Budgets can be tough to manage for landlord and letting agents alike. Sometimes, property maintenance costs can eat into your finances dramatically.

From what’s involved to how to save, we offer insights and guidance on how to best manage budgets when undergoing maintenance on your property portfolio.

 

What Is Included In Maintenance Costs?

Before we go into budget management, we need to be clear on what maintenance costs are involved in renting a residential property.

Here’s a list of all the things to consider when it comes to maintenance;

 

Repair Costs

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to fix any repairs needed resulting from normal wear and tear. This can include;

  • Repairing or replacing white goods and appliances
  • Fixing boiler issues
  • Repairing any electrical faults

 

Refurbishment & Decoration

Keeping your property looking fresh for new tenants is an important part of being a good landlord and attracting the right target tenants. It’s recommended that carpets are replaced every 5-7 years, and properties are fully redecorated every 3 years.

However, if your property is looking particularly lived in after a tenancy or you come across some questionable stains, you might need to redecorate more often.

Here’s what else is included in refurbishment and decoration;

  • Painting throughout
  • Replacing carpets or flooring
  • Replacing curtains
  • Replacing old, tired furniture items every 10-15 years
  • Replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings every 10-15 years

 

Exterior Maintenance

It’s not just the inside that needs attention. Staying on top of the exterior of your property can help ward off future structural issues and save money in the long run.

Here’s what it could include;

  • Replacing missing roof tiles
  • Clearing guttering
  • Garden fence maintenance
  • Window cleaning and repair

 

Interior Cleaning

Thorough cleaning is essential between tenancies, and you may also need to arrange for cleaning to be done during a tenancy. If the windows need cleaning for example, or if the property has suffered water damage.

 

Property Inspections

Particularly important during void periods, regular property inspections are an important part of maintenance for buy to let properties.

Inspections protect your property from theft, vandalism or damage from unnoticed leaks, preventing the need for extensive future repairs. We offer a professional vacant property inspection service to give you peace of mind that your investment is protected.

 

Gas Safety Certificates & Safety Checks

UK landlords have a legal requirement to arrange regular safety checks, including;

  • An annual gas safety inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Electrical safety checks
  • PAT tests for white goods
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Ensure smoke detectors are present and working

 

Your Time

This cost is usually overlooked by most landlords, but the time you put into the maintenance of your portfolio really adds up. Particularly if you are balancing your duties as a landlord with another paid job, extra time spent on maintenance may mean losing out on wages.

If this is the case, it may be worth investing in a full management service from a property management company so you can swap a management fee for more time for other ventures.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Rental Property?

 

Maintenance costs will vary depending on several factors;

  • Size of the property
  • Age of the property- older homes require more upkeep
  • Location of the property- service charges vary dependant on area
  • Type and number of tenants

For example, if you rent to students or large families, you may have to fork out more for accidental damage repair costs.

 

Landlord Maintenance Costs: How to Save Money

Now we’ve discussed what’s involved, it’s time to look at ways to save.

 

Choose Your Target Tenant Wisely

While finding tenants may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to maintenance, the tenant you choose could have an effect on your maintenance costs.

For example, as mentioned above, renting to students can result in more accidental damage as there tends to be more people living in one property, and tenants have a reputation for partying! Similarly, renting to tenants with pets is likely to involve more refurbishment at the end of the tenancy.

Deciding on your target tenant from the get-go is an important part of the process.

 

Act Fast When It Comes to Repairs

The quicker you act on repairs and maintenance tasks, the more popular you’ll be with tenants and the less likely they are to develop into serious issues. Usually, dealing with problems as soon as they arise means you can save money in the long run as you have time to think about the best possible solution.

Paying for maintenance costs early will also help you to manage your monthly budgets and keep on top of your spend.

 

Buy Quality Furnishings

Opting for the cheapest furnishings available isn’t always wise. The cost of replacing flimsy furniture every year is likely to add up to more than investing in quality in the first place. This is particularly true for mattresses, sofas and dining tables. Our blog on furnishing your rental property will help you with some handy tips.

 

Keep It Simple

When it comes to decorating your properties, more is less. You don’t need to go overboard to provide a comfortable home for tenants. Simple, modern furniture without too many frills will appeal to most and will be kinder on the budget.

Tip: Avoid painting everything white as it will require more upkeep. Neutral, mid-tones are much more forgiving.

 

Don’t Skimp on Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance is essential when renting a property. Finding the right deal can help you save when things go wrong. Quality contents or accidental damage insurance will protect you in the case of weather damage or accidental spills.

Make sure you shop around for the best deals.

 

Check Council Tax Exceptions

If one of your rental properties is vacant for a period, or you are performing refurbishment that renders your property inhabitable, you may be eligible for Council Tax redemption. This will leave you with some extra cash to spend on essential repairs and decoration.

 

Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance

By increasing the energy-saving potential of your property, you could save money that can be injected back into the maintenance budget.

By reinforcing insulation in your rental property, you could save a significant amount in tax.

 

Know When To Ask For Help

While rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can save on service fees, it’s not always the best option.

Botched DIY can end up costing more than the original problem, and when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues, professional is always best.

 

Get More Than One Quote

When you need to pick up the phone to a plumber or tradesperson, make sure you do your research.

Particularly important when it comes to bigger jobs, getting several quotes will help you find the most competitive price.

 

Invest In A Comprehensive Inventory Service

Compiling a comprehensive written and photographic list of all of the items and furnishings and their condition within your property is one of the best ways to recuperate maintenance costs at the end of a tenancy.

If there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear, it will be much easier to deduct the appropriate costs from the deposit.

A professional property inventory service provides an impartial account of your property and is delivered using high quality photography in a handy, easily accessible digital report.

