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hToday I wanted to share a post that’s a bit different from my usual style, but I thought it might be helpful to some! I don’t talk about it much on here, but alongside my blog, I’ve got another little project. We have a rental property which is my responsibility to manage and look after. This week we had some problems with the drainage system, I won’t bore you with but it got me thinking that when we first looked to rent out our old flat I had NO IDEA what I was doing or where to start. When problems would flag up it would be so stressful. It’s an old property so we do get quite a few issues but I think I’ve got better at handling them over time – so today I wanted to share a few basic tips I’ve picked up in the last two years as a landlord!
Take out Landlord Insurance
One of the first things I organised as soon as we planned to rent out the property was Landlord Insurance through CIA. This insurance covers you for lots of different things such as buildings and contents, loss of rent cover, unoccupied property and even damage and theft by tenants. This is such an important thing to take out as anything could happen to the property at any time, so it’s imperative to have it in place before tenants arrive. I’ve not had to claim on mine yet, hoping it stays that way.
Be ready for anything!
The most unexpected things really do happen in your property when you aren’t there. I think when it’s your own home you’ll know if there is a leaky tap or a slow-burning problem waiting to happen but when it’s a rental property it really is “out of sight, out of mind”. You’ll get a phone call when you least expect it, with the most random issue. I save a bit of money every month into a maintenance pot so whenever something goes wrong I’ve got a bit of money aside to pay for repair work and I don’t have to suddenly find the money.
Be understanding but fair
We’ve had a couple of different tenants now and I’ve learned that the best approach is to be understanding but fair. I think that tenants tend to think the landlord has plenty of cash to splash out on the property (which isn’t always the case, at all!) so I try to be understanding with requests but fair. When a request comes from the tenant I will try to work out if it’s financially viable and going to be of value to the property. Also, if there is work to be done – is it due to cosmetic reasons or safety reasons? Obviously any safety issues will be fixed immediately but cosmetic might need more consideration or to be done at a later date.
Use a management agent
We use a management agent to look after our property which has been a huge weight of my mind and a massive help in the legal side of finding and vetting our tenant. They deal with things like safety checks, vetting, credit checks, inspections, references, deposit management and the tenancy agreement – which would be a lot to consider if renting privately! I still have to get involved when there is an issue at the flat and that can be super stressful, but at least I have a middle man who can field out the work in the meantime.
Do your tax self-assessment
If you rent out a property and earn money from it you still need to declare it to the HMRC and pay tax on the income – so it’s important to make sure your self-assessment tax return is completed every year. There is a list on the HMRC website of allowable expenses that will help to reduce your yearly tax bill. Like our maintenance pot account – I also save 20% of my rental income in a savings account ready to pay our tax bill.
I hope this post gives you a little insight into what it’s like being a landlord, if you are just about to rent out a property I hope you found it helpful too!
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