5 Tips Every new Landlord Should Follow

Investing in a buy-to-let property can, and likely will be, both an exciting and challenging time whilst you find your feet as a new landlord. Rental properties can be a great second source of income or even become your career if you feel passionately about property. However, the idea of being a landlord is often quite different to reality – tenants can be unpredictable, and things can go wrong with the property itself. Find out about the five key things to consider before becoming a landlord. Target the right tenants Before buying a property think about the kind of tenant you would like to target. Maybe you would like to rent to a commuting professional who will be looking for convenience of location above many other things; perhaps you want to rent multiple rooms in a single property (which will come with other challenges) or prefer families. Knowing your target...
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Tenant hoarder’ leaves landlord in a financial mess

Ex-social worker and professional landlord of 30 years, Leslie-Ann Franklin, is facing having to sell the rental property she lives next door to in March, Cambridgeshire, after a complex case involving an extreme hoarder has left her in financial ruin.  With her story due to be aired on this week’s ‘Bad Tenants Rogue Landlords’ (Thursday 3rd May, 8pm, Channel 5), Leslie feels the authorities and legal system let both her and her tenant down, and now she is fighting for a judicial review of her case to avoid paying £25,000 in legal fees, on top of the £30,000 she has already spent. Leslie-Ann purchased the 18th century two-bedroom cottage she lives next door to in 2014. Her elderly tenant and neighbour, who was rent-protected and already in situ, had lived in the property for over 30 years. Although Leslie knew that the property was untidy and needed some work, she...
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A Landlord's Guide to Gas Safety

As a landlord, you are responsible for the wellbeing of your tenants when it comes to gas safety on your property or properties. Every year around 25 people die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and many more fall ill thanks to badly installed or faulty flues and gas appliances. According to the Gas Safe Register, a staggering 1.1 million gas jobs are completed by illegal gas fitters each year. Landlords must adhere to the requirements outlined in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which apply to accommodation with residential tenants under a licence or a lease as defined in the Regulations, including: Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, co-operatives, housing associations, hostels or private sector landlords. Rooms let in private households, bedsit accommodation, hotels and B&B accommodation. Rented holiday accommodation such as holiday cottages, flats, caravans, holiday chalets and narrow boats on waterways. Duties...
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Landlord legal expenses explained

Every good landlord worth his or her salt will have considered the benefits of legal cover or insurance before letting their property to tenants or placing it in the hands of an agent. While nobody wants to think about the possibility of lengthy disputes, rising legal costs, and the threat of repossession, it is important for landlords to protect their property – and their own financial responsibilities – in case the worst happens. No matter how amicable things may seem in the beginning, it is vital that landlords protect their assets and rights with legal expenses cover. What does this involve? Landlord legal expenses: The FAQ Although it is not exhaustive, the following FAQ should help landlords to decide whether legal expenses cover is for them whilst providing some insight into what this kind of insurance offers. While grievances with tenants can be a nightmare, landlords also need to think...
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All about MEES: a guide to minimum energy efficiency standards

If you are a current landlord or you are considering taking on a buy to let, you’ll need to be aware of the new legal standard for minimum energy efficiency effective from April 2018. The new regulations make it illegal to grant new leases of energy inefficient commercial or domestic properties in England and Wales after 1st April 2018. The regulations do not apply to sales, but if you are considering buying a property to let and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is below E, as of 1st April 2018, for new tenancy agreements, you’ll need to meet the required standards before you can rent the property out. This is one of the most fundamental pieces of legislation in recent years affecting the rental potential of UK properties. Under the MEES regulations landlords will face a hefty penalty if they let a property with an F- or G-rated EPC....
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Shower vs. Bath in a Rental Property

  As a landlord, you are obliged to provide a bathroom for your tenants. Depending on how may bedrooms the property has, or whether you are running a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), you may even be expected to provide several bathrooms. You won’t have room for a separate shower cubicle if the bathroom is small and compact, so the pertinent question here is whether installing a bath or shower is best for your tenants, and if you ditch the bath, will it affect the value of the property. Bathrooms are a valuable commodity. A new, modern bathroom built to a high specification will attract a better class of tenant. It will also make it easier to find a tenant, which for any landlord is a top priority. After all, void periods are costly and no landlord wants an empty property in their portfolio. Smart bathrooms from reputable companies such...
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Essential safety responsibilities for landlords

