As per my previous blog on the benefits of renting out your own property, you are all set to rent. But what could go wrong? Surely all you need to do is find a reputable agent to give the keys too and off you go?
Finding a property management agent
However, it is not always as simple as that. First of all, you need to find the correct agent to look after your property. The first thing to do and particular if you are going abroad is to consider how involved you want to be in the management of your property.
I mentioned in my last blog about the benefits of renting your property out how difficult it can be to separate yourself from your home, especially being that it is so personal to you. The best way to avoid this in my opinion is to have an independent person looking after you from the start.
I would recommend that you interview several agents and make sure that they understand the reasons why you want to rent your property and what you are hoping to achieve from it. The relationship you have with your agent is perhaps the most important aspect of renting your property as ultimately, they will be acting as your representative.
Obligations as a landlord
Once you have chosen your agent, then they should talk to you about your obligations as a landlord. When it is your own property you often live with things that others won’t, so the leaking tap in the bathroom that you have to almost wrench closed will need to be fixed properly, as will the cooker which has only three of the four, gas plates working.
You will also need to have various mandatory checks carried out in your flat to ensure that the flat is a safe place for tenants. It may well be that you have to spend some money on getting your flat, “tenant ready” however with the right advice this can prove negligible when the property is actually rented and you are receiving income.
In addition, it will also give you the impetus to deal with those issues in your property that you have been meaning to get around to and haven’t bothered.
So, what else could possibly go wrong?
What if your new tenants damage your property? What if they don’t pay the rent? Again, the important thing is choosing the right agent and ensuring that they know what you are looking for.
A good agent should carry out all the usual checks on a potential tenant but they should also be looking at what you are trying to achieve. If it is simply a high rental income then yes, you can rely on the referencing etc and often take on the most financially viable tenant.
However, those tenants may be looking for a more short-term rental and it may be prudent for you to look at a long-term rental at a lower rent. This will ensure that you have the steady income you need. In addition, those who want longer term rental, are more likely to maintain the property as you would as they are looking to live in it longer.
Selling your property after renting
Finally, and perhaps the most concerning aspect of renting out your property is that if you look to sell your property after renting it out for a period you could be subject to Capital Gains Tax and again this is something that your agent should be able to advise you on and assist you with.
It may be that your circumstances have changed since you started renting the flat out and your relationship with your agent will be key in ensuring that you have the right advice in order to make your decisions.
Notwithstanding the issues that I have raised above, (I have purposely not referred to the issues of tenants not paying rent as these blogs have been concentrated on the benefits vs harms of renting out your own property rather than portfolio management) a good agent should be able to help you with renting and managing your property and ensuring that your requirements are met. We have no hesitation in recommending that you rent your property but just make sure you have the right agent.
Here at MIH we aim to do both and will look to understand what your requirements are and make sure that the right tenants are selected for both the property and for you.