Free start-up advice offered to landlords.
Previously, only members of the National Landlords Association could access its best practice agreements but now the NLA is offering its approved online documents, including tenancy agreements, referencing letters and Section notices, to all landlords at www.landlords.org.uk The NLA has also published aguidance for first-time landlords to ensure they are aware of their obligations before entering the buy-to-let market.
David Salusbury, NLA chairman, said: "Letting property is a big responsibility - landlords are dealing with people's homes, a whole raft of housing legislation and day-to-day maintenance.
"Offering landlords in the UK access to best practice tenancy agreements and other necessary forms is a great way for a landlord to begin to run their businesses properly, but further expert advice and guidance is often needed."
Richard Blanco, an NLA representative, offers the following tips for landlords: PICK YOUR TARGET MARKET.
Before buying a property, speak to local landlords and letting agents about the rental demand in the area. Then, when it comes to buying, start with a property in an area you know well and can access easily from home.
ADD VALUE. It's important to consider return on investment, capital appreciation and rental yield. To gain the best capital appreciation you need to buy the property at a good price and in a state in which you can add value. And you'll need to set a competitive rent that offers a positive rental yield.
JOIN THE PROFESSIONALS. There are now more than 50 Acts of Parliament and more than 70 sets of regulations governing the private-rented sector. Even experienced landlords come across new challenges. For advice and guidance, become a member of a landlords association such as the NLA.
BUILD A RELIABLE TEAM. Landlords rely on their team of maintenance and business contacts, often at short notice. To find reliable maintenance contacts, ask local landlords and letting agents for their recommendations. 6. Accreditation: This offers landlords the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills required to be successful. NLA accreditation requires landlords to commit to continued professional development. This commitment to professional standards offers landlords a stamp of approval, which helps tenants identify reliable landlords.
VET TENANTS. Carry out background checks to confirm potential tenants are in a position to meet their rental commitment. It's important to get the right tenant for the property.
USE THE RIGHT PAPERWORK Ensure both parties sign a proper tenancy agreement, usually an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement. This will outline the length of the tenancy, amount of rent and when it is to be paid and will provide legal protection for both parties. Landlords must also issue a detailed inventory which is signed and dated by both parties.
This could help if there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy. And landlords should also take a deposit. By law, all deposits must be protected in a governmentapproved scheme such as MyDeposits.
Meeting tenants in person is essential to establish a positive relationship from the start. It's important to have a friendly yet business-like rapport.
AVOID VOIDS. Long-term voids will consume spare cash and may even cause a business to fail. Offering tenants six-month or annual contracts allows landlords to plan ahead for when a tenant might move out.
NLA chairman David Salusbury