It’s a common question among new or soon-to-be landlords – do I need landlord insurance?
The short answer is yes. In addition to healthy investment returns, being a landlord comes with a lot of added risks and responsibility. To minimise this risk, investing in reliable insurance is essential.
Protecting your investment is paramount, but the jargon around landlord insurance can make it tricky to keep your facts straight.
We’ve curated a simple, yet comprehensive guide for landlords to help you get your head around landlord insurance and work out which type is best for you.
Here’s what it is, how it works and how to get it.
What is Landlord Insurance Cover?
Landlord insurance is a type of home insurance, specifically designed for rental properties. This broad term can include anything from contents insurance to rental protection.
Your policy could cover;
- Damage to the property
- Loss of rent
- Damage to or loss of contents
- Legal claims made against you by tenants
Is Landlord Insurance a Legal Requirement?
While landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, standard home insurance will not cover you for rental properties and going without could cost you dearly in terms of money, time and hassle.
Do You Really Need Landlord Insurance?
Often, you will need permission from your mortgage provider in order to let your property to tenants who will most likely require specialist insurance.
Legal issues aside, it’s always a good idea to protect your property as comprehensively as possible to protect both yourself and your investment.
What’s the Difference Between Home Insurance and Landlord Insurance?
Home insurance is designed to protect private homes from damage and loss. A rental property comes with a whole host of different issues. For example, as a landlord, you are less able to keep an eye on the day to day happenings in the property and have to rely on tenants to update you on any problems that occur.
Here’s a few of the differences between home and landlord insurance;
- Home insurance only covers the owner/occupier if they are in need of alternative accommodation. Landlord insurance covers tenants in this situation.
- Landlord insurance can cover you for loss of rent.
- Landlord insurance can cover any legal costs needed as a result of your actions as a landlord.
Types of Landlord Insurance
Here, we provide a brief overview of the different types of landlord insurance available;
Landlord Buildings Insurance
Buildings insurance covers any damage caused to the building itself. This could mean damage from fire, flooding or even malicious damage caused by the occupants. Every insurance provider is different, so you’ll have to check which type of damage this covers.
We highly recommend getting buildings insurance, especially if you are the freeholder.
Landlord Contents Insurance
Contents insurance protects against loss or damage of goods and furniture within a property. So, if you are renting a furnished property, it could be a good idea. However, this type of insurance does not protect against normal wear and tear.
Different insurance plans offer various cover and allow you to insure different parts of your property. For example, communal areas in flats or shared accommodation. It won’t protect items belonging to tenants.
Accidental Damage Insurance
Accidental damage insurance comes under contents insurance and can cover the cost of anything from spills and stains to broken windows.
Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance
Otherwise known as rental protection insurance or loss of rent insurance, this type of cover protects you if you are unable to rent out your property as a result of an insured event like a fire or flood.
Tenant Default Insurance
Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two months, covering the cost for up to eight months. You will need to conduct the proper credit checks at the start of the tenancy to be eligible.
Commercial Landlord Insurance
If you let to a third-party business, you will need commercial landlord insurance. Commercial buildings have different designs and purposes, meaning there are different risks attached.
Commercial landlord insurance can cover accidental damage, vandalism and rental income protection.
Landlord Liability Insurance
Also referred to as property owner’s liability cover, this type of insurance covers legal defence costs and expenses in the event your tenant has an accident and considers it your fault.
With this type of insurance, you’re looking at high limits, usually upwards of £1 million.
Legal Expenses Insurance
This covers legal expenses such as court costs when chasing up late tenant payments and gives you access to legal expertise.
Employers’ Liability Insurance
If you employ anyone else to work at one of your rental properties, say as a gardener or cleaner, you are required by law to have this insurance. Employers’ liability covers legal defence costs and awards made for any injuries, accidents or illness as a result of your negligence.
HMO Landlord Insurance
If you rent out an HMO property, the terms of your insurance cover will differ slightly from single occupancy homes.
Finding an insurance plan tailored to HMO properties could help you get the protection you need.
Alternative Accommodation Insurance
If your property becomes uninhabitable due to an insured event and the tenancy agreement requires you to provide alternative accommodation for your tenants, this type of insurance is a good idea.
Unoccupied Property Insurance
Unoccupied property cover can help during void periods or if you need to make renovations to your property. To qualify as unoccupied, a property usually has to be vacant for 30 days.
