How to protect yourself and your property investment
When you become a buy-to-let landlord, you take on a huge range of responsibilities, each with the potential to cost you money, time, and reputation. Faulty white goods and substandard repairs could end up with an injury to a tenant.
Problem tenants that have all-night parties or vicious dogs will disturb neighbourhood harmony. Tenants who use your home as a marijuana farm will tug at the long arm of the law. Other tenants might not pay rent, or falsely claim that you are harassing them. (Despite mentioning this, and it does happen but with over 1200 properties we have only encountered a marijuana farm twice in over a decade)
There are some tactics you can employ to minimise the risks to being a buy-to-let landlord. Use these to protect yourself, your property investment, and your income.
1. Consider carrying out regular property inspections
Consider inspecting the property regularly. Ensure that you check against the inventory list, accounting for any damage and breakages. After a repair has been made, check the quality of work that has been done, and speak to the tenant to make sure they are happy, too. I say this but you can also inspect too much and it adds to the your costs as an investor so finding a happy medium to ideal. Remember the Tenant is entitled to ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ and that means that you are inspecting the property every other week.
2. Good buy-to-let landlords always keep records
Get into the habit of keeping every piece of paperwork (requests for repairs, quotes, and receipts, for example) and keep a diary of every conversation you have with tenants, tradesmen doing work, etc.
Keeping all this on a computerised system will make it an easy task to go back and find the evidence you need if anything does go wrong, or you get a nightmare tenant hell-bent on making your life a misery.
3. Make sure you keep your private life private
The last thing you want or need is a tenant hassling you 24/7, phoning you at home or beating your door down. Use a different mobile number to deal with your landlord responsibilities and property investment queries, and never tell a tenant where you live. This is hard if you are doing it yourself and it’s one of the reasons why we suggest using a professional agent, they will protect you against this.
4. Protect your property investment
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve met with buy-to-let landlords who regretted not taking out landlords insurance, or that they stopped paying the premiums because they thought it was too expensive – just before they needed to make a claim for damage or a void period.
Landlords insurance is a must-have for some people and a nice-to-have for others. Whilst we suggest you have it, it’s important to factor it into the cash flow of your property and portfolio.
5. Build relationships and partnerships
Get to know local tradesmen – electricians, gas specialists, decorators, and so on – and keep them on call. It’s also worth finding a good solicitor, just in case you find the need for one.
These tactics are essential strategies to manage your property investment properly as a buy-to-let landlord. It’s the package of services that a competent property management service will help you with, or provide for you.
If your current property manager is falling short, or you’ve grown tired of being a DIY buy-to-let landlord, get in touch to discuss how Ezytrac can help you get back on track by calling the team on +44 1522 503 717.
We’re here to help your property investment achieve its full potential.