  There are landlord responsibilities to ensure that the property in which your tenants are living in habitable and fit for purpose. This involves checking that you have obtained the correct insurance cover, and that you’ve created the appropriate paperwork to legalise proceedings, as well as holding the relevant safety certificates. It’s also your obligation to provide a home that’s secure and safe, meeting regulations laid out by the government and official bodies. Your tenants’ safety and comfort should be paramount, whether you’re a public sector homeowner, or a private landlord. Regardless of the size of your portfolio, your tenants have the same rights. Are you taking your responsibilities seriously? Essential safety If you’re a first time landlord and new to the game, or feel as though you may need a refresher or two, delve into the pointers below; while not exhaustive, they’ll nudge you in the right direction should you...
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NLA CHALLENGES NEW MAYOR TO ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS’

The National Landlords Association (NLA would like to welcome Sadiq Khan to the office of Mayor of London with a challenge: To use just a fraction of his £17bn budget to help support London’s PRS. More than 1 in 4 households in the Capital rent from a private landlord. Private landlords provide more than 860,000[i] homes for the people of London, people working in the Capital on wages which are unlikely to ever allow them to buy. Without the private-rented sector the public services and businesses which make this City great could not hope to fill their vacancies. Despite this we have seen little from this election campaign that demonstrates anything but disdain for private landlords and the homes they provide. We call upon Mr Khan to work with the NLA to achieve a targeted crackdown on criminal landlords. London boroughs already have the power to enforce standards and prosecute...
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Working with Letting Agents

A Landlord’s Guide to Letting Agents and their Fees   Paul Shamplina, the landlord’s friend and founder of Landlord Action, has devised this helpful guide for landlords exploring what they need to know about letting agents.   https://youtu.be/NZYhv1Qa_PM
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Glide Introduces Risk Free Bills Inclusive Package for Landlords

Student utilities and service provider removes potential of bills for excessive tenant usage Specialist student utilities and service provider, Glide, today launches Risk Free Bills Inclusive to provide greater peace of mind to landlords and letting agents of shared households throughout the UK. Inclusive rates have become increasingly popular among students over recent years; with almost three quarters (74%)1 saying that a rent package that includes utilities is an essential or important factor when choosing a property. In response, more and more landlords are offering inclusive rates, but in doing so they can run the risk of receiving a bill themselves at the end of the year for tenant excessive use. Bills for excessive use are rare due to the intuitive nature of the Glide payment plan, however, to avoid completely and give landlords greater peace of mind, Glide has introduced Risk Free Bills Inclusive. With this new package, Glide takes...
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What does Right to Rent mean for you?

The government has announced that from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant. The new law will mean that private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country to avoid being hit with a penalty. In this video Paul Shamplina from Landlord Action talks about Right to Rent immigration checks which is the new law brought in by the government from the 1st February.
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Are pet friendly rentals in more demand than ever?

There used to be the old clichéd window advert or newspaper box that advertised a property to let with the line - no pets allowed. This is now banned under OFT regulations but pet friendly rentals are still often difficult to find. We are a nation of pet lovers and owners and given that demand for rentals is so high, with many people unable to get on the property ladder, is this still a realistic proposition? Figures state that 45% of the UK population are pet owners and 5.4 million people rent their home, according to figures from 2015. Therefore, it’s likely that about 2.5 million people are looking for pet friendly rentals and it is predicted this is likely to increase substantially within the next 10 years. So, what can property owners do to adapt to the increasing demand from pet-owning tenants? Check your freehold and lease terms -...
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Government are going to debate the petition!

Good news -  I recently have heard from Matthew Moody, that the Government are going to debate the petition that many of you have signed. Bad news - it's NOT to reverse tax relief on mortgages its to Scrap plans forcing self employed & small business to do 4 tax returns yearly! The issue we have is that they've got to this figure in about 6 weeks - we are still lagging on 53000 signatures. Although more organisations are coming on board with this. Everyone needs to sign this petition to stop small landlords being targeted at the expense of big business and help spread the word. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104880 Reverse the planned tax relief restriction on ‘individual’ landlords  
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Legal considerations for prospective landlords

