It’s no surprise that there is a lot to think about when it comes to being a good landlord. You take on a huge responsibility and things can soon turn sour if a situation is not handled correctly, or the correct precautions have not been put in place. But fear not, here at The Guild, we work with landlords every single day, from managing their properties to offering our professional advice, so we thought we would put together a short and sweet five-step guide to being a good landlord. So let’s get started…
5 Steps To Being A Good Landlord
1. Understand Your Responsibilities (and Legal Requirements!)
As a landlord, there are certain responsibilities that you must adhere to in order to protect your property, ensure that you have a happy tenant and adhere to the law. Some of these requirements that you must adhere to include:
Check your tenant has the right to rent in the UK
Use a Government-approved tenant’s deposit scheme
Providing a safe space, free from hazards
All gas and electrical equipment must be safely installed and regularly checked and maintained
Fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
Provide an Energy Performance Certificate
Follow fire safety regulations for property in purpose-built blocks of flats or houses adapted into flats
Your legal requirements are as follows:
Have your tenancy agreement checked by a solicitor and/or your letting agent. It needs to be legal in order to protect you and your property
It is your responsibility to protect your tenants and keep them safe, but accidents do happen. Public liability insurance cover will protect you. In the event of a claim for injury, you want to be covered for damages awarded to the claimant, legal costs and if you’re liable, the claimant’s legal costs
Do you have the right insurance in place? In the event of a flood or fire, the right insurance could include re-housing tenants. It can also cover repairing your boiler or replacing keys if they are stolen
If your property is leasehold, your lease will specify whether or not it is necessary to obtain permission to sublet from the freehold company or managing agent
For a full and detailed list of your responsibilities as a landlord, visit the gov.uk website to find out more.
2. Treat Your Tenancy As You Would A Business
Every landlord is essentially a businessman or businesswoman. And to have a business mind, you must be savvy with the way you approach your tenancy and how you deal with situations. Being overly sensitive or frustrated about things will not be good for you nor the tenant. So, it is important to not get too emotionally involved to your tenant, and to remain professional and treat this as a business venture.
This involves adhering to all of the responsibilities and legal requirements listed above, have a professional and legal contract signed, mapping out what you expect from your tenant and so on.
3. Stay Organised
Whether you are a landlord that is managing the property yourself, or you have instructed the management of an agent, you need to know what is expected of your role:
Document everything - Avoid any verbal agreements and be sure that everything important is written down and signed for by both parties. This protects both you and your tenants in the long run
Create contingency plans - This set-up is a huge help for when/if you are away on holiday and an issue arises with the property
Establish your contact hours - In a situation that is not technically urgent, how should a tenant contact you? If you want them to call you, establish your contact hours or dedicate a particular number to call in an emergency
Always prepare for the unforeseen - For example, if the rent is overdue, are there penalties in place? If the tenant needs an urgent plumber, who should they call?
4. Create An Inventory
As a landlord, you are trusting strangers with your property. Therefore, it is vital that you keep track of absolutely everything.
Use an inventory to list everything in the property and the condition of any furniture, appliances and decor. This can be a great way to avoid disputes, relating back to our second point of approaching this venture with a business mind.
Not sure where to start?
Your letting agent should be able to help you here, or you can source companies to carry out these tasks for you to achieve a fair, accurate and objective report.
Once the tenant has agreed and signed the inventory, there is a document in place to protect everyone’s interests; the tenant has a document to refer to on "check-out", ensuring their deposit is refunded. You are able to clearly identify any damages caused, too. If you want to offset the costs, you could consider charging for the in-going inventory and paying for the outgoing one, as a sign of goodwill.
Tip: If you are using an agent, they may do this for you.
5. Maintain A Good Relationship With Your Tenants
Happy tenants make the world of difference for a landlord. A high turnover can be costly; therefore keeping your tenants happy with your property and management will save yourself time AND money. Win, win - right?!
To maintain a positive (and professional) relationship with your tenants, you should do the following:
Be efficient when it comes to maintenance and get things fixed as soon as possible, and keep the place in good working order. This is one of the most valuable qualities you can have as a landlord
Respect their privacy and give them fair warning before you visit, if you need to
Be compassionate and fair. Give your tenants the benefit of the doubt where you can
Looking for support?
Here at The Guild, we have a team of property professionals that can exercise their years of expertise in order to help you manage your property. If you are looking for some support with property management, why not get in touch? Contact us today to find your local member and get started.
If you enjoyed this blog post, then why not check out What To Do If A Tenant Won’t Pay Rent for our professional tips on dealing with common issues that may arise during a tenancy.