You will also need to arrange for regular vacant property inspections.
Multi-House Landlord Insurance
If you have several properties in your portfolio, it is probably worth taking out multi-property landlord insurance.
By including all of your properties on one policy, you could save money and time on paperwork and other processes.
Landlord Home Emergency Insurance
Boiler breakdown or serious leaks are a surprisingly common occurrence. Landlord home emergency insurance provides you with 24/7 access to emergency cover for plumbing, heating, power and security issues.
What Kind of Insurance do I Need for a Rental Property?
The type of insurance you’ll need depends on the type of property you rent and your specific needs as a landlord. We answer some common questions;
Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Have Buildings Insurance?
In most cases, you will need to take out a specific insurance when renting out a property in addition to your home buildings insurance.
Some policies may allow you to amend your existing home buildings insurance to cover your activities as a landlord, however you may also want to take out extra insurance to cover all bases.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting to Family?
Yes. It is just as important to have insurance when renting to family members. You will need to draw up a tenancy agreement for legal purposes, even if it’s just a casual arrangement.
Renting to offspring or siblings may feel informal, but if they are paying you rent, you are legally regarded as their landlord and standard home insurance won’t cover you.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Live in the Property?
Even if you live in the property, standard home insurance won’t protect you. Make sure you tell your lender that you live in the rental property when you take out the insurance. Again, you will need a tenancy agreement in place.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance for a Flat?
Renting out a flat is the same as renting a house when it comes to insurance.
The only difference with renting a flat is that you may not need buildings insurance if there is a freeholder arranging this. Be sure to inform them that you are renting out your flat so they can make any adjustments to their insurance policy.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting a Room?
Again, standard home insurance is unlikely to be valid when renting out a room in the same property you live in.
If you have a lodger, you will need a tenancy agreement in place for your landlord insurance policy.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?
Landlord insurance can cover a variety of different risks and situations, depending on your needs. The basics are buildings and contents cover, but you can add extra policies as you see fit.
We answer some common questions about landlord insurance cover;
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?
Yes. If you want your insurance policy to cover accidental damage such as dodgy DIY or carpet stains, opt for accidental damage insurance to protect your property.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Appliances?
Yes. Contents insurance covers white goods and appliances provided by you in the rental property.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Injury?
Yes. To protect yourself against legal claims made by tenants, landlord liability insurance will provide legal defence costs and expenses.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Unpaid Rent?
Yes. Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two consecutive months.
How Does Landlord Insurance Work?
Your first step in purchasing landlord insurance is to decide what type of cover you need. It’s possible to find a tailored policy suited to your individual needs and requirements. Whether you opt for basic cover (building, contents and liability) or go for comprehensive cover, make sure you read the fine print to find out exactly what’s included.
What is Sum Insured?
The sum insured is the amount an insurer will pay out for a claim. The higher the value of your rental property, the larger this amount will be. Make sure the sum insured is enough to rebuild your property, rather than focusing on its market value.
Calculating your rebuild cost accurately will ensure you don’t overpay for your insurance. There are online rebuilding cost calculators to help, although keep in mind, this will only provide you with an estimate rather than exact values.
Levels of Excess
You will also need to think about the amount of excess you are able to pay if you need to make a claim. Higher excess reduces the cost of your insurance and different claims can come with different levels of excess.
Before you buy you will need to know;
- Your rental property’s rebuild value
- The level of excess you can pay
- What type of cover you need
How to Claim Landlord Insurance
If you ever need to make a claim, make sure you do so as soon as possible. You will need to provide as much evidence as you can to get the best pay-out. This could include receipts, invoices and photographic evidence.
How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?
The cost of your landlord insurance will be dependent on a variety of different factors;
- Location – Local crime rates and the probability of severe weather in a certain area will affect the cost of your insurance.
- Type of tenants – Students, tenants with pets and those on housing benefits are deemed more of a risk by some insurers, meaning higher insurance costs.
- Size of property – More tenants means higher costs.
- Number of properties – Naturally, more properties mean more costs. Look for an insurer who offers portfolio property discounts.
- Sums insured – Your insurance will cost more the larger your sums insured
Which is the Best Landlord Insurance?
To compare landlord insurance and get a landlord insurance quote, there are plenty of price comparison sites to reference.
