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Who will live in your properties?

• buy to let Apr 04, 2020

If you’re a landlord you need tenants - not least because you’ve got a mortgage to pay or a bridging loan to pay back.  When you purchase a property do you have an idea of who will want to rent it?

If you’re doing a refurb your potential tenants may influence your choice of décor and layout.  For instance:

Student accommodation needs to be robust and easy to clean, so no fancy wallpaper and plenty of workspace will be needed in the kitchen to accommodate more than one meal being prepared at a time.  An efficient and cost-effective hot-water system is important for high demands for showers, laundry and kitchen use.

A family home can offer more up-market fixtures and fittings to make it attractive to potential occupants.  Generally, it’s wise to decorate in neutral colours to avoid alienating a possible tenant who doesn’t like a particular strong colour.

Finding your tenant

This depends on how much effort you want to put in.

  • If you have good relationships with estate agents who offer a property management service, that may be a good option if you want to be a hands-off landlord and focus your time on building your portfolio of properties. Most estate agents have a letting division.  Choose one who offers a guaranteed rent, then you never have to worry about weeks when the property is empty between lets.

Be sure that you’ve done your sums and that the rent, less the management fees and a monthly allowance for repairs will still leave you enough to service the mortgage AND make a profit.

  • You could list your property in the local newspaper or other publications aimed at your target market.
  • You can list it on a specialist site for rental properties, such as Zoopla or RightMove.
  • Some people have successfully let their properties through ads in local newsagents too.

Make sure that your ads - wherever they appear - are clear about the kind of tenant you want so you don’t waste lots of time fielding calls from unsuitable candidates.

When you let your property, you don’t forget that the deposit from your tenants MUST, by law, be put into a government backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) and you should provide your tenants with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), standard templates for this can be downloaded from various online sources.  Having a written contract means that you can specify all the terms of the tenancy so there are no arguments in future.

If you’re managing your own properties it’s wise to develop a good relationship with your tenants.  This means that they’re more likely to look after your property and to welcome you when you come to carry out your regular checks.

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