Tips for landlords

Landlord News

For all the latest news click here :Landlord News 

Landlord Insurance

Just Landlords Insurance JUST LANDLORDS

Creating a Good Looking Advert

There are a number of things you have to consider if you want the best possible response from your property advert, so pay attention to these advertising tips for landlords.
Number one is how to display your room or flat in the best possible light (and we do mean literally!).The reason for this is that once your prospective tenant has decided on their location the next thing they'll look at is décor. Adverts which have photographs on HousePals get far more viewings than those without. So, upload as many flattering photos of your abode as you can.
That means ensuring the room or flat looks tidy, spacious and cosy (if small). Tips for taking good photographs of rooms include:

  • standing on a chair with the camera tilted slightly downwards

  • taking the photo from outside the door of the room to give it more dimension

  • keeping people out of the shot to make the room look less cluttered

  • including a view of the garden/river outside the room if it's a selling point

  • removing objects from tables or mantelpieces which can make the room look cluttered

  • choosing the best time of day to take your photo i.e. does the room look best mid-morning?

Now you've amassed your collection of photos it's time to write a description of your property. The description should be made as full as possible without going to Tolstoy lengths i.e. include the relevant details a prospective tenant would want to know. This should include who they'll be sharing the property with and whether the property has gas, heating, broadband access etc. Keep the writing simple and ensure all the key points are near the top of your description i.e. maybe you've just had a brand new kitchen installed, have a spa bath or you're next door to a fab deli.

Remember to put in a bit about yourself too as you're going to be seeing a lot of each other.

Tax Benefits of Renting a Room

Fancy £4,250 a year – or £324 a month - tax free? That's what you'll gain if you let out a room to a lodger. It's a good way to earn some extra income if you've a room in your house lying empty and don't mind sharing a kitchen and bathroom.

There are a few other financial implications though, such as:

  • your home contents policy will probably change

  • you may lose your single person's council tax allowance

  • you can't claim expenses for heating & lighting or repairs etc

  • if you're on benefits you'll have to inform the DSS

In order to qualify for the tax benefit, the property in which you rent the room must be your main residence. So if you are renting rooms in Paris, this might not be actually working for you. In addition, the lodger must not have a self-contained apartment i.e. the kitchen and bathroom must be shared.

Before going ahead with signing up for the above scheme and installing a lodger it's a good idea to do a credit reference check on your prospective tenant just as you would if you were letting out an entire flat. It'd also be an idea to write up a formal agreement so both of you know where you stand.

Safety Regulations

Take note, this is perhaps the most important piece of landlord advice on the Housepals site.
Before renting out a room there are certain safety regulations you must legally comply with. Failure to do so could be serious and includes imprisonment or hefty fines. Therefore, for peace of mind, it's worth taking the time and spending a bit of money to ensure they're complied with.

The legislation covers gas and electrical fittings as well as furniture:

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 - All gas appliances must be maintained by a Gas Safe Registered engineer and checked every year. You must issue a copy of the safety check to tenants within 28 days. New tenants should see it prior to moving in.

Electical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 - Electrical equipment used in your property must be safe. In addition, there must be written instructions for use and the equipment should be checked on a regular (preferably annually) basis by a qualified NIC electrician. Again, show your tenant the written guarantee confirming this check has been carried out.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Act 1988 (as amended) - All furniture, bedding and fitted fabrics should contain a manufacturer's label confirming it is fire-resistant i.e. that it passes both the 'match' and the 'cigarette' test. In addition, bed bases and mattresses should conform to BS7177 guidelines.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

In a bid to resolve potential rows between landlords and tenants over the return of tenant's deposits, the government has set up a scheme where the money is paid into an independent fund. In the event that there is a dispute over the return of a deposit, a panel will intervene and rule.

There are certain rules a landlord must comply with under the scheme. For instance:

  • you must lodge the deposit with one of three government-approved schemes.

  • you should inform your tenant how much of the deposit will be returned within 10 days of the end of their tenancy.

  • you should let your tenant know details of the scheme including how much of the deposit has been paid and to whom.

Note: if you share the property with your tenant you are not obliged to comply with the scheme, but it's good practice to do so.

Good Websites

Still need more landlord advice? Here's a list of websites where you can find further information on renting out your room or flat.

National Landlords Association
Residential Landlords Association
Government site for landlords
Legal advice for landlords/tenants
Magazine for public sector and residential housing news.
News and campaigning site for landlords.

Personal Safety

Okay, so you're not going on a blind date with someone you've just met off the internet. But you are inviting a complete stranger into your home and your safety is most definitely compromised.

One of the best tips for landlords is to take precautions and have a friend round when you're expecting your prospective tenant to visit.

Or, if that's not possible at least tell someone what's happening and say you'll call them later that night.

Get a possible contact name and number from your visitor too and call them prior to the visit to 'check' they're on their way.