Logo

Top tips for first-time landlords

PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 September 2017

Be savvy when you choose where to buy your rental property

Be savvy when you choose where to buy your rental property

fazon1

We discuss climbing the buy-to-rent property ladder with first-time landlords and local industry experts.

Taking on the extra risk and responsibility of becoming a landlord can be a daunting prospect. With the uncertainties of Brexit, tough new restrictions on finance cost tax relief and an increasing amount of new laws that landlords need to abide by, there are lots of factors for the first-timer to consider before taking that first step on the buy-to-rent ladder.

However, with impressive utilities and strong transport links, Havering and Brentwood continue to offer tenants an attractive alternative to the soaring prices of London’s rental market. Read on for our top tips for first-time landlords to help minimise risk and add extra appeal to your property.

Preparation is key

It’s helpful to identify your ideal tenant, and tailor your property to suit their needs. While students are more likely to require a furnished space, families could be looking for a more practical home, with ample storage room and a child-friendly set-up essential. Jess Sydney, a 27-year old customer service manager, says: “I didn’t really think about the tests and certificates you need to have, as well as the extra safety bits like electricity certificates, fire alarms, gas and boiler checks. This all adds up, especially if you’re not expecting it.” Steven Bond, director at Beresfords Estate Agents in Brentwood, continues: “There needs to be an additional budget set aside for upfront costs such as mortgage arrangement fees, survey costs and stamp duty. That’s why a proper analysis at the outset is imperative.”

A question of taste

“When doing the property up, I wanted to make it amazing – like I was going to live in it, and I nearly spent way too much. You have to find a balance between making it modern and liveable, but also neutral so tenants can see it as a blank canvas for them to decorate” says Jess. While it can be tempting to create a stylish and inviting space that you’d be proud to live in yourself, your tenants’ taste may be totally different, which can result in the need for hasty and expensive alterations. The Elliot Leigh estate agents in Bow have some tips for colour schemes, too. “Magnolia has died out – tenants like to see a different colour setting these days. Greys and whites are coming back around again.”

Going green

Marcus Franck, founder of London-based Franck Energy, points out that landlords will need to be wary of a new environmental policy coming into play in April 2018. “All properties let in the private sector must have a minimum energy performance rating of E on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)” he says. “All existing tenancies will need to comply with this regulation by 2020… those which ignore it may incur a fine of over £4,000.” Carrying out work to make your property more eco-friendly will naturally involve additional expense, but this could also play a big role in attracting new tenants, as they are the ones who stand to benefit from significantly lower gas and electricity bills in the long run.

Avoid mates’ rates

Renting to somebody you know can seem like a good idea, but it’s also important to keep a professional relationship with your tenants that steers clear of emotional ties. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be polite and courteous, but renting out a property to your friend may turn uneasy if a dispute should arise. “I’m not sure if I’d ever rent to someone I know again” continues Jess. “Just because the initial awkwardness with asking for late rent is a bit uncomfortable when you already know them.”

Value of a great tenant

Landlords get a tough press – and stories of horror homeowners neglecting the needs of their tenants are sadly two-a-penny. But the importance of vetting your own tenants can’t be understated. Ensure anybody you take on is trustworthy and reliable, and don’t underestimate the value of finding a great tenant. Look after them, don’t put off any work they ask you to carry out and they’ll stick around for longer. Rob Bence, co-founder of UK housing forum The Property Hub, highlights the importance of written communication. “It’s good to have evidence of correspondence, so written contact – whether that be in the form of texts, emails, or even a Facebook message – is better than phone conversations.”

Location, location, location

Steven Bond, of Bereford’s Estate Agents, stresses the need to be savvy when picking a location for your property. “Look at areas that are on the up or are consistently offering a strong yield. Brentwood, Shenfield and Gidea Park – all areas near the new Crossrail line – have performed exceptionally well over the past few years.” The much-awaited Elizabeth Line is now just 18 months from completion, and it will offer residents of Brentwood and Shenfield easy access to London’s main employment, shopping and business districts. Crossrail is projected to add an extra £42 billion to the economy, and with this the demand for property in the local area is likely to surge.

Consider an agent

Many first-time landlords look to skip the expense of using an estate agent in favour of trying to rent out the property themselves. However, the benefits of using an agent shouldn’t be overlooked. “We act as a buffer between the tenants and the landlords. We provide full references and sort all of the necessary admin,” say Elliot Leigh. Landlord Stuart Summers says: “Agents are expensive but take away a lot of the hassle. If you manage it yourself, you’re in control of the expenditure, but be prepared to act if your tenant calls you about a leak as you are getting into bed.”

