Becoming a landlord isn't always planned, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared! Have a look at our five top tips and some advice from the experts, to make sure you're in the know before you take the plunge to become a landlord.
1. Have you considered the legalities?
One big thing you'll need to arrange is changing your mortgage into a Buy-To-Let mortgage, for which you will have to go through the mortgage system again, as if buying a house afresh. If your property is in a leasehold, you need to check your paperwork as you may need to inform the freeholder and get their permission before renting the property.
Just Landlords, specialist landlord insurer, said that their top tip to accidental landlords is, "If a property has come into your hands that you've now decided to let to private tenants, insurance may be the last thing on your mind. You may not know that standard home insurance probably won't cover the property if you start renting it out. Look into specialist landlord insurance that includes all the cover you need."
It's important to keep rental statements and expenses for your rented property. You will need these for your tax returns so it is wise to stay on top of this throughout the year so it's easier when it comes to gathering this together. It's advisable to both instruct and speak to an accountant with any tax questions and legalities.
Richard Blanco, from the National Landlord Association, said his top tip for accidental landlords is, "to join a landlord association. There is so much regulation nowadays that this is the best way to keep abreast of it. With accredited landlord courses, magazine and meetings, joining an association will help accidental landlords hit the ground running.
2. Get a local expert
Decide how hands-on you'd like to be when managing your property. If you're looking to manage it yourself, there many be rules and regulations for landlords that you aren't yet aware of, and it may also be more time-consuming than you first think it will be.
Talking to an estate agent like Portico can help you understand the rules and regulations. Using an estate agent, you can also make sure you get infront of the right audiences on Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market and that you find the right people for your property.
You can also look to get your property managed by an estate agent. With Portico, this is a great option because we will send our Handyman team to sort out any issues and we will manage communications with the tenants. It's important to make sure that your tenants are happy and comfortable and that your home maintenance is being taken care of.
Mark Lawrinson, Regional Director at Portico says his top tip to accidental landlords is, "to utilise an estate agent whilst you learn your way around the world of landlords. They will have local knowledge, especially in borough-related rules and regulations, as well as practical hands on experience."
3. How is the property presented?
If you're an accidental landlord it's likely this was your home, so make sure it continues to look and feel homely for your new tenants.
Think about adding some homely touches for the property photos as this will lead to higher enquiries and is likely to attract people who respect how nicely furnished the property is, and will keep it as such.
If you're decorating the property, we'd encourage you use clean and neutral colours so that it attracts more people and it's easier for them to manage.
4. Make sure you get the right people for your property
When it comes to filling your property, you want good tenants who will stay a long time and really look after your property. Think about your pricing and it may be worth going for the most suitable tenants over the ones who will pay the most money.
Don't rule out anyone until you have had a few viewings and you can compare them to decide which you think would be most suitable. This may mean compromising on furniture needs or move-in dates but if you go with your gut on who to rent your property to, you're likely to get in good people.
5. Avoid rental voids by combining long lets with short lets
One worry about being a landlord is rental voids between long-term tenants. The experts say that it take around 8 weeks to sort out new tenants for your property. But why not utilise Portico's Airbnb Management Service, Portico Host, which allows you to combine long term lets and short lets to make sure you're always earning on your property.
With an in-house team, you don't have to worry about anything, and the team will cover interior styling, photography, your listing, keys, cleaning and guest stays. You can conduct viewings during guest stays and end your time with Portico Host as soon as you're ready to.
Harriet Snelling, Operations Manager at Portico Host, said her top tips for accidental landlords is, "Using Airbnb before you let your property long term is not only cost effective but is also a great way to dip your toe in the water as a landlord. My tip is to utilise an Airbnb Management Service as they can manage the set-up and day-to-day running and you won't have to do the work yourself."
If you're an accidental landlord, climbing on the lettings ladder for the first time, there's no need to worry. For advice or any of our services mentioned above, get in contact on 020 7099 4000 for more information. To find out more about our !!!landlord services click here, to find out more about Portico Handyman click here and click to find out more about Portico Host, our Airbnb Management Service.
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