Before getting into the landlord business, it is important to know the ins and outs of all the potential issues and complications that could arise along the way. In this article, we will explore the experiences of landlords, as well as compile a handy guide of what prospective landlords should expect before they get into the business.
Do not underestimate insurance
This one seems obvious, no? Well, as obvious as it may be, ignore the importance of this at your peril. Of course, if you are buying a property to let, then the mortgage company will insist on a level of insurance, but this tends to be insurance only required to cover liability and building and contents.
This, realistically, is not enough. There are various things that can go wrong and one of the biggest risk factors is the tenants themselves. More on knowing who your tenants are later but, for now, let’s understand what the damage could be.
Unfortunately, there is ultimately nothing to stop a tenant from causing damage to the property, intentionally or otherwise, and this damage can easily cost you more to repair than they are paying monthly. You are then left with a bill to repair, and you also have the possibility that a tenant, for several reasons, may just stop paying rent.
In this situation, a problematic eviction can take a long time to resolve – meanwhile you have no income from a tenant to pay the rent. With the correct insurance in place, should your tenant not pay, then you are covered.
Know your tenants
We have mentioned things that can go wrong with tenants, but now let’s look at how we can look to stop this from happening in the first place. It is important to vet your tenants before allowing them to vet your property, and a couple of checks could go a long way towards avoiding any potential issues further down the road.
A criminal and/or a credit check is a good idea; this way you know of any potential issues surrounding potential purposeful damage to the property or payments not being made. It might seem like a lot of checks, and asking potential tenants about criminal convictions may not seem the easiest thing to do, but ultimately this is only a few extra forms for the person to fill in.
Bear in mind also, if you feel a little awkward or rude, it’s better to feel a little awkward or rude than find out further down the line that you have a tenant that will be causing untold problems and misery.
Look after your tenants
The relationship with the tenants, of course, works both ways. Once you have moved in your tenants, having done the appropriate checks, you can be confident that they are good, trustworthy people. It is important to bear in mind that you must give 24-hours notice to a tenant before entering a property. It is actually a crime for the landlord to enter the property unannounced, as tenants are legally entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property, whether you wish to inspect something or not.
If the tenant reports a problem, you should move quickly to deal with it. Above all, be nice to your tenants, and if they require anything from you, then do your best to provide them – all of this will help ensure they remain your tenants for as long as possible.
Use reputable companies
Should something go wrong or break down in the property, and the tenant reports it, then it is not only important to deal with it quickly, but also to use reliable, reputable companies. Landlords should never skimp on repairs, especially in areas concerning electricity, gas, and security.
In addition, should any work need to be done to the property, it’s vital to do this as quickly and to the highest standards as possible. Minimising disruption to the tenant is always recommended, as is the quick removal of rubble and mess from any work taking place. Dispose of mess responsibly and use reliable companies for things such as skip hire and any building work – quick questions like “what can I put in a skip?”, will help ensure you make the right choice and will minimise problems down the line.
It is important to know your stuff when thinking about getting into the landlord business. Make sureyou are using reputable, professional companies that won’t let you down both financially and practically. Get to know your tenants, so you don’t end up with them causing you problems, but also treat them well and with respect once they are settled in the property. If you are aware of the ins and outs, there is no reason you won’t have a long and successful career in the landlord business.