8 Mistakes Every New Landlord Should Avoid

Wednesday, December 02, 2015 by

When letting your property for the first time, it is easy to get caught in the potential pitfalls that can come with it. Make sure you think about the following, or talk to your agent before starting out, to avoid these mistakes.

Under charging

When deciding on a suitable monthly rate, be sure not to undercharge. It is tempting to offer a competitive price for your property, but there are often unforeseen costs to letting a flat or house. Ensure you charge enough to cover things like insurance, taxes and mortgage; but also costs such as water, ground rents, gardening, and repairs.

Not checking the law

Before drawing up a lease agreement, be sure to check the ever changing regulations surrounding letting. The UK has certain laws that are important to be up to date with, in order to avoid getting yourself in legal hot water. Avoid using a generic lease agreement you find online; these don’t always account for local laws. The safest option is to make use of a rental agent who knows the ins and outs of your area. 

Letting to anyone

Never judge someone just by looking at them. They may seem like the nicest person in the world, but you may get into a difficult situation further down the line if you hurry to find a tenant. Be sure to check their credit record, past landlord references and their current source of income. 

Imagining the property as your home

When looking for a property to invest in, it is easy to be swayed by your own bias. Just because a certain house or flat doesn’t suit your lifestyle, doesn’t mean it won’t suit a potential tenant. Not everyone is looking for a double parking garage and extended garden. The property might be ideal for someone with different circumstances to you, like a single professional a young couple or a family.

Not checking up on your property

Tenants do not always report problems with a property unless it directly affects them. While you need to respect your tenant’s privacy, try to find a way to check up on your property on a regular basis. Whether this is during routine maintenance checks or before a new tenant moves in. Things such as leaking gutters can turn into a bigger problem down the line if not addressed.

Being too lenient on policies

Nobody wants to be a difficult landlord, and you generally want to be sympathetic towards tenants, but try not to let this make you too lenient on policies. If a tenant is late on their rent, enforce any late fees that have been set in place. If you become too lenient, your tenant may start taking advantage of your kindness which could lead to a difficult situation in the future.

Using a weak lease agreement

Again, while it may seem easier to use a lease agreement found online, this isn’t necessarily a wise move. Generic lettings agreements can often limit landlords’ rights. Creating a contract yourself may also leave you vulnerable to ambiguity and can often result in unwanted loopholes in the document.

Not having a backup plan

Remember that your property might not be rented all the time. Be sure to account for the months when it is untenanted.

We hope you have found these tips for new landlords helpful! Are you looking to let your property? Get a free rental valuation from one of our lettings teams or discover more useful resources for landlords.