Tips For First-Time Landlords
by Abdul Aziz Mondal Real Estate 11 March 2023
Congratulations – you’ve decided to become a landlord! We hope you have a prosperous and profitable journey ahead of you. With the right research and approach, there’s no reason why you won’t stand the best chance of success.
And with a little research, you’ll realize that there’s a lot more involved in the role of a landlord than providing a home for someone to live in. Whilst that’s the crux of it, a lot goes into doing this successfully.
Here are some simple tips for first-time landlords to put you on the road to success.
Prioritize Your Rent
One of the most important things to keep in mind as a landlord, no matter what happens in a tenancy, is that rent payments are your bread and butter. Paying rent on time is the bare minimum you can ask of your tenants. Without these payments, you won’t be able to make money from being a landlord. Would the job still be worth doing with no financial reward? Probably not.
Make sure tenants know that not paying rent will be followed up pretty quickly. Of course, it’s important to balance this with being understanding. There may be times when a tenant cannot pay their rent for reasons out of their control. Remain open and personable so that tenants know they can come to you if there’s an issue. With enough time to act, you can work with your tenant to find a solution.
Screen Your Tenants
Finding the right tenants for your investment is the key to a successful tenancy. Screening your tenants increases your chances of getting it right the first time and finding people you can trust to look after your property. If possible, look for people with a good credit score and who are in full-time employment or who can at least reasonably meet the rent payments you’re asking for. You can do this by requesting employer references to confirm their employment status.
It’s up to you to who you rent your property. Just be sure not to discriminate when choosing and do not lean on any of the ‘protected characteristics’ to reject a tenant. These include nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, or religion. You also cannot reject someone due to their age, marital status, or pregnancy.
Take Out Landlord Insurance
As a landlord, you and your property can be at risk of eventualities out of your control. Landlord insurance aims to protect you against things such as loss of rent, accidental damage, legal fees, alternative accommodation for your tenants should anything happen to your property, and more.
Landlord insurance isn’t actually mandatory when you become a landlord, however many mortgage lenders will insist that you have taken out cover before they give you the green light to take on tenants. A regular home insurance policy won’t protect you against rented activities. Consider property owner’s liability insurance, contents insurance, and buy-to-let buildings cover to fully protect yourself. You can compare landlord insurance quotes online to ensure you get the best deal.
Get Your Tenancy Agreement Right
Your tenancy agreement will become the holy grail of your tenancy and the document that you’ll turn to should anything go wrong. It’s a crucial reference point throughout your tenancy. It outlines all the terms agreed upon at the beginning of your tenancy, such as when the rent is due, how and when rent will be reviewed, the deposit amount, and how it will be protected and such alike.
If you are creating your own tenancy agreement, make sure you spend a lot of time ensuring you get this right. There are many templates online that you can use – just make sure you use one relevant to the country in which you’re renting a property.
Establish Clear Communication
Unless you’re using a letting agent, you’re going to be the main port of call for your tenants with any niggles, repairs, or issues. Seat clear expectations with your tenants around communication. Would you like them to call you? If so, do you have preferred hours of the day in which they can do this? Would you prefer an email? They should also be given emergency contact details such as your mobile number.
Building rapport with tenants is often important for a successful tenancy. But remember that there is such a thing as a landlord that’s too involved. Too much communication can be seen as harassment. Make sure you know when to step back and let your tenants get on with living on your property. If you plan on dropping around to the property, you must be for a good reason and you must also give at least 24 hours notice.
Keep Detailed Records
For first-time landlords especially, it can be very wise to keep detailed records of pretty much anything to do with your tenancy. Get yourself a binder and make a note of all rent payments, maintenance requests, and communication with tenants. Print out and keep any emails.
If you’re unlucky enough for any legal disputes to arise in the future, you have receipts and records to fall back on to protect yourself.
Get it right and being a landlord can be a wonderful venture. And if you look after your tenants, they will look after your property. Take your responsibilities seriously and if you’re savvy as a landlord, you’re sure to reap the rewards.