8 Landlord Mistakes to Avoid

Being a landlord is a great way to earn income in the short term and see capital appreciation on your asset over time. But it’s not always plain sailing, and there are a few mistakes that landlords find themselves commonly making. 

From falling short of tenant expectations to not understanding legalities about lettings, making mistakes here and there is easier than you think. However, there are ways that you can safeguard yourself, avoiding some of the most common issues landlords face in the process.

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We have put together a list of seven landlord mistakes to avoid. Circumventing these issues will help make sure that being a landlord is a smooth process. 

1) Overpricing your property

It is tempting to go for the highest rental price possible but, more often than not, doing so can leave you with a myriad of problems. Tenants don’t rush the search for their new home and instead spend time finding the right place. 

If your buy-to-let keeps popping up on portals with a reduced price, they will suspect something wrong with the property and it could put them off going for a viewing. 

Rents are generally on the rise in the UK, and a quarter of all homes are set to be privately rented by 2021. There’s no need to inflate rents, and a little search online or a valuation calculator can give you a good idea of your property’s rental value. 

2) Neglecting the importance of first impressions

The first time a renter sees your property isn’t when they attend a viewing; it’s when they lay eyes on it online. Making sure that your property looks appealing online is the key to generating interest, especially in areas where there is plenty of competition

Images should be clear, the property should be tidy, and if there’s an exterior shot it should reflect the current season – you don’t want pictures of leaves on the floor if you’re listing during the summer. 

Photographs need to reflect the property accurately while making it seem appealing. Essentially, your buy-to-let needs to be rental ready from the moment it goes online.

3) Not paying attention to safety checks and compliance 

As a landlord, you have many responsibilities –  from the money laundering directive that comes into effect in 2020 to Right to Rent checks and making sure that your property meets gas and electricity requirements.  

It can all get a little overwhelming – which is you need to use a lettings platform that helps landlords carry out their obligations. At mashroom, we provide a checklist for landlords before they list their property. It informs them of obligations they need to undertake before letting their home. We can also carry out many of these checks on our landlord’s behalf, making their life easier and stress free.

4) Not getting the correct insurance

Landlords need specific insurance that is catered to the buy-to-let market. These include: 

  • Building insurance covers the cost of rebuilding or repairing your buy-to-let property in case of any unforeseen damages. 
  • Contents insurance  protects the contents inside your buy-to-let property, including furniture.
  • Rent guarantee insurance makes sure that you’re protected in the event that your tenant doesn’t pay the rent. 
  • Deposit replacement scheme means that tenants forgo paying the five week’s worth of rent as a deposit, instead only pay one non-refundable week. Landlords get the same cover as regular deposit protection but also eliminate the chance of voids as tenants look more favourably on properties that incorporate the deposit replacement scheme.  

5) Not responding to tenants

Landlords get an unfair reputation in the media for evicting tenants and not treating them well, but anyone who is in the lettings’ industry knows that landlords want long-term tenants who look after their home. And yet you still need to be a responsive landlord to your tenant.

Whether they’re enquiring about a problem with the property or asking a question about the tenancy itself, you should always aim to respond as quickly as possible. As a landlord you’re providing a service. Like any other successful business, that service needs to be of high quality. 

No matter the query, always reply and be polite. Keep a good relationship with your tenant and be transparent. That means keeping them updated on maintenance issues and providing a timeframe for when any problems will be solved. 

6) Not keeping tabs on the property

It is easy for landlords to forget about their property once it’s rented. There’s a good stream of income coming in, so why rock the boat? You might also want to let the tenant get on with things as they’re the ones living in your buy-to-let now. 

While it’s not fair to do frequent inspections and disrupt your tenant, you should keep tabs on your property. Sub-letting is becoming a more common problem, and it’s generally good practice to make sure that your property is in good condition. Once every three to six months is a suitable time to check your property. 

7) Don’t put your property on the market at the last minute

Too often, landlords wait until their current tenant moves out before relisting the property. Doing this means you lose out on invaluable marketing time, especially as renters often look for properties around two months in advance. 

Students typically start their property search even earlier so they can find somewhere for the start of term. Relocators also vet suitable properties well in advance. Getting your property on the market early is vital to avoiding those pesky voids and finding a new tenant as quickly as possible. 

It may be that you don’t want to disrupt your current tenant’s living circumstances, which is entirely understandable. That’s why mashroom offers your current tenant the ability to conduct viewings on your behalf while enjoying a reward if the person they show the property to moves in. 

There are no complications with agents, trying to sort out keys and working out times when everyone is available for viewings. Everything happens directly between your current tenant and the new renter, with you simply accepting an offer that you’re happy with. 

For more information about Tenant Team Up on mashroom, click here  

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