 

Landlord Maintenance Responsibilities: Help From No Letting Go

The costs of being a landlord are wide ranging. From agent fees to mortgage interest, balancing your rental income with outgoing costs can be tough.

That’s why sometimes it pays to get some help. Whether it’s repairs and maintenance reports or inventory services, our teams of experienced clerks could help streamline your business so you can take control of your budget.

Browse our full list of property management services to find out how we can help.

It’s a common question among new or soon-to-be landlords – do I need landlord insurance?

The short answer is yes. In addition to healthy investment returns, being a landlord comes with a lot of added risks and responsibility. To minimise this risk, investing in reliable insurance is essential.

Protecting your investment is paramount, but the jargon around landlord insurance can make it tricky to keep your facts straight.

We’ve curated a simple, yet comprehensive guide for landlords to help you get your head around landlord insurance and work out which type is best for you.

Here’s what it is, how it works and how to get it.

 

What is Landlord Insurance Cover?

Landlord insurance is a type of home insurance, specifically designed for rental properties. This broad term can include anything from contents insurance to rental protection.

Your policy could cover;

  • Damage to the property
  • Loss of rent
  • Damage to or loss of contents
  • Legal claims made against you by tenants

 

Is Landlord Insurance a Legal Requirement?

While landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, standard home insurance will not cover you for rental properties and going without could cost you dearly in terms of money, time and hassle.

 

Do You Really Need Landlord Insurance?

Often, you will need permission from your mortgage provider in order to let your property to tenants who will most likely require specialist insurance.

Legal issues aside, it’s always a good idea to protect your property as comprehensively as possible to protect both yourself and your investment.

 

What’s the Difference Between Home Insurance and Landlord Insurance?

Home insurance is designed to protect private homes from damage and loss. A rental property comes with a whole host of different issues. For example, as a landlord, you are less able to keep an eye on the day to day happenings in the property and have to rely on tenants to update you on any problems that occur.

Here’s a few of the differences between home and landlord insurance;

  • Home insurance only covers the owner/occupier if they are in need of alternative accommodation. Landlord insurance covers tenants in this situation.
  • Landlord insurance can cover you for loss of rent.
  • Landlord insurance can cover any legal costs needed as a result of your actions as a landlord.

 

Types of Landlord Insurance

Here, we provide a brief overview of the different types of landlord insurance available;

 

Landlord Buildings Insurance

Buildings insurance covers any damage caused to the building itself. This could mean damage from fire, flooding or even malicious damage caused by the occupants. Every insurance provider is different, so you’ll have to check which type of damage this covers.

We highly recommend getting buildings insurance, especially if you are the freeholder.

 

Landlord Contents Insurance

Contents insurance protects against loss or damage of goods and furniture within a property. So, if you are renting a furnished property, it could be a good idea. However, this type of insurance does not protect against normal wear and tear.

Different insurance plans offer various cover and allow you to insure different parts of your property. For example, communal areas in flats or shared accommodation. It won’t protect items belonging to tenants.

 

Accidental Damage Insurance

Accidental damage insurance comes under contents insurance and can cover the cost of anything from spills and stains to broken windows.

 

Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance

Otherwise known as rental protection insurance or loss of rent insurance, this type of cover protects you if you are unable to rent out your property as a result of an insured event like a fire or flood.

 

Tenant Default Insurance

Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two months, covering the cost for up to eight months. You will need to conduct the proper credit checks at the start of the tenancy to be eligible.

 

Commercial Landlord Insurance

If you let to a third-party business, you will need commercial landlord insurance. Commercial buildings have different designs and purposes, meaning there are different risks attached.

Commercial landlord insurance can cover accidental damage, vandalism and rental income protection.

 

Landlord Liability Insurance

Also referred to as property owner’s liability cover, this type of insurance covers legal defence costs and expenses in the event your tenant has an accident and considers it your fault.

With this type of insurance, you’re looking at high limits, usually upwards of £1 million.

 

Legal Expenses Insurance

This covers legal expenses such as court costs when chasing up late tenant payments and gives you access to legal expertise.

 

Employers’ Liability Insurance

If you employ anyone else to work at one of your rental properties, say as a gardener or cleaner, you are required by law to have this insurance. Employers’ liability covers legal defence costs and awards made for any injuries, accidents or illness as a result of your negligence.

 

HMO Landlord Insurance

If you rent out an HMO property, the terms of your insurance cover will differ slightly from single occupancy homes.

Finding an insurance plan tailored to HMO properties could help you get the protection you need.

 

Alternative Accommodation Insurance

If your property becomes uninhabitable due to an insured event and the tenancy agreement requires you to provide alternative accommodation for your tenants, this type of insurance is a good idea.

 

Unoccupied Property Insurance

Unoccupied property cover can help during void periods or if you need to make renovations to your property. To qualify as unoccupied, a property usually has to be vacant for 30 days.

You will also need to arrange for regular vacant property inspections.

 

Multi-House Landlord Insurance

If you have several properties in your portfolio, it is probably worth taking out multi-property landlord insurance.

By including all of your properties on one policy, you could save money and time on paperwork and other processes.

 

Landlord Home Emergency Insurance

Boiler breakdown or serious leaks are a surprisingly common occurrence. Landlord home emergency insurance provides you with 24/7 access to emergency cover for plumbing, heating, power and security issues.

 

What Kind of Insurance do I Need for a Rental Property?

The type of insurance you’ll need depends on the type of property you rent and your specific needs as a landlord. We answer some common questions;

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Have Buildings Insurance?

In most cases, you will need to take out a specific insurance when renting out a property in addition to your home buildings insurance.

