Private landlords experienced many changes in 2014. The private rental sector was given more responsibility within the Immigration Act 2014, and there are still many people finding it difficult to get a mortgage. High deposits are still required, and the uncertainty of house prices is keeping the property industry into the spotlight.
As 2015 gets going, it is important for landlords to remain on top of changing legislation, and ensure good property conditions for tenants as the winter months continue. Landlords should be ensuring good practice this New Year, and these tips could work well as resolutions.
- Keep up to date
Always make sure you know when certain checks, tests, and renewals are due. Remember gas safety, PAT testing, and insurance. If these dates are missed, prosecution is a possibility. Ready Rentals offer a logging system on their website, where landlords can keep track of upcoming responsibilities.
- Insurance policy
Private landlords experienced many changes in 2014.
If your insurance is not quite up for renewal, review your current policy and make sure that you are fully covered. If you are looking to renew, check that it covers as much as possible, from malicious damage to void periods. Check each policy thoroughly and read the small print.
- Property inspections
Checking your rental property can be vital to making sure it is in a good state of repair, and not getting any shocks later on. Checking meter readings, updating the inventory, and assessing wear and tear can keep things up to date. Look out for condensation, and ensure the tenants are aware of maintaining this problem. Make sure that the smoke alarms and CO2 detectors work.
- Keeping warm
Ensure that your rental property has suitable systems that will keep the house, and therefore tenants, warm in the wintertime. Keep the boiler serviced regularly, and have pipes and radiators checked. Emergency cover should be in place, in case anything were to happen to the property. Loft insulation should be within current standards, and any extra measures to reduce draughts could be beneficial.
- Legal changes
Keep tenancy documentation up to date, and keep in mind any new changes to the sector. Always stay on top of legal responsibilities and new legislation. Changes in legislation are common in the private rental sector, and it is crucial to practice within the law.
- Good photographs
Taking new and high quality photos will always benefit you when looking for tenants. The property’s features and appeal should be highlighted. The property should always look tidy and professional; this can include some simple cleaning, or maybe redecorating.
If using a letting agent, you should ensure they are using good photos of the home, and marketing on as many platforms as possible.
- Eco-friendly landlords
By April 2018, new regulation will be in place that means properties with energy ratings of F or G cannot be rented out. Making improvements to meet the minimum E rating could mean budgeting and planning now. Keeping in mind any changes to be made the property should be factored into the future.
At a sooner date, from 1st April 2016, private tenants can demand energy efficiency improvements for their rental properties. These cannot be unreasonably refused. So plan ahead, and keep the costs of these improvements in mind.