Tips to improve your buy-to-let business in 2019
Many landlords have the mistaken view that a property will take care of itself, or that their tenants will take care of the property for them. While it may be reasonable to expect tenants to respect and look after their home, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that it is safe and habitable.
As a landlord, your obligations include keeping the property in a good state of repair – and the law is pretty harsh if you don’t. For example, if a tenant trips over a loose carpet and falls down the stairs, you could be the one held responsible – you could be taken to court and forced to pay thousands in compensation (which is just one reason to ensure you have appropriate landlord insurance).
The end of the year is an apt time to make plans for property maintenance. Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that will help you ensure 2019 is an even better year for your buy-to-let business than 2018 has been.
1. I will make sure my buy-to-let property is gas safe
When was the last time you had the gas appliances in your property gas safety checked?
Gas appliances and flues must be checked at least every 12 months. Diarise your next gas safety check now, and book a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out the check between 10 and 12 months after the last check was made. Don’t forget that you must provide your tenant with a record of the gas safety check within 28 days of it being done, and to new tenants at the start of their tenancy.
2. I will ensure my property conforms to energy efficiency standards
Does your buy-to-let property meet the energy efficiency standards? If it doesn’t, you could be fined up to £4,000 and banned from letting the property.
For many properties, the new energy efficiency rating laws came into force in April 2018. Properties should have a minimum energy efficiency rating of E, and have an Energy Performance Certificate confirming this. From April 2020, all buy-to-let properties will be captured by this law. It is worth planning now to ensure that you aren’t caught out by a likely rush to become certificated as we get closer to 2020. Things that you may need to do to comply with the law include:
- Switching to energy efficient lighting
- Providing better insulation to the loft and cavity walls
- Updating central heating
You can read more about the EPC legislation, your obligations, and a comprehensive list of energy efficiency measures you may need to consider in our article ‘Are you prepared for the energy efficiency clampdown on buy-to-let landlords?’.
3. I will pay attention to electrical safety in my buy-to-let property
Though it isn’t obligatory for landlords to conduct electrical safety tests as it is for gas safety checks, it is advisable that you do so. In law, you are obliged to make sure a property is safe to live in. If it isn’t, you run the risk of hefty fines, being banned from letting properties, and, depending upon the circumstances, a criminal record. Most of the buy-to-let sector is baffled as to why electrical safety checks are not obliged by law and convinced that they will be soon.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will ensure that your property’s electrics are in good condition. It’s worth doing.
4. I will get ahead of the game and plan maintenance for 2019
Whether it be decorating, outdoor repairs, or seasonal maintenance, get planning now to ensure your property is well maintained. By producing a timetable of maintenance and sharing it with your tenant, you should reduce the number of emergency repairs that are needed and, in the long term, reduce the cost of maintenance.
When you know when maintenance needs will be undertaken, you will be able to plan your finances more effectively, book maintenance workers ahead of time, and show your tenant that you are a caring landlord.
A well-maintained property lets faster and at a better rental price, and conscientious landlords tend to keep good tenants for longer and suffer fewer costly void periods.
5. I will use only the best maintenance contractors
A mistake that is made by many DIY landlords is to either try to do maintenance work themselves, or to hire the cheapest contractors they can. In the first instance, the work often takes longer than it should and is done not as well as it should be. In the second – well, when you pay peanuts…
Are you prepared for effortless buy-to-let maintenance in 2019?
Keeping on top of maintenance is essential to maintaining buy-to-let profitability. By understanding your responsibilities and obligations, being organised, and working with your tenant, you should receive fewer emergency calls and be financially prepared for those regular maintenance requirements that will reduce long-term repair costs.
To discover how we can help our landlords by scheduling essential maintenance works, using the best maintenance contractors at the best prices, and enabling tenants to report repairs easily, contact Ezytrac today.
Live with passion,