Top tips when becoming a landlord

It is a great time to invest in property as house prices are predicted to rise over the coming decades, however becoming a landlord can take time and needs through research. Below our are top tips for landlords to consider before renting a property:

  1. Ask whether the letting agent you are using is a member of a professional body. Agents who belong to professional organisations have to adhere to strict codes of practice. At Watsons we are members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
  2. Make sure you have a basic knowledge of relevant laws and any legal requirements for residential property. This will prepare you for any problems which may arise in the future.
  3. Ensure there is a written agreement between with your agent and your tenant, this will help you understand exactly what responsibilities all parties have such as; repairs, utility bills and arrangements for paying or collecting rent.
  4. Undertake referencing checks for a prospective tenant with former landlords, this will reduce your risks. It also helps if you can collect their next of kin details, employment details and a document to prove identity.
  5. Carry out a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy to reduce chances of disputes at the end of the tenancy. Ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned before the start of the tenancy, this will set a standard for the tenants to reach when vacating.
  6. Ensure the tenants deposit is protected in a government approved scheme. At Watsons we manage this process and ensure all deposits are held in a specific approved account.
  7. Provide a gas safety certificate when gas appliances are in the property. At Watsons we can manage this process for you and ensure the annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe engineer.
  8. Provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to show the energy performance of a property whenever the property is let to a new tenant. We can arrange this and ensure it is regularly monitored.
  9. Keep the property in good repair – local authorities have the powers to take action against you if the property contains serious health and safety hazards including installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed. Any additional contents in the property need to comply with product safety legislation.
  10. Inform your mortgage company and insurer if you intend to rent out a property you previously lived in as owner. There may be restrictions on your mortgage and you may need to amend your insurance to cover Building, Public Liability and Rent Guard.
  11. If considering an online lettings agent find out how they manage complaints and repairs. Although they may be slightly cheaper they are not local and manage thousands of property nationally, do they have a procedure in place with local contractors.
  12. If rent is late and falls into arrears ensure you or your letting agent starts a dialogue with the tenant early on. It could be a simple error which is quickly corrected.

If you would like more information about becoming a landlord or would like to discuss Watsons letting agency services please contact our Lettings Operations Manager, Andrea Weyer on 01603 226504 or email on a.weyer@watsons-property.co.uk



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