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Landlord 101: Your Ultimate Guide to Being a Landlord

It’s a journey filled with excitement and a touch of trepidation. With over 150 Acts of Parliament to juggle, it’s easy to feel lost in the labyrinth, especially if you’ve stumbled into this realm as an ‘accidental landlord’ – whether through inheritance or sharing a roof with a partner. Fear not, though, because this guide […]

by | Aug 23 2023

It’s a journey filled with excitement and a touch of trepidation. With over 150 Acts of Parliament to juggle, it’s easy to feel lost in the labyrinth, especially if you’ve stumbled into this realm as an ‘accidental landlord’ – whether through inheritance or sharing a roof with a partner.

Fear not, though, because this guide is your launching pad to becoming a responsible landlord in England. If you’re across the border in Wales, remember to follow the distinct rules in our Wales Hub. Whether you’ve taken the investment route or landed in this role by chance, this guide will guide you confidently toward being a successful landlord. We’ve got clear advice on your must-dos, downloadable templates, and valuable resources.

Prepping Before the Curtain Rises

Before your property’s grand debut, careful preparation is your secret weapon. It’s your chance to get familiar with your responsibilities, determine your ideal tenant profile, and address any potential property tweaks to ward off future troubles.

This phase is also your opportunity to screen prospective tenants thoroughly. Less than 10% of tenants fall into arrears annually, and court visits by landlords are rare as unicorns. Most likely, your diligent tenant screening will yield responsible occupants.

The Landlord’s Mindset: Key Considerations

Before you parade your property on the market, these factors deserve your spotlight:

1. Choosing Your Audience: Who’s Your Tenant? In the Private Rented Sector (PRS), various tenancy types await your granting. The assured shorthold tenancy is the crowd favourite, especially if:

  • the rent is more than £250 per annum or less than £100,000 per annum; and
  • you don’t live in the same building; and
  • you are letting to people rather than companies; and
  • your tenants will use the property as their main home.

2. Navigating the Tenant Landscape In the PRS, you’ll find diverse tenant niches, from students to young professionals and families. Each group has unique needs and, in some cases, extra rules. Opting for families can lighten your load, as most other niches fall into the “houses in multiple occupation” category, involving more legal responsibilities.

For now, let’s assume you’re boarding the family train.

3. Managing Your Property: Solo or Aiding Agents? If you’re close by and have the time and expertise, self-management might be your gig. However, many landlords, swamped with other roles and living elsewhere, tap into the magic of agents.

Agents can perform various tasks, from marketing on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla to full-fledged property management. Remember, if you opt for an agent, their actions remain your responsibility. So, pick wisely.

4. Identifying Stellar Agents Agents have their rulebook. Checking if they follow these guidelines indicates their lawfulness. Look into:

Unveiling Your Legal Duties

As a landlord, you’re handed a bouquet of responsibilities for your property’s condition and conduct towards tenants. Many of these need tackling before considering the property’s marketing stage.

If you’re targeting families, here are the key hits:

Setting the Tenancy Stage

As you welcome your chosen tenant, a final curtain-raiser awaits. Before the agreement is inked:

  • Verify every member over 18’s ‘right to rent’ in the UK.
  • If a deposit arrives pre-agreement (even a slice of it), the deposit requirements kick in. Secure it in a Government-approved scheme within 30 days, and share necessary information.
  • If a guarantor is in play, they need their documents before the agreement is signed.

Lights, Camera, Tenancy!

As you lock horns with your tenants, a written tenancy agreement spelling out agreed terms is your script. Providing them with copies of:

  • The current gas safety certificate by move-in day
  • The current electrical safety certificate
  • A valid EPC with an energy efficiency rating of A-E
  • The ‘How to rent: a checklist for renting in England’ guide

Remember to document these steps to prove your legal diligence. This info might come in handy when seeking possession down the line.

Making the Move-In Magical

Before your tenants unpack, give them a welcome letter with property details. Right before they claim their space, perform an inspection or hire an inventory clerk for a property condition record. This document will protect you as it showcases the property’s initial state.

As the Tenancy Unfolds

After your tenants settle in, stay connected. Schedule inspections, update gas safety certificates, and stay vigilant for repair signals. When requesting access to the property, give at least 24 hours’ written notice – though the tenant can still decline.

And there you have it – a comprehensive guide to stepping into the landlord’s shoes. Remember, each journey is unique, so adapt these tips to your situation. Now, go forth and make your rental endeavour a roaring success!

Special thanks to the National Residential Landlords Association(NRLA)

Ready to make informed mortgage decisions? Contact us for expert guidance. Our experienced team of mortgage specialists is here to assist you every step of the way. Whether you’re a first-time landlord, a portfolio landlord or looking to refinance, we can place you with the right experts to provide personalized advice tailored to your needs.

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