Some policies may allow you to amend your existing home buildings insurance to cover your activities as a landlord, however you may also want to take out extra insurance to cover all bases.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting to Family?

Yes. It is just as important to have insurance when renting to family members. You will need to draw up a tenancy agreement for legal purposes, even if it’s just a casual arrangement.

Renting to offspring or siblings may feel informal, but if they are paying you rent, you are legally regarded as their landlord and standard home insurance won’t cover you.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Live in the Property?

Even if you live in the property, standard home insurance won’t protect you. Make sure you tell your lender that you live in the rental property when you take out the insurance. Again, you will need a tenancy agreement in place.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance for a Flat?

Renting out a flat is the same as renting a house when it comes to insurance.

The only difference with renting a flat is that you may not need buildings insurance if there is a freeholder arranging this. Be sure to inform them that you are renting out your flat so they can make any adjustments to their insurance policy.

 

Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting a Room?

Again, standard home insurance is unlikely to be valid when renting out a room in the same property you live in.

If you have a lodger, you will need a tenancy agreement in place for your landlord insurance policy.

 

What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

Landlord insurance can cover a variety of different risks and situations, depending on your needs. The basics are buildings and contents cover, but you can add extra policies as you see fit.

We answer some common questions about landlord insurance cover;

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?

Yes. If you want your insurance policy to cover accidental damage such as dodgy DIY or carpet stains, opt for accidental damage insurance to protect your property.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Appliances?

Yes. Contents insurance covers white goods and appliances provided by you in the rental property.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Injury?

Yes. To protect yourself against legal claims made by tenants, landlord liability insurance will provide legal defence costs and expenses.

 

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Unpaid Rent?

Yes. Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two consecutive months.

 

How Does Landlord Insurance Work?

Your first step in purchasing landlord insurance is to decide what type of cover you need. It’s possible to find a tailored policy suited to your individual needs and requirements. Whether you opt for basic cover (building, contents and liability) or go for comprehensive cover, make sure you read the fine print to find out exactly what’s included.

 

What is Sum Insured?

The sum insured is the amount an insurer will pay out for a claim. The higher the value of your rental property, the larger this amount will be. Make sure the sum insured is enough to rebuild your property, rather than focusing on its market value.

Calculating your rebuild cost accurately will ensure you don’t overpay for your insurance. There are online rebuilding cost calculators to help, although keep in mind, this will only provide you with an estimate rather than exact values.

 

Levels of Excess

You will also need to think about the amount of excess you are able to pay if you need to make a claim. Higher excess reduces the cost of your insurance and different claims can come with different levels of excess.

 

Be Prepared

Before you buy you will need to know;

  • Your rental property’s rebuild value
  • The level of excess you can pay
  • What type of cover you need

 

How to Claim Landlord Insurance

If you ever need to make a claim, make sure you do so as soon as possible. You will need to provide as much evidence as you can to get the best pay-out. This could include receipts, invoices and photographic evidence.

 

How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?

The cost of your landlord insurance will be dependent on a variety of different factors;

  • Location – Local crime rates and the probability of severe weather in a certain area will affect the cost of your insurance.
  • Type of tenants – Students, tenants with pets and those on housing benefits are deemed more of a risk by some insurers, meaning higher insurance costs.
  • Size of property – More tenants means higher costs.
  • Number of properties – Naturally, more properties mean more costs. Look for an insurer who offers portfolio property discounts.
  • Sums insured – Your insurance will cost more the larger your sums insured

 

Which is the Best Landlord Insurance?

To compare landlord insurance and get a landlord insurance quote, there are plenty of price comparison sites to reference.

Here are some popular landlord insurance providers;

  • AXA Landlord Insurance
  • Aviva Landlord Insurance
  • CIA Landlord Insurance
  • SAGA Landlord Insurance
  • Direct Line Landlord Insurance
  • Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance

Makes sure you shop around and do your research to get the best deal for you.

 

Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go

We understand the importance of protecting your rental property for the long-term success of your business.

A detailed property inventory is one of the best ways to secure your property by providing the critical evidence you need to recuperate costs. Find out more about our professional, unbiased property inventory service to get started.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of providing a furnished or partly furnished property for prospective tenants, you’ve come to the right place.

Letting a furnished property has plenty of benefits, including quality tenants and longer tenancies. However, furnishing your property can get expensive and cause issues down the line if not done properly.

Here, we discuss how to furnish a rental property with tips and tricks on making the most of your portfolio.

 

What’s the Difference Between Fully Furnished and Partly Furnished?

Let’s clear this up before we get started.

 

Furnished

Usually, a furnished property will come with essential electrical appliances, white goods and basic furniture. In short, everything a tenant needs to move in straight away.

 

Partly Furnished

A partly furnished property will only include white goods, lighting and essentials such as curtains and kitchen cabinets. It may also include some other furniture items at the discretion of the landlord or letting agent.

 

Unfurnished

An unfurnished property will come with only the very basics- light fittings, carpets and essential appliances such as an oven.

 

Should you Furnish Your Rental Property?

Furnished or unfurnished? It’s a tricky question. While renting unfurnished properties may seem like the easy option, providing a furnished property comes with attractive benefits;

 

You Can Charge Higher Rent

A well-furnished property may affect the amount of rent you can charge.

With a lack of quality, furnished properties on the rental market, tenants searching for a ready-made home are prepared to pay a little more for the convenience.

Good quality furnishings that make your property look welcoming will attract tenants and help your property stand out.

 

Attract the Right Tenants

A well-furnished property will attract a wider pool of renters, allowing you to pick and choose to find the right tenant for you– whatever that might look like.

