Five Top Tips for Buy-to-Let Investors

Five Top Tips for Buy-to-Let Investors

From unreported maintenance and subletting, to pets without permission and the late payment of rent, a troublesome tenancy can quickly turn your buy-to let property dream into a costly nightmare. Stop potential problems before they start with these five simple steps towards an investment happy ever after.

1. Behind closed doors
A visit to the property is the only way to know what’s going on behind closed doors. It’s imperative property inspections are carried out. They are a safety net for the landlord which allows his or her lettings agent to enter the rental unit and assess if the tenant is looking after it and living within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement. It’s part of a full management service and these visits are essential to uncover any problems and stop them in their tracks. Look out for evidence of malicious damage, subletting, smoking or signs of pets in the property without your permission. As well as visits at the start and end of a lease term, a scheduled quarterly visit to the property will also provide a platform for a face-to-face catch up with the tenant and give you the opportunity to discover if they have any concerns that need addressing.

2. Deteriorate and depreciate
Make sure deterioration doesn’t turn your rental property into a depreciating house of horrors. As part of your inspection it’s also vital to carry out a maintenance assessment. If you do discover any deterioration or necessary repairs then deal with these as soon as possible. Unresolved maintenance issues don’t disappear – many can escalate. Good communication is also useful here and it’s important the tenant is made aware that they should report any maintenance problems that occur.

3. Pay day
Payment problems can negatively affect your property’s profit potential. To help avoid delayed payments it’s wise to encourage your tenant to set up a standing order. This means the money will be transferred straight to your account each month and the tenant won’t need to worry about remembering to make the payment. If a payment is delayed it’s important to act early in order to avoid an ongoing issue. And, again, good communication is key. Nine times out of 10 a late payment will be an oversight or genuine mistake.

4. 
Check it out!
It’s vital to check a tenant’s suitability before a tenancy begins. You want to make sure your property will be looked after and the tenant can afford it. Again, a vital part of a good lettings agent’s service.

At BGC we’ve got a number of stages to our checks for each new tenancy. The first is the bank reference. We then carry out an employer’s reference to confirm the tenant holds the position they say they do and that they will be able to afford the rent. Finally, if a tenant has rented before we can ask the previous landlord for a reference regarding whether rent was paid on time and in full and how the property was left at the end of the tenancy.

5. Review and react
From time to time issues arise that a tenant will want to complain about. If this happens it’s important to act quickly. Overlooked complaints can accelerate and failure to adequately deal with an issue can become an additional complaint in itself.

When troubleshooting a grievance be proactive, open and honest – listen carefully, review and then react. Be clear about what you’re going to do to resolve the complaint, giving timescales. If a complaint is unrealistic or impossible to resolve make sure your tenant is aware of this.

Remember, this is your asset and a good lettings agent is your investment manager. As expert agents we can professionally look after the management of your investment property, helping to turn potentially tricky tenancies into a successful happy ending.

Tim Groves
Black Grace Cowley

tim@blackgracecowley.com
(01624) 645555


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