21 Things Landlords Should Do

  1. Get to know your tenant – Getting to know your tenants may allow you to establish an open relationship with them and will make future communication easier. It might also help you avoid rent arrears as tenants won’t be paying rent to a faceless landlord, but to someone, they have met and known.
  2. Show your property to the prospective tenants in person – This will allow you to see who might live in your house or apartment and what they’re like. Face-to-face contact can’t be replaced with emails and phone calls, the same reason why a job interview takes place in person.
  3. Ask questions – While showing the prospective tenant around your property don’t forget to ask them questions. Ask why they want to live in this neighbourhood, why they are moving, what’s their occupation (as this is closely connected to lifestyle), who else would be living with them, do they have pets? Towards the end don’t forget to ask them if they have any questions.
  4. Reference your prospecting tenants – Always perform a background check of your prospective tenants. Even if the first impression was great and they gave all the right answers to your questions, you’ll want to be sure that they can pay the rent on time and won’t change your (and neighbours’) life into a nightmare.
  5. Cover all possibilities in the agreement – Try to cover as many scenarios in your tenancy agreement as possible. If you know that you would have to increase rent at some point, include this in the agreement. Even if you don’t have to use it, you’ll be covered. If pets are involved, cover the topic of damages caused by them. You might also want to cover the issues of subletting and have a smoking policy.
  6. Perform an inventory and take photos – Before giving your new tenant the key to their new home, conduct a complete inventory – the Make and Check-in. This will allow you to keep track of the condition of the property and its furnishings. Inventories are particularly important now that tenancy deposit schemes are in place, as they form critical evidence in the case of deposit disputes.
  7. Prepare a welcome pack – with all information your tenants might need including documents required by law to make things easier for you and your tenant, you can prepare a folder that includes all necessary instructions and information about the property and its equipment. Ensure you have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in hand before you advertise, and don’t forget to share it and the property’s Gas Safety Certificate – (GSC) with your tenants before they move in.
  8. Take proper care of the deposit – Always bank the deposit in an interest-earning account.
  9. Protect your rental incomeRent paid by your tenants is your income, which often goes towards paying a mortgage. Banks don’t wait for payment of your mortgage instalment. Consider sending your tenants email or SMS reminders or set up a rent collection via Direct Debit. This will ensure that your tenants won’t forget about payment and you will receive it on time.
  10. Respect your tenant – When you find your new tenant remember to treat them with respect. Avoid visiting the property unannounced and respect their privacy. It’s your property but their home.
  11. Protect yourself from problematic tenants – If your tenants are causing any kind of trouble or if you suspect that they might accuse you of harassment, keep copies of all letters and emails you exchange with them. You can also keep a diary of all conversations that took place between you.
  12. Get repairs done promptly – There are at least two good reasons to be quick about resolving and technical problem that might occur. One is to keep your tenants happy. You would not put up with a leaking tap or lack of heating for weeks and neither would they. The second reason is more technical; small problems tend to grow with time. What was once a minor damp problem might turn into a rotten floor or a damaged window frame.
  13. Have a trusted tradesman – When it comes to dealing with repairs, there is only so much you can do yourself. Sometimes professional help is necessary. For those occasions, having a trusted tradesman is essential. You can either use property management services or ask for recommendations from friends and neighbours. The Internet is also a great source of information.
  14. Consider insurance – Your property is your source of income, securing your income should be your priority. Therefore, insuring your property might be a reasonable step. Good insurance will cover building damages, a broken boiler, theft by the tenant, and other damages.
  15. Reduce the costs of property management – Always look for new ways to decrease the cost of your property’s management. Is your management company the best possible? Are your tradesmen worth their pay? What fees are you paying to your letting agent? Assessing the real costs of maintaining your property is easier when you keep accurate records of all the expenses that you made towards it.
  16. Keep track of tax and legal changes – As regulations and laws are constantly changing, it is essential to always remain up-to-date.
  17. Keep an eye on the local market – Regularly check listings in the area of your properties to be aware of any fluctuations in the market. Check how much should you charge for rent? What’s the average standard of properties in the area? What’s usually included? Those questions might be answered with some local listings analysis.
  18. Do your research before buying a Buy-To-Let – Researching local listings is also crucial when you’re considering to purchase a new Buy-To-Let (BTL) property. Listings may provide you with information about the demand for renting properties, rental rates, and size of the most popular properties.
  19. Advertise your property effectively – When the time comes to look for a new tenant make sure that you advertise your property most effectively from both a money and time perspective. An empty property can be a financial burden and finding good tenants as fast as possible is essential. Look for services that will allow you to reach as many people as possible in the shortest time.
  20. Make your tenants aware of their duties and responsibilities – and encourage them to address any issue they may have before and during the tenancy.
  21. Keep Digital Records of Everything – As a landlord, you should keep records of everything: deposit receipts, rent receipts, maintenance receipts, and a record of all landlord-tenant communication. Digital records can be securely organized without creating paper clutter. Holding onto receipts and communication records is a good idea in case legal issues emerge. If you have records of transactions and communications, then you are more likely to prove you’re right in court. Having evidence to support your claims is always a good idea. Professionally manage your business by keeping good records. Storing records digitally is the most organized, up-to-date way to do it.

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