Becoming a landlord can be a consistent and rewarding source of income, but there is more to consider than simply handing over the keys to your new tenants.

To help those considering a buy-to-let or those accidental landlords, Estate Agents Douglas & Gordon have put together some tips to help with understanding the responsibilities and challenges that come with the territory, setting you up for success.

What are my responsibilities as a landlord?

  • Fees and hidden costs – In addition to the upfront fees required for certificates, there are some other potential costs that landlords should be aware of, like landlord tax, property maintenance and repair costs.
  • Problem tenants, or no tenants at all – can be the bane of a landlord’s existence. There is the risk that tenants may skip payments or mistreat your property. Having no tenants means that you risk financial loss while your property remains unoccupied
  • Landlord insurance – It’s wise to take out landlord insurance; it will be a requirement if you have a mortgage. There are different levels of landlord insurance, and the costs for insurance will vary depending on your property type, where the property is located and how comprehensive your cover is.
  • Tenant deposits – It’s a landlord’s responsibility to follow all the procedures regarding the tenant’s deposit. Landlords must protect the deposit. Failure to do this could result in fines or even legal action.

Does my property meet all the legal requirements?

While it’s always good to keep your property well-maintained to get the best possible rental sum, certain standards must be met from a legal standpoint.

  • Energy Performance Certification (EPC) – This certification highlights the property’s energy use and costs. An accredited assessor will need to inspect the property before it goes on the market.
  • Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) – A registered Gas Safe engineer must also perform an annual safety check to certify that all gas equipment is safely installed and maintained. Tenants should be given a copy of this certificate before they move in.
  • Electrical, Health and Safety – A property must pass several electrical, health and safety checks to ensure it is good and safe.

Choosing a location for your rental property

The location of your property is essential, as it is easier to run and manage a property if you live or work nearby. Many different factors can impact your earning potential, but an excellent place to start is looking at the average cost of rent in your area or speaking to a specialist estate agent to find out more about market conditions in your chosen location. While you select to play with actual money at, the very first thing that you have to make is to deposit some actual cash into your chosen online casino site.

How to make a profit

As a landlord, you can potentially earn a profit in two ways:

  • Rental yield: what your tenant pays in rent, minus running costs like maintenance, repairs, and agent’s fees.
  • Capital growth: the profit you earn if you sell your property for more than you initially paid.

Here are seven things landlords should know to get the most out of letting a property. 

1. Knowing your safety certificates

There are several certificates and safety reports you need before letting your property. Here are some of the most important:

  • Energy Performance Certificates: EPCs last up to 10 years and rate a property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact on a scale from A to G. Currently, landlords need an energy efficiency rating of E or above. However, the government’s 2050 net-zero emissions target could raise the minimum energy efficiency standard for rentals to C by 2028.
  • Electrical Installation Certificate Report: EICRs last up to five years and must be current before the tenancy can begin. To get this report, electricians must test up to 20% of the property’s wiring, including sockets and lights. Depending on the number of rooms your property has, the cost of the EICR will vary between £120 to £350.
  • Portable Appliance Testing: You must also ensure that all your portable appliances are safe before your tenant arrives. You can record this via Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), and it only needs to take place once a year.
  • Gas Safety Certificate: Gas equipment should be safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The certificate lasts for one year and tenants should be provided with a copy before movie in. Tenants cannot move in if we do not have a valid Gas Safety Record, all appliances must be safe to use or capped where relevant.

Wondering how you can become a landlord? Read this guide   

2. Get a license

If you are a landlord, you may need a license to rent your property. Licenses can last up to five years, and you will need to give your agent a copy of the license or proof of application before the tenancy starts.

  • Mandatory House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO): It applies nationwide and is required when you have five or more occupants from two or more households. Planning permission is required where you have seven or more occupants from two or more households.
  • Additional HMO Licensing: This depends on your property’s borough and applies to properties with three or more occupants from two or more households.
  • Selective Licensing: Also, borough dependent, selective licensing can be affected by the street the property is located on.

3. Pay attention to furniture & furnishings

Furniture and Furnishing (Fire Safety) Regulations are in place to ensure that all upholstered furniture, furnishings, and other products containing upholstery have the correct labels and meet the regulations for renting.

4. Test smoke and carbon alarms regularly

Most residential and commercial properties have smoke and carbon alarms, but how many actually work? On average, one in eight house fires that Fire and Rescue Services attend don’t have a working smoke alarm.

Ideally, both alarms should be tested each week, and batteries should be changed annually. Before your tenancy agreement begins, you must ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where solid fuel is used. It is recommended that a carbon alarm be present in any room where there is a gas appliance. All alarms have to be in working order on the start day of the tenancy and be retest when there is a change of tenants.

5. Focus on the things you can control

There are 2.56 million landlords in the UK, and the residential sector can be competitive. You can’t control some things, so it’s essential to focus on the things you can, such as the maintenance and cleanliness of your property. This plays a massive role in influencing a potential tenant’s decision and attracting the type of tenants you can enjoy a long and rewarding relationship with.

6. Keep your water safe

As a landlord, you must ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to avoid the stagnation of water, as this can result in the growth of Legionella. Testing can be done by ordering a Legionella Water Testing Kit. Preventative methods can also include:

  • Flushing out the system before letting the property
  • Avoiding debris getting into the system by having a tight-fitting lid over the cold-water tanks
  • Setting control parameters to ensure your hot water cylinder is regulated at 60 degrees Celsius
  • Removing redundant pipework

7. You don’t have to do it all

Being a landlord can be extremely rewarding, but the checklists and regulations can be challenging. But you don’t have to do it all. Property management companies can make renting your property a straightforward process for you and your tenants. From creating tenancy agreements, organising safety checks and putting together end of tenancy claims, having an expert on your side can take all the stress out of the process.

Douglas and Gordon have years of experience supporting landlords. Find out how they can provide peace of mind, whether you are letting a single property or own a large investment portfolio.

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