Landlord and property

How to be a private landlord and its challenges

Still figuring out how to be a private landlord in the UK? We can help you there. Although, whilst letting out properties can be extremely profitable, there’s no denying that becoming a landlord has its own potential problems.

We’ve put together some of the potential issues facing private landlords when renting properties, and how you can easily solve them.

1. Dealing with problem tenants

Whilst most tenants are easy to deal with, there may be the odd occasion where you have somewhat problematic tenants residing in your property, even though you’ve both signed a tenancy agreement. One of the biggest fears facing people learning how to become a private landlord is a tenant falling into rent arrears – and if you’re relying on rent to cover your mortgage payments, this can be a significant challenge.

Luckily, there are a few ways that this can be avoided. The advice for private landlords trying to avoid problem tenants is to follow a stringent tenant referencing process. This will stop tenants from letting your property if they’re unable to afford the rental amount.

However, sometimes even the most financially stable of tenants can still fall into arrears. In these instances, having rent guarantee insurance in place will not only pay you the rental amount should the tenant be unable to, but some policies will also cover the expenses involved with evicting a tenant; which can sometimes be extremely costly.

2. Private landlords and unexpected legislative changes

In recent years, there has been an excess of legislative changes within the private rental sector, and it can sometimes be hard to keep up! As a landlord, it’s important to understand these changes so that you can plan accordingly, and ensure that you’re meeting your legal requirements when it comes to letting properties. Recent changes have included the right to rent, stamp duty surcharge, and the announcement of the tenant fee ban. Whilst these changes are unavoidable, understanding and planning for them can make your life easier when they take effect, as well as protecting yourself against a potential financial, or criminal, penalty.

Keeping an eye on industry blogs and subscribing to newsletters is an easy way of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to legislative announcements. Alternatively, hiring a letting agent to let out your property means that they can advise and assist you in meeting all necessary requirements while you’re still figuring out how to be a private landlord.

3. Property management and dealing with damage

Unfortunately accidents do happen, and so it’s worth investigating how best to protect yourself against this. A comprehensive insurance policy can protect you against both the hassle and the cost when property damage occurs. Not only can accidental damage cover be added on to your landlord’s buildings insurance, but sometimes this cover is even included as standard. Home emergency cover is also a useful add-on and makes your property management much easier, as it covers you against boiler breakdowns and a multitude of other fortuitous events, 24 hours a day.

4. High tenancy turnover

High tenant turnover is something that affects a lot of landlords – whilst it isn’t really a problem, it’s usually preferable to have longstanding tenants living in your property that you know and trust. It may be worth negotiating tenancy renewals as part of your tenancy agreement in advance, to avoid your tenants shopping elsewhere – this also gives you an opportunity to negotiate on the rent so you can find a middle ground. Aside from this, keeping the property in a good state of repair and responding promptly to repair requests can help towards a strong, long-standing relationship between private landlords and their tenants.

5. Unoccupied property insurance

Hopefully this isn’t an issue you’ll come across too often, but sometimes there will be longer periods of time when your property will be unoccupied. This will not only mean losing rental income until new tenants are found, but an unoccupied property is a lot riskier in terms of break-ins and damage than a property that has someone visiting it every day.

Letting agents will provide advice for private landlords on marketing the property – so investing is a good idea, as they can also arrange visits to the property whilst it’s unoccupied to ensure any potential damage doesn’t worsen too rapidly.

It’s also worth ensuring you’re meeting the requirements of your landlord buildings insurance policy when it comes to an unoccupied property – double check your policy documents for how often you need to visit the property whilst it’s unoccupied, as well as if there are any clauses regarding turning off mains services and alarms.

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