Online letting agent, Upad, have written a guest blog on their top 10 essential tips for landlords to help create successful tenancy.
Whilst we can’t put our hands on our hearts and guarantee you a totally stress-free tenancy, these 10 tips should make your life a lot easier.
1. Vet your tenants
Run credit checks and get references from their current employer and, more importantly, from their previous landlord. Ask how well they treated their property, if they paid the rent on time and why they’re leaving. If they don’t have a good excuse, be suspicious.
Always meet everyone who’s going to be living in your property face-to-face and don;t be afraid to ask lots of questions, including basic stuff such as where they work and how long they intend to stay, but also more personal information such as why they like your property and how they spend their time. The tenant might think you’re being a bit nosey, but if they want your property they won’t mind!
If anything about them makes you feel uncomfortable, find someone else.
2. Get insurance
You never know when things might go wrong, so make sure you’ve got a robust landlord insurance policy which includes public liability cover, so if your tenant falls down the stairs and decides to sue or there’s a break in, a fire or a flood, you won’t lose the shirt off your back.
For extra piece of mind, you can also take out rent guarantee insurance, which will cover the rent if your tenant doesn’t pay. To be eligible, the tenant will need to pass a credit check.
3. Put everything in black and white
You don’t absolutely have to have a written tenancy agreement, but if you don’t, how do you and your tenant know what’s been agreed? And if you don’t have a professional inventory, you would be unable to support any claims you make in a dispute.
Make sure your tenancy agreement is as detailed as possible, and if there’s more than one tenant, it should state that they are jointly liable for the property and the rent.
4. Be prepared, be thorough
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sort out any maintenance issues before a new tenant moves in, so you don’t get lots of complaints from day one.
5. Provide contacts
Give your tenant phone numbers for tried and trusted plumbers, electricians and handymen so they can arrange emergency repairs themselves if you’re not around, but warn them that if they have caused the fault, they’ll have to pay.
6. Have the boiler serviced
Try to avoid boiler break downs and the heap of stress that causes by having it serviced once a year. Do it when you have your annual gas safety check. It shouldn’t cost more than £60 to £75 and it could save you money in the long run.
7. Carry out regular inspections
It might feel like a chore and if your tenants haven’t reported any problems you might be tempted to let sleeping dogs lie and never visit your property, but this could be a recipe for disaster.
You can’t trust tenants to tell you – or even to notice – if anything is wrong. They might not spot a leak in a room they barely use, they won’t check the gutters and even if they do spot they’re overflowing, they might not bother to let you know.
Visit your property at least every six months and always after periods of unusually bad weather and hopefully you’ll be able to spot any problems before they become serious.
Remember that old saying, a stitch in time saves nine?!
8. Don’t be on call 24/7
Tenants will contact you when it’s convenient to them, so they’re most likely to ring first thing in the morning, after work, during their lunch break or at weekends. Avoid feeling like you’re constantly on call by insisting they only ring you during normal business hours, or when it’s most convenient to you, unless they have a genuine emergency. You might have to explain that “an emergency” is a fire or flood, not a blown light bulb!
9. Provide as little as possible
The more elaborately your property is equipped, the more items you’ll have to maintain. Avoid providing portable electrical appliances such as kettles, irons and TVs as these are the sort of things that break easily and unless you have them checked regularly by an electrician they might even be dangerous.
Tenants generally expect to find ovens, fridges, washing machines and hobs in rental properties, but don’t bother with other “luxury” items like tumble dryers and dishwashers unless you have a large or top end property.
10. Be organised
Make a note of important dates, such as when your tenant’s contract and your gas safety record expires and give yourself plenty of time to arrange renewals. Don’t leave everything until the last minute in case things take longer than expected to sort out.