Becoming a landlord for the first time can be a daunting business. If you’ve done your sums properly, the rental returns on the property should make it worthwhile - but when you’re just starting out, the levels of preparation required can be a little overwhelming. Terms like "Section 21", "Right to Rent" and acronyms like "EPC", "EICR" and "AST" may be entering your frame of reference for the first time, and the knowledge that if you make a mistake on any compliance-related issue you could face a fine or prosecution adds stress to the whole venture.
Luckily, help is at hand. Any reputable lettings or managing agent will be able to walk you through the process from start to finish and software systems like Fixflo can assist on the administrative side. In the meantime, prospective landlords should focus on the following areas.
Market the house in good condition
Not only will you attract a better quality of tenant, handing over a property in peak condition will encourage your tenants to look after it. When prepping the property you need to:
- Pay for it to be professionally cleaned. Now is the time to take care of any DIY improvements or fix any tiny niggles around the property before it’s inhabited
- Have photos taken of it in its prime – this will help with marketing and can also be used as visual evidence of the property’s condition in case of any dispute
- Take meter readings and ensure that the house is fitted with working smoke detectors and that there is a carbon monoxide detector in any room that uses working fuel
Handle any compliance issues
There’s a raft of legislation and certifications required to be a landlord. Fixflo has produced a comprehensive list as part of its First-Time Landlord Lettings Checklist. As well as obtaining certificates relating to energy performance, gas safety and electric installations, landlords should also have risk assessments conducted for fire, legionella and asbestos and make sure they have the appropriate insurances in place.
One of the most important parts of being a landlord is protecting yourself and your property. It’s vital that you carry out a complete inventory, noting down the contents and condition of everything in the property. It’s at this point you should decide what kind of tenant you’re looking for and whether you’ll allow cats and dogs in the property. Once you’ve settled on these factors, it’s time to set up a self-assessment tax account with HMRC as a business owner and begin the process of marketing the property. Good luck!
For more information, why not download Fixflo’s free First-Time Landlord Lettings Checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything?