13 Top tips for managing your rental property

Here are 13 top tips for managing your rental property. Being aware of these tips will make managing your rental property far less stressful.

Finding the right tenants

1. Screen tenants thoroughly.

Conduct background checks and credit checks to ensure that you are renting to responsible and reliable tenants. I’d also suggest you’re extra cautious of renting to anyone who’s ‘found you’ via mutual friends or family. Unfortunately, all too often tenants with historic rental problems find their next property this way. They know that agents and experienced landlords will be extra vigilant with background checks. This means they’re unlikely to pass their credit or referencing checks. Just because your friend says they’re nice, doesn’t mean they’ll be good tenants.

2. Set a fair rent.

Research comparable rentals in the area to ensure that you are charging a fair and competitive rent. This is especially important if you want to find and retain long term tenants.

Communicate with your tenants

3. Respond to Tenants concerns promptly.

Make sure to respond to tenants questions and concerns in a timely manner. Be available to address any issues that may arise. Its always best to make a note of when an issue was raised and a timeline of what you did to resolve it. Also, follow all phone calls up with an email.

4. Set clear expectations.

Clearly communicate your expectations to tenants regarding rent payments, property maintenance, and other responsibilities. Always put this in writing as part of their tenancy agreement. Its also good to provide a stand alone document that’s easy for them to refer to.

Managing your tenancy

5. Stay up to date on laws and regulations.

Keep informed of any changes to local laws and regulations that may affect your property or your ability to manage it. There have been a lot of changes over the past few years, with many more coming down the line. These can easily become bear pits if you’re not aware of them, so do your homework.

6. Make sure you have a good level of insurance protection

Make sure that your property is properly insured to protect against potential accidents or damage. You might also want to consider rent guarantee insurance. 99.9% of tenants pay their rent in full and on time. However, circumstances can change in a heartbeat. This is worth considering, especially if you’re relying on your rental income as part of your pension or regular income.

Boswells have a great reputation in the property industry. There are other good companies out there, so you might want to shop around. However, when I say shop around, I mean regarding service levels. This is not an area to skimp on price. Go for the company who from your own research has the best reputation.

7. Conduct regular property inspections.

Regular inspections can help you identify potential maintenance or repair needs before they become major issues. We’d suggest at least twice a year.

8. Keep the property in good condition.

Regularly maintain and repair the property to keep it in good condition. This will attract and keep quality tenants.

You’ll have a better idea of what needs attention by carrying out the inspections mentioned above. Don’t rely on your tenants to tell you. Its often the case that tenants don’t like to bother their landlord or agent. Some tenants also worry that if they raise a concern, they may be seen as a troublemaker and will be served notice.

9. Keep accurate records.

Keep detailed records of rent payments, maintenance and repair costs, and any other expenses related to the property. This is good for your records and your accountant will also need this information.

10. Seek professional help if needed.

If you are overwhelmed, or unsure of how to manage your rental property, why not contact us or another reputable agent in your area. Most letting agents will have a variety of services they can offer to suit their landlords particular needs.

11. Set up a contingency, savings account.

Its best practice to put aside around 10% of your monthly rental income. This means that keeping on top of any running repairs will be painless. Over time you’ll build up a decent pot of money for bigger costs, such as carpet replacements or roof leaks. Set up a standing order from month 1, or it will drift and you may be tempted to skip months.

12. Carry out annual rent reviews.

Its also best to review the rent each year. I appreciate that you may not want or need to put up the rent every year. However, you should at least review the market and take a view once a year. Its not a good idea to allow the gap between what you charge your tenants and the current market rate to become too large. This will make it hard for the both of you if circumstances change.

As a landlord, how would you cope if your mortgage interest rate suddenly increased by a couple of percent? Or what about how your tenant would cope if they had to move and discovered what the true rental market rate was. You also need to factor in the increasing costs of maintaining your property. Fair rents don’t mean they need to be unsustainably low either. If rents are too low they often lead to landlords avoiding repairs. Tenants also become too scared to report problems, for fear of landlords putting up their rent, or evicting them because they can’t afford the repairs.

13. Look after your team of trades.

Have a good plumber, electrician and general trade on speed dial. Also, check they’re qualified to do the jobs you’re asking them to do and that they have a robust liability insurance. Good trades are like gold dust, so treat them well and pay them promptly.

In Summary

A good tenancy is a bit like running a car. The more TLC you show it by way of a regular service and maintenance, the more years of smooth running you’ll get out of it.

However, if you’re at all concerned about the work involved with managing your own property, or would like more information about any of the points above, please give Deborah or John at CAM Properties a call on: 01736 755077 or email us at: info@camlettings.co.uk We’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

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