Vet Your Tenants
Before you set off on your quest, bear in mind that you can be will be limited by the quality of tenant in your home. Even if you have the best of intentions, if your tenant is messy, unruly, disrespectful and slow to pay, you are going to struggle to make a success out of being a Landlord.
This is why you should try to find the best possible tenant for your home and using a Professional Letting Agent can often make this process a lot easier. Firstly, it’s important to know the recent history of your tenant and what their motivation is for finding a new property.
Are they new to London?
New to the area like E14?
Why are they looking in this area: For work? For schools?
Why did they move from their last property?
Who will be living with: Just them? A flatmate? Family?
Any good letting agent should be finding out this information from potential tenants before conducting any viewings. If an agent is doing their job properly, they should be bringing properties to the tenant’s attention by understanding the tenant’s motivation.
Once the viewings are complete, offers and negotiation finished, your agent should be taking a reservation fee from the tenants to firm up on their interest, and remove the property from the market while referencing takes place. Some agents will carry out their own referencing procedures, but most agents, like Proper Local Ltd, will use the services of a professional referencing agency.
References should include a credit check, previous landlord reference and employer’s reference. Most referencing companies use the equation of 30x the monthly rent to assess affordability. So if the rent is £2,000 per month, the tenant(s) would need to be earning £60,000 per annum to pass affordability checks (30x £2,000 = £60,000).
It is only once references are back, and satisfactory, that contracts will be drawn up and move-in monies gained.
If you are carrying this out yourself, you should be looking for references from previous Landlords, and you should be looking g to ensure the tenant has funds available to pay the rent. This can mean asking for their employment status and income. You may feel uncomfortable doing this but it is an accepted part of the business, and it would be better to have doubts about a tenant's ability to pay rent now than to be short of 6 months money further down the line.
Be Respectful To Your Tenants
A lot of bad Landlords believe that the relationship with their tenant is an adversarial l one, one that becomes a "me versus you" relationship. This is not the case, and it shouldn't 't be the case. While you don't need to be best friends with your tenant, you should provide them with respect until they have shown otherwise.
A tenant has the right to privacy at the property (in law it’s called “quiet enjoyment”). You shouldn't turn up at the property without prior notice. Most contracts will state that as a Landlord, or agent, you are obliged to give 48 hours’ notice of a visit, except in case of emergencies.
As a Landlord, you may find that you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emergencies can happen at any time, so you need to be contactable. This doesn't mean that your tenant should feel free to call you at all hours of the day and night for no reason; you have a right to privacy and peace too. However, if you want to ensure that all damages or problems are resolved quickly and kept to a minimum, you need to ensure your tenant is confident about contacting you with genuine concerns.
Try to Network With Other Landlords and Professionals
You may feel as though you are in competition against other Landlords. In this regard, there is likely to be a level of competition, but you 'll also find that you have a lot in common with other landlords.
Many Landlords find it is more productive for them to work together in their local community, passing on information about tenants who should be avoided or discussing the latest regulations and how you can comply with them. Similarly, you should look to develop a relationship with local professionals. Obviously, there is a benefit to knowing plumbers or joiners that you can trust, because this means repair work can be carried out quickly and hopefully for the best price. You may even find that there is a benefit to promoting local shops or stores to your tenants for support or reciprocal backing from then in the future.
Ask for feedback and what your Tenant needs.
From our experience one area where many Landlords in E14 fail, is not asking for feedback from their tenant. You have a chance to discuss the service you offer with your tenant and find out what tenants needs from you. This conversation isn't about giving a tenant an opportunity to criticise you or what you offer; it is about gaining information that will allow you to provide an improved service for your tenant and other tenants in the future.
It may be that providing a simple service like ironing or collecting dry cleaning would vastly improve a tenant's time in your property while giving you a chance to earn additional income. There are many ways in which a Landlord can provide an improved service to their tenants.
Being a Landlord can be a difficult and trying process, but good Landlords find it is enjoyable, informative and of course, a brilliant way to earn income.
If you want to make the most of the opportunity provided by the lettings market, get in touch with Proper Local. We've helped hundreds of Landlords let their property successfully. We provide free, no obligation Canary Wharf rental valuations to help you find out what your property might rent for.