Tenancy Deposit reg's
  • HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupnacy) license
  • Mandatory property licensing

4. Understand your target tenant

It is always good to understand the target market your property for let is aimed at. Customising the way the property is fitted out, decorated and (if applicable) furnished can have a huge impact on the level of rent you achieve, the void (empty) periods you encounter and the calibre of tenants you attract (and their attitude towards the property). Like most things in life, you are better going for mid-range solutions of better quality than the cheapest solutions you can find. Don't let your personal taste rule these decisions- you're a Landlord now it head over heart time.

5. Tax

We recommend regularly reviewing your tax status with a suitable accounting professional. You are best including your accountant or FA in all of your property plans as they will be best placed to ensure you can minimise your tax liability. With a recent array of tax changes for Landlords, it has never been more important for you to understand and plan your finances accordingly. A landlord looking to keep a property for life and then pass on will have very different planning from a Landlord looking to build a sizeable portfolio over 10-25 years which will be different from a Landlord looking to sell up after 5-10 years. Figure out what you want to achieve and then start planning the best way to go about achieving that.

The value of the modern letting agent....

We feel strongly that Landlords get better value than ever before from full-service, quality letting agents. You can read more about our thoughts on this topc on our last blog here. Of course, our friendly and helpful team of letting agents based in Shoreditch welcome a call or email to discuss your needs. Call our offices on 02070331901 or email us to find out more about your options when letting out your property for the first time.