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Tips for landlords

Being a landlord of any kind of property is hugely exciting, but can also be stressful and time consuming. Whether it is sorting out and managing routine repairs for a property or chasing tenants for rent and other service or lease charges, the rewards of owning investment properties does come at a cost. I addition, responsible landlords will always look for ways to improve the conditions offered to their tenants and residents.

Although some investment is needed for things like refurbishments or larger improvements to properties, the return will very often justify the expense, through increased rental yields, longer retention of tenants and the ability to gain a positive reputation as a landlord who cares for their residents.

There are several things that can be done, as a landlord; some of which are cheap and easy that will not only benefit the tenants in the long term, but which will improve the property’s condition and even increase its value, sometimes by more than 20%.

Insulate the property

Since 2007, landlords have been required by UK law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when selling a property (source: ABC Estates) and as a landlord it is good practice to have the EPC to hand when renting it out to tenants.

EPCs which cost a little more than £50 to acquire provide a ‘rating’ for the property, relating to its energy efficiency and the degree at which is loses heat through things like insufficient insulation or poor glazing. Properties with better and more attractive results clear in their EPC can command a higher rental price, as the tenants in the long run will not be required to pay more for their heating and energy bills.

Also important, when converting a property from a single occupancy to a multiple occupancy property is that air tightness and sound testing certificates, required under Parts L and E of Building Regulations, respectively are acquired (source: RJ Acoustics). Air tightness tests measure the amount of air ‘leakage’ from the property whilst sound tests measure the amount of impact and airborne sound throughout the property, both of which have the potential to impact either positively or negatively on the residents.

Loft conversions

Adding a loft to a property has the potential to add more than 20% to the overall value of the property, which can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra revenue from a sale. However, if you don’t wish to sell a property and prefer to maintain it for rental purposes, loft conversions remain an attractive proposition.

There are a few ways in which a loft conversion could increase rental yield for landlords:

Increased living space – Adding a loft to a property means around a third more space with an entirely new floor added to the property in question. This means that there can be an additional one, two or even more rooms added to a property, depending on its size. More rooms mean the potential for more residents and therefore the ability to charge a bit more when it comes to rent. If for example you are renting out a family house as a single ‘unit,’ a loft will allow you to justifiably increase the rent for the renters.

More tenants – If the property in question is a multiple occupancy property, adding a loft can mean there will be rooms available for more tenants in a comfortable way that will no negatively affect any residents. For a house that is converted to studio flats for example, with the right permission, further studios could be added to the property, meaning increased tenants and therefore increased rent.

Wear and tear

It is inevitable that a property that is rented out will endure its fair share of wear and tear as people make a home out of it. However, for new tenants, it is always a positive to make sure that after the previous tenants have vacated the property, a new coat of paint is applied, wall fixings are re-secured, the property is deep cleaned and anything that may be broken, such as cupboards and light fixtures are fixed for the new residents.

Prospective tenants are much more likely to be willing to move into a property and pay the rent if they are made to feel that bit more valued and looked after by their landlord.