Being a Buy to Let Landlord

by Mark Johnston

The national landlord association announced that they welcome the recent increase in buy-to-let products, but also stressed that they need to be sustainable.

Potential buy-to-let investors must face the very harsh reality of becoming a landlord and all that this entails. New investors in the buy-to-let market rarely spend much time thinking of the actual business side of their investment in buy-to-let, many prefer to concentrate on the financial side of things. The business side of this particular investment includes how they should go about being a landlord, what responsibilities they have and the rights of their would be tenants.

The author on residential landlord and tenant law, Tessa Shepperson, also a specialist solicitor warns that many people think becoming a landlord is easy money however this is not always the case, she stated that “if you know what you are doing and are lucky with your tenants, you can make money for not a lot of effort, but it does not always work out that way”.

On of the main key issues to this market after finding your property and securing finance for it is finding a decent tenant that is a responsible person that is respectful of  your property and will abide by an agreement they have signed, not everyone is the same. A good well written tenancy agreement is extremely important.

By asking around and doing your research you will find there is no shortage of nightmare stories of tenants causing landlords endless frustrations. A point to bear in mind is that if you are unfortunate enough to end up with one such tenant, who does not pay their rent, the buy-to-let mortgage will still have to be paid and it can take up to 6 months to remove them from your property causing you endless stress, time and money. So therefore before letting anyone through the door do your homework, check them out thoroughly, ask for references, meet them face to face, get them credit checked and talk to their employers. Even after all this bear in mind that nothing is guarantees that you will have a trouble free tenancy.

Letting agents could be the way to go if you do not want the hassle of finding a tenant, for a fee they will take responsibility of finding tenants, collecting deposits and rents and also ensure your property is being well looked after by your tenants.

Good letting agents can provide a stress free solution, however this particular industry is not regulated by government, which means that anyone can set up as an agent. These ‘cowboy’ agents are a potential hazard for a would be landlord giving out poor advice, having no commitment to best practice and the most common clients losing money when these companies go into administration.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has introduced its own licensing scheme for it’s members this requires letting agents to follow a number of rules including having client money protection schemes and professional indemnity insurance in place.

In conclusion there are thousands of people across the country in the buy-to-let market that is making a profit. This is possible as long as you remember to take time in researching the market, find a good viable rate from a mortgage lender, buy a property for a decent price and get a reliable tenant.

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