The weathermen tell us that the first of April is the start of Summer and I had the idea that it wouldn’t hurt to once again highlight the best ways for a Landlord to set about letting his / her property.
A quick look on Rightmove this week showed 52 new Letting instructions coming into the marketplace in our HG postcodes over the past seven days and its self – evident that these brand new instructions coupled to the stock already held by Myrings and our fellow Letting Agents in the town mean that tenants have a good deal of choice. It is also the case that although rents are strong here so are the expectations and demands of tenants. To set the national scene – the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has shrunk from 4.7m dwellings in 2016-17, to 4.5m in 2017-18 and so demand for good quality accommodation is high and especially so in Harrogate.
Below are some top tips , in brief , intended for novice Landlords but hopefully some more experienced buy-to-let landlords may also find them useful. Letting your property is a big decision for you and also the tenants that will be living there and so it’s important you understand what being a Landlord means.
Here we would stress that “being a DIY Landlord is not for everyone” and “instructing a good Letting Agent is very sensible and likely to save you a great deal of money and stress”.
It is important that you understand your responsibilities as an independent Landlord , know how to protect your property ,keep your tenants happy; and deal with any important issues as they arise.
Do your research
First thing’s first – get to know your market. Research similar properties in your local area and find out how much they are being let for per month. If your rent is set too high, prospective tenants will shy away and look elsewhere. Once you’ve done your homework, set a competitive price and aim to keep it occupied at all times to minimise rental voids.
Check with your mortgage provider
If you are renting out your own home, you go from being a home-owner and occupier to a Landlord, and with your new status, comes new responsibilities. You may need to check if your mortgage allows you to let out your property as some agreements include caveats to prevent homes from being rented. If you are unsure, you should speak to your mortgage lender.
Know your responsibilities
Being a landlord is a 24/7/365 job, so you should be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time during the day or night. Some issues will need immediate attention and unless you have a managing agent, you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance.
Get the property rental ready
Make sure your property is clean and any modernisation or DIY projects are all finished. It will be more attractive to prospective tenants if it’s had a fresh lick of paint, all repairs are done and if necessary the carpets have been professionally cleaned. You should also think closely about the type of tenants your property is best suited to; for example – young families or single professionals. Here in Harrogate the overwhelming demand is for unfurnished properties and as such this greatly simplifies matters.
Sort out the insurance
Your existing buildings (and contents ) insurer must be made aware of your intention to let your property, as your policy will almost certainly need to be amended. While specific Landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it’s advisable as the policy will protect the building, your tenants and your investment as a whole – some policies will also pay out if your tenant misses their rent payments.
Landlord need to comply with a large number of regulations. There are currently around 150 laws that landlords need to adhere to while letting a property. At the start of a tenancy agreement, you must carry out Right-to-Rent checks in line with immigration laws, protect deposits and have all the essential paperwork in place.
While it isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a very good idea to have a written tenancy agreement so both you and your tenant understand your rights and responsibilities.
The safety of your tenants is very important, so you must also arrange a Gas Safety check every year. It’s also a good idea to make sure all electrical appliances and wiring are tested regularly too. Finally, it goes without saying that your rental property should be fitted with smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide detectors where necessary.
By law, your property needs to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), and it needs to be Band E or above. You won’t be able to market the property unless you reach this standard and have the appropriate certificate ( they’re valid for 10 years ).
It’s important to undertake regular inspections of the property, although you must remember that you can’t enter the property without your tenants’ permission. This is viewed in law as a trespass and is unlawful. You must give the tenants at least 24 hours’ written notice, and this should be stipulated in your tenancy agreement.
All things considered you may decide to instruct a good Letting Agent
If you want to make the process as profitable and stress free as possible we suggest you use an Letting agent to manage your property and guide you on everything you need to know. ( I recommend Myrings ) A good agent will take away the stress of finding suitable tenants , collecting the rent and will ensure your property complies with all the regulatory changes. Make sure the Agent is a member of ARLA ( Association of Residential Letting Agents) and that they have Client Money Protection (CMP).
If you wish to discuss the above or are interested in the Property market in Harrogate then please come along and see us and enjoy a free no obligation chat about the property services we provide.