I’ve been a landlord for almost 20 years. In that time I’ve managed properties for hundreds, if not thousands, of other investors too. There are a few key ingredients that go into almost every landlord success story. In this post, I’ll break them down into my three top tips.
1. Start as you mean to go on
Missing steps at the very start of a tenancy can come back to bite you. Something that may seem like a small omission at the time, could stop you from regaining possession of a property years later, because a judge will deem that you failed to comply with legislation.
For example, if you didn’t give your tenant a ‘how to rent‘ booklet when they moved in, you may lose a possession hearing at court, even if they haven’t paid the rent! Protect against this by having a robust ‘move-in checklist’. Audit and update your list regularly, to make sure it stays up-to-date with new legislation.
2. Be proactive and protected
You’re legally obliged to complete repairs — like shelling out to replace a broken boiler — even if a tenant doesn’t pay their rent. It doesn’t feel fair, does it? AND, in landlord/tenant disputes, the court system favours tenants by default.
Instead of feeling bitter about it, be above reproach. You don’t need to let tenants take you for a ride, but you do need to minimise the likelihood of disputes and protect yourself against them.
Landlords get a bad rap in the press, so simply by sticking to the letter of the law, you’ll stand out as a good one and attract quality tenants. Still, the occasional bad tenant happens to the best of us, so mitigate future risks by taking out rent guarantee insurance. Insurance guarantees every penny of your rent, so you won’t be out of pocket for that broken boiler, whatever happens. 🙂
3. Stay on top to protect the bottom line
Rental income – expenses = profit. Simples!
That doesn’t mean you should increase the rent and stop investing in repairs. Quite the opposite. That approach might temporarily increase your profits but it’s the fast track to losing tenants. And nothing will drain profits faster than having to pay the bills on an empty property.
Instead, keep your landlord success story on track by keeping your rents competitive, to attract the largest pool of tenants. Then incentivise them to stay, by keeping on top of repairs and planned maintenance. Good long-term tenants are crucial to investment success. Happy tenants, in well-maintained homes, are much more likely to stay put.
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