Bidmead Cook’s beginners’ guide to being a landlord

There is no doubt that this last couple of years has been a stressful time in the lettings world, with what seems like ever-changing legislation and regulations.  The press has also played their part in shaping the perceptions of the market and, more crucially, of landlords.  Thankfully we are still seeing many people who understand that property is still a good and viable investment and are becoming landlords for the first time.

 

If you are considering becoming a landlord for the first time, our lettings team are here to support you every step of the way.  We understand how daunting it can seem, but to ease some of your initial worries we have put together this quick guide.

 

You should never rush into becoming a landlord without first undertaking some groundwork.

 

Research

 

If doesn’t matter if you’re looking to let out your current property or seeking to purchase a property to let, you need to know your market.  You need to remain objective and not look at your property through rose-tinted glasses, as if you set your rent too high or too low you could turn off prospective tenants.

 

Look at similar properties in the area local to your property, and note the rental figure being asked.  You need to also decide on your target market - students, young professionals or families? - knowing this will help you make the right decisions for the property going forward.

 

Remaining compliant

 

Your research doesn’t end with the property; you also need to understand your responsibilities as a landlord.  If you’re looking to let out a property you already own, you must ensure that your mortgage will allow this change of status; if you’re unsure speak to your mortgage lender.

 

From the health and safety features your property must posses, to documentation and certification that should be provided to a tenant, your role as a landlord is a 24/7 job, especially if something needs repairing.  We always advocate that all landlords fully understand their responsibilities even if we later take on the management of their property.

 

Those landlords living in Wales will also have to register with Rent Smart Wales; this includes those who are renting out a personal property or may be looking to build a small portfolio.  Should you then wish to manage the property yourself, you will need to undertake training and pass a test to demonstrate your full understanding of what it means to be a landlord.

 

Property to let

 

If you know your target tenant market you can ensure that your property meets their needs.  If you’re looking to achieve a good and sustainable rental income you need to show your tenants that you will maintain and take care of the property throughout their tenancy.

 

With the number of people in private rentals increasing, the demand for good and high quality rental properties is continually on the rise.  Therefore, ensure that all necessary repairs are undertaken, you have included decent finishes, and the interior has been freshly decorated.  If you are letting your property furnished, look for hard-wearing furniture that is aesthetically appealing but will be able to sustain the wear and tear of daily life.

 

Self-manage or managed

 

One of the biggest decisions you will make is to whether to self-manage your property or have a letting agent act on your behalf.  Either way, you need to ensure that you vet all potential tenants fully, that reference and credit checks are undertaken, and that their deposit is protected.

 

Part of understanding your rights and responsibilities as a landlord is the legal side of letting a property, and the tenancy agreement.  We can’t stress enough the importance of getting this document correct, so if you do decide to self-manage we advise you seek professional assistance when putting together this agreement.

 

If you decide that you would like your property managed by a letting agent to take away some of the stress and late night emergency calls, it is important to choose the agent that is right for you and your property.  Do they have experience of letting similar properties in the area?  As they will be in charge of your investment you need to know you can trust them, so this is not a decision you should make lightly.

 

We constantly work with many first-time landlords, supporting them to achieve good yields and helping them grow.  Why not come and speak to our dynamic lettings team to see if becoming a landlord is right for you?