Lets Rent Bristol
Log In Not yet a member? Register
0117 904 6696
Ultimate Good Landlord Guide A.K.A The Secret to Making More Money from Rentals
Letting property can be a tough business. All landlords have nightmares about how to deal with tenants who complain constantly, tenants who don’t pay their bills, and how to stay afloat when faced with what can seem like an endless list of expensive repairs. Being a good landlord can take time, money, and a lot of effort. But there are real benefits to being a great landlord: the main benefit being attracting and retaining the right sort of tenants for the best possible rental market price. By finding tenants who are going to stay put and care for your property, you can increase your rental return on investment substantially. Here’s our guide to being the best landlord possible, making lots of money in the process.


Safety First

Legally your property must be safe and comply with current government safety standards. A safe and comfortable house will encourage safe tenant behaviours, and make them more likely to stay.


If these key safety guidelines aren’t adhered to, your tenants will be at risk and your landlord insurance could be invalidated.

  • Fire alarms must be fitted to every floor of the building. Carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted just outside of your boiler cupboard to ensure your tenants receive the earliest notice possible of a potentially dangerous carbon monoxide leak.
  • Gas and electrical equipment must be installed and checked annually by a registered engineer.

Have a Detailed Tenancy Agreement

It’s important to be clear on responsibilities for the property. This will be detailed in the Tenancy Agreement – also known as the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Be as detailed as possible and include everything you can think of, although this may seem pedantic now- a clear cut agreement will reduce friction between you and your tenant in future. Include clauses about the tenancy deposit and property inventory, outline potential damage costs, reference unique property features, and cover key security arrangements.

To help you draft an appropriate document you can:

  • Use your lettings agent
  • Use a solicitor to drawn one up

Whatever you do, be absolutely clear on what is in your tenancy agreement- know it like the back of your hand and have it checked by a professional. 



Thoroughly Vet your Tenants

Putting in the time to select your tenants is key, and if you’re not using an agency for this- here are some important basics to consider: 

  •  Ask for references from past landlords and check them thoroughly. Look for any hint or suggestion of tenancy trouble.
  • Character references from employers on headed paper or an email sent direct from their employer’s email address can also be beneficial as these cannot be faked.
  • Interview the prospective tenant, discuss why they are moving and for how long they are planning to stay. This will be a good indication of their situation- tenants who only stay for short amounts of time can make a significant dent in your rental return of investment due to increased property marketing costs.
  • Stating clearly what is acceptable tenancy behaviour and replicating this in the tenancy agreement will ensure the relationship gets off to the right start.

 

Protect Your Tenants’ Deposit

Legally your tenants’ deposits must be kept in an approved deposit scheme which provides ensure for both the tenant and landlord.

There are three approved schemes to choose from:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

You must supply a tenant with all the relevant information regarding their deposit like:

  • Which scheme you are using.
  • How to apply to get the deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
  • An explanation of the purpose of the deposit.
  • The correct process followed if there is a dispute.

The deposit gives you a financial safety net in case the tenant causes damage to the property or steals/loses your possessions. Deposits are usually equivalent to 4-6 weeks’ rent, but should never be more than the value of two months’ rent.

If you fail to comply, or even delay submitting a tenant’s deposit, you can face legal proceedings and incur fines of up to three times the amount of the deposit.

 

Issue an Inventory

Although this can be a tedious task, making an inventory is worth having should there be any disagreements or damage done during the tenancy.

The inventory should include all the items currently in the property alongside any current wear and tear or visible damage. Taking detailed photos of each room and particular item or feature outlined in in the inventory is a good protection method for both your tenants and yourself. Getting a neutral third party in to conduct the inventory and take photos can also be a good way to tackle the task.
The tenants should be asked to check the inventory on the day of their arrival and to sign to show they agree with the property’s current state and promise to uphold it during their tenancy. 

 

Meter readings should also be photographed and recorded so that you, your tenant, and property’s existing energy provider know where they stand.


Instigate a Property Induction

On the day before the tenants move in, or on the day of moving, take the time to show and tell them:

  • How key items such as appliances, the central heating system and locks work.
  • Where manuals are kept.
  • Where and how to take meter readings.
  • Where to find the electricity panel.
  • What days the bins and recycling are collected.

 

Be Available to Your Tenants

You need to make sure your tenants can contact you 24/7. If they suddenly have a leak or the toilet breaks, you need to be able to sort this out for them on the same day. Being prompt with repairs and liaison means repair issues won’t linger and potentially further damage your property.

Give them any numbers and email addresses they will need to contact you.

Keep written records of the times, dates, and lengths of the conversations between you and your tenants. This will help you cover your side of the story should a disagreement occur, and help keep you organised on what you need to do. 


Listen to your Tenants

Listen to what your tenant is saying, and under no circumstances ignore them. They will be searching for a new property in no time.  If the communication breaks down between you and a tenant they will not only be much more likely to leave, they will also respect your property less. It’s a good idea to let them air and voice their concerns to you, as often people just need a sounding board. Obviously you are not their counsellor, but it’s in your interest to keep them happy. If an issues does need resolving:

  • Focus on a clear plan of action and strategy.
  • Keep emotions out of it and remain professional & polite.
  • Make the tenant aware of the timeline and any extra costs well in advance.

             
                      

Fix Repair Issues Quickly

Nothing makes a tenant unhappier than repair problems which aren’t addressed quickly. 

Living with a leaky shower, broken door handles or a faulty dishwasher will drive even the most angelic tenant up the wall.

Whether you have a comprehensive maintenance agreement with a local tradesperson, or you’re going it alone: staying on top of repairs is vital. This will be one of the most lasting impressions a tenant will have of their experience of living with you, and you don’t want them to be telling horror stories of showers that didn’t work for weeks on end.