 

Secure Longer Tenancies

A home that feels well cared for and inviting will encourage tenants to stay longer term.

 

Who is Your Target Tenant?

The tenant group you’re targeting should be the biggest consideration when deciding whether to furnish your property. Well established families or older professionals are likely to have their own furniture they want to bring with them.

Whereas students or young professionals may be looking for convenience and a place they can move in straight away.

 

What Does a Landlord Have to Provide in a Furnished Flat?

When providing tenants with a furnished home, there are certain items they will expect to be included;

 

What to Include

A furnished property should include;

  • White goods (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer etc.)
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Beds
  • Sofas and chairs
  • Wardrobes, chest of drawers and cupboards
  • Light fittings
  • Curtains
  • Carpets

 

What Not to Include

However, there are a few items landlords are not expected to provide;

  • Bed linen, duvets and pillows
  • Cleaning supplies

 

Furnishing a Buy to Let Property: Top Tips

To make things easier for yourself at the end of the tenancy agreement, we have some tips and advice on how to furnish your rental property;

 

Choose Easy to Clean Furniture

Wear and tear is inevitable, but to keep your property in good condition, easy to clean appliances will encourage your tenants to keep things well maintained.

 

Avoid Decorations

When it comes to personal taste, we’re all different. Let your tenants choose the little details so they can feel at home. Similarly- neutral colours work best.

 

Choose Easy to Replace Items

This way, if things get broken, they can be replaced with a ‘like for like’ item without too much bother.

 

Replace Furnishings as Needed

Old, stained carpets will do nothing for your properties appeal. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme recommends replacing most items of furniture after 7 years.

 

Provide Basic Tools

Providing basic tools will encourage tenants to take care of minor issues themselves, taking one more thing off your plate.

 

Follow Safety Regulations

As a responsible landlord, you need to follow fire safety laws when it comes to soft furnishings.

 

Choosing the Right Furnishings

Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of furniture to include in your rental property, room by room.

Image of blue sofa in front of white brick wall

Living Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Sofa(s) or armchairs
  • Coffee table
  • Bookcase
  • Carpet
  • Lights

 

Best Sofas for Rental Properties

Here’s a few of our top picks of the best sofas to buy for your rental property:

The Budget 2-Seater

This modern 2-seater sofa in a neutral grey will work well in slick apartments for young professionals and is pretty easy on the budget too!

The Classic Sofa Bed

A sofa bed is a big plus among tenants, and this one is great value for money. This simple, classic style will work well in most interiors and families will love the extra storage space.

The Quality 3-Seater

If you’re trying to attract professionals willing to pay high prices for the right home, a quality sofa is essential. This one comes from an esteemed brand and the elegant style will have mass appeal.

 

Kitchen/Dining Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Essential appliances (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle etc.)
  • Table and chairs

 

Best Dining Tables for Rental Properties

A dining table is the hub of any home and getting the right one is important.

The Space Saving Solution

This handy piece of furniture features built in storage and a fold-out table design. Perfect when letting properties with small kitchens.

The Extendable Table

The simple, modern design of this table will fit neatly into any interior, and the extendable section can accommodate extra guests. It’s also budget-friendly!

 

Bedroom Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Bed
  • Mattress
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bedside table
  • Carpet
  • Lighting

 

Best Mattress for Rental Properties

A mattress is perhaps the most important piece of furniture for your rental property. A considerate investment, you need it to be durable and long lasting. Here’s our top picks;

The Affordable Memory Foam Mattress

This mattress from the Memory Foam Warehouse makes quality memory foam affordable. Starting at under £100, you’re unlikely to find anything cheaper.

The Bed-in-a-Box Mattress

Buying a mattress for your rental property is only half the battle. The next job is delivery. Opting for a bed in a box mattress means the mattress can be delivered straight to the property in a convenient sized box.

The Mattress Topper

Once you’ve invested in a mattress, it makes sense to protect it. A mattress topper can prolong the life of a mattress and guard against stains to keep it looking fresh at the end of the tenancy. This memory foam mattress topper is a cheap but comfortable option.

 

Protecting Your Furnished Rental Property: Inventory Management

Once you’ve gone to the effort of furnishing your rental property, you need to ensure it’s protected.

The easiest way to do this is by investing in a comprehensive inventory report delivered by unbiased professionals. A property inventory helps guard your property and its contents against damage by providing full details of its condition at the start and end of a tenancy.

At No Letting Go, we provide landlords and property professionals with comprehensive services and reports to protect their investment and streamline processes. Browse our full list of inventory management services to find out how we can help.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have recently revealed that 93% out of 8.5 million rental homes in the UK are not fit for disabled access, leaving at least 365,000 disabled people in unsuitable accommodation.

There is a pressing need for more accessible rental properties across the UK and the government is cracking down on landlords who do not make the necessary changes. However, this does mean that there is a large number of disabled tenants looking for appropriate housing.

From entry ramps to chair lifts, there are many ways to adapt a property for disabled access. Adapting a home and renting to disabled tenants could even open your property up to a wider range of potential renters.

Here, we look at ways to adapt your rental property so you can welcome a new target tenant group to your portfolio.

 

UK Rights for Disabled Tenants

Before you start thinking about adapting your property, it’s important to be aware of disabled people’s rights in the UK.

The Equality Act 2010 set out ways to protect people in society, including the rental sector.

According to the Act, a person has a disability if;

  • The person has a physical or mental impairment, and
  • This impairment has a substantial, long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Now, let’s look at your responsibilities as a property professional.

