Hopefully soon to be landlord - newbie questions

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    Hopefully soon to be landlord - newbie questions

    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading through all the posts on the forum and have found it very interesting - thanks for sharing all your advice!

    I'm hoping to rent my flat out in early 2011. I've previously let it out to friends but now they've all got their own places so it looks like I'll need to rent it out to a "stranger".

    I'll be moving out of the country so I think that it makes sense to let it through an agency. I want to be a good landlord - all my electricals are PAT tested, the Landlords Gas safety certificate will be done shortly, I've installed fire alarms, I've prepared an Info Pack for tenants with operating manuals for washing machine, oven etc...and have ensured the property is in an excellent condition.

    However, I only seem to hear lots of doom and gloom about using letting agents, I know that there are some great ones out there though!

    My questions to you are:
    1. Can I arrange for a family member to be a contact for my tenants/LA in my absence?
    2. Has anyone managed a property from abroad without the services of a LA?
    3. The letting agent I am hoping to use is a member of ARLA, NAEA, OEA and OFT - I'm hoping that by way of their membership with these associations I'll hopefully have less problems with them and be able to take effective action against them if any problems arise - Has anyone found that this is not the case?
    4. From reading some of the posts here, its not just L/L's that can have problems with LA - how do I ensure that my T's are being well looked after by the LA? There's no point in me trying to be a good landlord if the LA's then let me and my T's down!
    5. Is there anything else I should be doing?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice!

    As you will need to provide an England/Wales address for the service of documents, then an agent is probably your easiest option. I think you are probably being wise, limiting yourself to agents who are members of a trade association - but that is no guarantee of wonderfulness. I would sound out your local landlords association and see who their members use, or see what other recommendations you can find in your specific area. The tenants will be YOUR tenants, so there is nothing wrong with you ensuring they have your overseas address just in case the agents aren't doing what they should.

    Have you organised an Energy Efficiency Report (a legal requirement - HIPs have gone but EPCs haven't)

    Are you aware of your tax responsibilities? Your agent should be able to handle these, but here's the run-down: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nr_landlords.htm


      Hi Snorkerz,

      Thank you for your reply. That's a very good tip on speaking to local landlords associations. I'm also planning to speak to some of the residents in my building as I know a few of them rent.

      I didn't know about the EPC - I have got a HIP but will now organise an EPC.

      And thank you very much for the link on Non-Resident Landlords tax. I knew I would have to look into this shortly so very much appreciate the link

      I know there are a million and one pitfalls for the newbie landlord (esp for one that will be living abroad) so I'm also planning on being in the country for the first few months of the tenancy so that I can ensure (in as much as I can) that things go smoothly from the beginning.

      Thanks again for your advice - its much appreciated


        Originally posted by newlandlord2011 View Post
        I didn't know about the EPC - I have got a HIP but will now organise an EPC.
        There may be one in your HIP - when you choose an agent, see if that is acceptable before spending un-necessary money on a new one.


          Thanks again Snorkerz, I just looked at my HIP and there is an energy rating within it so I'll double check first with the agent.

          I know you're a senior member so just wanted to ask if there's any specific advice you'd give to new LL's? I know there are a lot of people that blindly go into it hoping to make a profit and think it's easy - from reading this forum I know that it's not without its difficulties (BTW: I'm not hugely interested in making money - I just want my property occupied and the mortgage covered whilst I am away)


            Don't get too worried about all the problems you read of on this board. Just about anybody who has internet access and has trouble with landlords, tenants and agents will post their problems here and this is a minute fraction of the number of tenancies in existence in England and Wales at any one time. When you decide to approach an agent, selected by the excellent methods you propose to use, check out the agency agreement carefully and do not be afraid to delete any part of it with which you are unhappy. Post here for advice if necessary. Remember that an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement does not have to be renewed, but can continue indefinitely as a Statutory Periodic Tenancy which it automatically becomes after its fixed period (six months - this is quite long enough) expires. You are recommended not to accept agents arguments for using longer fixed terms with or without break clauses. Once again, post back for advice if in doubt.

            Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


              Thanks PP, once I get the contracts from the agency I'll be going over them with a fine toothcomb and will definitely come back for some advice! Hopefully one day I'll be able to offer advice to the forum as well as seek it


                You will be very welcome to do so. Er - you may have to adjust your user name by then!

                Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


                  Thanks P.P.


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