How to protect yourself as a landlord

Being a landlord can be a very profitable and exciting business, enabling you to earn a regular income, as well as any increase in value of your property in the future. However, it isn’t as simple as buying a house or flat and finding someone to live in it, and things can sometimes go wrong. Therefore, it is wise to make sure you and your asset are as protected as possible.

Here are a few tips on how you can do this.

Choose tenants carefully

Perhaps the simplest (and best) solution to protecting yourself is to have a rigorous selection process when picking tenants to live in your property. Whether you use a lettings agent or not, it is a good idea to vet prospective residents, so you can be happy and confident with who is chosen to move into your buy-to-let home.

If you get a bad feeling from a tenant when they look around the property – for instance, you don’t feel as though they would take care very good care of it – it is best to stick with your gut instincts and potentially avoid trouble in the future. Similarly, you may really get on well with a tenant, which could mark the beginning of a strong tenant-landlord relationship.

However, don’t be too precious with your property, even if you used to live there yourself. You might think no one is quite trustworthy enough to look after your home, but as long as they have good references and a solid credit history, these are the most important things you should look at.

Join the NLA

Alternatively, the most reliable way to limit the number of problems you face and to ensure you have support when you invest in buy-to-let property is to join an organisation such as the National Landlords Association (NLA). Being a member of a group like this gives you additional support that you may need if you ever have serious problems with your tenants, either by offering advice on how to deal with certain situations or by providing you with useful services.

Among the benefits of joining the NLA include access to its information resource 24 hours a day, a subscription to its bi-monthly magazine UK Landlord and instant help from its Telephone Advice Line if you need to talk to someone about an issue as soon as possible.

Get insurance

If you want further protection as a landlord, you might want to look into getting landlord insurance, offered by most providers. Typical premiums cover damage to the property caused by the tenant to a certain amount, periods when the property is not occupied, and public liability insurance.

This is a good option if you don’t want to risk losing substantial amounts of money in the event of your property being damaged or losing out on your rental income if your property is left empty for a certain amount of time.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

These days, both landlords and tenants are protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is a government-backed initiative to ensure residents get their down payments back but only if they meet the terms of the tenancy contract.

Deposits are held for tenants while they live in the house, and when they move out, landlords need to agree how much money they’ll receive within ten days of the contract ending. You will make this judgement based on whether they have paid all their rent and bills and left the property in the same condition it was in when they moved there – if they have failed to do this, you are able to reduce the amount of money you return to them.

The reason why tenancy deposit schemes help landlords as well as tenants is that deposits are protected until the issue is sorted out; therefore, there is an impetus for both parties to compromise as neither gains by not coming to an agreement.

By taking these small steps in providing yourself with as much support as possible as a landlord, you can really enjoy having a buy-to-let investment free from any concerns.

About the Author

Natasha Al-Atassi is a property investment writer for Select Property Investment, collating the latest news about property investment opportunities, as well as updates on the Select Property brand and information to help investors interested in buying real estate.

About the Author