Advice for Landlords
Whether you are a landlord with one property or an experienced portfolio landlord with a substantial number of properties the following advice is easily forgotten or overlooked in the normal course of our daily lives:
- Before letting your property make sure it is of a good standard both decoratively and structurally – it’s a common adage that you should never expect someone to live in a home that you couldn’t live in – they won’t look after it!.
- Make sure you understand the law relating to assured shorthold tenancies and the formalities that need to be adhered to – even if you are using an agent.
- Avoid letting your property on an informal basis – even if it is to friends and family. Personally, I avoid letting to family and friends at all cost.
- Make sure you reference any prospective tenant, or that the agent does this on your behalf – if using an agent, make it a condition if possible that you are provided with a copy of the reference before you agree to let the property. If doing the referencing yourself, there are specialist referencing companies that can do this for you for a small fee.
- Be wary of accepting tenants that cannot reference properly and are keen to pay the first few months up front, even if recommended by an agent. Take extra special care in these cases, and insist on seeing employment references, previous addresses, as well as bank statements. Whilst not all people paying several months up front who cannot reference are fraudsters, some will be.
- Make sure you have a professional inventory carried out – it will save you trouble in the future.
- Treat your letting like the business it is! – whilst it is good to be on good terms with your tenants, familiarity does breed contempt. Not all tenants will take advantage of your good nature, but some will. Remain fair and business like.
- Take a proactive approach – even if you have a letting agent. Keep records of any issues, repairs that are undertaken, particularly if the tenant starts to run into rent arrears.