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What you’re letting yourself in for as a future landlord

From getting a property ship-shape, to understanding your new legal responsibilities, becoming a landlord for the first time can feel like a daunting prospect.

Whether you’re an “accidental” landlord after deciding to rent your house in a sluggish selling market, or you’re planning to start a property empire, getting to grips with the basics of letting out a home could save you some grief further down the line.

If you are looking to invest, you’ll want to choose your property wisely. Rising mortgage rates, as well as recent tax changes for landlords, may be leaving some seeing their profit margins squeezed. So choosing a property in the right location is even more vital for maximising returns.

Research from TotallyMoney suggests university cities could be worth considering, with parts of Liverpool, Plymouth, Preston, Nottingham, Bradford, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow and Aberdeen identified as buy-to-let property hotspots.

Here are letting agents’ body Arla Propertymark’s top tips for budding landlords…

Do your homework

Get to know your market. Research similar properties in the local area and find out how much they are being let for per month. If your rent is set too high or too low prospective tenants will steer clear.

It’s also worth considering what type of renter the property will appeal to, such as young professionals, families or students.

Once you’ve done your homework, set a competitive price and aim to keep it filled at all times to minimise rental voids.

Know your responsibilities

With your new status comes great responsibility. In the first instance, check that your mortgage allows you to let out your property, as some agreements include caveats to prevent homes from being rented. If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage lender and they will be able to advise you accordingly.

Ensure you’re insured

Your existing buildings and contents insurer must be made aware of your intention to let your property as it’s likely your policy will need to be amended. Specific landlord insurance policies can protect the building, your tenants and your investment as a whole – some policies will also pay out if your tenant misses their rent payments.

Vet prospective tenants

You may wish to meet potential tenants before agreeing to let them your property, or you may prefer to leave it to your letting agent, if you use one. An agent can perform reference and credit checks on potential tenants to ensure everything is reliable.

Know the law

When it comes to being a landlord, there are more regulations to comply with than you can shake a stick at. A written tenancy agreement will help both you and your tenant understand rights and responsibilities and make sure you understand your responsibilities to make sure the property is safe.

Choose the right agent

If you do decide to use a letting agent, a good one can take away the stress of finding suitable tenants and also ensure your property complies with any regulatory changes. You will need to factor this into your budget though.

Source: Scotsman

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First time landlords’ appetite for property proves buy-to-let remains popular

Seven percent of a mortgage lender’s new business in 2017 came from first time landlords – despite regulatory and tax changes that may have acted as a deterrent.

The stream of new landlords peaked in November when 11 per cent of the lender’s applications came from first timers, says buy-to-let lender Accord Mortgages.

The figures are proof that buy-to-let remains a popular option for people who are looking to safeguard their financial future, despite recent moves from government to suppress the market.

And 57 per cent of Accord’s buy-to-let applications received last year were from landlords affected by new changes, with one third (32 per cent) of that cohort, coming from those with four or more properties.

Another 18 per cent were from landlords classed as consumers – that is, single property landlords where they or their relatives have previously lived.

Chris Maggs, commercial manager at Accord, said: “2017 was a year of remortgaging for landlords who reaped the benefit of some exceptional mortgage rates, and 2018 is likely to be no different.

“Last year Accord, like many other lenders, adapted its mortgage offerings to meet the changing needs of the market.

“Equally, as new regulation was implemented landlords have begun to adapt to ensure their business withstands the changes.

“This doesn’t negate the fact that things are still tough for landlords, and hopefully 2018 will give them some breathing space to take stock of the changes.

“However, landlords have demonstrated resilience when presented with challenges in the past, and I’m sure that will continue into 2018.”

Source: Simple Landlords Insurance