How to protect yourself as a landlord
- Think of buying to let as a medium to long term investment.
- Seek advice from an ARLA letting agent on local market demands.
- Get your sums right. Will the rent cover borrowings and costs, after allowing for void periods?
- Decorate, fit out and furnish to high quality standards, especially kitchens and bathrooms, to attract the best tenants and let quickly every time.
- Use an ARLA member as your letting agent. They are bonded, hold Professional Indemnity Insurance to required standards, have staff trained to ARLA's competency standards and are kept up to date with the latest legal and regulatory requirements.
- Let personal taste cloud your judgement. Be sure the property you choose meets market requirements.
- Purchase anything with potential maintenance problems like a lot of woodwork or large gardens. It will add nothing to the rental value and cost a lot to keep up.
- Think that the running of an investment property to let can be left to friends or relatives in your absence. Tenants require a full management service.
- Use off-the-shelf tenancy agreements from HMSO or law stationers, forget to issue the right notices or fail to have a proper inventory and condition report made before a tenant moves in. Leave all documentation to a professional agent.
- Furnish with second hand furniture or cast-off soft furnishings. These will probably contravene the Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.