With over 30 years in the business we like to think we know a few things about letting and renting property. To assist you in successfully letting your property, Stuart & Partners has prepared the following landlord advice.
Whether you’re just starting out as a landlord or if you’ve been in the game for a while, we hope you find some points that will make your life a bit easier.
- DO take a full inventory of a property – with photographs – before you take on a new tenant. This can reduce the chance of possible disputes in the future.
- DO conduct sufficient tenant screening before renting or leasing a property. We have a previous blog post that goes into depth on the do’s and don’ts the tenant screening process.
- DO remember to put any deposits into a landlord deposit scheme. This is a legal requirement in the United Kingdom and was first introduced in England and Wales in 2007 as part of reforms introduced in the Housing Act of 2004.
This initiative is free for landlords and tenants and was brought in to cut down on instances of private landlords unduly holding on to deposits. It makes it even more important to ensure there’s a clear and defined agreement on the condition of the property at the start of any tenancy.
- DON’T make oral agreements – get prospective tenants to fill out written applications. Having prospective tenants fill out a form can be a way of filtering out lazy people. If they can’t be bothered to fill out a form, who’s to say they would be good at checking the letters or emails you send them?
- DO visit your property regularly to make sure that the people you let it to are still residing there. According to the National Landlords Association, over half of tenant subletting occurs without the prior knowledge of the landlord.
Popular sites such as AirBNB are growing in popularity and you might not have the right insurance to cover a third party staying in your property. Such subletting can frequently only be for one or two nights, so it’s harder to check on. Ensure you add a clause to any tenancy agreement stating that subletting can only be done with your permission.
- DO try to form a good relationship with at least one of the owners of neighbouring properties to yours. They can provide an extra pair of eyes on your property and, if necessary, keep you updated on your tenants’ activities.
- DO remember that you’re running a business, not a charity. Decide on your policy regarding late payments and stick to them – letting one late payment go could feasibly see paying the rent fall down a tenant’s list of priorities if they know there’s a bit of leeway.
- DON’T let emotions get the better of you as it could cost you a lot of money down the road.
- DO have a system of procedures and stick to it. Tenants will take their cues from a landlord, so make sure you set a good example by having good processes for sending timely communications and notifications.
- DON’T settle for a sub-par tenant just to get your property filled. It might seem like a better alternative to the cost of having an empty property, but think of it as an investment in the the peace of mind you’ll have when you eventually do get the right tenant.
- DO get a lawyer. Hopefully you won’t have to use their services, but it’s better to have a relationship with one than trying to find one when you’re already in the middle of a civil lawsuit.
Stuart and Partners manage a large amount of properties in Mid Sussex, from our offices in Haywards Heath and Hassocks. Our services cover all aspects of letting and we’re confident we have a service that suits most residential landlords.
We can offer plenty of landlord advice and have three different management levels for you, the landlord, to choose from.
Contact us online or call 01444 414391 (Haywards Heath) or 01273 841482 (Hassocks) to find out more.