Many landlords are having a difficult time right now. For many of you, it’s an anxious time due to a few things happening, like rising interest rates and new legislation. So why is it important to think about how to be a good landlord?
Following the death of a young boy (Awaab Ishak) in 2020, more cases of landlord negligence have been flooding the media. What’s more, in February 2023, amendments to the Social Housing Regulations Bill were announced because of this case. The amendments called the Awaab law, aim to tackle the issue of poor housing.
You can be forgiven for thinking that the media and certain parts of the government are anti-landlord whenever a negative case comes to our attention. The main problem is the media tends to lump all landlords together. As the saying goes, “Few bad apples spoil the bunch. ” So, it is almost incumbent on you to make sure you are a good landlord.
Why you should be a good landlord.
Currently, as a landlord, you have a huge pool of prospective tenants. You can choose exactly who you want in your property. Of course, you will choose the best tenants: responsible people with good credit scores and fabulous references. But these tenants will also have expectations from you.
Top 5 Factors that contribute to being a good landlord.
Provide good quality accommodation
It might be very tempting to buy the cheapest when it comes to your rental property. Tenants always ruin the fixture and fittings, right? Not all, it does depend. If you are going for the high-end market provide high-end amenities.
This means power showers, a dishwasher, a clean, modern finish with nice furnishings, etc. You get the picture. Of course, the picture is different if your tenant is mid-range and you are not in a prime location. Then, a slightly cheaper fit-out will be fine. You need to know your market.
Know and understand the law
It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep on top of your legal obligations as a landlord. You need to figure out how you are going to keep abreast of all the legislative changes as and when they happen.
You may consider joining a National Associations such as the National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association. Both are there to keep you up to date with all the changes and other industry news.
Consider using a Managing Agent
A good local managing agent is another avenue to keep up to date with changes. They should tell you what’s up and coming but be warned not all letting agents are created equal.
Many landlords prefer to do everything themselves as it saves money. But this can be time-consuming because there is so much to do. From taking inventory to administering the deposits it can be daunting if you are not a full-time landlord. So, think wisely.
Employing an agent who is a member of RLA, RICS, NALS or UKALA might save you some hassle in the long run.
Form a good relationship with your tenant.
Even if you are using a managing agent, you should still contact your tenant. Long term tenants are worth knowing. Let them know you are a professional landlord and are fair.
Sometimes you might need to move a bit and compromise. For example, if they want to put up some hooks or want to repaint the kitchen it may be worth it to keep a long-term tenant happy.
Don’t be greedy.
There will be times when you may need to compromise. It’s not always the case that those who pay the highest rent will make the best tenants. So, choose your tenants wisely. Do all the checks and get the references.
Also, employ good practices like giving the place a new lick of paint when a long-standing tenant leaves. Because if you present a good home for tenants and you choose the right people, they will look after your property.
We know things are hard for landlords right now all over the country. There is a lot of uncertainty, what with rising interest rates and the need to spend money on improvements. There is the prospect of the upcoming EPC changes and the renters reform bill which is expected to be enacted into law on 1st October 2024.
But you owe it to yourself to be a good landlord. This way you will attract the best tenants and bring some consistency in the ever-changing landscape. A lot of tenants are now looking for longer tenancy while things settle down so that’s good news if you are a landlord.
We are seasoned accountants for landlords. Here’s how we help other landlords just like yourself with their taxes and business advice. So, get in touch if you need help.
If you are already working with us but would like to talk about anything raised in this blog, contact your normal manager.
On a side note here’s a really good article from the mortgage works on who’s responsible for damp and mould in a rental property which we think you’ll find interesting.