The Ultimate Guide for Accidental Landlords Skip to content
You may have just inherited a property or you’re not in a position to sell due to the property market. However, you have become an accidental landlord it can be a daunting task and where do you know to start.  

We have created the ultimate guide to help you accidental landlords get up to speed on the roles and regulations that you now have.  

 

Table of Contents

Tip 1 - Get Advice!

Tip 2- Have your property valued

Tip 3 - Buy-To-Let Mortgages

Tip 4- Buildings Insurance for Landlords

Tip 5 - Do your research!

Tip 6 - Licenses

Tip 7 - How much rent should you charge?

Tip 8 - Letting Agents... Who should you choose

Tip 9 - Consider using a professional management company

Tip 10 - Decorate!

Tip 11 - Market your property

Tip 12 - Use social media to advertise

Tip 13 - Know your legal requirements

Tip 14 - Shop around for the deals

Tip 15 - Run like a business

Tip 16 - Accountants

Tip 17 - Rainy day fund!

Tip 18 - Reference you tenants

Tip 19 - Right to Rent

Tip 20 - HMO

Tip 21 - Pets

Tip 22 - Tenancy Agreement Contracts

Tip 23 - Rent Insurance

Tip 24 - Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes

Tip 25 - Guarantors

Tip 26 - Safety First

Tip 27 - Test the electrics

Tip 28 - Gas Safe

Tip 29 - Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Tip 30 - Smoke alarms

Tip 31 - Energy Performance Certificates

Tip 32 - Inventory

Tip 33 - White Goods

Tip 34 - Contents Insurance

Tip 35 - Gardens

Tip 36 - Personal items

Tip 37 - The How to Rent guide

Tip 38 - Your house is now a tenant's home

Tip 39 - Have a good relationship with your tenants

Tip 40 - Repair & Maintenance

Tip 41 - Utility Bills

Tip 42 - Keeping Correspondence

Tip 43 - Join an Association

Tip 44 - Inspect the property

Tip 45 - Tenancy Renewal coming up?

Tip 46 - Notice periods

Tip 47 - Don’t leave a void

Tip 48 - Any trouble? 

Tip 49 - Evictions

Tip 50 - Check against the inventory

 



 50 Success Tips for Accidental Landlords – The Ultimate Guide

 

 Tip 1 - Get Advice!


When you have become an Accidental Landlord, it's wise to get advice from Solicitors, Mortgage Advisors & Management Companies. These people will be able to give you the best way to move forward.


As an accidental landlord, you may not know how much the property is worth. Have an estate agent come around to value the property. This will determine the mortgage and the insurance rates you will be needing to pay.  

 

 Tip 2 - Have your property valued


As an accidental landlord, you may not know how much the property is worth. Have an estate agent come around to value the property. This will determine the mortgage and the insurance rates you will be needing to pay. 

 

 Tip 3 - Buy-To-Let Mortgages


You must speak to your Mortgage lender, you may not currently be in a Buy-To-Let Mortgage, in which case you will have to switch your Mortgage policy.


 

 Tip 4 - Buildings Insurance for Landlords


While having Buildings Insurance is not a legal requirement, it is considered best practice to have it. If you currently have standard residential buildings insurance, then you will need to switch to a policy that allows for Buy-To-Let properties. Shop around to get the best deal.

 

Tip 5 - Do your research!


Before you decide to rent out your property, do some research into the type of tenants that are in the market and the rent they would be looking to pay in your area. The more research you do, the easier it should be to rent out your property.

 

Tip 6 - Licenses


Depending on the location of your buy-to-let property, you may have to buy a License. This license will prove that your property is up to scratch.  

For more infomation - Click Here

 

Tip 7 - How much rent should you charge?


Once you have your research and you have your buy-to-let mortgage in place it is now time to work out how much rent you are wanting to demand for your property. It would be too easy for you to ask for a lot more than your monthly repayment, but would you be better off charging slightly less to attract potential tenants?  

 

Tip 8 - Letting Agents... Who should you choose.


There are many, many letting agents both online and on the high street. Shop around for who can offer you the best service at the best price.  

 

Tip 9 - Consider using a professional management company


If you don’t think that you want to be a hands-on landlord, then why not have a professional management company do the work for you. This isn’t a cheap option but do your research and find the right people for you.



 

Tip 10 - Decorate!Tips for landlords - Decorate


When preparing to rent out a property, it’s always an idea to give it a lick of paint. It sounds obvious, but a fresh coat of paint can go a long way to be a successful buy to let property. You will attract more prospective tenants by having a property that is freshly painted and tidy.  

 

Tip 11 - Market your property


Have some great photos taken of your property to show your property off in the best light possible. Show off any great features that may be a selling point to any potential tenants. A floorplan is another way of showing off how much space the property has to offer. The better the quality of the marketing, the more chance of getting potential tenants interested.


