Being a landlord may look easy on paper – buy a property, make it desirable and available for people looking to rent, then simply sit back and enjoy a substantial monthly income. In reality, like any business venture, it takes time, effort and commitment.
The landlord/tenant relationship can be particularly tricky, however with the correct processes in place, and a few firm rules for both parties, becoming a landlord can be an extremely enjoyable and prosperous business. Here’s our guide to getting it right…
Don’t be afraid to do your research when it comes to choosing tenants. You are entering into a financial agreement with people that you know very little about, so it is always better to be safe than sorry – after all, it is no secret that choosing the wrong tenant can cause a stream of issues further down the line, including them causing damage and moving quickly, thus creating voids.
Treat it a little like a job interview; ask for references from previous landlords – following up with a phone call to them directly. Check that they haven’t had any recent convictions from other properties and that they have a stable income.
One vital factor that landlords must remember is that you cannot discriminate or base your tenant selection upon a person’s race, skin colour, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.
Put the right systems in place
Landlords inevitably spend a significant amount of time staying on top of maintenance. Tenants reporting property issues to their landlord expect a quick response time, and rightfully so; however, this can lead to landlords being constantly bombarded with calls and emails.
Consider introducing a system whereby tenants can communicate any maintenance problems without having to call you directly. This not only allows the landlord/tenant relationship to remain professional, but also means that should you wish to take a holiday, or have other businesses to attend to, you can do so secure in the knowledge that your tenants are not left waiting for issues to be dealt with upon your return.
Be firm, but fair
The trick to this is to not let any personal feelings get in the way of what is essentially, a business relationship. Having a good rapport with your tenants will make the landlord experience much more enjoyable and will almost certainly reduce the chance of any prolonged vacancies.
Treat your tenants with dignity, kindness and respect, but also remain firm. As with any business partnership, there are certain agreements and rules that need to be followed – for example paying the rent on time. Make it clear that this is non-negotiable – by allowing your tenants to bend these rules once, you are opening yourself up for potentially years of struggle and huge financial losses. If you fulfil your obligations as a landlord, expect your tenants to fulfil theirs – no exceptions.
Employ a property management company
Some landlords don’t have the time to personally manage their properties and may prefer to hire someone to do this for them - a property management company. If you do chose to become a ‘sleeping landlord’, a property manager can deal with anything from sourcing potential tenants and collecting rent, to handling maintenance and responding to tenant complaints.
www.primelocation.com lists the following as of potential services of a property management company:
· Advertising your property to potential tenants.
· Sourcing suitable and reliable tenants for the property.
· Accompanying potential tenants to view the property.
· Obtaining references and conducting credit checks on potential tenants.
· Providing you with information on the latest safety regulations
· Preparing the tenancy agreement.
· Organising and managing the collection of the tenant’s deposit.
· Preparing the inventory and conduction a state of repairs assessment on the property.
· Checking in the tenant and agreeing the inventory.
· Collecting the rent from the tenant.
· Transferring the rental income to your account and providing you with statements of account.
· Managing and arranging any necessary repairs.
· Inspecting the property periodically and feeding back any comments to you.
· Providing tenants with notice at the end of the tenancy.
· Re-letting the property as quickly as possible and minimising any ‘down-time.’
· Dealing with legal aspects of the tenancy and property – including evictions, non-payment, harassment or problems with squatters.
Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy to let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire and surrounding counties. Their innovative Landlord Property Portal enables landlords to track balances, revenue, outgoings, occupancy ratios, individual property performances and much more. For more details, visit https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/portfolios.html