Being A Good Landlord – How Hard Can It Be?

12th January 2012

In the current property market many would be sellers faced with capital losses on their investment have turned to the rental sector. With many prospective purchasers unable to meet the currently lending criteria landlords have seen rents increase over the last few years.

For property owners thinking of letting their property there are a lot of things that need to be considered. Many landlords are not aware of the regulations surrounding renting and if things go wrong this can easily lead to financial penalties, stress and in some situations legal proceedings.

Prior to letting your property you will require:

  • A tenancy agreement.
  • A GAS Safe certificate, which is an annual certificate that checks any gas fired appliance installations.
  • All appliances in the property need to be up to standard, this must be done before the tenant moves into the property and carried out annually.
  • The building and any furniture left in the property must comply with current fire regulation standards, this can also include carpets.
  • Other regulations to consider are Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulation 1994, General Product Safety Regulations 1994, Smoke Detectors Act 1991 and even the Building Standards Regulations.
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme is another very important aspect, the deposit must be placed in a scheme within 30 days. This is not as simple as it first appears as there are several options and companies to consider and you must ensure it is done properly as you would incur a substantial charge.
  • If you have a mortgage you will need specific permission from your lender prior to letting your property.
  • You will need to advise your insurance company of your intentions

With your property in order it is essential to find a good tenant and that is not always as easy as many think. There are undoubtedly many people looking for rental properties at this time but discerning the best tenants from the rest takes a little guile and skill as it is important to consider issues such as:

  • References
  • Ability to pay the rent
  • Pets in your property
  • The length of tenancy

The best tenants will be mindful of who their landlord will be and they will often be thinking, will they be:

  • Reliable?
  • Well organised?
  • Efficient at fixing any problems that occur with the property?

A good landlord will have considered the eventuality that at some point a fault will develop at the property for which they are responsible for and will have reliable contractors and support contracts in place to deal with such occurrences to ensure that firstly the property is fully repaired quickly and effectively and also in such a way that does not overly inconvenience their tenant.

From the landlords point of view allowing certain improvements to be done by the tenant may increase the value of the property and in turn make it easier to re-let in the future. Of course, that may not always be the case and all landlords should consider carefully before allowing any work to be carried out by the tenant, such as making sure the work is up to your standards and undertaken by qualified contractors.

For some you will have the time to manage your own property portfolio for others you may simply not have the time nor expertise to do so. For those in the latter categories the thought will quickly turn to who is capable and qualified to look after what are some of the most valuable assets you will ever own.

A letting agent should be both knowledgeable of the local area and the of all the law surrounding the management of property. They should be experienced in dealing with the type of property you have. A good agent will be able to explain how they can help should things go wrong during the tenancy. Reputable agents will be members of an appropriate body and be regulated by that body to ensure that firstly you receive the appropriate level of service and secondly should the relationship between agent and landlord deteriorate then the landlord has the means of instigating a complaints procedure they can have confidence in.

If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article please contact your nearest George F White office and speak to our experience Property Management team.

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