 

Laws for Private Landlords and Letting Agents

It is against the law for a landlord to discriminate against a disabled tenant. For example, as a landlord, letting or estate agent it is illegal to;

  • Refuse to rent to a disabled person because of their disability
  • Refuse to allow a guide dog or assistance dog under the no pets rule
  • Charge higher rent or deposit to disabled tenants
  • Refuse access to additional facilities that are available to other tenants (e.g. laundry room or parking space)
  • Evict a tenant due to disability or illness
  • Give tenants a less secure tenancy agreement

If a tenant feels they are being discriminated against, they could talk to Citizens advice or the EHRC and you could experience serious repercussions.

 

Landlord Responsibilities when Renting to Disabled Tenants

When renting to a disabled tenant, you are responsible for providing necessary, reasonable adaptations to make your property accessible and suitable to their individual needs. This can include additional services or equipment known as ‘auxiliary aids’.

Auxiliary aids can include;

  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Written documents and signs in Braille
  • Accessible door handles
  • Accessible taps
  • Special furnishings (e.g. raised toilet seat)

Refusing these changes could mean you’re breaking the law.

 

How to Adapt Your Property for Disabled Tenants

When renting to a disabled tenant, it’s likely you will need to make some changes to your property in order to make it accessible. These changes very much depend on the individual needs and requirements of the tenant.

Here are some of the ways you may be required to alter your rental property;

 

Installing Access Ramps

If your tenant uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter and your property has steps up to the entrance or between rooms, you may need to install access ramps at entrances.

 

Installing Chair Lifts and Railings

For multi-story homes, chair lifts and railings may be required for less able tenants. Railings may also be needed in bathrooms.

 

Fitting Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom Facilities

Wheelchair users may need lower kitchen and bathroom facilities which are accessible at chair height. Bathrooms may require a wet room and accessible toilets.

 

Widening Doors

Doors and entrance ways may need to be widened to allow for safe wheelchair access. (Usually 750mm)

 

Raised Plugs and Features

Features such as plugs and light fixtures will need to be accessible to your tenant(s).

 

Ground Floor Level Access

Some disabled tenants will require ground floor level access. You will need to provide a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen at ground level.

 

Unrestricted Parking

Your tenant may need access to a parking space which is easily accessible from the property.

 

Written Signs and Documents in Braille

Visually impaired tenants may require all tenancy documents and signs throughout the home to be provided in Braille. This includes features such as fire safety notices. Tenants with learning disabilities may ask for documents provided in alternative formats.

 

Covering the Costs of Adapting a Property

You may be thinking about the cost of these changes and how you’re going to cover them.

It’s true that some of these adaptations involve significant work, costing around £20,000 to adapt a standard property.

However, there are ways to help cover the costs;

 

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)

Landlords and tenant alike can apply for a disabled facilities grant which provides funds for adaptations. This grant is supplied by the local council and is subject to an eligibility test where an occupational therapist will assess the property and the adaptations needed before making a decision.

The amount you receive depends on the changes needed, but sums of up to £25,000 can be granted.

To apply, contact your local council.

Remember, if you fail to make the necessary changes, it could cost you a whole lot more in legal costs if the case goes to court!

 

A Helping Hand from No Letting Go

While this information may appear daunting at first, No Letting Go are on hand to help;

  • For example, our 360 Virtual Tour and Photography service allows potential tenants to view your property from any location- solving accessibility issues for many disabled tenants.
  • Providing a safe, comfortable and accessible home is particularly important when renting to disabled tenants. All of our property services are designed to streamline your workload and ensure your property is fully compliant with current health, safety and legal regulations.
  • Once you’ve made these adaptations to your rental property, it’s important to protect your investment. Our professional inventory service helps to safeguard your property by providing evidence of the condition of your property at the start and end of the tenancy.

Discover the rest of our property management services to find out how we could help.

High tenant demand means buy to lets can offer a lucrative investment for prospective and professional landlords. However, changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages and rising interest rates require landlords to think carefully about the risks and rewards of entering into one.

If you’re considering a buy to let (BTL) mortgage, it’s important you understand the differences between a BTL mortgage and a residential mortgage and the different types available to you.

Having all the information available is one way to make a secure decision. That’s why we’ve created this guide on buy to let mortgages so you can make the right choice for you.

What is a Buy to Let Mortgage?

Put simply, a buy to let mortgage is a loan specifically designed for landlords looking to buy property to rent.

Buy to let mortgages are viewed as higher risk by lenders, meaning there can be higher fees, deposits and interest rates than residential mortgages.

But don’t let that put you off completely!

Can Anyone Get a Buy to Let Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy property in order to rent it to other parties, it’s likely you’ll need to make a BTL mortgage application.

There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to be considered.

You are eligible for a BTL mortgage if:

  • You are looking to invest in residential property (this includes houses and flats)
  • You have the financial stability to repay the mortgage
  • You own your own home (either with a previous mortgage or outright)
  • You have a good credit rating
  • You earn over £25,000 per annum
  • You are below a certain age. (Most lenders have stipulations regarding the age you are when your mortgage ends which is usually between 70-75 maximum)

How do Buy to Let Mortgages Work?

BTL mortgages aren’t too different from regular mortgages, which, as a homeowner, you’ll be very familiar with.

There are, however, some variations it’s important to be aware of:

  • Fees and interest rates are a lot higher than residential mortgages
  • The deposit is around 25% of the property’s value as a minimum
  • BTL mortgages tend to be interest only, rather than requiring monthly repayments. This means that the loan is to be paid in full at the end of the mortgage term.
  • Most buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, if you are letting the property to a family member, this will be considered as a consumer buy to let mortgage and will be subject to the same regulations as a regular residential mortgage.

Types of Buy to Let Mortgages

Buy to let mortgage deals can differ depending on which lender you go with.

