A Dozen Unbreakables


Quick fixes, handy hints and unbreakable rules: here are some top tips for new landlords or those thinking about investing in buy to let; minus all the boring stuff like taxes, licenses, tenancy deposit schemes, surveys and all the paperwork…

It’s our old friend supply and demand. As a landlord, you’re on the supply side, and you are greatly outnumbered by those in the demand camp. If you have a property, you will rent it out.

Be the boss. Even if your property is a secondary part of your income, you should treat it as a job. It’s a serious business with responsibilities and consequences.

Be available. If your tenant calls, pick up the phone unless it’s impossible. They’re paying you a great deal of money, and if they’re not feeling the love, they’ll move on.

Think about who you want to rent your property to. Look at your property and decide whether it’s suitable for a family, young professionals or students, then decorate it accordingly. A family, for example, will likely bring their own furniture and want plain walls.

Something old or something new? If you’re buying a property to let, think about the age, because an old property may require more management than a new build.

Keep it tidy. This might sound like you’re being told to suck eggs, but a healthy property is a happy property. Carry out regular maintenance and fix any problems quickly. You’re not there all the time, and you don’t want things to get worse.

Family affairs. Renting to a small family, if your property is big enough, is a great situation to be in, especially if they’re renting while looking for a property to buy. It means they’re financially secure, and in nesting mode, so they’ll look after the place.

Make a home. If your property feels unpleasant, you’re less likely to keep tenants on. Some people are happy renting, and if they feel at home, you’ll keep them, which in turn will save you a lot of hassle.

If you can, invest. Just because you don’t live in a property, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve it - create an extra room in a loft conversion for instance, or simply do up the garden. There are numerous things you can do to improve your property and increase your rent.

Do your research. Buying a swathe of bargain properties in an area that’s set become the place to be for affluent young 20-somethings sounds amazing, but if you get it wrong, you’ve got a lot of undesirable and expensive property on your hands. Try waiting, watching, and paying slightly more when you’re positive things are heading in the right direction.

Being a landlord can be lucrative, but be sensible. Know your budgets, what you need to make in profit and keep a pool of money to one side for major maintenance or any fallow periods in the rental market.

Paint it white, keep it simple. Furnished or unfurnished, less is definitely more. Whether your market is graduates or families, most will want to see that they can make their own mark on the property.