Renting out a property in London can be wrought with all sorts of difficulties. Having had some experience in this field and knowing others that do I thought that a short piece with some tips for landlords might be if value to some of my readers who may hope to become landlords at some stage in the future. If you live in London then there is no shortage of people looking for property. The problem is matching up the correct people to the right type of property. At the end of the day a landlord wants the highest income from their property as possible.
Location & Decide on Your Target Tenant
For those yet to buy a property, then firstly think location. Are you looking to attract professionals, families, students etc. For each you would need to choose a property accordingly. Look at school catchment areas for families that is normally a guaranteed rentable property depending on the condition you are trying to let the property in. For students look for houses near universities that you can rent out as rooms as this will generate a larger income than renting out the whole property. For professionals you need good links to public transport.
I have always found that renting to professionals yields the least headaches. So I will base my post around that.
Make sure the Property is of a Living Reasonable Standard
Given you are in a good location the next thing on your list before beginning to advertise and arrange viewings is the condition of the property. Many a time I have heard people say that the properties they have viewed previously were in poor condition. It’s not good enough, being lazy with the appearance of the property will reflect in the number of viewings and will make it harder to get the property rented to good tenants.
Do NOT overprice the room / property. Have you noticed that some properties just don’t see to get viewings? There is a reason for that and generally they come down to appearance which we have addressed and also to price. Do your research!!!! What are other SIMILAR properties / rooms etc. renting for in the same area? Compare the facilities available from other properties to yours and then work out a price. Some landlords seem to pull a nice sounding number out of the air and think that their run down property can command that fee, think again! There may be a lot of people wanting to find somewhere in London to rent but on the other side there are also a lot of landlords looking for tenants, be competitive. Also Londoners want value for money, they need to get it somewhere as everything in London is expensive. Consider added extras such as wifi within the property and basic tv’s in the rooms as these can make the whole package look that bit more appealing and give your property the added extra that others may lack.
Avoid using agencies unless you have too!!!! Seriously, unless you are working long full time hours then there really isn’t an excuse. Renting properties isn’t hard once you have the basics under your belt. This way you avoid paying agents fees and also get in good tenants. Needless to say no matter what an agent says the majority look at the bottom line, how much can they get out of renting your property and also how quickly ca it be done so they can move onto the next client. Once you have had experienced having bad tenants you will learn soon enough but my aim with this post is to help you avoid the nightmare in the first place.
Use a Rent Deposit Scheme
These are a good way to keep the deposit safe for both parties. Put the deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. These are listed here: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview
You have two options a paid for scheme and one that is free but the paid for one allows for easier access to the deposit by the landlord should the need require.
This is important so don’t think you can do without. Do your research when looking up who to go with. A good example is HomeLet who do building and contents insurance and a range of optional extras. But hey don’t just take my word for it. Defaqto is a provider of independent financial product information and ratings aiming to provide information to support better decision-making. These guys have given HomeLet 5 stars this year (2016). They also have a 5* feefo rating. A global ratings and reviews provider used by the world’s most trusted brands. Just to add their prices are 15% cheaper when you buy online.
Check Tenants References
Referencing agency rentchecks.com is great for this, you can find out about any previous payment issues that the prospective tenant may have had and avoid tenants that are likely to default on payments.
You can get great contracts for landlords from Lawpacks.co.uk who will be able to sell you a specific contract for your type of property.
When you are Ready!
Planning on renting a property out in London? What are your tips?