Being an owner can be easy enough, but being a landlord is completely different, and much more difficult! The relationship between a landlord and a tenant is hopefully a great one - or at least respectful and professional - and for that, both sides need to make an effort, meet their obligations, and be on their best behavior.
Here is how to be a good landlord in 2018 and what it takes to maintain an excellent relationship while meeting your obligations!
Provide All Necessities
This is very basic stuff, but it needs to be said - the first step towards being a good landlord is actually providing all the necessities. GOV.uk has the basic information on what your responsibilities are as a landlord and what you need to provide.
- Start with not lying in your ad; put up recent photos that are an accurate reflection of the current state of the space you are renting.
- If something has been damaged by a previous tenant, replace it for the new tenants. It doesn't count that you "used to" provide it. The only thing that matters is what is in the house right now.
- It goes without saying that you need to have all of your fire alarms and other systems up to date and respect the law regarding what is considered reasonable living conditions: providing a kitchen, bathroom, beds, etc.
Take Tenants' Concerns Seriously
I've had the (dis)pleasure of encountering a variety of landlords in my lifetime, and the ones that were the worst were always the people who just did not take tenants seriously. Especially if your tenants are students, read this carefully.
Tenants, regardless of age, will have questions, needs, requests, concerns, etc. They need to be addressed promptly and taken seriously. There is nothing more frustrating than a landlord who blows you off or ignores you and who you have to chase to get something done for you in their house. Do not be one of "those" people.
And speaking of "those" people, they would also take their sweet time acting upon complaints or requests, ignored them altogether, or made it very clear what a faff it was and how displeased they were.
I once had a boiler leak for 6 weeks straight, including over Christmas, flooding my kitchen, because the landlord kept putting off taking action. A different landlord left 5 people with one working bathroom because he couldn't be bothered to fix the one that was out of use. One guy knew we had mice and did nothing.
Prompt action is essential not only for the sake of your tenants, but sometimes also for the sake of the integrity of your house. That flooded kitchen? The tiles have all popped out now and the floor was damaged. The mice ended up doing damage, as well. You've been warned.
Do Not Hover Unnecessarily
Look, no matter how nice you are, no one wants to see their landlord more often than absolutely necessary. You may think you're being helpful, or perhaps you are concerned about the state of the house, but if you're over there all the damn time, your tenants will always be on edge.
There's a law stating that tenants have the right to "peaceful enjoyment", which basically means you should leave them alone and not harass them with visits. Citizens Advice has a good breakdown, especially for students. If you do need to visit, have a valid reason (for example, yard and garden maintenance), and always make sure to announce your intention to visit with at least 24 hours notice.
Peaceful enjoyment also covers things like unnecessary interference in services, bills, or anything else that is not your direct responsibility or business. Money Supermarket provides details on the new rules for landlords as well, so you might want to check those out.
All in all, being a landlord can be a challenging position to be in, but it doesn't actually take much to be a good landlord and do your job properly. You only have to exercise common sense, be respectful of your tenants' time and space, and make sure to always be aware of the laws and your responsibilities. As long as you meet their needs and your obligations, the relationship should work out great.