 

Tip 12 - Use social media to advertise


You want as many eyes on your property as possible when it comes to letting it out. Social media tools such as Twitter & Facebook are a simple way of promoting your property. Websites such as Gumtree are also a perfect way to advertise.  

 

Tip 13 - Know your legal requirements.


Being a landlord comes with responsibilities. Being safe and legal in areas such as Fire, Gas and Electric as well as all the administrative duties you will also need to keep on top of. If you need help or advice, speak with a Solicitor who specializes in property.  

 

Tip 14 - Shop around for the deals


If decorating isn’t your thing then bring a handyman in to do it for you, shop around for quotes and try and get yourself the best deal. This also goes for any other repair or maintenance jobs or the purchase of white goods. You won’t want to leave yourself too much out of pocket. Do this for your buildings, contents and any other insurances you might need.  

 

Tip 15 - Run like a business.Tips for landlords - Run Like a Business


Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets!! It sounds like a lot of hard work, but it really isn't. Keep on top of everything. Have spreadsheets listing costs and incomes so you know how much is in the bank as well as all the necessary checks such as the gas safety certificate are due. It is always handy to have an accountant to keep an eye on the money coming in and out.

 

Tip 16 - Accountants


Always best to have a good accountant that will be able to deal with any business issues that may come up as well as payment of tax and keeping records of rent being paid. The property is your business.  

 

Tip 17 - Rainy day fund!


It is always best to keep a contingency fund on hand, just in case of any major repair works are needing to take place on short notice such as a new boiler or a locksmith.

 

Tip 18 - Reference you tenants


You have found some prospective tenants to move in to your property, do the right checks to see who you are renting to. Have they the Right to Rent? Have they rented before and have a good history with previous landlords? It is always best practice to find out. There are plenty of organisations who can conduct these checks for you.

 

Tip 19 - Right to Rent


Before you agree to the AST with your tenant, you check whether they have the Right to Rent in the UK. Everyone who is going to be living in the property, over the age of 18 must be checked to see whether they have the right to rent. Here is a Government provided guide on how to check your tenants right to rent….   

For more infomation - Click Here

 

Tip 20 - HMO


If your tenants are not a family group, you will need to check whether you will need a Home in Multiple Occupancy license. Contact your local council for advice.

 

Tip 21 - Pets


Whilst you may not want pets running around in the property, you may lose out on potential good tenants just because of a cat. You may wish to increase the amount of deposit & add a clause into the tenancy agreement but don’t rule out having pets full stop.

 

Tip 22 - Tenancy Agreement Contracts


A Tenancy Agreement Contract is a must for any Landlord. This will protect both you and the tenant legally. Most Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements are for a 12-month period, they can of course be extended once the initial agreement is up for renewal. Read it, understand it but if you have any questions, consult your solicitor.  

 

Tip 23 - Rent Insurance


Rent Guarantee Insurance is there to protect you from any loss of rent, particularly if a tenant has gone into rent arrears. 

For more infomation - Click Here
 

Tip 24 - Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes


Although not a legal requirement, taking a deposit from the tenant is always a good idea. This will give you a sum of money (usually one month’s rent) to use if the property needs repair or maintenance. You will need to deposit the deposit in a Deposit Protection Scheme as required by The Housing Act 2004. These schemes include MyDeposits, Deposit Protection Service or Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  

 

Tip 25 - Guarantors


Another way of protecting yourself is by making sure the tenant has a guarantor who will be able to accept liability in the event of the rent being in arrears. Reference the guarantor to make sure they are suitable an able to pick up the bill if required.

 

Tip 26 - Safety First.


One of the biggest responsibilities you now have as a landlord is the safety of your property. This includes being Gas Safe, making sure all the electrics are safe and that all the fire & carbon monoxide alarms are fit for purpose. You must have registered engineers to provide certificates to prove that everything is in safe, working order before the tenants move in.

 

Tip 27 - Test the electricsTips for Landlords - Test the Electrics


To make sure all the electricals in your property are in working order, have a professional electrician come and take a survey and PAT test any items.

 

Tip 28 - Gas Safe


Every 12 months you will need a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and examine any gas appliances, pipes or flues in your property. This is a legal requirement.  

 

Tip 29 - Carbon Monoxide Alarms


Wherever there is a working open fireplace, wood burner or solid fuel fire, you must have installed a Carbon Monoxide alarm to comply with legislation. These must be tested on the first day of tenancy, then it is the responsibility of the tenant to make sure they are in working order.

 

Tip 30 - Smoke alarms


Smoke alarms must be fitted and in working order on all floors of the property. The smoke alarms must be tested on the first day of tenancy, then it is the responsibility of the tenant to make sure they are in working order.

 

Tip 31 - Energy Performance Certificates


You must provide new tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). You will need an Energy Assessor to come around to the property to measure & issue the property with an EPC. From April 2018, the minimum standard is an E rating.

