Five tips for first time landlords

Becoming a landlord for the first time can be a daunting business. It’s quite a shift in attitude to go from being the owner of a home for yourself to the owner of a property that will be someone else’s home.

There are a number of things that are important to consider. Here’s our top five tips for when you become a landlord.


This is not your home

It’s quite common for people who find themselves buying property for the first time to spend too much time and money on the property they’ve just bought.  Don’t get carried away with any grand design plans or creating luxurious interior spaces unless you’re sure the target market wants that. Your buy-to-let property is an investment, all you must do is provide a space that is safe and suitable for your tenants. Buy-to-let is first and foremost a business investment. Be business-like about it.


Get the right mortgage 

As with any mortgage you need to check thoroughly to make sure the mortgage you have is the right one for you. Buy-to-let mortgages are different to the one you will have for your own home and there are differences between different buy-to-let mortgages that are important to check. You will need to consider what kind of tenant you will be getting. Some banks will forbid you renting to multiple occupants rather than just to one family.  You can check the definitions for this at the  Government website . Also if you rent to a housing association or council you will have to check with your mortgage company to make sure you’re not coming up against some small print you didn’t check.


Get the right insurance

Now you are a landlord you need specific landlord insurance. The kind of buildings and contents insurance you have for your home will not pay out should something go wrong with your buy-to-let property.  Of course you are going to check your tenants carefully, but accidents can happen and you need to be covered. At Natwest we have experts at the end of a phone line or email, ready to help you choose what’s right for you.  Landlord’s building insurance  is a must-have and covers rebuilding costs if there is damage to the property. You can also consider liability insurance, so if a tenant blames you for an injury they received in your property your legal fees are covered. We provide a helpline should you require emergency repairs, so if there’s a break-in or water leak in the middle of the night you can ring the emergency repair company without extra worry. Call Natwest to have all these options explained and get the right landlord insurance. 


Check the certificate

So, you have the correct landlord insurance, great, should anything go wrong you know you’re covered. You do though have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of the gas or electric boiler and the electric sockets and lights will need testing too. This means getting a safety certificate from accredited gas safe engineers and electricians. It will be vital for your insurance too, so make sure you get this done. And don’t forget you will need to renew the safety certificates every year.


Plan for the future

Investing in the property market is a popular way to save for the future, and it’s probably more popular now than ever before. You need to plan carefully. Know how much your mortgage repayments are costing you and how much rent you are likely to receive. Work out how much money you will need to spend on upkeep and maintenance over the coming years. Investing in your rental property to keep it in good shape is not money wasted it is an essential expense for you to provide a quality home for your tenants. Do that and they will be more likely to look after it for you. If you have recently become a landlord our post ' 3 ways to be a better landlord ' can give you tips for refining the service you offer to your tennants.

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