Accidental landlords have played a prominent part in the UK property market over the last three years. The term is used to describe a person forced into buy-to-let through market conditions rather than personal preference.
The vast majority of new accidental landlords will have little-to-no experience in navigating the pitfalls of the buy-to-let market – meaning it’s vital they adapt as quickly as possible to prevent financial calamity.
Here at my|deposits Scotland, we know a thing or two about making the most out of property rental and have some top tips for those with a newly found ‘accidental landlord’ status.
Market your property on all available outlets
If you’ve been unable to sell your old property or inherited a home from a passed loved-one, knowing where to start with buy-to-let can feel daunting.
It can be tempting to approach a rental agency and allow them to do all of the hard work for you. But while this can seem like a sensible idea, you can rent your property out yourself.
It’s important you put your property in front of as many eyes as possible so consider using:
- Online letting agents These companies will usually charge a small upfront fee to market your property across sites such as RightMove and Zoopla for a period of 8-12 weeks
- Gumtree More people than ever before are using Gumtree to list classified ads. Make sure you take the time to list clearly list and describe your property.
- Social media Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth – post your property on your Twitter, Facebook & Instagram and ask your friends to share
Take time to produce an inventory
The inventory is one of the most important aspects of the buy-to-let process.
Before any tenant sets foot in your property, it’s important to create a comprehensive inventory. This will ensure both you and your new tenant agree on the condition of a property before they move in.
Key to avoiding disputes later down the line, it’s important to write a comprehensive list of observations for every room in your inventory:
- Pay particular attention to areas with running water such as kitchens and bathrooms
- Don’t forget to list the condition of appliances such as fridges and washing machines
- Consider taking photographs and either embed them into your report or ensure both parties sign the back of them for added peace of mind
For more information about writing inventories, download our free guide.
Don’t forget your obligations
Unlike seasoned buy-to-let investors, accidental landlords may have a lesser understanding of how the market works – as well as the obligations of property rental. It’s worth considering joining a trade body such as the National Landlords Association for advice and support.
It’s also important to ensure your tenant’s deposit has been protected in accordance with government legislation.
Since July 2012, all landlords are legally required to protect their tenants' deposit in a government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme such as mydeposits Scotland. These schemes protect the deposit for the duration of the tenancy as well as offering dispute resolution services should any issues arise at the end of the tenancy.
Stay prepared in the event of an accident
Although entering the buy-to-let market shouldn’t resemble a treacherous move, care should be taken to ensure you protect both yourself and your investment. With the help of our top tips, you can help turn an accidental rental foray, into something a little more solid.