How do you find the right tenant?
You wouldn’t invite any stranger off the street into your home – even if he offers you money, so why should a paying tenant be treated differently? At City Docklands Limited, we understand that the relationship between a landlord and tenant is one based on trust, and it’s a fragile trust that can be broken by just a single bad experience.
This is why, while we have access to an extensive database of potential tenants, only the ones who have proven themselves trustworthy can successfully get tenancy in one of our BTL properties. We conduct extensive background checks on every tenant before he/she even moves in. From looking at identity papers and credit checks to asking for references from current employers and landlords, we’ll leave no stone unturned to ensure that only responsible tenants get access to your property.
Foreign tenants will be required to show valid immigration papers or work visas, while those with pets (permitted only if the building – or you, of course – allows them) are required to pay an additional security deposit to cover the higher risk of damages to the furnishings.
During the tenancy, our agents will also check up on clients regularly, collect and keep track of the rent, as well as resolve any maintenance issues or conflicts that may arise. These are just a few examples from a very long checklist.
By UK law, there are certain things only the landlord can be held accountable for, even if a middleman (such as a real estate agent) was acting on behalf of the landlord. One example is the right to rent – the landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that all adult occupants of the property have valid leave to remain in the UK, and thus the “right to rent” a property. It is therefore very important to work only with trustworthy agents who are aware of the rules and will abide by them.
At City Docklands Limited, our aim is demystify the letting process so that our BTL landlords, especially those based overseas, can enjoy a fuss-free letting experience.
Sprucing up Your Property
No doubt a well-furnished apartment is more likely to snag you tenants, but believe us when we say that providing a complete set of dinnerware, a TV, bed linens, artwork on the walls, or a coffee machine is completely excessive and unnecessary. Over-furnishing is a common mistake made by many BTL investors eager for their properties appear more appealing.
However, all it does is add to your expenditure without giving a proportional increase in yield. The rule of thumb is to provide enough to make the place liveable and steer clear of the extraneous touches. So stick to only buying the sofa, bed, dining table, storage units, and essential appliances such as a the refrigerator, microwave, and washing machine.
When renovating your BTL property, “robust” is the keyword. Choose tenant-proof options that will stand the test of time.
In the kitchen, opt for sealed granite worktops that don’t stain and a glass splashback, which is easier to clean than tiles with grout lines. Good quality laminate flooring is more hardwearing than carpets, which can quickly look worn in areas of high traffic as tenants move in and out. Always opt for vertical roller blinds over curtains because it will save you several dry cleaning bills. Choose simple furniture with clean lines because delicate ornamental details can break easily.
The goal is to create a comfortable living space that will function well for a long time, reducing stress and maintenance costs.
As mentioned in the previous section, while more rooms and a bigger-sized property may mean better monthly rental income, it doesn’t mean you have to choose between splashing out on a multi-bedroom pad and resigning yourself to being a puppet of market forces.
Savvy, budget-conscious buy-to-let investors look out for two specific features when shopping for properties – a decent-sized kitchen that can fit a bed, desk, and storage units, as well as a living room with generous measurements lengthwise (we recommend at least 18 feet).
Simply turn the kitchen into a bedroom, and part of the living room into an open-plan kitchen, and you would have purchased a property for the price of a one-bedroom, but can now enjoy the rental yield of a two-bedroom!
At City Docklands Limited, we only work with the best; our partner interior designers and contractors know exactly what to do to bring out the full potential yield in every property.
Article contributed by City Docklands Limited.