12 Things Every First-Time Landlord Needs To Know

Becoming a landlord can be an extremely financially rewarding endeavour which is why it comes as no surprise that in recent months there has been an influx in the number of first-time landlords, in particular those who are investing in buy-to-let properties. With London opening back up again after a year and a half of pandemic lockdowns, renters are flooding back to the capital causing a rental market boom. Renters are looking to live in all parts of London – North West London being a popular choice due to its proximity to the city centre and excellent transport links.

But if you are a first-time landlord, there are some things to be aware of before and after you let your property. Read on to find out 12 things every first-time landlord needs to know.

1. Property preparation

Presentation goes a long way to attracting the right tenants. The general rule is that less is more and you should remove anything personal or valuable – tenants want to feel the space is their own and not someone else’s. Also ensure upholstered furnishings comply with current Furniture and Furnishings Regulations.

2. Landlord license

This isn’t always a requirement but it pays to check with your local authority before going ahead. It exists to ensure rental properties are well-maintained and kept in good condition for their tenants. If you plan to let out a HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) property you will need to apply for a HMO license – it’s a legal requirement.

3. References

A key part of vetting tenants involves detailed reference checks to ensure they do not fall into rent arrears. There are usually three kinds of references: credit checks, employment verification and previous landlord checks. Many first-time landlords choose to use a professional letting agent to ensure these checks are performed to the required standard. If you choose to let your property with us, we will carry these checks out for you as part of our letting service.

For more details on our letting’s services contact our expert team today.

4. Deposit Protection

By law you must place your tenant’s deposit in a Government-authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of receipt. There are three to choose from: Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and mydeposits. At Regal Estates, we use mydeposits.

5. Insurance

Before renting out your property you must inform your current buildings insurer or risk invalidating your current policy. They will be able to offer a new one that covers things like damage to your property, legal expenses, loss of rent and more.

6. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

All tenants must receive an EPC before they move in. This tells them about the energy efficiency of the property. It must be at least EPC band E before being let, and if not, you’ll need to make the relevant changes to improve the rating, as large fines can be handed out if standards aren’t met.

7. Letting agents

This is an important one as it can make all the difference to your experience as a landlord. Always meet them in person and ensure they are ARLA Propertymark protected, as it means they work to a regulated industry standard. Also check that they offer client money protection so you know you’re in safe hands.

At Regal Estates, we are members of ARLA Propertymark, Client Money Protection and Safe Agent, meaning we work to the highest standards in the industry.

8. Safety

Keep your property and tenants safe by installing fire alarms on all floors. This is a legal requirement, as are carbon monoxide detectors in every room where solid fuels are burnt. Ensure they are all tested before the tenant moves in and gas and electrical safety checks must also be carried out, with yearly Gas safety checks required by law.

9. Tenant types

Consider the type of tenants you’d like in your property. This will affect how much you charge and whether it is furnished or unfurnished. For example, students will likely need furniture, while families probably will not.

10. Legal impact

There are different legal implications to consider depending on whether you own a leasehold or freehold. Also, different regional locations could influence the way in which you rent.

10. Pets

Decide whether or not you will let to tenants that own pets. They will have an impact on the wear and tear of the property, but allowing pet owners can encourage people to settle and stay for longer.

11. Inspections

You should carry out regular inspections to ensure no unwarranted damage has been caused. Although this must only be done with the tenant’s permission. Give them 24-48 hours’ written notice before you arrive.

12. Notice

Giving notice is something you will likely have to do at some point if you are a landlord. Make sure the terms are clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and that you follow correct procedure. Alternatively, a letting agent can handle this process on your behalf as part of their property management service. You can find out more about our property management service in North West London here.

Letting Property in North West London

Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or a first-time landlord, Regal Estates can help you successfully let your property in North West London. We have over 20 years’ experience helping landlords across Willesden Green, Neasden, Dollis Hill and the surrounding areas. Contact our professional lettings team today on 020 8459 2530 or email lettings@regalestate.co.uk to find out more about our lettings and property management services.