  • A good way to stay on top of repairs this is to keep an up-to-date record of reliable tradespeople in your local area. Have a few from each industry in case your first choice is unavailable.
  • It is essential you get high quality workmanship, but also good value for money.
  • Checkatrade is an invaluable resource for finding reliable tradespeople in your area, and the real customer reviews will give you an idea of how quickly and well jobs get completed.
  • Your tenants will care that the job gets done quickly, but also don’t want to be clearing away the tradesman’s mess when they leave. Make sure your tradesman pay’s attention to good customer service.
  • If your tradesman does a good job, you’ll be using them again in future and recommending them to others, which should hopefully give them an incentive to work hard for you.
  • If the repair isn’t an emergency, arrange a time which will work best for the tenant. Tenants will appreciate the consideration you are showing them and respect you more for it. 


Upgrade Your Property

You’ll often hear letting landlords say things like: “it’s just a rental, I’m not going to live in it..”, but how much is this phrase costing them?

Maintaining your property to high standard is an astute business decision because:
 

  • You can request higher rent.
  • Your property will be occupied quicker.
  • This will attract more ‘working professionals’ who are usually the most desirable tenants.
  • Your tenants are more likely to care for the property properly.

Investing a few thousand pounds in maintaining and redecorating your property can increase your return on investment and prevent expensive problems such as damp or wood rot in future. If you are buying furniture, favour quality, neutral furniture. You want the house to be a bit of a blank canvas so that tenants can imagine themselves living their easily- give them the space to add their own personality too.

If you are on a tight budget- remember that little things will make a big difference to tenants. Even if you are offering your rental property unfurnished you can still make the place feel like a home. Having proper mirrors in the bathroom and good quality blinds installed will make tenants feel appreciated, and fitted bins in the kitchen and plenty of storage space will make their lives easier.

Always clean the property top to bottom before tenancy viewings. A dirty place won’t inspire tenants to sign on the dotted line.


Give Your Tenants Space

As their landlord you do have rights to enter the property, but you must legally give them 24 hours’ notice. The more notice you give them, the more your tenants will appreciate the consideration you are giving them. Although you own the property, your tenants need to feels as though it is their home. They won’t appreciate you coming in with a clipboard doing invasive checks every few weeks. If you are having to conduct property viewings with previous tenants still there, ask them to keep the property clean, but consider their privacy too. Maybe give them a little something as gesture of goodwill after the viewings have come to an end. 


Upgrade Your Property

You’ll often hear letting landlords say things like: “it’s just a rental, I’m not going to live in it..”, but how much is this phrase costing them?

Maintaining your property to high standard is an astute business decision because:

  • You can request higher rent.
  • Your property will be occupied quicker.
  • This will attract more ‘working professionals’ who are usually the most desirable tenants.
  • Your tenants are more likely to care for the property properly.

Investing a few thousand pounds in maintaining and redecorating your property can increase your return on investment and prevent expensive problems such as damp or wood rot in future. If you are buying furniture, favour quality, neutral furniture. You want the house to be a bit of a blank canvas so that tenants can imagine themselves living their easily- give them the space to add their own personality too.

If you are on a tight budget- remember that little things will make a big difference to tenants. Even if you are offering your rental property unfurnished you can still make the place feel like a home. Having proper mirrors in the bathroom and good quality blinds installed will make tenants feel appreciated, and fitted bins in the kitchen and plenty of storage space will make their lives easier.

Always clean the property top to bottom before tenancy viewings. A dirty place won’t inspire tenants to sign on the dotted line.


Give Your Tenants Space

As their landlord you do have rights to enter the property, but you must legally give them 24 hours’ notice. The more notice you give them, the more your tenants will appreciate the consideration you are giving them. Although you own the property, your tenants need to feels as though it is their home. They won’t appreciate you coming in with a clipboard doing invasive checks every few weeks. If you are having to conduct property viewings with previous tenants still there, ask them to keep the property clean, but consider their privacy too. Maybe give them a little something as gesture of goodwill after the viewings have come to an end. 



What’s Your Stance on Pets?

Pro-Pets

If you accept pets, that’s great! You will have a lot of interested tenants. However, if you have a leasehold property you may need to check whether the lease has restrictions on pets. How the animals will impact your neighbours will also need to be a consideration, with cramped living areas potentially making them more of a nuisance.

If you allow pets, make sure you specify which pets and how many you allow. The last thing you want is a tenant with more animals than the local petting zoo. You can keep tabs on your tenant’s animals by asking the tenant to request permission before getting any extra pets.

If you are allowing the tenant to have pets, insist that the properties carpets are professionally cleaned when they move out. Animal hair does tend to hang around in carpets.

 

Anti-Pets

Understandably some landlords will have concerns about damage to their property and disallow pets completely. This could be a potential mistake and a tenant repellent- consider whether you would really be concerned over a goldfish or an outdoor animal such as a guinea pig. Both of which will cause minimal, if any, damage to your property.

To make sure you aren’t turning down a great tenant, advertising the property as ‘pets considered’ will give you the ability to screen pets and make a case by case decision. 

Another route to go down would be to add a clause to the tenancy agreement to ensure tenants are responsible pet owners, and asking for an increased deposit within the clause is also acceptable. 

 

Being a good landlord can take time, money and effort, however with an expert lettings agency behind you, there’ll be no stopping you!

To find out more about how we can help you make more money from your rental today, please call us on 0117 966 4376 or email us at info@letsrentbristol.co.uk

 



 

31/05/16 By Adil Ayub
Category: News
Tags: Lettings agency, landlord
IE8 Alert! Cookie Alert!

To get the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a modern web browser. More info