So, you’re thinking of becoming a landlord. But should you go it alone or engage a letting agency?
According to Property Checklists, there are over 400 rules and regulations governing a rental property and the relationship between a landlord and tenant. I haven’t counted them but I’m not surprised by that number. Property rental is a heavily regulated area and only going to get more so. And fall foul of the rules and procedures and it could cost you dear.
Of course, some landlords successfully go it alone but if you’re not sure whether you need the help of a letting agent, here are just some of the things we can help with.
Before you buy to rent
If you’re thinking of buying to rent, you should take advice from a local letting agent first. They’ll know what you can expect to get in terms of rental income and what the demand in your area is for different property types. This is a critical part of rental success which is often overlooked and a good letting agent will be able to recommend the best types of property to buy.
Getting your property ready
Before you rent your property, there are a number of legal requirements that you have to comply with which include:
- Protecting a tenant’s deposit within 30 days of receiving it
- Installing smoke alarms on all floors and carbon monoxide detectors in any rooms with fuel-burning devices. Furniture should be flame resistant
- Arranging a gas safety inspection if your property has gas and providing your tenant with a copy of the certificate
- Ensuring the property has a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), a copy of which again must be given to the tenant
- Providing your tenant with a “How to rent” guide setting out landlord obligations and tenants’ rights
- Ensuring any appliances at the property are safe
- Updating the utilities
- Ensuring you have a formal tenancy agreement. Although this is not a strict legal requirement, you would be extremely unwise to enter into a tenancy without one.
Failure to comply with the above could leave you facing a substantial fine or worse.
Finding and vetting tenants
The next step of your rental journey is obviously to advertise your property in a way that attracts the right kind of tenants. Then you’ve got to show people around. This all takes time and a certain amount of know how.
In my last blog, I mentioned the importance of vetting prospective tenants and I can’t re-emphasis this enough. There are very strict and quite onerous Right to Rent checks which have to be carried out. You’ll also need to carry out financial checks but you may also have to check with their previous landlord or ask for a guarantor. At EweMove, we visit potential tenants in their current home to get an idea of what kind of tenant they’ll be.
But apart from finding prospective tenants, you’ll probably also want to find them quite quickly so you’re not left with a rent void but at the same time, you want someone who’s in it for the long haul, so you don’t find yourself looking for new tenants in 6 months’ time.
A good letting agency will have the resources and connections to achieve all of that in quite a tight timeframe.
Once your tenant moves in
Of course, as a landlord, your role doesn’t stop once your tenant moves in. You’ll need a proper inventory and a property check when they arrive but what about ongoing repairs and problems?
Our fully managed letting service which operates 24/7 (yes really) means you won’t get woken up in the middle of the night if something goes wrong or have to get involved in the day to day detail.
It also means you can be confident that your property is being well looked after and any works required are being carried out to an appropriate standard. Even after a tenant leaves, at EweMove we’ll organise the return of the deposit, checking the property, switching over utility bills etc.
Becoming a landlord can be a fantastic opportunity but it does involve a fair amount of ongoing hard work. Of course, you can go it alone but it’s really important that you take into account all of the above and whether you have the time and the know-how, before you decide to do so.
Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking
He’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.
Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.
Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to email@example.com