Accidental landlord? Make it work for you!

7. Accidental landlord Make it work for you!Homeowners can become accidental landlords for any number of reasons.

Perhaps you’ve inherited a country cottage from a long lost auntie and find yourself looking for a tenant who loves rose gardening.

You may be relocating to Aberdeen for a career promotion and so renting out your house in Peebles.

One of the most common reasons for becoming an accidental landlord, however, is when you buy a house then cannot sell it because prices have dipped in the property market – so you choose to rent out meantime to cover mortgage costs.

If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, you’re not alone – a recent consumer rental forecast found 30% of UK landlords are accidental.

The good news is s1homes can help make accidents work in your favour.

First things first. Before your prized property is there on s1homes for all potential tenants to contact you for a viewing, you should learn all you can about your legal obligations as a landlord – and, of course, the rights of tenants.

Homeowners who rent out property in Scotland must register with their local authority – if you’re renting out yourself or using a letting agent – online or with an application form.

You should also keep them up-to-date with the tenant’s details and move in date for Council Tax purposes.

After this, among your top priorities are ensuring the safety of gas and electrical fittings and appliances, overall fire and building safety and your property’s energy performance.

In general, you’ll also be responsible for major repairs, while a tenant takes care of minor mishaps (such as when the drawer handle falls off) and decoration (though you may want to ban woodchip wallpaper).

To avoid any concerns, when you draw up your written tenancy agreement, simply say who’s responsible for what. It’s also a good idea to do a proper inventory of your goods.

You also need to notify your insurance and mortgage providers, as the small print may not cover you for this.

If you take a cash deposit for a tenancy, you’re legally required to protect it in a government-backed scheme. This is to safeguard deposits from being unfairly kept by nasty rogue landlords.

If your intention is to eventually sell the property, bear in mind you can’t just move the buyer in with your tenants.

This is why it’s important to include a ‘break clause’. This is where you agree in writing that tenants must move out within a suitable notice period.

Alternatively, you can make use of short assured tenancies of six to twelve months.

Finally, be sure to look at the positive aspects.

As well as the rental income you’re going to make, there are also a variety of tax deductions you’re entitled to – so find out how much you can save with HM Revenue & Customs.

If you’re a landlord looking for an agent to manage your property on your behalf, use the free tools at s1homes to find someone you can trust in your area and read our Tips for Choosing a Letting Agent.

If you’re renting on your own, find out how easy it is with our new and improved Post Your Own section.

You’ll soon find that, with so many opportunities to make renting out work for you, it’s no accident so many accidental landlords end up better off than when they started!

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