In my daily life running a sales and lettings agency I’m constantly asked about tips, tricks and things that clients should be looking out for. Well…while I’m sitting on hold with British Gas I’ve written out 7 things that should be considered before and during the lettings process
1 – Property presentation
When it comes to handing your property over to a agent / tenant for the first time be sure to give it over in the best condition possible and make sure an accurate inventory and schedule of condition is done. This way it helps to protect the condition of the property and slows any decline as it is starting higher, easier to see / deal with any damage and mush more chance of success with any deposit claim if there is evidence to suggest condition at start, and end, of a tenancy.
2 – Insurance
Be sure to have your property insured against the unforeseen. A standard landlord buildings insurance will do, but there are optional extras that include rent and eviction protection and accidental tenant damage (if higher than deposit taken) . These are useful items to have. Be sure to speak to your agent about this too. My agency has a rent guarantee policy, as most do, so make sure you are not doubling up but also make sure that any referencing done on the tenant will cover your protection policy too.
3 – Maintenance
Make sure you plan your maintenance as well as deal with reactive maintenance quickly and efficiently. Pick once, pick right and pay once. Be sure to use trusted contractors to fix problems to be sure they are not creating or finding further problems that don’t exist. Regular boiler servicing along with the Gas Safety Cert can uncover / fix problems before the cause serious concern.
4 – Paperwork
It is more important now, than ever, to be sure you have the correct paperwork in place from the very outset. From lodging and protecting the deposit to providing an EPC, from producing prescribed information to handing out the government made ‘how to rent’ booklet there are a large number of boxes that need to be ticked on move in. If these boxes are not ticked then it causes serious concerns on exit, if the tenant stop paying and you have not done what you should have then you cannot evict them until you have. Any notice, under section 21 especially, will be void if the boxes aren’t ticked at the start of the tenancy. Be sure you’re doing it right, from the start.
5 – Void periods
This is where Bournemouth landlords lose most of their money on their BTL investment. One month empty and that cold be your years profit gone, so be realistic on rents and keep good tenants in situ where you can. Is it worth losing a tenant, having an empty property for the sale of an extra £15 per month. On an £800pcm flat it will take 53 months (which is over 4 years) to get back a month’s lost rent at that increase!
6 – Suitability
There is a lot to be said for making sure a tenant is actually suitable for the property, and for you as owner. If you have a 1 bedroom flat with no garden or parking, then think carefully about letting to the couple with a child and a car. Not only will the wear and tear be quite high on the flat, this will only ever be a short term fix for the couple. It will likely be empty again within 6-12 months, is that what you want? Also if you a particularly whiney neighbour then the family with a yappy dog, small children and pare works van and likely to cause you a lot of headaches during their tenancy with complaining neighbours, and likely through no fault of the tenant but again it will likely force them away and the property will be empty again soon. Think carefully about how suitable that tenant / applicant is for your property before letting them in?
7 – Service
And finally, what is it that you want your agent to do for you? And what can you do for yourself? Speak to them in detail about how their managed / tenant find services work for you and how they work with your ideals and ways of working. There needs to be synergy and compatibility with that you want. Otherwise you are just paying for something you don’t need or want and ultimately wont be happy with.
This is just an insight into what goes through an agents head on every let, this is what we do for a living and always offer the benefit of our experience for each and every landlord and tenant combo to get the best out of the scenario for all parties involved.
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Speak to me: If you’d like to speak to me about anything in this article, or anything property related please do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.