Being a professional landlord is far from easy. Just like with any other type of business, managing lettings comes with responsibilities and risk.
But if you’re passionate about property and up for the challenge, it can also be very rewarding.
Whether you’re new to the lettings game or someone with years of experience under their belt, here’s our 10 top tips for landlords to be a success - with happy tenants and profitable properties.
1 - Always make rent your top priority
Never lose sight of the fact that rent is your revenue. Always pursue it (and any late charges) immediately or your business will suffer. If this is something you know you’ll struggle to stay on top of, consider appointing a specialist company to take away the hassle.
2 - Be a landlord, not a friend
Whilst it’s important to be respectful and helpful to tenants, you should never get to the stage where you’re forming friendship with them.
Remember, you’re running a business venture, so it’s important to keep things strictly business. Stick to this approach and you’ll never end up out of pocket by late payments or a request for a rent reduction.
3 - Only invest in the ‘right’ interior improvements
Most experienced landlords know that going over the top with property renovations can be a waste of money.
Before installing a new kitchen or retiling the bathroom, think about the reason for doing it - and only press ahead if it’s going to result in a rent increase or secure a letting which will justify the initial outlay.
4 - Fit smoke alarms in every room
The cost is minimal and it’s a no-brainer. Go beyond just having one alarm on each floor of the entire property to meet the law and demonstrate your safety first approach.
If your property has a solid fuel source, go the extra mile and install carbon monoxide alarms too - it could help to save someone’s life.
5 - Get a Gas Safety Certificate and service boilers regularly
You won’t get very far without a Gas Safety Certificate – you need one to be able to let your property. By law, every gas appliance must be inspected by a Gas Safe-registered engineer each year. Once the engineer classes them as being safe, you’re Certificate will be issued and you’ll be good to go.
It’s always best to avoid boiler breakdowns too - they’re expensive and stressful and will without doubt lead to very unhappy tenants should something go wrong. Getting one serviced once a year (which can cost as little as £60) will often save you money in the long term.
6 - Never neglect your roofs
Broken tiles and little leaks are relatively easy to fix. Rotten joists and collapsed ceilings aren’t.
Make sure your roof is in a good state of repair and you’ll never need to pay out for costly maintenance which could have been prevented.
7 - Encourage occupants to spot maintenance problems
If you’re one of those landlords who worries about getting calls for maintenance issues, you need to adopt a different mentality - and start to see them as a good thing.
At Garness Jones, we encourage tenants to get in touch as soon as they spot a problem because it’s usually better to identify them early on when they’re smaller (and cheaper!) to fix.
Prevention rather than cure is always a good motto as a landlord!
8 – Act fast on emergencies
Often the only time a tenant may call on you for your help is when they face an emergency, and it will often be your response that they judge you on as a landlord.
Being able to respond at speed is crucial, as tenants expect you to be on hand 24 hours a day should they have an emergency.
Never lose sight of how it feels to be a tenant in need and have a system in place to ensure such situations are always in hand, whether that be organised by yourself, or a dedicated management company.
9- Look after your tenants & extend lease terms
Finding new tenants is always much harder than keeping your current ones happy. If you’ve got a lease which is set to expire, opening negotiations early can sometimes pay off - particularly if rental prices are dropping.
Sometimes a simple offer – like a month’s free rent or a payment cap – can entice a tenant to sign a six or 12-month extension. A small price to pay for financial security.
10 - Monitor the market
Being a landlord can be very addictive. Once you’ve been bitten by the bug, you might want to expand your portfolio.
Whether you own two or 200 properties, it’s important to monitor the market to ensure you get the best return from your portfolio - and help find your next investment.
At Garness Jones, we work with many professional landlords, helping to assess their strategy and asset management, identifying new investment opportunities which we know are right for them.
Hassle-free property management in Yorkshire
If you’re a landlord who needs a bit of advice or support, call 01482 564564 – our experienced property management team can manage portfolios of all sizes.