June 3, 2019
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Top tips for new landlords
There’s strong demand for rental property here in the UK, meaning now could be a great time to take your first steps into the buy-to-let market and become a landlord or landlady.
 
Of course, investing in something like property does carry a great deal of responsibility. We can do our bit to help by arranging landlord insurance that takes into account your individual needs. We offer a range of cover options, including buildings insurance, property owner’s liability, accidental damage and malicious damage by tenants.
 
Whether you’re planning on renting your property to residential or commercial tenants, here are some top tips we think you’ll find useful:
 

Location, location, location

 
If you’re yet to purchase a property, it’s crucial you spend a good deal of time researching the right location to buy in. Understandably, location plays a huge part in attracting the right type of tenants. Some things to consider include:
 
  • Is the property close to public transport links? This is a must if you’re thinking about letting the property to working professionals.
  • What are rental yields like in the area? Find this out with a quick Google search.
  • If you’re planning on renting to students, is the property conveniently located close to the university, or at least near to public transport links?
  • If you want to rent to a family, is the property in a reasonably quiet area, near good schools and shops?
  • What reputation does the area have – i.e. are crime rates low? This will be an important consideration for many tenants.
  • If you’re thinking about renting to commercial tenants, you obviously want to buy in a commercial area that will appeal to prospective businesses.
 

Be thorough with tenant screening

 
When you’ve picked your ideal location and purchased your property, it’s time to find suitable tenants to let that property to.
 
As My Smart Move explains, screening tenants will increase your chances of finding quality tenants who’ll pay rent on time and look after your property as if it were theirs. A thorough tenant screening process involves things like a consumer credit report, criminal records search, eviction records search, sex offeder registry search, and provide income insights.
 
To attract decent tenants, make sure you list the property online with all the details they’ll want to know, including:
 
  • Rental price
  • Number of bathrooms and bedrooms
  • Amenities (for instance washer and dryer, dishwasher, garden, etc.)
  • Nearby attractions
 
The more information you can give, the better. Good quality photographs will really help to sell your property, too – make sure you get snaps of every room.
 

Know the rules

 
As the Gov.UK website outlines, landlords have a number of legal obligations when letting out their properties. For instance, you must:
 
  • Ensure your property is safe and hazard-free.
  • Ensure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained.
  • Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
  • Protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-backed scheme.
  • Check that your tenant has a right to rent the property.
  • Provide your tenant with a copy of the How to Rent checklist when the tenancy begins.
 
In terms of fire safety, you’re responsible for fitting and testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms within the property. Then, when it comes to financial responsibilities, you must pay Income Tax on your rental income, minus the day-to-day running expenses, and pay Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do renting out property counts as running a business.
 

Be thorough with your inventory

 
As Simply Business notes, doing the inventory yourself is very straightforward – but you’ll need to complete it on or just before your tenant moves in, with them present. Here’s what you should do:
 
  1. Prepare an inventory template which includes all ‘fixed’ features (such as walls and doors) in the property, a full list of contents (remembering things like paintwork and carpet), and a comment on the overall condition of the property.
  2. Work through the inventory item by item, remembering to check things like garden features, sheds and garages.
  3. Flag issues on your inventory template, and record the condition of each item – for instance, if there’s a scratch on one of the bedroom doors, or if the sofa is brand new. Taking photos and even videos could prove invaluable here, as it’ll allow you to make direct comparisons when you carry out inspections later down the line.
  4. Once the inventory is up to date with everything covered, and your tenant is happy with it, you’ll both need to sign it off. Give your tenant a copy for their records.
 
And some other things to bear in mind…
 
  • Once the tenancy begins, you should schedule in inspections once every three months. Bear in mind that your tenant has a right to be given 24 hours’ notice before you arrive at the property.
  • Understand that there’s a difference between damage and ‘wear and tear.’ The walls might become marked and the carpet more worn – you can’t penalise the tenant for this.
  • Agree on your damages procedure. If damage occurs, you can estimate costs for repairs or replacement. Let your tenant know and update your tenancy deposit scheme to allow for the deduction to be applied.
 

Take out quality landlord insurance

 
If you rent out a property, then you need specialist landlord insurance. To make sure you protect your property with the right level of cover, we suggest you turn to the specialists here at Insurance Choice Commercial.
 
We have more than 20 years of experience in providing landlords and landladies with cover, tailored to meet their individual or business’ needs, all for a competitive price. The types of landlord insurance policies we offer include:
 
  • Buildings
  • Malicious damage by tenants
  • Unoccupied properties (pending let or sale)
  • Property owner’s liability
  • Loss of rent
  • Accidental damage
  • Landlord Contents
  • Legal Expenses Cover
 
When it comes to landlord insurance, we understand that one size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we’ll work closely with you to understand your needs, before finding a policy to suit. We also offer flexible payment solutions if you want to spread the cost of cover over monthly instalments.
 
Protect your rental property today with cover from Insurance Choice Commercial. Get a competitive quote today