The buy-to-let market offers great investment opportunities, but not every first-time landlord will be able to get it right. How do you find a suitable mortgage, deal with difficult tenants, and keep up with all the essential maintenance work? There are many things to consider, so if you become a landlord without doing your homework first, you are likely to live to regret it.
Here are six common mistakes new landlords often make, and our advice on how best to avoid them.
1. Failing to Secure Good Tenants
Checking references is one of the best ways to avoid getting a tenant who does not pay their rent on time or fails to respect your property. Although it is no guarantee, a rigorous check will review their rental history, income, and employment status, giving you the peace of mind you need. It is difficult to evict a tenant once they have moved in, so getting these checks completed will pay off in the long run.
2. Failing to Keep Tenants Happy
Once you have secured your tenants, you will want to keep hold of them to ensure your property is financially protected. By responding to your tenants’ requests and making sure their home is comfortable, you are more likely to be successful. Although the nature of the association is a business transaction, it is worth building relationships with your tenants to make sure the experience is a positive one for everyone.
3. Not Taking a Business Approach
You should take your role as a landlord seriously by managing the business in a professional manner. Accounting software will help you to organise your finances, streamline your business, and increase your profits. Be sure to document all communication with your tenants, and respond to any problems as swiftly as possible.
4. Forgetting to Budget
There are many hidden costs associated with letting a property, so it is necessary to have immediate access to funds in case something breaks down. A savings account for the property is a good idea to stop you from running into trouble. Maintenance and repairs are a huge financial responsibility for landlords, so they definitely need to be considered from the outset.
5. Not Creating a Property Inventory
By failing to have a property inventory in place, you run the risk of your tenants taking advantage of you. It is essential to complete an inventory before your tenants move in to help settle any future disputes over damages and deposit deductions. There is a lot of legislation around your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, and failure to comply can even result in fines and criminal convictions.
6. Not Knowing Your Landlord Responsibilities
The tenancy agreement should allow for regular property checks to pick up any potential problems because you have a legal responsibility to keep your tenants safe. A professional property management company can act on your behalf if you are unable to manage the property yourself. A gas safety certificate must be obtained every year, and fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors need to have been installed.
Speaking to other landlords and agents will help you keep up-to-date with all the latest legislation and find key solutions to common problems. Plus, it may be worth joining a landlord association for further support and advice.
Although being a property landlord brings many great benefits, it is all too easy to experience difficulties, especially when you are starting out. For more information, contact your local professional property management company.
For information and advice on buy-to-let insurance, call NIS on 01609 773 748 or request a quote today