There are many reasons that people become landlords. You may have chosen to invest in property to provide a source of income or as part of your pension and retirement planning. Perhaps you’re moving in with your partner - or you have inherited a property from a loved one. Or maybe you’re moving house but can’t (or don’t want to) sell? Whatever your reason, if you’re becoming a landlord for the first time, there can be a lot to think about.
We’ve put together this short First Time Landlord guide covering a few key points that you need to take into account.
If you would like some advice or to have a chat with one of our specialists then call or pop into your local branch.
Find a property
If you don’t already own a property to let, then it’s time to start looking. The key question is what is the best investment? With Davis Tate’s expertise in sales as well as lettings we’re in a great position to advise you. A good place to start is our investment property listings.
Check your mortgage
Most residential mortgages don’t allow you to let your property without permission from the lender, who may also change the rate of interest to reflect it being a rental property. You will need to talk to your mortgage lender as early as possible to make sure you can get consent to let your property. If you are looking to switch to a new lender, we can introduce mortgage services to you through Embrace Financial Services, a mortgage broker with a team of expert financial advisers.
Consider the expenses
There are a lot of financial decisions to be made before you start getting tenants. One of our Davis Tate lettings agents will be able to advise you on rent rates based on what the let is worth, but there are a lot of other aspects you'll need to consider. Will you include any of the bills in the rent? If so, which ones? Will you leave the property furnished or unfurnished? How much involvement in the property management will you want to be involved in?
Make an inventory
Shortly before the tenant moves in, make sure you or your agent makes an inventory of the contents of the property and its condition. An inventory is important as it can reduce disagreements at the end of the tenancy if anything is missing or has been damaged. Davis Tate will arrange this as a part of our letting and management service.
Collect the deposit and start receiving rent
You are legally required to put your tenant’s deposit in a government protected scheme. We register deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits to the benefit of both tenants and landlords. You may wish to consider a Zero Deposit Guarantee which provides tenants with a more affordable option whilst providing landlords with the same protection provided by a traditional cash deposit. With your tenant moved in, it will soon be time to collect the rent. You’ll need to decide whether you want to do this yourself, or let Davis Tate take care of it.
You want to know your property is being looked after, so visiting the tenants every 3-4 months to check all is okay is recommended. Depending on the level of service you have chosen, Davis Tate can take care of this for you.
Maintaining the property
As time goes on, it’s inevitable that your property will receive some wear and tear. It’s your responsibility to maintain the property at the standard it was in at the start of the tenancy. Remember, keeping on top of small problems could help you save large sums of money later so it’s worth addressing issues quickly as they arise. Davis Tate’s Property Management Service can help take care of these day-to-day jobs.
End of tenancy
Renew the contract
You’ll be surprised how quickly the initial term of the contract passes by. As it comes to a close, it’s time to decide whether you wish to renew or terminate your contract. If you choose to terminate you must give your tenant the appropriate notice. If you (and the tenant) choose to renew, a new contract begins.
Ending the tenancy
If the tenancy comes to an end and it’s time for your tenant to move out, you’ll need to revisit the inventory at final check-out, settle any disputes and return the deposit.
You’ll then be considering what to do next with your property. Will you sell it - or will you let again? If it’s the latter you’ll need to complete any work needed to bring the property back up to the required standard before it returns to the market.