Being a landlord does not come without its pitfalls if you’re not careful. We’ve put together a list of the 10 biggest landlord mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Thinking a bad tenant is better than a vacancy
A bad tenant could end up costing you money, i.e. damages or unpaid rent. Sometimes it’s worth waiting for a suitable tenant and enduring a vacant period, rather than putting up with a bad tenant.
2. Not keeping your mortgage lender in the loop
If you have a mortgage, you need to ensure the lender is aware that you’re letting the property out. If you fail to do so, you could invalidate any insurance policy you have on the property.
3. Not carrying out proper referencing checks
Don’t just approve a tenant because they seem nice! You need to check employer and bank references before you proceed. You are also legally obliged to carry out a right to rent check on anyone over 18 who pays to use your property as their main home, and failure to do so can result in government fines.
Read more on the right to rent checks.
4. Failing to include a decent deposit
Failing to include a decent sized deposit means you risk having to cover for any potential damage and end of tenancy cleaning bills yourself.
5. Underestimating maintenance expenses
Make sure you have enough funds to cover any potential maintenance expenses. These could include replacing the roof, windows, or dealing with damp.
6. Poor presentation
Poor presentation, and out of date furniture will likely put potential tenants off during viewings, and can, therefore, result in void periods. To avoid this, think about highlighting your property’s key features and work on areas that need improving.
7. Failing to draw up a proper tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement, or lease, serves as a legal agreement between you and the tenant. This is what will hold up in court if it comes to it, not a verbal agreement. Areas to cover include rules and policies, as well as tenant and landlord responsibilities.
8. Not fully considering service options available
Some landlords may think they have the capacity to manage the property and tenants’ needs themselves, and then into the tenancy, realise that this is not the case. Research the options available that can help take the weight off, such as property management.
9. Not understanding the rental market in your area
Making sure your rent is in line with the local area is key. You need to be fair, yet competitive. Think about access to transport links, local amenities, and the proximity to schools. If you’re not sure, ask a letting agent to conduct a valuation to get the true value of your rental property.
10. And finally, not understanding your responsibilities
Before you put your property on the rental market, you need to ensure you understand your responsibilities and legal obligations. This includes gas, fire, and electrical safety.
If you have any questions, give our lettings team a call on 020 7078 0214, or email email@example.com.