Being a landlord comes with many responsibilities, and how you choose to handle them won’t just impact your tenants, but your business as a whole. Read on to find out our top tips for becoming a successful landlord.
While the majority of landlords (56%) use lettings agents to manage their investment properties, that still leaves 44% who manage tenancies (and tenants) themselves. Of course, the main benefit of this is no agencies fees, but it also gives you more control over your properties. We know that landlords can have a bad reputation, so much so, that 59% of our property investors said they wanted the British Media to stop using the ‘L’-word altogether. To plant yourself firmly in the ‘good’ landlord camp (of which the majority are anyway), and to help you get the most out of your portfolio, here are six tips to ensure success.
Ensure your property is safe and compliant
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to provide your tenants with a safe and secure home. This responsibility is why you enter into legal agreements with your tenants, and it’s vital, from the outset, to meet compliance standards. By clearly understanding your tenancy agreements, you can ensure your property meets the correct safety criteria. When creating a tenancy agreement there are plenty of templates available from reputable sources such as GOV.uk. Having a clear tenancy agreement helps both you and your tenants to understand what responsibilities you each hold, but it can also be beneficial to add a personal touch. Seek legal advice before doing this to ensure your agreement is still compliant.
To ensure your property meets safety standards, it’s good to have a readily available checklist. Noting down when fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and gas and electrical equipment need to be checked will help you stay ahead.
Treat your tenants with respect
Whilst you may be eager to check that your property is being looked after and is well-kept, you must remember that it is your tenant’s home. Use the proper procedure and notice period to inspect the property, and give suitable time to let new tenants settle in first. If and when you organise inspections, try to find a convenient time for both parties.
A fundamental way to ensure a good relationship with your tenants is by establishing trust and good communication. When you make yourself available for your tenants’ needs and sort out any issues or problems they may have promptly, they will know they can rely on you. Similarly, being honest with your tenants if you can’t deal with an issue straight away is just as important as getting the job done. No one wants to feel ignored, especially when it’s a problem with your home. When you do get round to completing a job at the property, ensure it’s to a good standard, as this will prove you are a respectable landlord and want them to feel at home.
Choose who you let to wisely
As important as it is to gain trust and communicate effectively with your tenant, you also want to make sure that they are people you want to let out to. It may be tempting to sign a contract with your first applicant to avoid void periods and ensure profits, but in the long run, you will benefit more from an initial meeting to see if they will be a good tenant for you. Having to chase for rents will have a negative financial impact on your investments and finding the property in a dire condition will likely make you unfairly strict with future tenants. You should also check that any prospective tenants have the right to rent in the UK.
Know your business
You should be thoroughly knowledgeable of all your responsibilities as a landlord, as your property portfolio is a business. Knowing what you need to do and when will help you form better relationships with your tenants, making it easier for you to perform your role. Similarly, taking charge of your properties and having a system in place for any issues or risks that you may face, as you would a business, will help to protect your ventures. If you’re new to the business, there are many online communities and resources that can help and provide support, such as iHowz Landlords Association and Property Tribes.
Ensure your tenants feel they can contact you if necessary
There may be a contract agreement in place between you and your tenants, but it’s still important to remain approachable. Letting them know how to contact you and that you are available for them should they need it will establish the important trust between you. If it’s appropriate, going the extra mile for your tenants will also make your job easier. When a new tenant moves in, stocking the property with tea or coffee, cleaning products, and bathroom essentials will help them feel straight at home and get the relationship off to a good start. It also proves that you are there for them as a landlord should they need it.
While there are no fail-safe instructions on how to be a good landlord, these six points will help ensure you’re on the right track. By forming good relationships with the right tenants and approaching your property investment as a business (regardless of whether you invest in your personal name or a limited company or have one or one hundred properties), you’ll be starting on the right path.
If you are looking to get onto the property investment ladder, or your next investment, then please do get in touch. Our expert team of mortgage brokers can help source the best deal for you to make your job as a landlord that much easier. Submit an enquiry here, or give us a call on 0345 345 6788.
6th April 2022