If you are new to letting property, or it has been a while since you added to your portfolio, then here are a few tips and reminders to make your life as a landlord run as smoothly as possible.
The most important thing to remember in terms of letting property is that you are ultimately responsible. Whether this is for problems with the property, nuisance tenants, or your own mistakes, the buck stops with you. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to keep up to date with the most recent legal requirements and legislation regarding residential landlords. Keeping your flat in good repair is a must and hiring a locksmith to change the locks before each new tenant is a must. Not only for the safety of the tenants, but also for the health of your long term investment. If you stop looking after your property it won’t be long before you find it harder to find good tenants. That brings us on to the next tip, it is crucial to choose your tenants carefully. They need to have a right to rent and this is also your responsibility. But, more than that, you need to confident that they will be able to afford the rent, be willing to pay it on time and keep up with the payments, and will not intentionally cause damage to your property. Your safeguard here is to carry out, or have your letting agents carry out, full tenant referencing, and to take the time to talk to the prospective tenants during viewings.
Getting To Know Your Prospective Tenants
Flat letting is not as simple as it may first sound. Finding the right tenant for your property can be difficult, but it is essential to knowing that your property will be cared for and used in a suitable manner. References can only tell you so much so what else can you do?
When you have prospective tenants for your flat, it is important to get as much information as you can about them before you agree to the property letting. Your main opportunity for this is the property viewing that your agent has arranged. Getting to know them in this informal situation will give you more background than you can get on a reference form. While you don’t want to turn the viewing into an interrogation a little polite conversation can go a long way. If the tenant is interested in the property you will need to do an identity check on them. You have a legal obligation to ensure that everyone that will be residing in the property, aged 18 and over, has a right to rent in the country. You should also ensure that you run full tenant referencing and credit checks. These can usually be undertaken by letting agents on your behalf. While the information these provide is limited it is also very valuable, particularly in relation to the tenant’s ability to make rent payments. Finally, never hand over the keys until you have a signed copy of the tenancy agreement, the deposit and the first month’s rent in your, or your letting agents, possession.
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