Have you accidentally become a landlord? Here’s what to do…

Unoccupied properties are a great potential source of income, particularly if you’ve found yourself between moving out of your old property and into your new one, or if a parent has moved into care or passed away and you’ve inherited a property or need to provide for their care.

Whatever the reason for your transition into becoming a landlord, Unoccupied Direct is on hand to provide a list of key things to look out for when making the first steps towards becoming a private landlord.

Notify the insurer

Check the home insurance policy that’s in place already, as it’s likely to be a standard one which provides more basic cover. You could consider obtaining cover which comprehensively insures landlords against the sort of things that may be necessary when having tenants in the property – such as accidental damage cover or rent guarantee payments.

Similarly, if the property is going to be unoccupied for a period of time, such as during probate, consider taking out a more specialist policy that covers these time periods, as it’ll protect your investment in the long run.

Know your legal obligations

There are a lot of regulations and rules concerning the private rental sector – do you know your EPC rating from your PAT test? If not, there’s a wealth of information online, with sites such as Landlord News looking to educate and inform private landlords.

Ensure you read up on all the legal steps required before you start letting the property, as you could be faced with hefty fines should you neglect to keep in line with the more regulated aspects of letting a property.

Consider employing an agent

A letting agent with a good reputation can help you with all the regulations and legalities of becoming a landlord for the first time, as well as effectively manage the property and provide a ‘middle man’ for you and your tenants.

Have a contingency plan

Just in case, make sure to have enough saved up to cover any necessary costs of replacing a broken boiler, a few months’ rent or a replacement shower, in case anything happens to go wrong.

Similarly, if the rent payments are particularly important for covering care costs of your parents, for example, it’s recommended that you put your property on the market at least eight weeks before you need tenants in. This allows plenty of time for you to find the right tenants, as well as carry out all the necessary referencing procedures.

Finishing touches

Cleaning the property to a professional standard, making sure any furnishings and appliances are up to date, and generally making sure the property looks appealing to new tenants will help obtain reliable tenants in the first place.

The first steps towards becoming a landlord for the first time can be daunting, particularly if you’ve found yourself approaching the lettings market out of necessity rather than choice. However, it’s just a matter of thinking through each part of the process, step by step, to ensure you have a positive experience and generate a healthy rental income.