Becoming a landlord is rewarding; you build relationships with your tenants and you take joy in providing people with a safe place that they can call home. But there are some legal requirements you have to abide by too – and if you don’t adhere to them then you could find yourself paying fines or being taken to court – which can be a long and stressful process. If you’re thinking of renting out your property and becoming a landlord, read the advice below to ensure that you’re doing it the right way. Image Credits: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com Not everyone can be a landlord You can’t just rent out your property; you’ll need to check with your mortgage lender and insurance company first, you may also be required to obtain a landlord licence. If you don’t get permission first and you go ahead with renting out your property, you could face...
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Court call centres fuelling possession delays says Landlord Action

Since reporting a year ago that under-resourced county courts were overwhelmed by the number of possession claims being put forward, Landlord Action says the problem has not improved and is now being compounded by the use of call centres run by inexperienced temporary staff.  They warn other practitioners “If you want an answer quickly, be prepared to chase.” Twelve months ago, Landlord Action employed a full-time member of staff solely to follow up claims made to the courts. They wanted to ensure they continued providing clients with an efficient service, despite the challenges via third party delays.  However, with further court closures, it now transpires that some county courts are operating call centres, where temporary staff, with little or no experience, have been appointed to process claims and correspondence. In a recent routine phone call to follow up a case, an operator informed Julie Herbert, Head of Legal at Landlord...
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Using contractors to carry out works on behalf of landlords

In recent years, the UK property sector has undergone massive changes due to the massive increase in popularity of “buy to let.” Not only have many more people bought properties to rent out, but also a whole section of the economy based around various contracted-out tasks has seen the benefit. For landlords, there can be many positive reasons to use various contractors to do work on their behalf, but there are also some common pitfalls that must be avoided. Multiple properties For those with only one or even two properties, a “hands-on” approach can be a practical way to get things done. However, some people will not have the time to do everything necessary, and if you are lucky enough to have a growing portfolio of properties, then there comes a point when it is simply unrealistic to think you can manage everything on your own. What do contractors do?...
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6 UK Property Hotspots For 2016

To be successful in the property market it always helps to be ahead of the curve whenever possible. Buying property in the right place at the right time can be the difference between success and failure as a property investor, so knowing where’s hot and where’s not can increase your returns significantly. So, with this in mind, what can we expect from 2016? Where is the smart money going to go as we move into the second half of the decade? We take a look at some of the places that we think will lead the way in the New Year: Glasgow While many will still be concentrating on London and the southeast, those who look a little further afield may find a few hidden gems during their search. Glasgow is already performing well, with 3 of the top 10 postcodes for rental yields in the UK. However, despite being...
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The Importance of Property Portfolio Insurance

Investing in property often involves years of hard work and canny decisions to build up a diverse and successful portfolio. Something so precious should not be left unprotected and vulnerable to loss or damage by the whims of fate. Property portfolio insurance offers a straightforward means of protecting ones assets against risk and loss and helps to provide peace of mind concerning ones future financial security. What is Property Portfolio Insurance? Property Portfolio Insurance is sometimes also known as Landlords Insurance and like any typical insurance, its primary purpose is to protect your hard earned assets from potential risks. The key benefit of this insurance is that multiple properties across an entire portfolio can be consolidated into one policy, making the organisational logistics more straightforward and simpler to manage. Different policies cover differing circumstances and there are certain criteria that must be met to qualify, depending on the chosen insurer. With...
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Right to Rent Checks Law by February 2016

Heres a great video from Sally Lawson of Concentric Lettings about the responsibilities of a landlord to check the immigration status of any tenant. Click here to view the video   From February 2016 all landlords will need to check that their tenant have the right to be in the country and has the right to rent in the UK.  They will need to check that the prospective tenant has a valid UK or EU passport. There will be an ability to check the status of the tenant online via the immigration website. But as you can imagine this website might get a bit busy when February 2016 comes around. There will be penalties of up to £3,000 for repeat offenders. More information can be found on the government website.  Have a look at this informative 4 minute video to gain more information.    
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Essential services landlords should provide

  There's more to being a landlord than just letting somebody live in a house or a flat in return for money. Landlords do have certain obligations to their tenants, both legally and morally, but unfortunately not all landlords meet these obligations all of the time. They can get away with it because often their tenants wont want to make a fuss. There are several reasons why this could be the case. The tenant may not realise that the landlord is breaking the law. Alternatively, the landlord may not technically be breaking the law, but is still failing to provide the level of service a tenant should expect. In both cases, a tenant might not complain for fear of a rent increase that they cant afford, or worse, eviction. Property management Many landlords choose to work with a property management company. Reputable managers like Hamilton King will provide a full service...
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