With post-Brexit anxiety rife across the housing industry, landlords have been swept into a void of the unknown. Whilst this has been enough for some buy-to-let landlords to wave the white-flag, others are persevering through this uncertain period, taking extra cautionary practices in order to come out unscathed.
This year saw landlords get stung by a 3% surcharge on stamp duty, but rest assured, buy-to-let as an industry is still alive and kicking. Talking to HomeLet, David Lawrenson, author of Successful Property Letting – How to Make Money in Buy to Let, predicts that despite the referendum results there shouldn’t be any ‘big reduction in the number of foreign workers coming from the EU to the UK. This means there should continue to be strong tenant demand.’
The risks may be slightly higher but the money is still there. Instead of speculating over the unknown, we’ve got some helpful tips to combat the problems of the here and now.
Don’t Rush to Fill Your Property
Temptation is undoubtedly there with this one— and you’re right that it’s easier said than done. Being patient however, and finding the right tenant to fill your property is crucial to your success. An empty room or home shouldn’t worry you half as much as an uncooperative and pesky tenant, hell-bent on your lack of sleep. An empty property isn’t always ideal, but experienced Landlord, and property journalist Tom Enwistle rightly states: ‘no tenant at all is 100 times better that a bad one!’
Screening tenants and drawing up contracts is all well and good, but sometimes life just happens, unfortunately incidents will naturally occur that are no one’s fault but are your responsibility to fix . Whilst insurance on the whole seems like a ‘no-brainer’, Landlord’s insurance is something you’d be foolish to skimp on, and looking into added cover features such as legal expenses and emergency assistance insurance helps cover you financially for those costly and unexpected hiccups.
Invest in Tenant Referencing
The successful landlord will eliminate over 95% of all letting problems through the careful screening and referencing of tenants. Don’t let yourself suffer with problems that could have been avoided from the get-go. You wouldn’t offer someone a job without expecting references, so why offer them your home? A screening process and credit checks are an intrinsic part of the referencing process, and ideally should be carried out by a trusted and reputable tenant agency such as HomeLet.
Get It In Writing
You might think this is completely obvious, but it’s easier than you think to get tricked out by contracts or avoiding a formal contract; especially if the tenants are family or friends. A tenancy agreement is your saving grace when it comes to any sticky solutions, and the perfect opportunity to lay down the ground rules. A thorough written contract needs to be in place to protect both parties. Don’t give tenants the opportunity to find loopholes and leave you at a disadvantage, as it will cost you big time.
Avoid Bending the Rules
Once you’ve had your contract drawn up and signed it should be final. And by that we mean final for everyone. Going back on promises or making exceptions for friends, family, or specific tenants, will not only damage your reputation and elements of trust, but will also damage your pocket. Allowing one-off occurrences for either you or the tenant to breach guidelines set out in your contract can result in a lax mentality— with negative repercussions. Tenants may no longer take the written contract seriously, seeing opportunity to shun agreements.