So, you’ve decided to try your hand at being a landlord. If you do things right you’ve got a potential cash-cow on your hands, one that will supply you with a source of regular and potentially lucrative income.
However, as you’ll find out in this landlord guide, it’s not simply a case of handing over the keys to your tenants and watching the money roll in at the end of every month and there are a number of things you need to do if you want to become a landlord.
1. Write a tenancy agreement
You can find and purchase a tenancy agreement online or in a stationary outlet. It’s important you read up on the legal and financial obligations you have as a landlord and how property laws or conveyancing works. You can adapt the tenancy agreement to your requirements but this must be done before it is signed.
2. Obtain tenant references
You must make sure the tenants moving in to your property can be trusted, and you do that by seeking references from previous landlords and current employers. Avoid applications from people who have negative references as it could lead to serious problems down such as rent not being paid or even damage to your property.
3. Provide an Energy Performance Certificate
If you’re renting out a property you’ll need to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) to allow potential tenants to inspect how energy efficient the property is.
This only applies if the property is self contained so if you’re just renting out a room in a shared house where the kitchen and bathroom is shared then an EPC isn’t required. Failure to produce an EPC for a contained property could result in a fine from the trading standards department of your local council.
4. Get landlord insurance
Make sure you cover your property and the possessions inside it against damage or loss with landlord insurance. Although landlord insurance isn’t a legal obligation it is a highly important part of the preparation.
Remember, damage to property can happen easily and as the landlord you are responsible for it. General buildings insurance with contents cover for white goods and any furniture, fixtures or fittings which you have provided is all you need and it is up to your tenants to cover their personal possessions and valuables with their own contents insurance policy.
5. Protect your tenants
As a landlord, you’re responsible for the health and safety of your tenants within your property. It is your sole responsibility to take care of gas and electrical safety, so all appliances must be checked annually with a copy of the gas safety certificate given to all tenants. It’s important to remember that any gas engineer you call out must be registered with the Gas Safe Register in order for the work to be aboveboard.