Latest research from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) indicates that the number of homes coming onto the rental market because they cannot be sold is increasing in some parts of the UK, causing a rise in the number of accidental landlords.
During Quarter 3 2011, almost half (47%) of ARLA member agents surveyed reported a rise in the number of 'unplanned' lettings as homeowners turn to the Private Rental Sector (PRS) because they have been unable to sell their property, or they are waiting until a higher price can be achieved.
According to ARLA, this means some homeowners will be turning landlord for the first time, many reluctantly. "Letting a property is an excellent way of generating consistent income from your property, if the correct approach is adopted by prospective landlords," said ARLA President Tim Hyatt. "However, lettings are an unregulated industry and there can be pitfalls for both landlord and tenant, including loss of monies. While we are, of course, happy to see an increase in the number of landlords, it is vital that every landlord - reluctant or keen - seeks expert advice before embarking on a rental arrangement.
ARLA has the following top five tips for anyone letting a property for the first time:
- Notify your mortgage and insurance providers as you may need to amend the terms of both if you are changing the use of your home to a rental property,
- Conduct thorough research, or better, seek professional advice, about your local rental market to ensure you're setting the rent at a competitive but also realistic level,
- Put together a detailed inventory that includes the condition of features and fittings of the property as well as its contents, making a clear note of any wear and tear. Take photographic evidence throughout, and ensure the final documentation is jointly approved by you as the landlord, and your tenant,
- Remember that the property is no longer your home- it's someone else's home. Bear this in mind when making decisions regarding the decoration and furnishing in the property as not everyone will have the same taste as you,
- Consider enlisting a managing agent. They will be able to help you find and vet tenants, arrange documentation, and manage the property.
Anyone seeking advice on the letting of their property can contact the Pontefract office of the UK’s number 1 letting agent Martin & Co on 01977 799550 or email@example.com.
Further details of the survey can be found on ARLA’s website. Click here for a link.