10 questions every landlord should ask

Whether you’ve made the investment in a ‘buy-to-let’ property or are thinking about becoming a first time-landlord, we fully understand it can seem daunting at first and maybe even overwhelming with the responsibilities involved. However, our qualified team of lettings experts are here to help guide you through every step of the way, offering practical advice to help you secure and manage your tenants and property.

Here we take the most commonly asked questions and provide the answers every landlord wants and needs to know.

Should I use a letting agent? 

Every landlord and property are different and whether you choose to do it yourself or through a letting agent will really come down to whether you have the time and knowledge to dedicate to your investment. By using an agent, it means you will always receive expert knowledge and peace of mind; ensuring your investment is in the best hands. It’s wise to do your research and find a letting and management service that’s right for you. For example, here at Michael Jones we offer everything from a simple ‘tenant find’ service, to a full management service for busy landlords, plus all of our services can be tailored to suit you.

How do I know what rent to charge? 

Ideally you would have a letting agent come and value your home and offer a rental appraisal. They’ll consider the type of property, the location and the current rental demand in your local area, and from that give you a guide price of the type of rental income you can expect to achieve. For a quick reference guide, we offer a free instant online valuation that will give you a rough estimate of what you can expect to achieve per calendar month.

Do I need to tell my mortgage lender? 

Yes, you would be committing mortgage fraud if you deliberately stayed on a residential mortgage while letting your property. Speak with your mortgage lender as soon as possible to find out where you stand and what changes if any you would need to make. If you are buying a property with the intention of letting it, you will need a ‘buy-to-let’ mortgage, any reputable mortgage advisor will run through all your options and advise on the best mortgage for you.

What should I do with the tenant’s deposit?

It is now a legal requirement to put any deposit in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP). If you fail to do this, you could be fined and risk being able to get future tenants. At the end of the tenancy agreement you must return the deposit back within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you’ll be giving back.

Why do I need references?

Problem tenants and rent arrears are the stuff of landlord nightmares, so It’s always recommended you run a full tenant reference check before signing any rental agreement. It will provide you with peace of mind and hopefully prevent any future issues arising. It doesn’t take long to get in contact with a tenant’s previous employer or landlord and you may soon regret it if you forget to do so. We provide a full tenant reference check within all of our Lettings services.

Do I pay tax on the rental income? 

Yes, as a landlord, you’ll need to pay income tax on the rent you receive from your properties, whether you live in the UK or are based overseas.

What happens with council tax? 

The tenant is responsible for paying the council tax all the time they are living at the property. Should they move out and the property remains empty then it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay.

How do I go about visiting the property? 

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords have the right to enter the premises to view its “condition and state of repair”. However, the inspection must be conducted at “reasonable times of the day”, and you must give at least 24 hours’ written notice. If you use a letting agent to manage your property, they will include regular inspections as part of their service.

What if the tenant damages the property or doesn’t pay? 

As a landlord you will need to take out buildings and content insurance with specialist cover to protect your investment against any malicious or accidental damage. Generally speaking, any damage to the property caused by the tenant, aside from general ‘wear and tear’ will need to be paid for by the tenant, either at the time or the cost for fixing the damage removed from their original tenant’s deposit.

How can I remove a tenant? 

There are strict procedures to follow if you want a tenant to leave your property or they have breached their tenancy agreement. You should always try and attempt to resolve any disputes first to save you both time and money, but if this isn’t possible then legal action may be necessary.

Whether buying, selling, renting or letting – the property market is a constant learning curve, but being well prepared and well educated can make all the difference. Our team of experts are extremely experienced in all property matters and are on hand to offer advice and answer any questions you may have on becoming a landlord; no question is too small and the more you ask, the less confused you’ll be.

If you are thinking about becoming a landlord and have any questions, please get in touch with our lettings team or check out our Landlord services page. Contact your local branch today or call 01903 213 111 to speak with one of our friendly team.

Content accurate at time of publishing.

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