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Top tips for landlords

Top Tips for Landlords

The recession has impacted many businesses and individuals in different ways. The slump in the property market, which saw house prices fall by 18.9% in 2008, has left many owners unable to sell their homes.

Those wanting to sell their home just as the recession struck have been finding it more difficult to seal the deal than usual as consumer confidence dipped and house prices soon followed.

As a means of generating income, more and more homeowners are choosing to rent out their property. This also means there are more first time landlords for whom it is important to understand their obligations to tenants as well as the requirements of becoming a landlord.

First and foremost if you plan to rent a property on which you are still paying a mortgage then you need to check with your lender beforehand. You may need permission from your mortgage provider before you can rent the property out so this is a good starting point in the process.

Your insurer is another party who needs to be informed before the property is rented. If your property is unfurnished or part-furnished you need only limited contents cover and landlord’s liability insurance. If your property is fully furnished it is advisable to take out full contents cover.

When it comes to the property itself you need to ensure it is of a habitable standard and adheres to fire and safety regulations. You should fit a smoke alarm and any gas appliances provided by you must be checked annually by a CORGI registered tradesman.

All electrical appliances provided must be safe and you may be required to provide certificates to prove so. Furniture must also meet fire-resistance requirements. The relevant legislation differs between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland so you may want to take legal advice or carry out some research to ensure you are abiding by the law in your country.

You need to set your rent at a competitive level if you want to attract potential tenants but you should also ensure your rental income is higher than your mortgage payments so you aren’t left with a deficit each month. Check local rental rates in letting agencies windows and websites as well as adverts in local newspapers to get an accurate picture.

Once you have found your tenants you may want to check their credit history and also take a deposit. Thoroughly investigate the safest ways to hold you tenants deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

If you don’t fancy the prospect of renting the property yourself then you could choose a regulated and qualified letting agent to do the job for you. For a fee of around 15% a letting agency can help with all the finer details, from landlords insurance to gas safety and will manage the tenancy for you.

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