 

Tip 32 - Inventory


How will you be leaving your property, furnished or unfurnished? Will you be leaving any furniture or white goods? List everything that is going to be left in the property for the tenant to use, this can be referred to when the tenant is leaving to measure damage or missing items. If you are planning to leave the property furnished, then contents insurance would be a good option for you.

 

Tip 33 - White Goods


You’ve decided whether you will be letting the property furnished or un furnished, most tenants will expect you to provide white goods, such as a fridge, oven & washing machine. Make notes on your inventory as to what you are providing.

 

Tip 34 - Contents Insurance


It isn’t essential to have contents insurance but if you are planning on leaving your property furnished, then it is a good idea to have it. This will just cover you against any damage or loss for any of the furnishings you leave in the property. Shop around to find the best quote.

 

Tip 35 - GardensTips For Landlords - Gardens


Does your property have a garden? If so, make sure that it is left neat and tidy before the tenants move in. It will be their responsibility once they have moved in to maintain the garden.

 

Tip 36 - Personal items


Remember that if you are leaving the property you will take everything away with you. You won’t want to leave any sentimental or valuable items somewhere where you cannot look after them. Make sure all the cupboard and storage units are empty and free to use for your tenants.

 

Tip 37 - The How to Rent guide


The Government provides a guide for tenants, which lets them know their rights and responsibilities while living in your home. You must provide your tenants with a copy of this.  

To Download the "How To Rent" Guide - Click Here

 

Tip 38 - Your house is now a tenant's home.


It is easy to forget but someone else now lives in your home, you cannot just pop over when you feel like it. You must let your tenants know at least 24 hours in advance that you are coming around to inspect the property. Remember that your tenants are your customers rather than your friends.

 

Tip 39 - Have a good relationship with your tenants


You don’t have to be firm friends with your tenants, but it is always best to keep a good relationship with the people who live in your house. This will make the whole tenancy period smoother and better in the long run for both parties. Reply to correspondence as soon as you can & have the maintenance jobs that need doing done in good time, these are just two ways to keep a good relationship.

 

Tip 40 - Repair & Maintenance


As the landlord you will now be taking responsibility for any major repairs or maintenance of the property. It would be recommended to research some local handymen that could do the job that you may not necessarily want to get involved with.  

 

Tip 41 - Utility Bills


Avoid added expense by making sure that all the utility bills for the property have been transferred into the tenant's name. The utility bills would include gas, electric, water, phonelines & broadband and the council tax. This will make sure that these bills are the responsibility of the tenant and not have any unexpected bills come to you.

 

Tip 42 - Keeping CorrespondenceTips For Landlords - Keeping Correspondence


Keep records of any correspondence between yourself and your tenants. You may have to refer to them in the future for any reason. This will just cover your if there are any disputes or ongoing issues.

 

Tip 43 - Join an Association


There are two major association bodies for landlords, Residents Landlord Association (RLA) and National Landlord Association (NLA). Joining an association will give you the backing, advice & the information you need to be a successful landlord.

To visit the NLA website - Click Here

To visit the RLA website - Click Here

 

Tip 44 - Inspect the property


It is always best to keep an eye on the condition of your property while in a tenancy agreement. However, always remember that it is no longer your home, it's your tenants' home, you must give them 24 hours' notice before coming around to inspect. If there is an emergency and you need to come around sooner, always communicate with your tenants beforehand.

 

Tip 45 - Tenancy Renewal coming up?


Is your AST coming to an end? What do you do next? Communicate with your tenants, start by finding out their plans. Are they wanting to stay? Do you need to come back to the property for any reason? Lots of questions that will need to be discussed with yourself, your tenant and if you have one, your management company.

 

Tip 46 - Notice periods


Once the AST has come to an end, you cannot just kick out your tenants, you must have given them at least 2 months' notice. This will be detailed in the contract between you and your tenant.

 

Tip 47 - Don’t leave a void


Try and avoid periods where there is no money coming in on your property, you still have a mortgage and bills to pay! If you know that the AST is coming to an end, put the property on the market as soon as possible, give yourself as much as time to find a new tenant.   

 

Tip 48 - Any trouble?  


Not saying they will be, but if you have trouble tenants then always consult with your solicitor or your property management company about your rights. You won’t be able to just barge into the property. Do everything by the law book and this will cover you. Always take advice.

 

Tip 49 - Evictions


In the event that you will have to evict your tenants, take advice from your legal representation you will need to know what you can and cannot do. There are many different scenarios so speak to your solicitor to get the best advice.

 

Tip 50 - Check against the inventory.


When your tenant leaves, refer to the initial inventory in case of damages or missing items. You will want to do a final inspection of the property on the day of leaving with the tenant, this can be done by external companies to provide impartiality and their recommendations in how much deposit should be returned. The easier and more straightforward this is, the better it will be for everyone.
 


For all your Property Management requirements, please get in touch with us here at Garrett Whitelock.