Risk management advice for private landlords

5th October, 2018

Between 2006/07 and 2016/17, the percentage of households buying with a mortgage declined from 37% to 28% and the percentage of privately renting increased from 13% to 20%. And, due to increased house prices, renting is more likely, particularly for millennials.

Whilst this is good news for buy to let property owners, being a landlord doesn’t come without its own worries. We have complied a useful guide on managing and reducing your risk as a landlord:

1. Check your tenants – request references, run a credit check and check employment status.

2. Make an inventory – make a list of all items you have supplied from curtains and carpets to kitchen appliances and their condition. You may want to take dated photos.

3. Check the property before tenancy and regularly review – ensure the property is in a good, habitable condition and nothing is damaged. Let your tenants know you will be reviewing the property every 6 months and should anything be spotted or reported, such as mould or leaks, ensure things are fixed promptly to avoid further damage.

4. Ensure you are compliant -

  • Have an annual gas inspection by a registered gas engineer
  • Have an electrical safety check by a qualified electrician prior to tenancy
  • Have an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate
  • Only provide furniture that complies to the Furniture and Furnishings Act 1988
  • Have a smoke alarm installed on every storey
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance such as coal fire or wood burning stove.

5. Know your rights as a landlord -

  • Have a written tenancy agreement that states tenants must make payments by a standing order so they can easily be tracked
  • Property considered to be damaged by ‘fair wear and tear’ cannot be claimed back from tenant
  • But, damage, accidental or not, can be claimed back and can be cause for eviction
  • You cannot turn up to your property unannounced. You must give notice and have permission
  • Notice must be served for eviction and it must be fair, allowing a reasonable amount of time for alternative accommodation to be sorted.

6. Get Landlords Insurance to ensure you and your property are fully protected - Standard Home Insurance will not suffice.

To discuss your Property Owners Insurance requirements, speak to Routen Chaplin on 0115 973 4437 or email insurance@routenchaplin.co.uk.

Sources: Family Resources Survey 2016/17

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