Considerations When Becoming A Buy-To-Let Investor
Are you thinking of becoming a landlord, or have recently bought your first buy-to-let property? If so, you would be in good company with UK buy-to-let landlords reaching an all-time high of 2.7 million in 2020. Being a landlord has its perks, but it also comes with some challenges, especially if it is your first time owning a rental property.
Here are some essential things landlords need to know to get started on the right path.
Finding suitable tenants
It is important that tenants are referenced to make sure there are no issues with past behaviour and that they can afford to pay the rent. Professional estate agents in Chelmsford will do this on behalf of the landlord and carry out all tenancy checks.
Decorating for the rental market
Neutral colours work well for the rental market so tenants can add colours of their choice with their soft furnishings. Choose high durability paint that can be easily cleaned to reduce regular maintenance. Opt for hard flooring or mid-tone carpets that will not show dirt or stains easily.
Your legal responsibilities as a landlord
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be purchased before you can let your property. Your property must have a minimum rating of E to prove it is energy efficient enough for tenants.
Landlords must ensure safety devices such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted. A current gas safety certificate for gas appliances must also be available.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to maintain the property. Maintenance will include:
· Structural repairs such as walls, roof, drains, windows, doors and foundations.
· Repairs to toilets, sinks and baths.
· Radiators, boiler repairs and pipework.
· Correcting any damage that you make whilst conducting repairs.
Letting your property to tenants with pets
The demand for rental properties that allow pets is high, however, it is important to add a pet clause in the tenancy agreement that states any damage caused by pets should be fixed. Consider whether appealing to a wider benefit outweighs the extra maintenance and cleaning that is required when pets live in a property.
Landlord insurance will protect your property, its contents, yourself and your tenants. There are a range of policies available based on different risks that need to be considered. Make sure you have a policy that covers you for any event such as damage or loss of rent.
Create a property inventory
An accurate report of a property’s state and furnishings is vital if you want to protect your assets. An inventory will be used as proof if a property is not left in the condition it was on the day that a tenant moved in.
As a landlord, you will have the right to enter the property as long as you provide reasonable notice to your tenants (at least 24 hours). You also have the right to receive rent when it is due, as outlined in the contract.
Choose the right estate agent
Using a professional estate agent can help you manage your rental property effectively and take away the stresses of everyday issues. From handling all the paperwork to preparing the property and collecting rent, a full management service will provide you with peace of mind that your buy-to-let property or empire is being looked after.