Jan 13, 2015

Last year was a year of great change for private landlords. With the private rented sector taking more responsibility for the provision of housing, many continued to struggle to get a mortgage with the high deposits needed to secure a home – and even more and more concerned about rising house prices, the sector will come under ever-greater scrutiny this year.

In fact, at the dawn of 2015, greater transparency will be demanded from landlords and it is even more key that they keep abreast of changing legislation, as well as the condition of their properties.

With this is mind, now is the time for landlords to make their very own New Year’s resolutions and plan for a prosperous and stress-free future in 2015 and beyond.

Neil Woodhead, Founder of U.K. company Ready Rentals, an online resource that offers self-managing landlords the support to provide a professional and legally compliant service, gives his suggestions for seven resolutions that private landlords should keep this New Year:

Don’t forget your anniversary,

When is your gas safety, electrical, flue and other tests due? When is your insurance due for renewal? Miss these dates and you could end up being prosecuted, so it is important that you keep a close track of all anniversary dates.

What’s your policy?

Does your insurance policy cover accidental and malicious damage, letting to unemployed tenants, 30-days void occupancy levels and loss of rent, or does it have a minefield of exclusions in the small print? If your policy is not yet up for renewal, make sure you have a good look at your current documentation and ensure that you are fully covered. When it is due for renewal , make sure you read everything thoroughly as it could mean the difference between a payout and a huge headache.

Have a thorough MOT.

When did you last inspect your rental property, check meter readings for adverse usage, assess general wear and tear or damage and update your inventory? While you have some free time, start planning arrangements to visit your property  to ensure everything is up-to-date and there’s nothing that needs addressing. When was the last time you checked for condensation and were the tenants advised of how to deal with these issues to reduce the risk of damage to their health and your property? Do the smoke alarms and CO2 detectors work? Are all the appliances functioning and have any unauthorized alterations to the property or fixtures been made? This can all sound very daunting but can be made far simpler with the use of templates that can be populated online.

Are you on track?

Check your current tenancy documentation is up-to-date and that it takes into account the changes brought about by any recent legal cases and alterations to government policies. Make sure they comply with the correct notice periods and tenant deposit rules. Legislation is something that is not static for long, especially when it comes to the private rented sector, and therefore staying on top of any changes or alterations is key to staying within the bounds of the law.

Make the most of your asset.

First impressions count, and whilst many make the resolution to join the gym and exercise regularly come the New Year in the pursuit of the perfect physique, the private landlord should be looking to the improve the appearance of their property, especially when it comes to marketing it to prospective new tenants. Ensure that the property is presented in a professional manner, whether it is de-cluttering if it is furnished, trimming back hedges, redecorating to make sure walls and skirtings are clean and neat or fitting new handles to doors. Whilst being supported by a licensed real estate agent, make sure that you have good quality photographs to show off your property.

Become more eco-aware

This may seem a long time away, but by April 2018 new legislation in the United Kingdom, for example will have a significant impact on properties with an energy rating below grade E, and if Labour gets into power at the next General Election in May they are proposing an increase to grade C. If your properties do not meet these minimum levels you will not be able to make them available to let, so as we head into 2015 now is the time to budget for and programme any works required to raise your property’s standard. Stay up to date with the laws and legislations in the country where you investment property sits.

Info courtesy – Property guru