Interest rates will all depend on the amount of money you borrow and how much rental income you receive.

It will also be affected by the type of buy to let mortgage you choose:

Tracker BTL Mortgage

If you opt for a tracker mortgage, your monthly repayments are subject to change each month depending on interest rates. This is great news if rates decrease, but not so good if they increase dramatically.

Discounted Variable Mortgage

A discounted variable mortgage is a mortgage deal with an interest rate set around 2% below the SVR (standard variable rate). These deals usually last around two years. The rate is still subject to change dependant on the SVR, but the discount will stay in place for the agreed time.

Multiple Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage will keep your repayments low and stable for two to five years. Different mortgage providers offer different deals, so it’s worth shopping around. Just make sure to check what the rate will increase to at the end of the fixed period.

How to Get a Buy to Let Mortgage

Now you know the basics, it’s time to find out how to apply for a BTL mortgage and where to look.

Most large banks loan BTL mortgages, and a mortgage broker can help you decide which mortgage deal makes the most sense for your needs and purposes.

Another place to look when searching for the best mortgage rates is a reputable price comparison website.

Here are some reliable sites to use:

It’s worth checking a few comparison sites to get the bigger picture before making a decision. And don’t forget to read the small print for hidden fees and extra charges!

How Much Can I Borrow?

A couple counting penniesYour borrowing limit is connected to your rental income. This is called a loan-to-value, or LTV amount, which is worked out as a percentage of the property value. An LTV for BTL mortgages is usually around 90%- 95% rather than 100% for residential mortgages.

This means that your loan is likely to be lower, due to the perceived high risk factor.

Because of this, it’s recommended that you charge around 25%- 30% more for rent than your mortgage payment.

Local property agents or websites can help you get an idea of the amount of rent you can charge in your desired area.

Despite lower borrowing amounts and a larger deposit, the average buy to let purchase price is actually lower than for a residential property.

Tax on Buy to Let Mortgages

Keep in mind that there will be other outgoings to consider when deciding if you can afford a BTL mortgage.

Income tax, capital gains tax, landlord fees, landlord insurance, and letting agent fees all need to be considered.

With changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages it’s important to keep track.

The new regulations mean that landlords can no longer claim all their mortgage interest against income tax on rent. The amount of interest deductible is being reduced by 25% a year until 2020, when it will become a 20% tax credit on the mortgage interest paid.

This change has the potential to raise some landlords up a tax bracket.

Plan for all Circumstances

As you know, applying for a mortgage is a not a decision to be taken lightly as the responsibilities are a long-term commitment.

To protect your financial security, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for different eventualities.

For example, it’s not uncommon for a rental property to experience void periods in which no rent is coming in. Or, at some point or another, a pipe might burst, or a roof might need urgent repair. As a responsible landlord, you need to be able to provide effective and timely repairs.

To protect yourself from this burden, making a savings plan is vital. Ensure you are saving as much as possible when you have full paying tenants to avoid any stressful situations in the future. This should happen before making an offer on a house.

Tip: Don’t rely on selling the property to pay the mortgage off! If house prices fall, and you don’t have a backup plan, you’re in serious trouble.

Protect Your Buy to Let Investment

While applying for a mortgage is always a risk, once you have all the information at your fingertips, you can make a better informed decision.

One way to help guarantee the safety of your property investment is to ensure you are fulfilling all your duties and requirements as a landlord.

No Letting Go offer a wide range of property management services including professional unbiased inventories, safety assessments and maintenance reports to help you protect your investment.

Browse our full list of services to find out how we can help.

Thinking of converting commercial property to residential?

While renting out a property this way has its clear advantages, there’s a lot to consider. Ensure you’ve thought every detail through before you decide to go ahead.

Unsure where to start? Here’s a handy guide for landlords considering this path.

What to Consider When Changing Commercial Property to Residential

First things first, you need to decide whether this conversion is feasible for you at this time.

The Type of Property

There are many kinds of commercial building, from office to retail. Some of these may be easier to convert than others – so it’s vital you look into the specific details.

Class J allows developers a lot more freedom, however there are still some exemptions and restraints. Ensure you’re aware of these from the start.

Building Conversion Costs

While you’re not starting from scratch, it’s important to note that the cost of converting the existing building could be considerable.

Particularly if the building requires significant structural work, it might be more costly than expected.

Are you prepared for this?

Planning Permission Commercial to Residential

While it’s not always the case, you may require planning permission before going ahead with any work. Even if the building falls within Class J guidelines, you may still need permission.

Particularly if you plan on knocking down walls, for example, you may need to prepare for this extra expense.

Local Planning Laws

You may need to speak to the local planning authority, or local council, before going ahead with any work.

Location

Bear in mind that the location of commercial properties might not be ideal for residents.

Consider:

  • Transport links
  • Local amenities
  • Nearby schools
  • Parking
  • Noise pollution
  • Access for developers

Ask yourself, ‘Can you live in your commercial building?’ If the answer is no, it’s unlikely it will appeal to tenants either.

More and more people are choosing to rent over buy, but location can make or break this. Particularly if you’re trying to encourage a long-term tenancy, the area is everything. Tenants will only want to lay their roots in your property if they like their surroundings also.

Mortgage

Unless you have enough cash upfront, it’s likely you’ll need a mortgage to purchase the property.

This may mean the conversion is subject to your broker’s terms and conditions.

Insurance

While all landlords should consider insurance, when it comes to conversion, there’s an extra need to safeguard the building.

During the work planned to go ahead, are you covered? Consider the terms of your mortgage agreement – you may be required to get insurance.

