If you are looking for an investment opportunity, a property is a great way to keep your cash working for you. Unlike interest rates, the property will stay standing (earthquakes and natural disasters aside) come rain or shine, and you can quickly start to see a return on your money. It can be a smart way of making money from home, without having to put in a lot of extra work, so whether it’s your sole income or you are using it to supplement a salary, a second property can be a fantastic opportunity. But what are the top tips for new landlords? Read on to get some advice for your new side job.
Top Tips For Landlords
- Stay on top of tenant checks
Make sure you stay rigorous about getting references and credit checks. The last thing you want is to end up chasing someone for the rent every month. Getting these checks done before anyone’s signed anything will be a good first step in making sure that you have a smooth and easy path ahead of you.
- Safety checks are a legal requirement
You need to make sure that you are up to date with your safety checks. This is both to keep your tenants safe, but also to protect yourself from running into legal difficulties. All the gas appliances in the property need to be checked by a Gas Safe-registered engineer every year – and you will have to provide tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the annual check.
- Get a tenancy agreement
This isn’t actually a legal requirement, but having one can save you from a lot of problems further down the road. It can cover things like arrears, and inspections so you and the tenant are both aware of each other’s expectations.
- Protect your tenant’s deposits
You are allowed to ask for a maximum of five or six weeks’ rent as a deposit from your tenants and this should be protected in a government-accredited scheme. Your tenant will need to be provided with a Deposit Protection Certificate. You also have a few different options for protecting the deposit – you can use Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), who also help deal with deposit disputes over potential damage to the property.
- Do your inspections
Legally, you aren’t allowed to enter the property without the tenant’s permission, but they don’t have to be there for you to conduct an inspection. You can stipulate how much notice you give them, either 24 or 48 hours is good practice, in your tenancy agreement. This should be sent in writing, although an email will be sufficient.
The last thing you want is to have to go through an Eviction Process but, if you do, there are companies out there designed to help you. If you protect yourself and your investment as much as you can, and ensure you are following all the legal requirements to the letter, a property to let is a worthwhile investment.