Tips / Advice For New Landlords In England & Wales
Here are our top tips for new landlords in England & Wales…
It’s imperative that landlords keep on top of their legal obligations and follow each obligation as required. Ignorance of the law is no defence, unfortunately, and you’ll still liable for prosecution failing to keep inline with the law.
Here is also an article on Property Investment Project covering landlord legal responsibilities. For further advice, it is recommended to talk to your local letting agent.
Getting good tenants is the key to a great landlording experience. A good tenant will help make a landlord’s life easier and profitable. One of the best ways to maximize the potential of gfinding good tenants is by thorough tenancy referencing:
- Get credit checks
- Get employer references
- Get references from current/past landlords
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Always, always, always get a written contract in place. Shorthold tenancy agreements are there to protect both landlord and tenant. It also makes it clear what the terms and conditions of the tenancy are, so there is no confusion.
Get a tenant Guarantor
A guarantor is someone that will legally take responsibility for any missed payments by your tenant. It’s common for most tenants to use a family member.
Tenancy Deposit protection Scheme
It is a landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure any received deposit is secured into one of 3 Government backed deposit schemes.
This will ensure the return of the deposit is dealt with appropriately, whether it be entirely to the tenant, or to the landlord to cover any damages.
Do an itemised inventory
Inventories ties in nicely with the previous point regarding security deposits.
The Inventory is a listing of all the contents of a property and a record of the condition of each item. The form is designed to help monitor the condition of the items before a tenant moves in and just before a tenant leaves, so it can be made clear what damages, if any, need to be repaired.
An inventory can prove vital if their is a dispute when it’s time for a tenant to vacate, in which case the inventory can be supplied to the tenancy deposit scheme to provide evidence of any damages.
Tax on Rental Income
Any net profit made from rental income should be declared to the tax man. Renting out property is considered a business, even if the landlord hasn’t registered a letting company.
Rental income is tax deductible against expenses. So any expenses spent on maintenance & repairs or letting agent fees can be offset against the tax.
Landlords are entitled to perform regular property inspections, usually quarterly. Inspections are extremely important as it allows the landlord to ensure their property is being taken care of properly. It’s better to spot any problems sooner rather than later.
The tenant is entitled to 24 hours written notice and they must permit entry before the landlord can enter.
When necessary, landlords should communicate to their tenants through traceable means, such letters, emails or text messages. This way there is proof of what has been discussed. This is particularly important when it concerns any disputes and repairs & maintenance issues.