Here are some popular landlord insurance providers;
- AXA Landlord Insurance
- Aviva Landlord Insurance
- CIA Landlord Insurance
- SAGA Landlord Insurance
- Direct Line Landlord Insurance
- Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance
Makes sure you shop around and do your research to get the best deal for you.
Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go
We understand the importance of protecting your rental property for the long-term success of your business.
A detailed property inventory is one of the best ways to secure your property by providing the critical evidence you need to recuperate costs. Find out more about our professional, unbiased property inventory service to get started.
If you’re a landlord looking for a trusted letting agent in London, we might be able to help. We understand the importance of leaving your investment in safe hands and work with a wide range of property specialists in London and across the UK.
No Letting Go help letting agents and property businesses streamline their inventory management processes and provide essential reports. Thanks to this, we know a thing or two about finding the right partner for you and your property needs.
We’ve listed some of the best letting agents, London to help you find a reputable agency in your local area.
Letting Agents: North London
Let’s start with lettings and estate agents in the North London area. The following agencies have either been recommended by trusted sources or are businesses we currently work with.
Davies & Davies
This well-established independent letting agent has been running since 1927, managing sales and lettings from Finsbury park.
Voted as the 7th best Letting agent in the UK by the Best Estate Agent Guide 2019, Davies & Davies pride themselves on their bespoke level of service and their socially responsible attitude towards the local community. If you’re looking for a collaborative partner, this award- winning agency could be for you.
Best for: Slick, creative marketing campaigns
Finsbury Park Office, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG
Another long-running agency, Oliver’s Town Lettings have been around since 1988 and cover a wide area from Camden to Hampstead.
The agency deals with buying, renting, letting and selling for landlord and tenants and have excellent knowledge of the areas they work in.
Best for: Approachable customer service
Offices in Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Hampstead and Mayfair
Parkheath is a well-established lettings agent in North West London with a business philosophy of ‘sold on service’. The results speak for themselves, with 99% of sales and lettings clients happy to work with them again in the future.
Looking after properties located in areas around Belsize and Tufnell park, Parkheath lettings agent offer excellent knowledge of the property market and a reliable service.
Best for: Professional customer service
Offices in West Hampstead, South Hampstead, Belsize Park, Kentish Town and Kendall Rise.
Serving the areas around Dartmouth Park, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park, Matthew James estate agents are an independent company specialising in lettings and sales.
With customers describing them as ‘efficient’, ‘friendly’ and ‘honest’, your rental property will be in safe hands. They even have area guides on their website to help prospective landlords and tenants get to know the different areas they operate in.
Best for: Friendly team of staff
43-45 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AD
Dedicated to establishing long term relationships with their clients, this agency has a wide range of property types on its books. They can even help you with short Airbnb lets!
Best for: Variety of services
350 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PD
66 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6RL
Your Move Sterling & Co – Walthamstow
Centrally based in Walthamstow, Your Move Sterling & Co is the place to go for friendly and professional lettings services in the area.
As a landlord, when you let a property through Your Move Sterling & Co, you gain access to the landlord portal for quick and easy communication.
Serving Walthamstow, Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford in North East London.
Best for: Convenient communications
Email directly on the Your Move Sterling & Co website
From health and safety reports to property viewings, our franchises across North London all put the same level of dedication into their client services. No Letting Go Walthamstow property inventory services are owned and operated by Ann Ennis who has over 45 years of experience in the industry. Get in touch to find out how they could help.
East London Letting Agents
Now let’s turn our attention to the best letting agents in and around East London;
Martin & Co – Wanstead
Head up by local landlord, Mike Molloy, the Wanstead branch of Martin & Co provides a wealth of information on the surrounding area and property market.
With first hand experience of the private rental sector, Molloy understands the needs of landlords and tenants, providing an honest and intuitive service to clients.
The Wanstead branch manages property across Wanstead, East London and West Essex.
Best for: Landlords
74 High Street, Wanstead, London, Greater London, E11 2RN
Dabora Conway – South Woodford and Winchmore Hill
The experienced team at Dabora Conway lettings and estate agents put customer satisfaction at the heart of everything they do.
As a member of NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme), this growing business is committed to providing quality, tailored services.
With glowing customer testimonials and a professional team of staff, Dabora Conway is a great choice for lettings in the Wanstead, South Woodford and Winchmore Hill areas.
Best for: Customer commitment
Wanstead Head Office, 9 High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2AA
Winning gold in the property agency of the year awards 2018 for Stratford in the AllAgents Annual Awards, David Daniels is a trusted agency in the East London area.
