Regardless of whether the property you are renting out is a studio apartment, a cottage at the back of the garden or an entire estate, the same rules apply and need to be understood in order to make a success of your investment in the property. To invest in a property is a very big commitment and you don’t want to end up in a situation where you lose on the investment because you didn’t follow all the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.
Establish a fair system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning deposits. Inspect and document the condition of your property before the tenant moves in to avoid conflict regarding the refund of deposits. This inspection should preferably be done with the tenant being present.
Try to resolve disputes with your tenants without the involvement of lawyers and lawsuits. If you’re having an argument with a tenant that doesn’t immediately call for an eviction, meet with them and try to resolve the problem in person.
Keep up to date on maintenance and repairs needed to the property and make sure these are done when the tenants request any work to be done. If your property is not kept in good condition, good tenants will not want to stay on. Remember, your tenants are your customers, make sure they are happy.
Although it is recommended to inspect your property from time to time to check that the condition of your property is up to standard, you must remember that your tenants’ privacy must be respected at the same time. Notify them if you’re planning to inspect the property and make sure to let them know a while in advance.
Don’t let your tenants and property be easy targets for criminals. If the property needs security additions, take the necessary steps to protect it. Proper lighting, trimming tree branches that hang over the wall and efficient security gates are often all that is needed.
If there is a hazard such as mould due to leaks, your tenants should be informed beforehand and steps should be taken to fix the problem. If your tenants later suffer from health problems that can be linked to the hazard in the property, you might be held responsible.
It is advised to document everything possible regarding the renting of your property – from the rental contract to how you handle complaints. Remember that it is of utmost importance to get insurance for your property. You must protect yourself against possible losses to your rental property caused by anything from vandalism to natural hazards.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)