Perhaps you have decided to invest in property or perhaps your circumstances have changed and you unexpectedly find yourself becoming a landlord. Whatever the reason, here are some things you should think about. Bear in mind that laws and policies differ in Scotland, England, and Wales. If you are in any doubt as to your obligations you should check with your local authority or visit the gov.uk website for more information. 

Obligations

You must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for each property that you rent out. This provides information relating to the energy efficiency of a property. 

You should make sure that all included appliances are regularly checked and maintained. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors may also be required depending on where your property is located. You must comply with all fire and health and safety guidelines.

Your tenant’s deposit must be protected in a tenant’s deposit scheme or equivalent government approved scheme and you must provide your tenants with a tenancy agreement or equivalent.

Mortgages

There are a variety of buy-to-let mortgages available. Contacting a mortgage broker will allow you to assess the products available and decide what best suits your needs. Consumer mortgages came into effect in 2016 and are available to anyone who didn’t intentionally set out to become a landlord. These are regulated the same way as standard residential mortgages and thus come with consumer protection. If you have inherited a property for example, or your property isn’t selling and you need to rent it instead, you may fit the criteria for a consumer mortgage.  

Expenses

HMRC no longer allow all expenses to be offset against income. Some costs and expenses will be taken into account for basic rate tax relief. Visit the gov.uk website for full details. 

Maintenance

You must remember that your property is an investment and should be looked after. Many landlords choose not to have regular maintenance carried out or decide to leave the works unattended. Whilst this may save you money in the short term, it may ultimately prove costly. Your property value may plummet and your building may be left requiring some major repairs. Issues like damp or a leaking roof, amongst others, should be dealt with immediately. 

Tenants

Renting via an agent comes at a price but it can save you time. They will carry out the required checks on potential tenants and find someone suitable to lease from you.

It is wise to remember that your property is now someone else’s home. Your tenants are potentially paying a lot of money to live in your property so be reasonable and fair. If the boiler breaks down, don’t leave them without heating and hot water for weeks on end. You are obligated to have certain issues fixed within a reasonable timescale in any case but try not to take long to remedy any issues. If you keep your tenants happy and comfortable, they are more likely to hang around which will save you time and money in the long run.