How to be a Better Landlord ?

Like everything in life, you may as well be better at something than just getting by. You can be a better landlord by taking some simple steps. When you’re a better landlord, your tenants will be happier and are likely to stay longer. Not just that, by following simple steps you’ll be making life easier for yourself.

Some of these tips for being a better landlord are common sense and some you might not have considered.

Better Landlord Tips: Extra Cover

If your property is in an area that is prone to flooding, for example, then you may want to be a better landlord and exceed your tenant’s expectations.

In the event of your rental property becoming inhabitable because of a flood, you have no legal responsibility to rehouse your tenants. If your rental property is flooded it may be weeks until the flooding subsides and you can deal with the damage. In the meantime, your tenants will need to find alternative accommodation. That could be an expensive few nights or weeks for your tenants having to stay in a hotel. After which your tenants may face financial difficulties and fall behind on their rental payments.

It might be that you can add extra cover to your landlord’s insurance for not much more.  And offer your tenant’s this valuable and added benefit to their tenancy.

Repairs and Maintenance

Regardless of the expense, you must keep your rental property in good order. Don’t be a landlord from hell that ignores your tenants when they inform you of a needed repair. If your tenant’s tell you the washing machine has broken down, then get it fixed promptly. You wouldn’t like to live without washing facilities, so don’t make your tenants.

Similarly, if your tenant informs you there is some damp, then see to it straight away. If you leave it longer, you are subjecting your tenant’s to unsafe living conditions, in addition to risking your investment.

If you don’t make the necessary repairs, in certain circumstances your tenant can arrange for a contractor to do the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent.

You can be a better landlord and make your life easier by having a list of good and affordable tradesmen to hand, in the event of emergencies. At the very least make sure you have an electrician and a plumber you can trust and who are quick to respond. 

If you are providing a fully furnished property, then it means that your tenants will be moving in with little more than a suitcase, a laptop, and themselves. Therefore, it makes sense to leave a small tool kit in the property. That way they can make small repairs themselves such as changing a fuse. 

If you are renting to students or first-time tenants then don’t assume that they know the basics of living in a property. You can be a better landlord by spending a little time telling them where the fuse box is if the power cuts out. And let them know where the stop cock in the event of a leak.

Inspecting your Property

It’s your property and you are entitled to check on your investment from time to time. But that is from time to time. You might want to check on your property once to four times a year. Any more than that, then you are essentially making a nuisance of yourself. It’s still your property but it’s also your tenant’s home and they have a right to privacy. If you turn up all the time, you’ll find your tenants won’t want to live with the regular intrusion and move out.

When you arrange the annual gas certification, that’s a good time to tag along with the engineer and ask to check around the property. Always, remember that you are not entitled to just turn up unannounced and you must give your tenant’s at least 24 hours notice.

Keep your Books in Good Order

You need to keep your tenant’s details so you can contact them. But you must by law keep those details safely stored. If you store your tenant’s details on your mobile or laptop these need to be password protected.

When you rent the property take dated photos of appliances and furnishings for your records. It’s no longer possible to deduct 10% of your taxable profits for wear and tear. What you can do, however, is claim for any appliances and furnishings you replace or repair due to wear and tear. But to do this you’ll need to keep receipts.

It’s also a legal requirement to keep your tenant’s deposit safe and in a secure scheme. You must also communicate to your tenants within 30 days of them moving in, where their deposit is being held. If you don’t do this, then your tenant could take action against you. This might involve a fine. You’ll also likely have very unhappy tenants that could move out very quickly after moving in.

Inventories

You are not being anal by listing all the details of the furnishings in your rental property. It’s important to be honest about the age and condition of the furnishings when you detail the inventory for your tenants to sign. Detail everything, so everyone knows where they stand and you have a legal document that can help in the event of a dispute. 

It’s important that you also detail what maintenance you expect your tenants to undertake themselves. If your rental property has a garden with a lawn, then you can’t reasonably expect them to mow the grass if you don’t provide a lawnmower. Or dig up weeds without tools. But you also need to document and communicate what is expected of them in the tenancy agreement.

Keeping your Tenants Safe

It’s just respectful and the law to make sure your tenants are safe. It’s also the law. You need to make sure that all electrical appliances are PAT tested. Check the gas boiler, fires, ovens, and hobs are checked annually and keep your certificate, filed where you know where it is.

Aside from that, you must also make sure that every floor of the property has a smoke alarm. There should also be a carbon monoxide detector in every room where there is a working fire. You should also make sure that your tenants contact you if there is an issue with any of the alarms going off. It’s against the law for tenants to unscrew alarms and remove batteries. 

If you’ve bought cheaper rental properties in an inner-city area that is popular with students and commuters, then it’s more than likely to have a higher crime rate. Change any flimsy-looking exterior doors and install good locks that are less appealing to criminals.

Better Landlord’s checklist: Important things to remember

Being a better landlord is easy if you do the basics and follow these tips, then you will have happy tenants that stay longer. You’ll, therefore, avoid having to redecorate, refurnish, and advertise every six months.

  • It’s natural to want to check on your investment from time to time but don’t overdo it and always give your tenants 24 hours notice.
  • Keep your property in good repair and respond to your tenants when they let you know if there are any issues.
  • If you want to go the extra mile then get insurance to put your tenants up in a hotel in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep good records and receipts. And keep your tenant’s details safe and password protected.
  • Ensure your tenants are safe by making sure you test all gas and electric appliances. And the property has the necessary smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
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