3 things you need to know about becoming a landlord

Whether you’re starting out as a buy to let investor or you’ve decided to rent out a property for other reasons, there are certain things you’ll need to know. As a landlord, you’ll have specific responsibilities - and there are a range of pitfalls to avoid too. It’s important to make sure you understand these before you welcome your first tenants. To help you get clued up, here are three important points to bear in mind.

1. You have to make sure your property is safe
Perhaps your most fundamental obligation as a landlord is to ensure that your rental property is safe for people to live in. As part of this, you’ll have to make sure all gas and electrical equipment is properly installed and maintained. You’ll also need to fit suitable smoke alarms, make sure that any furnishings you provide are fire-safe and ensure there is always access to escape routes in the event of a blaze. Your property should also have secure windows and doors.

Bear in mind that if an emergency arises that makes your rental property insecure or unsafe for tenants, you’ll be required to resolve the problem and cover the cost of repairs. This could mean anything from fixing broken doors or windows to replacing faulty cooking equipment. So that you’re not left counting the cost of these repairs, it pays to get appropriate insurance. Fortunately, there are policies that are specifically tailored to include this. For example, Landlord insurance from HomeLet can include emergency assistance protection. You can find out more about your cover options online.

2. It pays to get tenant references
Even if you’re in a hurry to get your first tenants, it’s important not to rush the process of selecting the right people. If you’re not careful at this stage, you could be left counting the cost later on. After all, while the majority of tenants are trustworthy, some fail to keep up with their rental payments, damage properties or cause problems for neighbours. The best way to reduce 
the risk of choosing the wrong tenants is to get references that confirm people are who they say they are, have the means to pay the necessary rent and have a history of being reliable renters. You could try to do this yourself, but it’s much easier to get specialist tenant referencing service providers to do it on your behalf. If you rent your property out through a letting agency, they may include referencing checks as part of their service.

3. There are rules governing access to your rental property
You might be used to being able to walk into your property unannounced at any time, but as soon as tenants move into it, this changes. You have a right to inspect your rental property’s state of repair, but under the law you must give your tenants a minimum notice period of 24 hours before you do so. Many tenancy agreements also specify that these visits have to be at ‘reasonable times’ to ensure your tenants can be present if they want to be. However, you can enter your rental home at very short notice if you need to conduct emergency repairs. It’s important to read up on and understand your rights of access before your tenants move in, to avoid any unnecessary conflict.

These are just a few of the issues you need to be be aware of before you become a landlord. To ensure you’re fully in the know, it’s important to do some in-depth research. You should be able to find the information you need online.

- This is a guest post.

1 comment:

  1. Great tips
    References are so important know of a few people who have had nightmare tenants all because they didn't check the references thoroughly