Making a Commercial Conversion Liveable

There are a number of requirements that need to be met before tenants could live in the property. A commercial to residential conversion should consider the following:

  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Electrical safety
  • Removal of hazardous material
  • Fire safety

Ensure all these needs are met before you consider letting tenants move in.

Commercial Property Change of Use to Residential – Other Considerations

Of course, there’s more to a conversion than simply making the property safe.

Residential units have things that commercial spaces may not, such as storage areas. Also, how secure is the rental?

It’s a good idea to imagine yourself living in the commercial property. Does it feel like a home?

The Pros of Changing Commercial Property to Residential

There are some undeniable perks with converting commercial buildings, including:

  • You could potentially get a bigger property for a lower price
  • You may not need planning permission
  • There’s no property chain
  • Investing in property can be hugely profitable

The Cons of Using Commercial Property As Residential

While there are some positives, there are also some inevitable downsides:

  • Sometimes the conversion can be more costly than expected, particularly if planning permission is required
  • You’ll need a specialist buildings survey, which can be expensive
  • It’s easy for conversion costs to spiral out of control
  • Conversions can run on for longer than anticipated

Meeting Your Requirements as a Landlord

Decided this is direction you want to take as a landlord? This journey is both an exciting and difficult one.

As with any property, there are a number of requirements you’ll need to meet as a landlord. But, you’ll also want to ensure your investment is protected every step of the way.

From check-in to check-out, No Letting Go will ensure you’re meeting all the necessary safety standards. As well as this, we’ll ensure your tenants are looking after the property as requested. Our comprehensive property inventory services offer you peace of mind, while making you the best landlord you can be!

New to the buy-to-let game? About to take the first steps to becoming a property investor?

While this is an exciting journey, it can feel overwhelming at times! There’s a lot to learn when you’re just starting out.

To ensure you stay on the right track, we’ve got some tips on property investment for beginners. This advice should help guide you along the way!

Property Investment Basics

Before you start looking at properties – you need to work out what type of property investor you want to be.

Decide Whether You Need Partners

Do you want to invest alone, or with others?

If doing this by yourself, any money you make from letting out the property will be yours alone. However, some people are not in the financial position to do so.

So, first things first, ensure you know what you can afford before you embark on the journey!

How Will You Finance Your Investment?

During the planning process, your investment strategy should take into account exactly how you’ll afford to purchase a property. This should happen before making an offer on a house.

There are a number of different things to consider, including:

  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Getting a mortgage
  • The day to day running of the property
  • Current property prices on the market
  • Whether now is a good time to buy
  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor fees
  • Insurance

Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the rental income you generate will ensure cash is flowing into your pocket. However, the upfront costs involved with buying a property should not be overlooked.

What Type of Investor Do You Want to Be?

When investing in property, you have a number of options open to you. This could be:

  • A new career path
  • Your main source of income
  • A source of extra income on top of another job

With direct property investment, it helps to have a long-term plan. Imagine yourself in five years’ time. Where do you want to be?

More and more people are choosing to rent over buy. This presents an exciting market for investors to take advantage of.

How to Invest in Property

Once you’ve got the basics sorted and know what type of investor you want to be, it’s time to get started.

But, that can be easier said than done! So, here’s how to find a good investment property:

Choose Where You Want to Invest

Where do you want to invest? Decide early-on.

Here, research is key. There are a number of things to consider, including:

  • The average cost of buying a house
  • The average rental yield in the area
  • The type of tenants in the area (families, students etc.)
  • Whether the area is up-and-coming
  • How close you want the rental property to be to your own home

Once you’ve decided on the area, it will make choosing the right property to invest in much easier. However, it can be more difficult than anticipated to get to this point!

Identify Your Target Tenant

Who do you want to rent to? It helps to have a target tenant in mind.

For example, if you invest in a studio flat, it’s unlikely this will appeal to families. However, in an area where many residents are postgrads, this could be perfect.

It can be tough to narrow it down – but it’s worth it. Remember, the area you’re in should play a huge role in deciding your target tenant.

Ask yourself who you would and wouldn’t let to. Would you consider renting to students? This may widen your options, particularly in an area with a number of universities.

Make Sure Rental Returns are Competitive

The best way to start investing in property? Be on the lookout for high rental yields.

This can vary place to place, as everywhere in the UK is different. But, these tend to be favourable locations where there’s a high demand for rental homes.

You’ll want to ensure that, over time, the property can not only pay for itself but make you a profit. This includes any extra charges, such as maintenance.

Look for Opportunities to Add Value

The UK property market is constantly changing! Even some of the best estate agents can’t predict what will happen next.

House price growth is one of the main reasons to invest. When you eventually come to sell the property, you want to know you’ll make a profit. One way to ensure this is by looking for ways to add value:

  • Consider ways to refurbish/renovate the property
  • Choose an up-and-coming location

The best property investments are those which look to the future, rather than just the here-and-now.

Property Investment Advice – Understanding the Risks

If you’ve decided this is the path you want to take, you’ll need some property investment tips to help you along the way.

Ensure you’ve considered these risks:

  • Rent is not always guaranteed – which may mean you can’t afford mortgage repayments. Always try to prevent void periods at all costs
  • House prices can fall
  • Difficult tenants can cause a number of issues, such as damage to the property
  • Major house repairs can be extremely expensive

Property Investment Guide – The Potential Returns

Despite some inevitable risks, the world of buy-to-let is an exciting one, and can deliver huge returns.

This market can be a very profitable one! Plus, becoming a landlord is a rewarding career path to follow.

Protecting Your Investment

One of the most important factors to consider? The ways to safeguard your rental property.

Having a comprehensive, detailed inventory is one of the most significant elements – essential for protecting both landlords and tenants.

