First time landlord guide

So you’ve got yourself a buy to let. Or you’re thinking of buying one? Discover the 7 steps involved in being a landlord – and how to be really good at it too.

1. Get your property valued

Putting the right price tag on your property is crucial. That’s why we’ll kickstart the letting process by visiting your buy to let. We can then tell you who your property will appeal to, figure out how much it’s likely to fetch in comparison with similar properties in the area. While taking into account factors like market conditions, location, size of accommodation – and if furnished, the condition of your furnishings. Get an idea of how much rent your property could achieve by using our handy instant valuation tool.

2. Prepare your property

First think of your target audience and the type of tenant you want to attract. Then do what you can to make it appealing to them.

For instance, young professionals are drawn to contemporary furnishings. Students need desks. While young families enjoy eat-in kitchens with a dining table.

Of course, keep in mind that the smarter your property looks the more likely it is to earn you more money – and fly off the shelf. Here’s a top level preparation checklist that can help:

Before putting it on the market, make sure it’s in good decorative order and structurally sound. If living in it while it’s being marketed, de-clutter as much as possible and keep it tidy. Go for neutral décor. It will look cleaner and it allows prospective tenants to imagine their stuff in your property. If you’re letting it as furnished, make sure to include practical everyday items like a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board – and if there’s a garden, a lawn mower. If you’re letting it unfurnished, it’s standard practice to include carpets, light fittings, curtains and a cooker.

3. Find the right tenant

With us by your side, you’ll soon find the right type of tenant. The key is in marketing your property to the right people. Something we can help you do through our:

  • Network of high street offices
  • Online presence, both through our own website and popular property search sites like Rightmove, Zoopla and more
  • Advertising in local press and other relevant publications
  • Distinctive ‘To Let’ boards
  • Large client bank of eager tenants, looking to move

Then, when it comes to viewings, we recommend letting us conduct them for you. Our people know how to pick up on the subtle cues and signals that can propel the lettings process.

We also make it a point to offer as many viewings as possible at peak times such as lunchtimes, evenings and weekends so you get as many prospective tenants through the door.

4. Signing up your tenant

Once we’ve found you a tenant you’re happy with, we’ll ask them for a holding deposit to reserve the property and request that they complete an online tenancy application. Once we’ve got these, we’ll crack on with taking up references.

Tenant references

Referencing is the standard way of assessing a tenant’s reliability. We use an experienced independent agency to manage this process. They arrange a formal credit check and request a reference form from your tenant’s employer and any previous landlord.

And of course, we’ll run these check by you first before the tenancy is agreed.

5. Opening up the tenancy market with Flatfair

What is it? 

Tenants secure a new home with a small check-in fee equal to one week's rent (+VAT) or £120 whichever is greater instead of paying for a costly deposit, with any damages paid when it's time to move. The fee is non-refundable and does not count towards any end-of-tenancy charges.

How does it work?

You get up to 10 weeks protection for free. Unpaid established charges up to a total value of 10 weeks rent (though never more than 5 weeks rent arrears). At the end of the tenancy, with a traditional deposit you only have 5 weeks worth of rent so if the rent is £1000 per month you would have a deposit of £1153 with which you could claim on for rent arrears or dilapidations of the property. Flatfair provides 10 weeks worth of rent as protection at the end, so, (on a rent of £1000 pcm), you would have £2307 at the end of the tenancy to claim for arrears or dilapidations of the property. Flatfair deal with the risk by supporting referencing and collecting documentation.

Why Flatfair?

Properties let faster and attract more quality tenants.

If there’s any damages or unpaid rent, you’re put back in pocket within 10 days of charges being agreed.

6. Our ongoing services

Full management

Want a hand running your rental? Or live too far from it to do it yourself? Leave it all to us. That includes finding your tenants, collecting the rent, arranging contractors – essentially everything necessary to keep things running smoothly. You can just sit back and enjoy the perks of owning a buy to let.

Rent collection

This is the ideal option if you’re happy to manage your property’s maintenance, including arranging contractors. But need some help finding tenants and collecting rent. So we’ll market your property to snag you a suitable tenant. Then take care of rent collection.

Let only

Know your way round being a landlord? Or fancy having a go at it on your own? But want some help finding a tenant and setting up the tenancy? Look no further than our Let only service. We’ll find you a suitable tenant, get them all set up – then hand it over to you for the day-to-day running, including collecting the rent.

Rent and Legal Protection Service

Worried about your rent arriving promptly each month? You can rely on us to take the strain for just over £1 a day we can ensure that your rent is paid to you every month, whether your tenant pays or not. Features include the following:

If a tenant defaults on their rental payments, providing they have fully passed references, we will protect your rental payments until vacant possession on the property is gained. Once the tenancy is in two full months’ arrears, Andrews will make the rental payments to you whilst the Tenant remains in the property. These payments will be made subject to a successful claim.

Up to £100,000 of legal expenses coverage per claim.

Following a successful claim, and once vacant possession has been obtained, Andrews will continue to pay 75% of the rent whilst the property is vacant or until the property is re-let with Andrews, for a maximum of 2 months.

7. Managing and ending the tenancy

The standard rental period for most properties is a 6 or 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy. As the tenancy comes to an end there are certain rules you need to follow. For example, you’ll have to give a minimum of two months’ notice in writing if you’d like your tenants to vacate your property on the final date of your contract.

If you want us to manage your property for you, we proactively write to tenants so you’ll never have to worry about missing important dates.

An explanation of fees to landlords.