Serving Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering, David Daniels is a member of ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
Combining highly qualified staff with a close attention to detail and local knowledge, this agency provides a comprehensive service for landlords.
Best for: Recognition in the property sector
Offices in Leyton and Stratford
Looking to save time on property management? If you operate in the East London area, our No Letting Go branches in Stratford & Newnham and Romford & Docklands provide landlords and property professionals with unbiased, professional services to help safeguard your investment.
Letting Agents: South London
If you’re a landlord looking for letting agents in the South London area, add the following businesses to your list;
C James & Co
For lettings in Wimbledon, Tooting, Colliers Wood and surrounding areas, C James & Co is committed to providing their customers with the latest innovations in Proptech.
C James & Co have dedicated teams of staff handling accounts, contracts and maintenance, ensuring each member is experienced and dedicated to their field.
As a member of ARLA, the agency stays on top of current regulations to protect landlords and their investments.
Best for: Dedicated network of staff
141 Kingston Road, Merton Park, London SW19 1LJ
110 Tooting High Street, Tooting, London, SW17 ORR
190-192 High Street, Colliers Wood, London, SW19
As the name suggests, this independent estate agent has an extensive knowledge of their local area postcode. Their slogan ‘It’s all in the postcode’ reflects their passion for the Wimbledon area and local communities within it.
Offering zero deposit schemes and experienced staff, SW19 guarantees speedy rental processes and security for landlords.
Best for: Local area knowledge
Offices in Wimbledon, South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood
With an outstanding local reputation and a straightforward ethos, Ellisons are a registered office approved by The Office of Fair Trading, The Estate Agency Ombudsman Scheme and ARLA.
With thousands of let properties in their portfolio, they are experienced at providing hassle-free transactions. They even offer free rental guarantee insurance to newly appointed lets.
Ellisons letting agents serve Wimbledon, Morden, Raynes Park, West Wimbledon, Motspur Park, Colliers Wood and Merton Park.
Best for: Fuss-free service
Individual office contact details are available on the website
From No Letting Go Battersea to No Letting Go Croydon, our branches across South London understand the importance of an unbiased, detailed property inventory. Interested? Contact the team to discuss your requirements.
Letting Agents: West London
Here’s our pick of west London lettings agents;
Ludlow Thompson- Kilburn
With fantastic reviews on AllAgents, the Kilburn branch of Ludlow Thompson is one to look out for.
Described as professional, helpful and communicative, this lettings agency covers extensive areas across Kilburn, West Hampstead and other West London areas.
All staff at Ludlow Thompson have undertaken industry qualifications to ensure professional property management at all times.
Best for: Customer satisfaction
We work with a number of lettings agents in West London, helping them to deliver inventories and organise property inspections.
Keen to be part of our extensive network? No Letting Go Ealing offers 360 degree virtual photography and property appraisals in Ealing and surrounding areas.
For landlords in the Uxbridge area, John Farrell leads the No Letting Go Uxbridge branch, delivering results through extensive local knowledge and the latest in property technology.
What We Offer
We offer a lot more than just property inventory services. Here are some of our other services at a glance;
- Check in/check out services
- Right to rent checks
- Property visits & inspections
- Dilapidation reports
- House viewings
- Floor plans
- Property appraisals
- 360 virtual photography
- Health & Safety reports
Find Your No Letting Go London Branch
Gaining access to the lettings and inventory services you need should be simple and fast. We provide lettings agents and landlords with a wide range of property services to save you time and ensure your compliance with the latest regulations.
Find your local London No Letting Go office here.
From comprehensive inventories to check in/check out services, our teams are experienced at providing professional, fuss-free solutions.
Browse our full range of property services to find out how we could help.
Mould. The scourge of the rental property market. No matter how much effort you put into ventilating a property and keeping things dry, it somehow seems to find its way back again and again.
But whose responsibility is it to deal with mould in a rental property? And are tenants able to demand rent reductions for lingering mould?
We’re exploring this common problem to help landlords and tenants alike come to a happy solution. From prevention to deposit deductions, let’s look at landlords mould responsibility to get to the bottom of who is culpable and prevent disputes before they arise.
What is Damp and Mould?
Before we delve into who is responsible for dealing with mould in rented properties, let’s look at the different types of mould and its causes.
