Tip 1. Presenting your property
You will want to present your property at its very best. First impressions really do count and properties that look good inside and out will let faster and at a higher rent. Thoroughly clean the property top to bottom and if painting is required use neutral colours throughout.
Tip 2. Maximise your rental
As tempting as it can be, don’t over value the property by looking for the highest possible rent. If you ask for too much your rental property may sit empty longer thereby actually decreasing your return over the year. It is more important to get your property let fast at a good rent and for the longer term, rather than look for the extra dollar.
Tip 3. Marketing your property
Over 90% of tenants now search for rental accommodation online so it is vitally important to have your property marketed on the internet. Omarentals use Propertypal.com, which is Northern Ireland’s largest property web site getting over 20,000 visitors per day. Social media sites like Facebook and google+ can also play a role in showing your property to the widest possible audience quickly.
Tip 4. Selecting the best tenants
Have potential tenants complete an application form and provide you with references from a past landlord or employer, which can then be verified by you. Do some research on the applicant and make sure they are who they say they are. The nightmare stories usually come from landlords who have simply accepted the first person who comes along with money!
Tip 5. The Tenancy Agreement
Make sure that you have a detailed tenancy agreement which sets out all the obligations of the tenant and protects your position as the landlord. Beware of older agreements or agreements downloaded from the internet which may not comply with recent legislation specifically for Northern Ireland. IMPORTANT: Never hand over keys or allow access before the tenancy agreement is signed by all parties.
Tip 6. The Inventory
An inventory is a historic snap shot of the condition of a property and can be used at the end of a tenancy to prevent disputes over possible damages. Put together before a tenant moves in, an inventory is a dated record of the actual condition of the property. Under the Private Tenancies Northern Ireland Order it is a legal requirement and the Tenancy deposit schemes will request an inventory as evidence if there is any dispute in relation to damage or the condition of the property.
Tip 7. The Deposit
Under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (NI) 2012 any deposit paid by a tenant must now be protected within a Government approved scheme within 14 days of receiving it. Certain information, called ‘Prescribed information’ must be supplied to the tenant within 28 days of receiving the deposit. Failure to adhere to this could lead to a fine of up to £20,000.00.
Tip 8. Stay Legal
The last 10 years have seen a surge of new legislation which govern the rental market within Northern Ireland. Make sure you have at least a basic knowledge of the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006, The Tenancy Terms Regulations (NI) 2007, and The Landlord Registration Scheme Regulations (NI) 2014
Tip 9. Problem tenants
One of the biggest headaches for landlords is problem tenants. If the tenants were correctly vetted at the commencement of the tenancy, you will reduce your chances of getting problem tenants, but even a good tenant can become a problematic tenant. When dealing with problems like rent arrears or noise pollution always be professional and diplomatic but most importantly firm.
Tip 10. Use a Managing Agent?
Deciding whether to use an agent or self-manage is a crucial decision for any landlord, particularly a novice. A good agent will know the best rent that can be achieved for your property and be able to market the property online, instantly giving it maximum exposure. They should also be able to match it to tenants already registered on their system and start viewings right away. The right managing agent could actually save you money by having the correct tenant screening and arrears management systems in place. They can deal with the tenant on your behalf and keep void periods to a minimum by managing the tenancy professionally.