A Short Guide to Being a Good Landlord

It would be fair to say that landlords do not have the most positive reputation at the moment. The cost-of-living crisis has affected millions across the country, as energy bills and supermarket shops alike continue to rise ever higher. But the crisis is also seeing landlords prepare to hike rent – plunging many further into poverty.

On top of financial worries, it has also been recently reported that one in eight privately rented homes in the UK pose a threat to health, with an attributed cost to the NHS of around £340 million annually. With all the negative press, becoming a landlord is a less popular decision for those with additional property or the means to acquire it. However, not all landlords are bad – and in being a good landlord, you can be a force for good in a difficult market. But how would you go about being a good landlord?

Meet – and Exceed – Safety Standards

In many cases, being a good landlord is as simple as providing the bare minimum. The less a tenant has to fight for things to which they are legally entitled, the more they can experience the ‘quiet enjoyment’ to which they have an inalienable right. One key obligation landlords have to tenants is with regard to safety. The property must be in a serviceable state for rental and kept safe via regular assessments and checks. This includes annual gas safety checks registered engineers, and the regular checking and replacement of smoke alarms throughout.

Create a Reasonable Tenancy Agreement

Observing ethical practices as a landlord begins not with the moving-in of a new tenant, but with the agreement that you and they sign. It is all too common for tenancy agreements to unfairly malign new tenants, with draconian clauses designed to eke funds from the tenant’s deposit; clauses prohibiting the use of nails or blu-tac can seem shrewd from the landlord’s perspective, but actually have a detrimental effect on the tenancy – and even increase tenant turnover. 

Instead of including alienating clauses that do little to preserve the state of the property, write your tenancy agreement in an open and fair manner. Simple concessions regarding decoration can instil a sense of trust, and justify necessary clauses relating to property condition in other ways.

Communicate Openly – and Promptly

One of the biggest pet peeves tenants have with landlords relates to communication. In the event that something goes wrong, the tenant wants to know they can reach the landlord for timely or urgent assistance. If you work with a professional letting agent, they will often handle property management on your behalf, minimising the impact of tenant emergencies on your free time while ensuring a prompt response.

As a private landlord, you should ensure your tenants have more than one means of contacting you. You could instruct them to email you for non-urgent requests and queries, and to call or text in the event of an emergency such as a leak or a boiler breakdown. By letting them know your response time to emails, and indicating immediate availability for emergencies, you can manage expectations while still demonstrating a conscientious approach.

Written by Julie Hanson

Julie is passionate about property – development, investment and portfolio planning. Along with husband Alec, Julie is actively building a property portfolio while helping others to do the same.

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