Rising damp is the name given to the process of water rising up and into a building from the ground through bricks and mortar. All houses should have a layer of waterproof material called a ‘damp proof’ to prevent rising damp. However, when this fails, problems occur.
If this issue isn’t solved promptly, it can lead to mould forming that’s difficult to remove for good.
Penetrating damp is caused by leaks that allow water into the property, causing surface mould growth. These leaks could come from broken roof tiles, blocked guttering or faulty plumbing.
The main thing to remember about penetrating damp is that it comes from outside the property and is usually a structural issue.
Condensation happens when moisture in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces, leading to water droplets and mould growth. If a building is poorly insulated or the ventilation or heating system is faulty, then the condensation is considered a structural issue. However, condensation can also be caused by tenant’s lifestyle habits.
The Health Risks of Living with Mould
The Housing Health and Safety Rating (HHSR) dictates that damp is an essential repair as it can cause health issues for tenants.
Mould is a fungus which can trigger or exacerbate the following health problems;
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions
- Skin rashes
- Asthma attacks
Not only is mould detrimental to physical health, it can also have an impact on tenant’s sense of wellbeing. This is why it’s so important for landlords to deal with mould swiftly and efficiently.
Is Mould the Landlord’s Responsibility?
With regards to mould, when fingers are pointed, things can get complicated.
Legally, rising damp or penetrative damp caused by structural leakage is the landlord’s responsibility to put right. Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, it is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve mould issues caused by structural faults.
However, when interior condensation is caused by the tenant, this shifts the responsibility.
Condensation can be caused by;
- Drying clothes indoors
- Showering and not opening the window
- Cooking without opening the window
- Not heating the property sufficiently
Determining whether mould in a property is due to the tenant’s lifestyle habits or the poor ventilation of the property can be tricky.
First Steps When Mould Is Spotted
If you’re a tenant whose spotted mould anywhere within your rental property, you need to alert your landlord straight away. Describe where the mould is and any damage to furniture or belongings. Once the problem has been reported, the landlord has to respond within 14 days.
For landlords, when a tenant reports mould in the property, arrange an inspection to determine the cause of the mould and, where necessary, ensure repairs are made.
Once a damp problem has been resolved, you may also need to repair any damaged plaster or flooring and redecorate affected areas.
If you don’t respond within the two-week timeframe the tenant could contact the local authority who could force the issue through. That’s why it’s vital to arrange an inspection and repairs as soon as possible.
Can I Withhold Rent for Mould?
If your landlord refuses to make repairs, withholding rent can be risky. Technically, tenants do not have the right to withhold rent and could be subject to repossession or even eviction.
However, tenants do have the right to make the repairs themselves and make up the cost in future rent. If you decide to go down this route, you need to be certain that the repairs needed are the responsibility of the landlord. Be sure to seek legal advice before making this stance and follow the correct procedures.
Can a Landlord Deduct Deposit for Mould?
If there is mould in a property at the end of a tenancy which was not there at the start, landlords have a right to deduct money from the deposit only if the mould was caused by the actions of the tenant.
The amount deducted is at the discretion of the landlord, and will take into consideration any repairs or redecoration needed above the level of fair wear and tear.
Is Mould Considered Normal Wear and Tear?
Whether mould is considered to be fair wear and tear depends on the cause. If there is evidence to show that the mould has been caused by the negligence of the tenants and advice and regular maintenance has been supplied by the landlord or letting agent, then compensation can be claimed.
Can I End My Tenancy Early Due to Mould?
If you’re a tenant who has found themselves in a mouldy property with an inefficient landlord, there are steps you can take.
If your tenancy agreement has a break clause, then you may be able to end the tenancy early. However, if not, contact your local authority who will perform an inspection to determine whether the landlord is culpable of negligence. If so, they will issue a notice to the landlord demanding repairs.
From a landlord’s perspective, if you attempt to evict your tenant without fixing a reported mould problem within six months of it being reported, this could invalidate a Section 21 notice.
Condensation and Mould: Advice for Tenants
If you’re a tenant living in a rental property, there are some simple ways to prevent mould;
- Dry clothes outside when possible or keep them in the bathroom with the doors closed and windows open
- Cover pans with lids when cooking to prevent excess steam escaping
- Close the kitchen and bathroom door when in use
- Use a bath mat to soak up excess water
- Turn on the extractor fan when cooking or bathing
- Leave a gap between furniture and external walls
- Air out cupboards and wardrobes regularly
- Turn on the heating regularly and try to keep the house a consistent temperature
Preventing Mould: Advice for Landlords
Minimising the chances of mould growing at the start of a tenancy agreement could save you money on maintenance in the long run.
