The last twelve months have been turbulent at best.
Gloomy economic news and the painful realities of austerity have combined to paint a pretty dreary picture – but landlords have come out of 2011 on top.
Rising demand for rental property has meant that many landlords are in the best position for many years. Here are some top tips to help you make the most of 2012.
1. Don't panic
The news can seem apocalyptic. But it is important to remember that despite the gloomy economic clouds, things are looking up for landlords. 2012 should be a good year – but you need to be prepared if you are to make the most of it.
2. Remember maintenance
Maintenance is one of the most important, but most frequently overlooked tasks facing any landlord. Take some time to complete the basic maintenance tasks now, and avoid costly problems in the future.
3. Understand the area
It’s important that you understand the letting trends in your area. Research is vital if you are to price your property accurately. Look around local estate agents for a guide.
4. Know the law
As a landlord you have a range of important legal obligations, and these are changing all the time. It is imperative that you keep on top of the law. If you are in any doubt you should seek independent legal advice.
5. Build tenant relationships
All too frequently a landlord’s only contact with their tenant occurs when they collect the rent, and when they sign a tenancy agreement. This isn’t healthy. You should build relationships with your tenants, such that you can form a mutual trust.
6. Think about expansion
As demand for rented property grows, many landlords are considering expanding their portfolio. 2012 could be a good time to begin expanding – but make sure that you do the sums before taking the leap.
7. Get insured
Insurance is a vital consideration for landlords. Take some time to make sure that your landlord insurance policy is in order. It could pay dividends in the future, and even if you don’t claim it provides you with vital peace of mind.
8. Review your agency arrangements
The New Year is a great time to review your agency arrangements. If you use an agency, shop around to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal. You might also consider whether or not you need an agent at all. Many landlords prefer to go it alone – although this can entail rather more work.
9. Get an accountant
A good accountant could well be able to save you money. Consider speaking to a specialist property accountant to make sure that your books are in order, and to see if there are areas in which you could make tax savings.
10. Remember the inventory
A good inventory is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. Make sure that you take some time at the start of every tenancy to conduct a proper inventory and ‘snagging list’. Some of these landlord apps will help you achieve this.
11. Conduct regular checks
You might consider carrying out regular checks of the property, particularly during long-term tenancies. Don’t forget that you can’t just turn up. You need to arrange a mutually acceptable time with your tenant, and you will be contractually obliged to give notice before making a visit.
12. Be prepared to negotiate
Finally, you should remember that 2012 will be a tough financial time for many people. It is predicted that arrears will increase, and this means that you need to be prepared to negotiate. Try to be flexible, and make sure that you understand your legal position.