5 Tips For Accidental Landlords
by Rizwan Osman on 8th May 2019
What is an accidental landlord?
An accidental landlord is anybody who unexpectedly finds themselves renting out a property. For whatever reason, they’ve become a landlord by accident, and they soon discover that being a landlord is not as simple as doing the dusting, popping up an ad, and pocketing the rent.
For example, there are over 150 laws protecting tenants, buildings and landlords themselves. How does somebody who never intended to become a landlord navigate this minefield – and the others that lurk in its shadow?
Read on – this is our accidental landlord guide.
Get to grips with the legalities and financials
It pays to learn the law before you prepare the building for tenants. Numerous online guides offer accidental landlord advice, but make sure to choose an up-to-date guide – new legislation comes into force every year.
Be prepared for your mortgage lender to refuse you permission to rent out the property. You’ll probably need to move to a buy-to-let mortgage.
You will also have to replace your present buildings and contents insurance policies with specific policies for landlords. Seek advice, because you may also need extra policies such as rent guarantee insurance.
Be ready for the tax payments. You will be charged for income tax and capital gains tax. Keep receipts, keep on top of the paperwork, and keep accurate written records.
Do your homework
Find out the demographic of tenants in your area by talking to local letting agents. Once you know who you need to attract, you’ll need to work out what rent to charge.
Calculate how much you need per month to cover the costs then add on some income for yourself. But keep in mind that receiving a slightly lower rent regularly each month is better than demanding a high rent which puts off potential quality tenants.
Prepare the building
Tenants are like property buyers. They’ll only rent your place if it looks great, so make sure it reaches the expectations of the demographic you’ve identified. Remember that, as a landlord, you’re responsible for far more than keeping up appearances. You are responsible for all repairs and maintenance. You must also ensure that the property meets the requirements of safety legislation.
Start as you mean to go on. Develop relationships with reliable contractors who you can turn to again and again. Don’t cut corners – do jobs thoroughly so they don’t need to be repeated.
Tenants are people too
The bottom line in dealing with tenants is that you must comply with the legislation – Right to Rent checks, deposits, proper legal tenancy agreements, etc. Keep up with changes by talking to letting agents and subscribing to online newsletters.
But being a landlord is about more than the letter of the law. It’s about a relationship with your tenants, and it’s up to you to make that relationship work.
Be fussy in the first place. Ask for references and meet the potential tenants. Once you have tenants, treat them well. Respond to questions. Repair things quickly. Be flexible over requests. The smoother you make their tenancy, the more they’ll treat your place with respect, stay on, and make your life easy.
Get a letting agent
If being an accidental landlord feels like just too much, consult letting agents. They’ll gladly advise you as you start out, but you can also delegate your landlord duties completely to them through their property management services. Their years of experience and constant exposure to the area means they’ll do a great job and you’ll be relieved of a lot of stress and hassle.
If you’re a new or exisiting landlord in Tooting, Balham, Clapham or the surrounding areas and you want any more information or advice, please get in touch with our office and we will happily assist you.