Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or are just starting out, everyone can use some guidance and advice every now and then. Discover all you need to know about being a landlord in today’s market with this informative and extensive guide, covering everything from your responsibilities and rights to insurance and taxes.
What Are My Responsibilities As A Landlord?
Your responsibilities include:
- Ensuring all gas and electrical equipment, such as microwaves and ovens, are fitted correctly and are safe to use. For gas appliances, a Gas Safe Engineer should check their functionality and safety annually.
- Property maintenance, keeping it free of hazards. This includes installing and regularly testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and carrying out repairs.
- Provide your tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which gives the property an energy efficiency rating from A to G, as well as advice on how to save money.
- If you’re renting out your house, you must place your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme, such as Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
- You must check that your potential tenant has the right to rent your property and provide them with the ‘How to rent’ checklist when they move in.
What Rights Do I Have As A Landlord?
- To have your rent paid (and be able to evict tenants for failure to do so).
- Increase rent fees so long as its justifiable.
- Charge tenants for any damage they cause to the property.
- Agree the terms of the tenancy.
- Receive notice of tenant departure.
It should be noted you can’t visit/enter the property as you please. A day’s notice is usually required even if your visit is to carry out repairs.
Ways To Find New Tenants
When advertising your property, imagine what would appeal to the average tenant. A clean, de-cluttered house with sharp looking appliances and comfy furniture (if included) will help tenants visualise your property as their home. Take photographs of key rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen and lounge) to aid the advertisements reach.
Great places to advertise your property include:
You may even be able to find local Facebook groups for people looking to live in the area.
When you’ve got some interest, hold an ‘open house’ where potential tenants can view the property, get to know you and ask any questions they may have. You can also check whether they’d make good tenants. Background checks are a good idea too. You’ll want to check:
- Current debts.
- Criminal Records.
- Employment Status.
- Credit Rating and Financial Information.
- Character References (e.g. from their employer and previous landlord).
How Much Rent Should I Charge?
Be fair to yourself, but realistic. Work out monthly costs including electricity, heating and Wi-Fi and leave yourself room for profit. A good tip is to look at letting and renting websites and see how much landlords are charging for similar properties within your area. Take note of how your property compares to others. If it has an additional bathroom, a bigger garden and has been refurbished, you can clearly charge more than your competition.
What Paperwork Do I Need To Sort Out?
The Tenancy Agreement is arguably the most important piece of paperwork, detailing rent and how it’ll be paid, any landlord and tenant obligations and how the deposit will be protected. It can also set out whether the property can be sublet and who’s responsible for small repairs. It’s imperative the Agreement is fair, legal and does not discriminate against tenants on the basis of disability, religion or race for example.
If you’re renting out your property, yet are still paying off the mortgage, you’ll need to send your lender a ‘consent to rent’ form to inform them of the change in habitation. This consent may only last a few years, so it’s worth considering a buy-to-let mortgage too.
Keep a record of all appliances, furnishings and the condition of items you’ve installed so that any damage can be taken out of the deposit should it occur. Taking photographs, as well as getting tenants to sign an inventory and schedule of condition will act as proof should there be future disputes.
As mentioned above, you also need to give your tenants the ‘How to rent’ guide, an EPC and if applicable, a gas safety certificate.
How About Insurance?
Yes. You’ll need to organise that too. As a landlord, you need to safeguard your property from accidental damage such as fire, floods and theft. A landlord insurance policy can do just that, as well as cover:
- Loss of Rent.
- Property Owners Liability.
- Landlord Contents.
We’re not only estate agents, we are insurance brokers too. Click here to learn more about our landlord insurance policies.
What Taxes Do I Need To Pay?
- Income Tax on the rent you’re paid.
- Class 2 National Insurance (if renting out properties counts as your business).
- Stamp Duty Tax.
- Capital Gains Tax (when you sell the property).
Luckily, there are some tax-deductible costs, including utilities, repairs, legal and letting agent fees.
What If I Require Help?
Then we can help you. We can help you advertise your property, provide guidance on best practices and ensure you’re updated on changes within the industry. To find out more, call us today!
Our Office Numbers:
Radcliffe: 0161 723 1155
Burnley: 01282 427 445
Greenmount: 01204 882233
Ramsbottom: 01706 48 9966