How to Be an Awesome Landlord in 2022

Some people may view being a landlord as an easy way to make money, but there’s much more to it if you want to truly excel in this role. The best landlords always go above and beyond to provide comfortable homes for their tenants and make them feel as welcomed as possible.

Indeed, to be an awesome landlord that all of your tenants appreciate, you need to do more than just fulfil your basic responsibilities. This means that, in addition to maintaining the property, responding to issues and keeping deposits in a deposit protection scheme, you should also strive to provide an excellent service and be attentive to your tenants’ needs.

By being a fantastic landlord, you’ll be more likely to attract and retain the best tenants who maintain the property in good condition and pay their rent on time. In addition, you’ll also reduce your stress and feel much more fulfilled. So, if this sounds appealing to you, then keep on reading to discover exactly how you can be an awesome landlord in 2022.

1) Be careful with your finances

This sounds like an obvious piece of advice, but with the advent of historically low interest rates and rising asset prices over the last decade, the temptation for some landlords will have been to stretch their finances to the absolute limit. However, by doing this you do not leave much room for manoeuvre if circumstances change, such as a tenant stops paying or the rate of interest increases on your buy-to-let mortgage. Thus to avoid financial peril when something of this nature occurs, it’s prudent to build up a contingency fund and plan for the long term.

As an example, when looking to buy a property, you should consider what’s safely within your budget rather than overstretching yourself and putting yourself at risk if your financial situation changes in the future. You should also consider not just the purchase price but also long-term costs such as upgrades and maintenance so you can maintain the property in a good condition.

There may also be periods of time when the house is unoccupied and you’re struggling to find tenants (void periods). You need to bear this in mind when calculating your budget, and you should always have a contingency fund to cover these periods.

2) Have a solid understanding of UK landlord, tenant and property laws

To be an awesome landlord and always act within the law, you need to understand all laws relating to your rights and obligations as a landlord. For example, you must always keep your properties in a habitable condition, give your tenants the right to quiet enjoyment of their home and put their deposit in a deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it.

Since laws and regulations change periodically, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the updates. Here are some of the main changes you should make a note of in 2022:

• The reporting deadline for capital gains tax will be extended (you now have 60 days to file and pay your capital gains tax when selling a property instead of 30).
• Section 21 no-fault evictions will be banned under the Renters Reform Bill.
• Also under the Renters Reform Bill, landlords will no longer be able to have blanket bans on tenants receiving benefits, tenants with children or tenants with pets.
• From 2025, rented properties must have an EPC rating of C or above, so landlords must complete upgrades before then to improve energy efficiency.
• Short-term let licensing schemes will be introduced in Scotland.

Making Tax Digital

One of the major changes in the near future is the introduction of Making Tax Digital for Income Tax, which comes into effect from April 2024. Making Tax Digital is a government initiative to make it easier for people to get their taxes right through the use of tax and accounting software.

Those who’ll need to switch from Self Assessment tax returns to Making Tax Digital for Income Tax in 2024 include sole traders and landlords who earn over £10,000 per year. They’ll need to keep digital financial records and send quarterly updates to HMRC. If you receive an income from rental properties and you’re also a sole trader, you’ll need to combine these sources of income to see if you’re eligible for MTD for income tax. For more information on this topic, check out this article on Making Tax Digital for landlords,

3) Screen tenants

Once you have a suitable property and you understand landlord laws in the UK, you’ll be ready to start finding tenants. During this process, you should remember to screen potential tenants by checking their income, their right to rent and references from previous landlords.

Screening tenants allows you to find individuals who are more likely to pay the rent on time and keep the property in good condition. Having great tenants will make your job much easier, giving you more time to focus on being a fantastic landlord rather than chasing down rent payments or at worst going through the eviction process.

If you prefer, you can enlist the help of a letting agent who will carry out the above process on your behalf. They will undertake credit checks, interview each potential tenant and seek references on your behalf. Typically, the fee for this is around £300 to £500.

4) Write a clear tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement sets out the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you write everything clearly so there’s no ambiguity. An unclear agreement could cause disputes if you and your tenant disagree on what the terms mean.

To really set yourself apart as an awesome landlord, you should make yourself available to your tenants to answer any questions they have about the tenancy agreement. This will clear up any issues and make you seem helpful and approachable.

5) Leave a welcome pack

Another way you can set yourself apart is to leave a welcome letter and a set of helpful instructions for your new tenants. Additionally, this welcome pack should include the necessary legal documents for your tenants.

In this welcome pack, you can introduce yourself as the landlord, welcome them to the property, write some instructions related to the property (e.g., when bins are collected and housekeeping tips) and include important documents like a check-in inventory, health and safety information, appliance manuals and a copy of the tenancy agreement.

6) Be accessible and quick to respond

Make sure you also include your contact information in the welcome pack. This will help your tenants contact you quickly if any problems arise.

Being accessible and quick to respond to issues or queries will really help you stand out as a great landlord to have. In addition, by solving these problems promptly, you’ll prevent them from escalating further and causing more of an issue in the long run.

7) Handle maintenance and upgrades

One issue you certainly don’t want to ignore is maintenance. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to handle maintenance issues that are reported by your tenants – any repairs must be completed within a reasonable amount of time, with shorter timescales for more urgent repairs.

If you want to be a truly fantastic landlord, then it’s important to go above and beyond. This involves continuously upgrading the property over the years to reduce the number of maintenance issues that arise. This is also sound advice from a financial perspective; despite the initial cost of the upgrades, you’ll save money if you don’t have to constantly repair old and faulty appliances or fix mould problems.

8) Deal with disputes calmly and professionally

Unfortunately, even if you screen your tenants thoroughly and provide a high-quality service, things still may not work out well.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to stay calm and always deal with disputes in a professional manner. This applies to in-person situations and online, so if you get a particularly negative online review, remember to respond professionally and reach out to the individual to try to resolve the issue privately.

You may even find yourself having to evict a bad tenant. If this happens, continue to stay professional and make sure you document everything. This will help your case in court.

9) Keep accurate records

Even if you’re not trying to evict a tenant, it’s still necessary for you to keep meticulous records. This will be extremely helpful if a legal issue does arise, but this is also good practice in general. You don’t want to end up losing important documents like your tenancy agreement or maintenance records.

A great way to ensure you don’t lose these documents is to store them electronically. Keeping both physical and electronic copies in secure locations will help you be an awesome and responsible landlord.

10) Hire a property management company or use property management software

Sometimes, being a landlord can be stressful and bureaucratic. If you end up feeling completely overwhelmed, you may not be able to perform your duties as a landlord to the best of your ability.

Luckily, there are many property management companies that can help you out by taking care of a lot of stressful tasks for you, such as handling repairs and marketing the property. With this reduction in your stress levels, you’ll have more energy to focus on being a great landlord for your tenants.

If you don’t want to hire a property management company, you could use property management software instead. With tools like Landlord Vision, you can track expenses, store documents and automate key tasks like collecting rent, helping you save time when managing your property/properties.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, being an awesome landlord is all about understanding your responsibilities and going above and beyond to ensure your tenants have a great experience. By knowing the law, conducting proper tenant screening, leaving helpful welcome packs, being accessible, and handling maintenance and upgrades, you can truly excel in this role.

Unfortunately, no matter how great you are as a landlord, you could still be stuck with a bad tenant. If this happens, remember to always stay calm and professional whilst dealing with disputes.

For some extra help, why not hire a property management company or use property management software? This will save time and reduce stress, helping you become a better landlord for your tenants.

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