Spring Clean Your Property Portfolio

Spring has sprung and with it, the desire to spring clean everything you can lay your hands on. And yes, that can include your property portfolio! 

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Reviewing your properties can really pay off and if the start of the year was too busy for you to do so, you can take advantage of the spring energy to start clearing out the old and welcoming the new. 

Taking the time out to review what is or isn’t working is crucial to the overall maintenance of your investments and will save you time, energy, and money down the road.

Why bother spring cleaning my property portfolio?

Well, as they say – prevention is better than cure! If you take the time to check in on your investments regularly, you are less likely to suffer a costly issue later.

This is even more important given the upheaval we live with today. According to a recent YouGov poll on behalf of the NRLA, the pandemic cost almost one in four private landlords a loss of rental income.

The poll, which asked over 1,000 landlords how Covid had affected them between March 2020 and September 2021 of last year, showed that landlords are twice as likely to be selling up their portfolios now, with 36% intending to exit the market, or at least sell parts of their portfolios. 

Taking the time to stay on top of things should save you from needing to take similarly drastic action in the future. 

Top 5 tips for maintaining and ‘spring cleaning’ your portfolio: 

  1. Check your accounts. How many times have you heard how important it is to keep track of your incomings and outgoings? It can be such a pain to set up a system and keep on top of it, so use an Expense Tracker that does all the work for you. Once you are able to see at a glance how your portfolio is performing, you can adjust accordingly to improve your income
  2. Audit your time management. Time is money, so it’s important to make the most of it! Consider what are the biggest drains on your time and look for ways to automate them. Always spend ages trying to find your documentation? Use an online document storage tool so it’s all in one place and alerts you when your certificates are running out. Regularly nearly miss deadlines? Put all to-dos in your calendar and set reminders a day or week ahead, so you can’t forget!
  3. Review your insurance. Once you’ve taken a look at your incomings and outgoings, it’s important to protect that income. Look into Rent Guarantee Insurance to cover yourself in the event a tenant falls into arrears or you need eviction advice. Home Emergency Insurance means you don’t have to budget for emergencies and can act quickly if they happen. While these can seem like unnecessary expenses, by the time you regret not having them, it’s already too late!
  4. Research mortgages. You should be taking an active interest in your mortgages. Whether it’s looking for the next great buy-to-let deal or making sure remortgage time doesn’t creep up on you, keeping an eye on one of your biggest outgoings is a good way to improve your bottom line
  5. Consider going self-managed. If you’re with an agent, it can be easy to let things slide, trusting them to handle it. But as the landlord, you are the one that is ultimately liable for any problems and it’s you that will be fined if the right documents and certificates are not filed. Going self-managed may sound like a huge step, but this way, you know you’ve done everything you have to do. 

How do I self manage a rental property portfolio?

If you’re looking to take the plunge into self-management this spring, the most important thing to make sure you’re on top of is your legal requirements:

  • Gas Safety. Each of your properties should have a Gas Safety Certificate that is updated every year. Not having this could result in a fine or imprisonment.
  • EICR. As of April 2021, having an EICR is mandatory for all rental properties and you should present a completed EICR to your tenant within 28 days of the inspection and to any new tenants. This should be updated every 5 years, so when you go self-managed, check when your next one is due and make a note in your calendar, with a reminder a month or so before it expires! 
  • EPC. Your properties have to have an EPC rating of at least E to be able to rent them out. However, this will be increasing to C by December 2025, so if you’re not at a C yet, make sure you’re planning to get there by the end of 2025! These last for 10 years, so as with your EICR, check when your next one is due and make a note now! With all of the legal certifications, make sure you save them all in one place (like our handy document storage tool!). And don’t delete your old certificates, having a paper trail is a good thing!
  • Fire and CO Alarms. You are legally required to have a fire alarm on every floor and you should make sure that you check they’re in full working order when a new tenant moves in. If your property has a solid fuel burning appliance, you will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Right to Rent. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the people you are renting to have the right to rent in the UK. Changes are expected in April 2022, so it’s something you need to make sure you’re aware of.

There is a lot to consider as a self-managed landlord, but it is worth it! As well as our free tools, we share lots of handy tips, the latest landlord news and host landlord webinars to make life a little easier for you, so keep an eye on our blog to keep yourself up to date!

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