Unsure how to get started? No Letting Go can help. From check-in to check-out, we’ll make protecting your investment our top priority. Find out more about our inventory services here.

Looking to invest in rental property? There are many things to consider before getting involved in buy-to-lets.

Whether you’re trying to increase your portfolio or you are just getting on the ladder, it’s worth keeping these key principles in mind when choosing a rental property to invest in.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to rental property investment.

 

Is Investing in a Rental Property a Good Idea?

In short, yes. Rental properties are very attractive to landlords as mortgage rates and interest rates are low and rental return is high. The current housing market means that there is a great demand in tenants looking to rent.

As a landlord, you need to have a business plan for rental property investment. It’s worth familiarising yourself with how much mortgage interest you will be able to claim and what income tax you will need to pay. By 2020, landlords will get a 20% tax credit on their mortgage payments which may push some property owners up a tax bracket.

Before investing in property, you will also need to consider stamp duty, how much maintenance costs will be and whether you need landlord insurance.

Once you’ve decided you will buy a property, there are some significant factors you need to take into account.

 

Choosing the Right Area

This is the most important thing to consider in real estate. You need to perform market research to work out whether you will get a good return on your investment.

It may sound simple but choose an area that renters would like to live in. There will be a price growth for properties bought in up and coming areas. You will get a higher return by investing in a developing area. Consider:

  • Transportation links
  • What are the local schools like? (if renting to families)
  • Are there enough shops, restaurants and businesses?
  • Is there a university?
  • What are the other properties in the area like? Do the neighbours correlate to your desired tenants?

This needs to be an area that your tenant will be able to afford.
Carefully consider how much rent to charge. Ideally this will be competitive for the area.

If you’re renting to students or younger tenants, they will be unlikely to afford high rent prices. You need to calculate the percentage of rent return compared to your mortgage rate.

What is the neighbourhood like for insurance premiums? Is the house likely to be broken into? Will you need to pay excess? These are all questions you must ask regarding your property.

Do you want to buy a rental property that is close to where you live or work? Being close to your property will allow you to monitor it if your tenants need assistance. However, there may be better areas further afield. If your property is not in a convenient location, you can hire a property manager to look after it.

Decide which cities to invest in by researching average rental yields. Invest in Manchester or areas surrounding London. Colchester, Essex had the second best rental yield after Manchester.

Choosing The Right Tenant

Deciding who you will rent your property to will inform what kind of property you will invest in.
It is important to choose the right tenant. These are some factors you need to consider about your tenant:

  • Their age
  • Is it a family? (E.g. single family or two income family)
  • What is their financial situation?
  • What do they want out of a rental?

The type of tenant you rent to will affect decisions you make about decorating your property, where the property will be located and the type of property you choose. To secure the best tenants, perform a tenant reference check.

Is it worth renting to students? If you decide to rent in a student area, you need to be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of this. There will be a consistent turnover of tenants who will keep your property from sitting empty and generate cash flow. However, students can be unreliable and do not always treat the property well. Maintenance of the home may cost you more in the long term.

The Type of Property

The type of property you choose will dictate what kind of tenant you will have. If you invest in a HMO (house in multiple occupation) property, it will likely be occupied by tenants aged between 22 and 30. A four bed house will be well suited to families or, you can convert a house into several flats and have multiple tenants.

This depends on what kind of landlord you want to be. Do you want to be hands on or would you prefer to outsource to a letting agency? Consider your schedule and your expertise.

What is the Condition of the Property?

You need to think about how much upkeep your property will need. If you want to invest in a property that needs renovating, you need to take into account the amount of time and money a renovation will take. In the long term, you may be able to charge a higher rent which will be a better investment.

Choosing to buy a home that needs little upkeep will be better for landlords who wish to receive a passive income. Tenants will not require as much assistance and you will not need to be too hands on with your property.

The Tenancy Agreement

Creating a good tenancy agreement is fundamental to your investment. Seek legal advice before choosing a rental property. This contract will set out what is expected from your tenants and how you will be expected to act as a landlord so it’s important to get it right.

For a standard tenancy, ensure your agreement covers the following:

  • A full inventory of the home
  • Clauses regarding the deposit and when it can be withheld
  • How you expect the tenants to treat the property
  • When the tenancy can be terminated

If it is a HMO property then you may need a license from the council. Your property may fall under the general definition of a HMO but might be exempt from licensing laws. Seek legal advice if you are unsure if this applies to you.

Seek out a tenancy template that will help you draw up your contract and familiarise yourself with the relevant bylaws.

It is important to prevent void periods. Choose trustworthy tenants who will occupy the home for long periods and try to be an organised and efficient landlord. If a tenancy is coming to an end then be sure to advertise your property as soon as possible.

How to Market Your Property

Once you have bought a rental property, you need to be able to market it successfully. You will find the best tenants by thinking about how to market to them.

  • Advertise the area your property is in and the benefits of that location according to what your desired tenant would be interested in. For example, a group of professionals are likely to be drawn to somewhere with good transport links for commuting
  • How is your property decorated? Is it furnished? What kind of facilities are there?
  • What is the length of the tenancy and how much will the rent be?
  • Describe the property as accurately as you can

The easiest way to market a property is by using a letting agency. They will be able to do the work for you, such as arranging newspaper advertisements and showing prospective tenants round the property. Agents will also be in charge of collecting deposits and rent payments and drawing up tenancy agreements.

Using a letting agency does not mean you won’t be involved with the management of your property. You can choose how much work you want to delegate to an agency and how much you want to do yourself.

It is important to look after your investment. For help with your property, use No Letting Go inventory services. We can conduct full reports on your properties so you can be confident that your investment is secure. Browse our full list of services to find out more about how we can help.