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Guidance for landlords: 5 top tips for navigating responsibilities

01 March 2024 2457 Views
Guidance for landlords: 5 top tips for navigating responsibilities

Landlords play a crucial role in providing safe and comfortable housing for tenants while also managing rental properties effectively. Staying informed about legislation and understanding obligations is essential for success. Read on to understand our 5 top tips for navigating landlord responsibilities.  

1. Keep up to date with legal requirements 

It’s important to stay up to date on landlord-tenant laws and regulations to ensure compliance. This includes understanding responsibilities regarding rent and deposits, Gas Safety, Energy Performance Certificates, property maintenance, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and eviction procedures. Failure to comply with legal requirements can result in costly legal action and penalties.

At The Mortgage Works we understand that landlords are facing intro greater and more complex regulation, which can become overwhelming. Our Help centre provides relevant information and helps simplify complex regulation. 

2. The importance of tenant screening

Screening potential tenants thoroughly is vital for protecting the property and ensuring a positive rental experience. Landlords must firstly ensure the immigration status of any prospective adult tenant before a property is rented out. This is a legal obligation and is to check the prospective tenant has a right to live in the UK and to rent, also known as a Right to Rent check. This can be done by asking for an original passport or residency status document and by making copies to keep for your records. The following will need to be checked on these documents:

  • That the documents are originals and belong to the tenant

  • Ensure the photos on the documents are of the tenant

  • Confirm the dates of birth are the same in all documents

  • There is no damage to the documents or that they don’t look like they’ve been changed

  • If there are any differences in names, supporting documents are provided to show why, such as a marriage certificate

It would also be beneficial to carry out checks that can include: 

  • Verifying employment and income 

  • Evidence of previous rental history

  • Contacting previous landlords or an employer for references 

  • A credit check which can be carried out with permission from the prospective tenants

Choosing reliable and responsible tenants can reduce the risk of late payments, property damage, and eviction disputes.

3. Ensure the property is well maintained

Ensuring that the rental property is in good condition is crucial for attracting and retaining tenants. Regular inspections, prompt repairs, and preventive maintenance are essential tasks for landlords. It’s recommended that the property is inspected no less than every 3 months. It’s also important to check your landlord insurance before deciding on the appropriate frequency as not doing them regularly enough might invalidate any future insurance claims made.

To organise an inspection, written notice must be given at least 24 hours before. If repairs need to be carried out, then the tenants should be given reasonable notice. Reasonable notice should be at least 24 hours' notice, however in the case of emergency repairs, shorter notice can be given. 

Addressing maintenance issues promptly not only keeps tenants happy but also helps preserve the property’s condition and value.

4. Establish effective communication

Clear and open communication with tenants is key to successful landlord-tenant relationships. It’s recommended that an agreed channel of communication is established from the start.

It’s important to also be responsive to enquiries, address concerns promptly, and provide important information such as how to pay rent, maintenance and repairs, and emergency contacts in an easy to access manner. This information can be provided within the tenancy agreement alongside how rent will be reviewed, the deposit scheme and bills the tenant is responsible for.

Establishing good communication from the beginning can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later on.

5. Manage finances

Managing the financial aspects of any rental property requires careful planning and organisation. From setting up costs, to managing the tenancy and cost-effective ways to boost your finances here are some things to consider:

  • Understanding allowable expenses – which is any expense related to the letting of a property – can help provide a clearer picture of costs and profit. Allowable expenses might include landlord insurance, Gas Safety Certificates, utilities if any and others. 

  • Letting agent or DIY? Landlords can opt to take care of all aspects of property management from advertising the property to finding and screening tenants and the costs can add up. There is also the option of having a letting agent manage the property. Options can vary, from simple tenant find or let only, to full property management, the costs associated will depend on what the requirements or needs are. 

  • Creating a budget as well as keeping track of invoices and receipts will help landlords make sure they are making good financial decisions. It might be worth considering good accounting software to help keep on top of finances. 

It’s important to keep accurate records of income and expenses, budget for maintenance and repairs, and set aside funds for unexpected costs. It can be complicated but with good strategies in place, it’s possible to effectively manage finances and ensure a profitable rental business. 

The private rental sector continues to play a significant role in the UK housing market. While affordability concerns, regulatory changes and market volatility all contribute to the challenges within the sector, there is room for success through being a proactive and well-informed landlord. 

Our commitment

The Mortgage Works, the specialist buy to let lender for Nationwide Building Society, is an influential lender in the private rented sector. As one of the largest providers of buy to let mortgages in the UK, we’re committed to influencing policy and championing landlords to ensure the private rented sector works effectively.

Read more about our commitments to improving the private rental sector.                                                                                                                 

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