Six questions every good landlord needs to ask themselves at the start of 2017

With the new year now well underway, landlords should be thinking about the months ahead. We’ve put together of six questions to help you structure your plans for 2017.

1. What are you hoping to achieve as a landlord from this year and is your property portfolio structured accordingly?

The start of the year is the perfect time to review your portfolio. For example, you may want to raise some cash by selling a property or alternatively buy up more assets. Now is the time to draw up a plan and start taking action.

If you’re unsure, check out our seven top tips on how to make the most of your journey in property investment.

2. Could you save yourself some cash this year by remortgaging one of your buy-to-let properties onto a cheaper deal?

Conduct a financial overhaul. Rates were among the lowest ever seen last year and may not stick around for long, so if you’re considering remortgaging now might the time to assess the deals on offer.

3. Have I visited my tenants recently?

If you didn’t visit your tenants last year, make 2017 the year that you do. Some landlords are far too happy to sit back and do nothing so long as they see rent being paid into their bank accounts.

However, it is good practice to visit your tenants on a yearly basis. By doing so, you’ll be able to assess whether they are maintaining the property and if they are keen on staying the rest of the year. Taking this step now could help you avoid any nasty surprises several months down the road.

4. Is my landlord insurance in order?

Regardless of whether your renewal date is at the start of the year or later in the calendar, the early months are a good opportunity to assess your situation and make sure that your existing landlord insurance policy still suits your needs.

Plenty can change over the course of the year, and changes to the type of tenant you let to, or the value of your contents, for example, could mean that you need to update your insurance.

5. Do I understand the new and upcoming tax changes?

Now more than ever, you need to familiarise yourself with tax changes. The Government has announced a reduction in the tax relief available to landlords - eventually eliminating it altogether and replacing it with a 20% tax credit within four years - and so you’ll need to prepare for paying more tax at the end of the financial year.

If you’re thinking about adding to your property portfolio, it might also be financially beneficial to consider buying any new rental homes through a corporate structure, which has more favourable levels of tax.

For a comprehensive run through, check out our guide on buy-to-let changes.

6. Is it time to increase my rent?

Many landlords are considering raising the rent that they charge in a bid to recoup some of the losses that they will incur due to the next buy-to-let tax regime.

On face value, this may seem like a good option. However, if it is something you’re considering, do your research first and weigh up factors such as the market rent for similar properties in the area as you don’t want to lose a good tenant who looks after the property and regularly pays their rent on time.

What are your priorities for the start of the year? Let us know below.

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