Could you become an Accidental Landlord?
Whether you’ve inherited a home, or moved in with a partner; if you find you now have a “spare” property - could you become an accidental landlord?
The current economic uncertainty is causing some would-be-sellers to hesitate before putting their property up for sale – and so if you’d rather not sell a “spare” property right now, then you could find becoming a landlord provides a useful additional source of income until you decide the time is right to sell.
However, if you do choose this route, then you must know your obligations – because although being a landlord can be very rewarding, getting it wrong can be costly.
Where to start
Firstly, take an objective look at your property to ascertain whether it needs any repairs. The annoying door handle which sticks, or the cupboard door which has almost fallen off is only going to get worse when a tenant moves in.
Decide whether the home could do with a lick of paint, new carpets or even a refreshed bathroom or kitchen. These improvements could ensure the property is rented faster and can secure a higher rent.
Take a look at the garden – is there anything you could do to reduce the maintenance for your tenant?
To furnish or not
If the property has some left-over furniture you could be tempted to offer it for rent furnished. However, consider this carefully because there are regulations you will need to comply with. For example, the sofa must be fire-resistant, and must have still have the fire safety label attached.
Get an Energy Performance Certificate
It is now a legal requirement that a property must have an energy rating of at least an E before it can be let to a private tenant. If you have the property assessed and it has a poor rating, then the assessor will provide some guidance about how to increase the energy efficiency of the property - which could be something as simple as installing a draft excluder.
The boiler must be serviced every year, and the Gas Safety Certificate must be passed to the tenant before the property is let.
The property must also have functioning smoke alarms, and if the property has solid fuel appliance, then you need to install carbon monoxide monitors.
Licensing Scheme requirements
If you choose to let the property to more than three people from more than one family, and they share a toilet, bathroom and kitchen then it is likely to be classed as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) meaning it will be subject to licensing conditions.
However, it could also be subject to additional licensing if it is in an area which is designated as requiring a selective licence, as determined by the local authority. Selective Licensing was introduced into a limited number of local authorities in 2006 although since then the number of local authorities operating licensing schemes across England is believed to be more than 70.
Appoint a letting agent
Some landlords decide to go it alone. However, choosing a professional letting agents to let and manage the property for you can help to ensure your experience as a landlord is a positive one.
At haart we can guide you through the process of becoming a landlord. We can help set a fair and reasonable rent and advertise the property for you. Once we believe we’ve found suitable tenants we will arrange professional and thorough tenant referencing which reduces the risk of arrears and. We’ll draw up all the agreements for you, we’ll properly protect the deposit and ensure that the paperwork in place before the tenancy starts.
You could choose to protect the rent with a Rent Guarantee, which is designed to cover the rental payments if the tenant can’t - or won’t pay. We can also provide you with information about specialist landlord insurance which provides different cover than policies which have been designed for homeowners who live in their own home.
Reassuringly, all haart branches have ARLA qualified staff, ensuring you and your property will be in expert hands, and can help you with every step on your journey as you become a landlord.