Here are some ways to prevent mould in your property;
- Ensure the property is well ventilated
- Maintain gutters and roofs to prevent leaks
- Ensure all plumbing is in good working order
- Repair any rotten window frames
- Improve the insulation of the property
- Install extractor fans in the bathrooms
- Repair or replace faulty damp proof course
Avoid Disputes with a Comprehensive Property Inventory
In cases where it’s difficult to determine the responsibility for mould, a detailed property inventory could help.
Prevent disputes before they can occur by investing in a professional, unbiased inventory report. By providing detailed written and photographic evidence of the state of the property, this report helps landlords and tenants alike by proving responsibility and supporting claims.
At No Letting Go, our team of experienced inventory clerks are well versed in helping landlords and property professionals streamline their workload and comply with regulations.
Whether you’re a landlord looking to recover costs against mould damage, or a tenant leaving a rental property, browse our full list of property services to find out how we can help.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental properties are safe and comfortable for your tenants. One element of this is to make sure that the boiler is maintained and checked regularly.
With the summer coming up, you might think that your usual boiler maintenance checks can take a back seat while it’s not in use. However, it’s important to keep on top of boiler maintenance throughout the summer months to ensure it stays in tip top condition, saving you money in the long run.
To help you stay on top of your responsibilities, Paul Ritchie, Managing Director at All England Gas has an essential boiler maintenance checklist landlords will need this summer.
Run the Heating Once a Month
Let’s get started with some simple boiler maintenance tips;
In the summer, the warmer weather means it’s likely your tenants won’t have the heating on. However, this doesn’t mean you can ignore the boiler completely. Leaving the boiler doing nothing all season can cause some mechanical components to seize up and corrode. To prevent this, you should remind your tenants to run the heating for around 10 minutes, at least once a month throughout the summer.
This short period of time should not significantly affect the energy bill, leaving both you and your tenants happy.
Bleed Radiators at the Start and End of Summer
Even when the central heating system is off, pockets of air can find their way into the system and enter your radiators. This means they won’t heat up as well as they should when they’re switched back on in the colder months.
To prevent this, you should bleed your radiators at the start and end of the summer season to avoid any heating mishaps when it gets cold. This is something you can do as a landlord, but if your tenants have the radiator key, you can advise them to do it themselves.
To bleed your radiators, you or your tenant will need a key that fits into a valve at the top and side of each radiator.
Once you have the key, follow these steps;
- Turn this valve with the key until you hear a hissing sound — this is the air escaping.
- When the hissing stops and water starts to spurt out, this indicates that all the air has gone, and you should turn the valve back until the water completely ceases escaping.
- At this point you will usually notice that the system pressure has dropped and needs topping up.
- You can do this by locating the filling loop, which should be a hose with a valve at either end, and opening both valves to allow cold water to enter the main system.
- This two-stage process of bleeding the radiator and re-pressurising needs to be repeated until all of the air has been removed and the pressure is sitting at around 1.5 bar.
Get the Boiler Serviced
An annual service is essential for boiler safety and maintenance. Since your tenants will need the boiler throughout the winter, it might make sense for you to get it serviced during the colder months.
However, it could be more beneficial to have the boiler serviced in the summer instead to make sure it’s in full working order before temperatures drop. Servicing appointments will be cheaper and more readily available during these months, and you’ll have plenty of time if you need to get anything repaired or replaced.
Top tip: ensure you book a Gas Safe registered engineer for the job.
Read the Manual
If you haven’t already, read through the boiler’s owner’s manual. This will show you how it actually operates, and you might find that any issues that arise the following winter, like leaking pipes, are simple enough for you to diagnose and fix yourself.
For safety reasons, never remove the cover to fix any internal components of the boiler. If you suspect there’s an issue inside the cover, always call a Gas Safe engineer to take a look for you.
During the summer, your tenants aren’t going to be using the boiler quite as much as they would in the colder months. This provides you with the perfect opportunity to conduct these basic maintenance checks and get the boiler ready for the following winter.
Stay Secure with Boiler Cover
It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and your tenants against emergency boiler breakdown by purchasing boiler cover.
Your tenants have a right to hot water, working plumbing and heating no matter the season.
