You've found an agent, marketed your property, filled out all the legal obligations of being a landlord (gas, appliance and tenant reference checks to name just a few) and your tenants have moved in. So now what? Before you put your feet up and get back to your day job, it’s worth taking appropriate measures to protect yourself – and your property – during the tenancy. For first-time landlords, this is an important learning curve.
Whether or not you decide to employ a managing agent, the following steps are crucial.
Make sure you fulfilled all Section 21-related obligations at the commencement of the tenancy
A Section 21 notice gives landlords the right to evict tenants without providing a reason, but it can only be served if the landlord has adhered to a number of requirements (the majority of which relate to the protection of the tenant’s deposit). If the landlord hasn’t completed all the necessary steps, the Section 21 notice will be invalid and the whole process will have to begin again, with added court costs thrown in.
Log all communications
Repairs and maintenance software systems like Fixflo automatically log and store all communications within the system. The comprehensive audit trail is the ultimate protection in case of any dispute further down the track.
Respond to written complaints within 14 days
Legislation around repairs has tightened up considerably within recent years and landlords are now legally obligated to respond to complaints within this fixed time period as well as making sure all living conditions and repairs meet the required standard.
Ensure regular inspections are carried out
No matter how respectable your tenants seem, remember that your property is your most valuable asset and the best way to maintain its value is to check its condition regularly. Aim for twice annual checks and make sure you give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice of your intentions.
Establish and maintain good relations with your tenants
The average tenancy duration is 18 months but each time you switch tenants, you’re likely to be liable to additional repairs and maintenance and the property could be exposed to rental voids. In most cases, it’s worth hanging onto your tenants as long as you can.
To make sure you haven’t overlooked any compliance issues out, why not download our free First-Time Landlord Lettings Checklist to make sure you haven’t missed a step…