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Shed your winter weather worries

How to ensure the maintenance of your shed throughout the colder months

The Belsize Park apartment refurbished by multi-award-winning design team

Take a look inside this luxury Hampstead apartment, complete with bespoke vintage brass taps and stained charcoal units

Halloween homes: how to create spook-tacular decor for ‘fright’ night

Dip into a witch’s brew of tricks and treats

New luxury development nears completion in Hampstead

The apartments have proven popular with just a few homes left for sale

Marylebone area guide: restaurants, high street, shops and schools

Your guide to things to do in Marylebone, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW1 and W1

Open House: Take a look inside the latest Hampstead Heath homes on the market

Both houses feature a cinema room and slim line framed windows, offering enviable views of the landscaped gardens

Transform your outside space by repointing your garden path

Richard Burr reveals how in five simple steps

Top ten things renters need to know

From losing your deposit to falling foul of unprofessional landlords, make your renting experience as easy as possible by reading these top tips

Revealed: How much it costs to buy a property in Camden per square metre

Property buyers are spending more than £12,000 for just a square metre in the north London borough, figures show

Sitting pretty: Everything you need to know before choosing a new sofa

Buying a new settee can be stressful. Three experts share their top tips and trends to plump for.

Hampstead new luxury penthouses already 50% sold to mostly local buyers

71 per cent of the two to five bedroom apartments have sold to families nearby, underlining an appetite for family-sized luxury new-builds in the area

Property of the week: Guildens

A rare opportunity to purchase an unmodernised house which has been in the same ownership for nearly 60 years

Need a new front door? Here’s how to revamp your old one and save money

Refreshing your home’s entrance is a big job. Richard Burr reveals his 5 top tips for a perfect paint job

9 autumn must-buys to cosy up your home

Whether you’re styling up a snug room, or just want to something comfy to curl up in now the nights have started to draw in, now is the perfect time to ‘fall’ into something luxuriously soft and snuggly. Or, you could tap into an Alpine theme and add a touch of cosy-cabin chic.

Hampstead area guide: shops, theatre, schools and the Heath

Your guide to things to do in Hampstead, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW3

The Conservative and Labour housing policies explained

The prime minister proposed the build of 25,000 extra social homes in two years, while Corbyn announced plans to implement a cap on rent increases

Five things buy-to-let landlords need to know going into 2018

From house price and rental yield statistics to minimising voids, here’s everything you need to know

The top six things that are likely to devalue your home, according to new research

Swimming pools and solar panels are among the most undesirable property features, new research has found

North London developers prepare to unveil luxury collection in Fortis Green

The Fortis Collection has used a number of locally sourced materials and prides itself on being “incredibly energy efficient”

Choose the right tools for the great autumn tidy-up

As you begin to rake leaves, trim shrubs and shape trees in the garden in autumn, we look at essential tools to help you get the job done quickly

For sale in Tufnell Park: top three

On the market now, we’ve found apartments with green private gardens and a luxurious two bedroom new build in Tufnell Park

New eye tracking technology reveals what buyers really look at when viewing a property

Research found that only four per cent of eye movement time is dedicated to considering property layout, repairs or structural features

British-Canadian designer Patrick Cox has sold his Little Venice pad for £2.75m, before moving to Ibiza

Fashion designer Patrick Cox has found a buyer for his 1,908 sq.ft (177 sq.m) Victorian villa in Little Venice, as he prepares to move to Ibiza and start on another ‘grand designs’ style property project

Tufnell Park area guide: schools, restaurants, station and The Dome

Your guide for things to do in Tufnell Park, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools.

What’s the best conifer for you?

Conifers used to be seen as dull, boring and way too tall - think Leylandii and you get my drift - but so many new varieties are now on the market that you can add colour, architecture and form to your garden when everything else has entered winter dormancy.

What to consider before buying your first property

The help available - and pitfalls to avoid - for first-time buyers

Home of the Week: Striking five storey townhouse in Hampstead Village

Denning Road, Hampstead Village, NW3

Don’t miss the last weekend of London Design Festival

The annual celebration of all things design has taken the capital by storm this September. Make sure not to miss the last weekend before the festival closes its doors on Sunday.

Top tips for first-time landlords

We discuss climbing the buy-to-rent property ladder with first-time landlords and local industry experts.

Camden mews property transformed into couple’s forever home

A 1960’s Camden property has been redesigned using a number of locally sourced materials

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant