Buying a rental property remains a popular option for many investors, despite a tightening in regulations undertaken by the government in recent years.
These changes have meant that landlords have to take a much more professional approach to managing their properties and be more compliant, responsible and accountable in the way they deal with tenants.
The government has laid out duties and responsibilities for landlords, providing information on all current legislation, and it is worthwhile visiting the GOV.UK website for details.
This advice covers everything from safety regulations, financial responsibilities, repairs, rent increases and disputes.
In the case of the latter, problems often arise at the end of a tenancy when it comes to carrying out an inventory check to ensure that the property is returned in a suitable condition. By not having an agreed inventory in place at the outset of the agreement, both the landlord and the tenant can leave themselves open to problems.
These difficulties can be alleviated by using property inventory software, examples of which can be found at sites such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/.
This can be particularly useful for accidental landlords who find themselves renting out for the first time, having acquired property they cannot sell on. These landlords are often unfamiliar with the regulations in place, and may not realise how time-consuming being a landlord can be.
As part of a professional approach, such property owners may wish to consider employing a managing agent to do the heavy lifting. If you choose this option, ensure that the agent belongs to a redress scheme, understands the rules relating to client money protection and is a member of a recognised trade body.
The sheer volume of new legislation, introduced by successive governments as they struggle to influence the housing market, has meant that there are over 175 regulations for landlords to grapple with. This is a clear indication that property owners have to adopt a professional approach to their letting. This cannot be seen as a hobby, as falling foul of the rules can prove expensive.
Furthermore, this is by no means the end of government involvement, and landlords have to constantly check that their rentals are compliant.
With over 1.8m landlords operating in the UK market, it is increasingly competitive, but you should never cut corners. Ensure you adopt a professional approach.