July 23 2014 Latest news:

Reduced property prices and resurgent demand for rentals have helped create a market for new landlords, with demand reportedly outstripping supply in many areas.

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But before launching into the buy to let market for the first time, there are a number of important essentials for budding landlords to consider before the first tenant walks through the door.

Tips include:

Research other rent levels in the local area.

Look into legislative requirements – for example, if the property is to be used for sharers, you may require a licence from the local authority.

Make sure any letting agent you use is up to scratch. A good agent should be able to help a landlord find reliable tenants, conduct the relevant reference and credit checks and ultimately help protect your investment.

Make sure the property presents itself well to the market in terms of the décor, the condition of the furnishings and also the mechanics of the house, such as the heating system.

Prepare a detailed inventory of the property, including a schedule of condition of the contents, walls, ceilings, doors and other fixtures and fittings.

Ensure you have specialist buildings and contents insurance, because without a specific reference to letting you may be uninsured.

Ian Potter, operations manager at the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA), said: “Letting out a property can be a shrewd move whether you are doing so for the long term as an investment or because of a pressing need to move on.

“But renting out a property can be full of pitfalls and potentially result in financial loss for the landlord.

“For example, if the right checks are not carried out, you may choose a risky tenant who defaults on paying the rent, leaving you unable to pay your mortgage.”

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