Following recent articles in the press regarding the fact that thousands of rogue landlords are making life a living hell for tenants, it is even more important now for decent, reputable and honest landlords to know what they are getting themselves into.
Whilst renting out your property can be a profitable long-term investment, it can also be fraught with pitfalls which can leave a landlord seriously out of pocket. There are a few vital points to bear in mind:
Make sure you research the rent levels in your local area to establish the amount of rent you should charge. Then make sure you are legally compliant – for example, if the property is to be used for sharers, you may require a licence from the local authority.
Remember that you must comply with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This requires deposits to be protected for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies, the threshold of which changes to £100,000 from 1 October 2010. It ensures tenants' deposits are secure and assists with any disputes that may arise when the tenancy ends.
Beware of Rogue Letting Agents
If you think working with a letting agent will help tenants to find your property, and perhaps the agent can manage the property as well, then be very careful who you choose. There are many unregulated and unethical agents who can cause all manner of problems for you and your tenants. A good agent will be willing to find you reliable tenants, carry out the necessary credit reference checks and thereby help you to protect your investment.
The same agent should also be able to manage maintenance and repairs, saving you unnecessary hassle. It is worth checking the agencies' credentials and seeking if they are registered with associations such as ARLA (the Association of Residential Letting Agents).
There Are No Short-Cuts!
A good quality property is more likely to attract a higher-quality and more loyal tenant, so make sure the appearance and presentation of the property is excellent – and you will then achieve a competitive level of rent. You needn't splash out too much but make sure the decor and furnishings are in good condition and that the property has an air of being cared for. Remember to make sure all the electrical checks are carried out – and on the central heating system too. Whilst beauty is important – compliance is vital!
Take a thorough inventory of the property – including not only the contents, but their condition. Include the state of the decor on walls, ceiling and doors. If you wish to off-load this and have someone do it for you, check they are registered with the Association of Professional Inventory Providers. A good inventory will make sure there are no arguments later on.
Make Sure You Are Covered
Ensure that you have specialist buildings and contents insurance – without a specific reference to the property being let-out to tenants, you may find your insurance is null and void. Take good advice from an expert – call Westhill Insurance Service and they will be able to tell you all that you need to know. Letting property is an insurance minefield – so get the best advice. Ask also about taking out insurance to protect against a tenant not paying rent – a very sensible and sound investment in these tough times!
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.