Four tips to help landlords avoid common mistakes

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Many self-managing landlords in the buy-to-let sector are not property professionals and its hard to get it absolutely right every time. So here are our tips for avoiding the four most common mistakes that we see people making.

Don’t skip the referencing process

Yesterday in this blog, we flagged up the importance of referencing. As a landlord, you should never be so focused on getting in the rental income that you don’t bother to do proper referencing checks. This is one of the four most common mistakes landlords make and it can lead to all kinds of problems further down the line.

It’s vital that you know:

  • If the tenant had previous rent arrears
  • Can they afford the rent?
  • Did they leave their last rental property in an acceptable condition?

We recommend keeping an application checklist, showing the information you need every time you process a potential new tenant. You need to know their current address, their current or most recent landlord address, their place of work and what their current salary is.

And don’t forget identity checks.  You must always ensure that the tenant is who they say they are and that they have the right to rent in the UK. Also, we would always advise that landlords ask for details of a close relative for emergencies. This can help if a tenant leaves the property owing you rent or money for repairs, or if you need to forward post.

Our cloud-based automated lettings platform PlanetRent takes care of referencing along with all the other aspects of your tenants’ rental journey. It’s easy to use and it’s pay-as-you-go. Check it out today and ensure you are never tempted to skip the referencing process.

Check your mortgage

Another common mistake that landlords make is to forget that before renting a property, it is vital to check that the terms of your mortgage allow you to do so. Renting out your property without the consent of your mortgage company could put you in breach of their terms and conditions. This could mean the lender charging you a higher interest rate or even seeking to repossess your property.

Engage with your tenants

Neglecting your tenants can cause problems further down the line. For example, if you’re not using a managing agent you need to be available 24/7 in case an emergency arises. Not responding to maintenance issues can also prevent you using the Section 21 eviction process if you want to regain possession of the property. So keep the lines of communication open and ensure that your tenants feel comfortable contacting you. Never turn up unannounced but we do recommend that inspections are carried out every quarter and that you keep a record and photographs of the current state of the property and its contents. This is key to avoiding disputes over the deposit and any deductions at the end of the tenancy.

Don’t overprice your property

In a price-sensitive market, seeking inflated rent could mean your property stays unlet. Don’t be tempted to overprice your property to ‘test the market’. This can be a big mistake! If you are using portals such as Zoopla & Rightmove, they show a full history of rent changes. So, if the property has been initially overpriced and then reduced, these platforms must inform consumers. Potential tenants may think that there is something wrong with the property and you may end up having to take a lower offer.

All this information and more is included in our E-book on this topic. Click here to download and to take a look at our other resources, all designed to help you get the most out of your rental property.

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