Are you renting out property in Newry and Mourne, or anywhere in Northern Ireland? Regardless of whether you are a first time landlord of a single property, own multiple rental properties, or are an estate agent who manages properties on behalf of landlords, the following guidance on how to successfully and legally rent a house will be beneficial to you.
Ensure the Property is in Good Condition
Would you be willing to live in the property, or have a member of your family live there? If not, you need to invest some time and money into enhancing the attractiveness of the property to potential tenants. The condition of the property impacts on your/our ability to secure tenants for the property, and quickly, to avoid lost income. But, it also impacts on the quality of the tenant(s) you will acquire. Put simply, the better the property, the higher the rental value it will command, and the better the tenants you will attract. Also be aware that you will need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which details the energy efficiency grading of the property and provides an indication of how expensive it will be to run.
Get a Rental Valuation
Offering your property at a lower value may help you to secure tenants quicker, but don’t be too hasty and do the maths. Lowering it by even £50 a month will reduce your overall income from the property by £600 a year. Do your homework and ring local estate agents to get a feel for the market to ensure that you are getting the maximum income you can achieve for your property. This will also help to ensure that you remain ‘in the green’ when you factor in the costs of renting a property (landlord registration fees, mortgage and rates payments, grounds maintenance costs, annual repairs and so on).
Market Your Property to Suitable Tenants
Make sure your property is clean, tidy, safe and homely for inhabitants. This will make your property easier to promote. Also identify the type of tenants that would be best suited to the property. For example, an apartment on the third floor of a building wouldn’t be ideal for a single parent who has to get a pram up and down stairs. You may choose to market your property yourself, however, this is often best left to an estate agent who is experienced in collating professional photos and video footage to market your property to its potential. Local estate agents like ours also have access to a number of popular property portals, have a large social media following and customer waiting lists, therefore we can often source tenants much more quickly than you could yourself. Ask for more information on our cost-effective Rental-Mate service!
Register as a Landlord
If you are a first time landlord, you will need to register as a landlord. More information is available on how to do this on our local Newry Mourne and Down District Council Website.
Register with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme
You’ll also need to register with a tenancy deposit scheme. Tenants typically pay one month’s rent upfront as a deposit that will be returned at the end of the tenancy, provided there is no damage to the property. In cases where damage is noted, all or a proportion of the deposit will be paid to the landlord to contribute to repair costs. A tenancy deposit scheme is managed by a third party organisation who holds the deposit on behalf of the tenant and landlord, and will assist with the settlement of any disputes that may arise over deposits. Many estate agents use the tenancy deposit protection scheme provided by TDS Northern Ireland.
Get a Tenancy Contract in Place
A fair and legal tenancy agreement needs to be drawn up and signed by both the landlord and the tenants. This will clearly outline the terms and conditions of the contract and the responsibilities of both parties. You must have this is place to protect against potential tenant disputes down the line. Your estate agent will be able to recommend a local solicitor who can assist with the paperwork if you are unsure who to go to.
Plan for Monthly Rent Collections
At the start of the tenancy, collect the deposit and one month’s rent and note this date as the due date for payments each month. Rent collection at the door rarely works so provide the tenants with bank account details so that a standing order can be set-up. Your local estate agent can arrange for payments to be set-up and can secure signatures on the tenancy contract on your behalf, if you’d prefer not to have to deal with the paperwork yourself.
Get Buildings Insurance in Place
Make sure you have your building correctly insured to cover Public Liability, and building and maybe contents insurance as well. Talk to an experienced home insurance provider to get comprehensive quotes. If you need a recommendation, try Autoline who are based here in Newry.
Have a Plan in Place for Emergencies
As a landlord, you will inevitably have queries to address for your tenants occasionally throughout the tenancy, perhaps even regularly. Be available to deal with issues quickly. If you can’t, consider letting your estate agent manage the property on your behalf so that tenants always have someone at hand to address any problems, particularly if an emergency arises, such as a burst pipe, a leak or heating problems. Happy and supported tenants stay in a property for longer!
Don’t Forget About the Tax Man!
Make sure that you keep your annual accounts up to date so that all is in order for the end of the tax year. Get yourself a good accountant who will keep you right on the paperwork requirements and submission deadlines to avoid being stung by late payment penalties!
If you need assistance to source tenants or manage your rental property, get in touch with our Rentals Manager, Declan Curran:
Office: 028 3025 6387
Mob: 07542 430 680