No matter where you live, a UK property is a smart investment. It’s one that also happens to be quite popular at the moment. Why? Because rentals are a simple and easy way to make extra money, if set up right, and the economic climate in the UK is ripe for property owners. Here’s what you need to know.
Have a Survey Done
A survey of the property helps you better understand what you’re buying. It’s a step a lot of people skip, but one you shouldn’t. Properties in the UK can be inspected by a certified survey specialist, which is an individual who inspects the property for any issues that may require fixing at some point before it’s suitable to live in.
As a landlord, you have responsibilities to your tenants to provide a safe living environment. Make sure you understand these landlord responsibilities before you buy a property, especially as it relates to gas hookup, energy assessments, fire safety, smoke and file alarms, and electrical wiring and certificates.
The survey will also tell you whether you’re getting a good deal on a property since you’ll know potential repair costs before buying the rental unit.
Rent A Letting Agent
A letting agent is a property manager who takes care of the day-to-day activities of running a rental unit. These property management specialists will be your saving grace. Since they can do all of the tasks of a janitor, rent collector, and tenant interviewer, there’s very little manual labor or actual work that you need to do yourself. In a way, it’s like having a partner in business.
Of course, they take a substantial cut of your rental income for the privilege, but you can more than make up for this in scale. In other words, by buying multiple rental units, you can make more money, with less hassle, than if you worked alone.
Letting agents can also advertise your property for you, check the tenant’s identification and references, conduct viewings as an agent for you, and sort out any maintenance issues, organize tenancy agreements and manage the legal affairs of such, and provide general guidance and advice on property management.
Your job will be to pay the bills – all of them.
Register Your Property For Tourist Rentals
In the UK, you must register your property to allow tourists to rent from you. And, because tourism is big here, it’s a very good idea to get this done before travel season starts.
If you’re buying a rental in Spain, Greece, or Portugal, then you definitely need to complete registration for tourist rental. Being caught without registration could cost you €3,000 to €30,000.
Offer a Welcome Package
Think about the things that you would want to come home to if you were the tenant. A welcome package could consist of a basket of eggs, butter, bread, tomatoes, salad, beer or wine, and bottled water.
If you’re renting to tourists, this kind of thing becomes more significant and will earn you high marks when people review your rental when they leave and tell others. It could also earn you future rental income from those tenants.
Yet for long-term renters a welcome package and ongoing gifts are a great way to endear yourself to the tenant. Christmas gifts, quarterly free rent or conditional free rent programs where tenants get 1 month of free rent if they pay their previous 12 months on time, can help you earn referral business but it will also boost the morale of your tenants. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where the landlords handed out free goodies for being a good tenant?
Make Sure You Have Insurance
Landlord insurance is something that most property owners are familiar with. There are several types of insurance that protect you, your building, and the contents. The most basic insurance covers the building.
So, if there’s a natural disaster like an earthquake or a fire, you’re covered.
Then, there’s contents cover. This insurance protects all of your things inside of the rental unit, and could include protection from flooding and other damage that’s not typically covered by other types of insurance.
Finally, there’s liability cover. This is something that not all landlords pick up (or picks up enough of), but should. Liability cover protects you if someone slips and falls or becomes injured on your property. It also covers the legal fees if you have to take your tenants to court for non-payment of rent.
Finally, some types of insurance will cover you if your tenant skips out on you and defaults on the rental agreement.
Laura Finney manages properties. She likes sharing her insights online. Her articles appear mostly on investment and real estate websites.