How to be a Landlord: Ten Tips from the Top

James Davis set up after twelve years spent as a private landlord having started at just 22 years old with his first buy-to-let investment after graduating from university. Here he reveals his top ten tips for fostering good relations with tenants.

1. Maintain an open dialogue from the start
Doing this will minimise any disputes further down the line.

2. Ensure your tenants can communicate with you
Give them both your email and your mobile number.

3. Include a 'property folder' for when they move in; like you would expect in a hotel room

This should include:

  • All your obligations (deposit registration, gas safety certificate, etc.)
  • Instructions for all the electrical/appliances. You can usually download copies from the internet if you have lost them
  • ‘How to guides’; such as resetting the boiler
  • Maintenance tips; i.e. de-fluffing the tumble dryer, cleaning the washing machine filters
  • How things work; the alarm, window locks, etc

4. Go round a couple of weeks after they have moved in
There’s likely to be a list of snags and it’s worth getting it all sorted in one go.

5. Offer to make rent day the same day as pay day
You're more likely to get paid and have a standing order set up of course.

6. Ensure you leave instructions for when you go on holidays
Who should they call if there is an issue?

7. Respect the fact it's their place
Don’t turn up unannounced and frequently; it’s not your home!

8. Be sympathetic
It’s a business and an income stream for you, but it’s a home for your tenants; remember you have come together for different reasons.

9. Those small gifts will give you the edge
Go round with a birthday cake when it’s their kid’s birthday or a bottle of port at Christmas. If they have been great tenants and agree to renew for another year, offer them a weekend away (to the value of £x); you want to keep the good tenants!

10. Never underestimate the value of a good tenant
That’s one that not only pays the rent on time but looks after the property. Plus, don’t let a situation or disagreement turn sour; that bit is your responsibility.

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