Don’t get caught out! Make sure you have a plan in place for when things go wrong.
Have some more questions? All England Gas offer a wide range of boiler tips and advice to help you keep up with all of your landlord responsibilities.
Protect Your Rental Properties this Summer with No Letting Go
If you go away over the summer, leave your property in the safe hands of the No Letting Go team. With 360 virtual photography you can even check up on your rental properties remotely!
For landlords with student properties, you might find yourself left with void periods over the summer months. To prevent damage and protect your investment during this time, No Letting Go offer vacant property visits and reports to ensure your property is secure and there are no leaks or other maintenance issues.
To discover the rest of our professional property services, including unbiased inventory reports and carbon monoxide safety checks, head over to our services page.
Last year we attended the National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham, where we spoke to potential franchisees about what we offer. This year, we’re heading to the Northern Franchise Exhibition to share our latest franchise opportunities alongside hundreds of other approved franchise brands.
Here’s what to expect from the event and a little more on what a franchise with No Letting Go involves.
What is Franchising?
Firstly, let’s define the meaning of franchising.
Franchising is the process of purchasing a ready-made start-up from an existing company and operating the business under the name of the established company.
This helps companies expand, as well as providing the franchisee with essential training and experience of running a business.
The Benefits of Franchising
Purchasing a franchise gives franchisees added support and peace of mind when it comes to operating their own business.
With the backing of an established brand behind them, new business owners are equipped with expert knowledge and a recognised name from the get-go.
In addition, most franchises offer initial and ongoing training to help secure success.
The Northern Franchise Exhibition 2019
The Northern Franchise Exhibition is being held at EventCity Manchester on the 21-22 June 2019.
If you’re looking to invest in a franchise, or considering franchising your business, this event is a fantastic way of accessing insider industry knowledge. With a huge variety of franchise opportunities on offer, there is something to suit every need.
This event is a BFA supported franchise exhibition. As a partner of the British Franchise Association (BFA), you know that all the franchise opportunities listed are fully accredited.
The event gathers together leading franchise brands for two days of presentations, workshops and Q&A sessions to help those looking for franchise opportunities in the UK.
This year, No Letting Go will be exhibiting to showcase our exciting franchise opportunities currently on offer.
Keen to attend and meet us in person? Visit our stand where our team will be happy to answer all your questions and give you an insight into what it means to be one of our franchisees.
We’re pleased to offer free tickets from the official website. Just use the promotion code KIT1.
A Franchise with No Letting Go
We have over 50 property franchises across the UK, and we’re always looking to expand. A franchise with us means you could be providing your local area with our professional property services, including inventory management and reports.
The great thing about starting a franchise with No Letting Go, is that you don’t need any specialised industry experience or qualifications. All we ask for is your time and commitment. We run a highly accessible scheme, with franchisees from all walks of life heading up our UK offices.
The Training Academy
If you start a franchise with us, you will receive access to an ongoing training programme which covers how to conduct reports, inventories, use our Kaptur software and perfect your sales and marketing techniques.
As well as day-to-day training, we also provide help with business strategy and expansion to ensure you have all the tools needed for long-term success.
How to Start a No Letting Go Franchise
If you’re interested in becoming a No Letting Go Franchisee, and joining our team of successful business owners, here’s how the process goes;
- We’ll start with an informal chat over the phone.
- We can then meet up to get to know you and explain the funding options available.
- The next step is to put you in contact with an existing franchisee so you can get an insight into what a franchise with us is like.
- We’ll then review your financial projection and make a decision.
Finally, you will receive your training pack, ready to get started!
Become a No Letting Go Franchisee
No Letting Go is a leading inventory management company for letting agents, landlords and property professionals. We provide unbiased property reports, checks and check in/check out services for our clients across the UK.
If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity with high income, a quick return on investment, and low set-up costs, then get in touch via our property franchise page.
Achieving a high rental yield is one of the main goals for successful landlords. In order to cover the costs of mortgage repayments, repairs and maintenance, an adequate rental yield is essential to stay afloat.
Although you may feel constrained by property location or property prices, there are ways to maximise profits and cut outgoings.
From making simple renovations, to targeting specific tenants, here’s some straightforward advice on how to increase rental yield on your rental property.
What Does Rental Yield Mean?
As a landlord, you’ll be more than familiar with the importance of rental yields. For anyone new to the game or thinking of taking the plunge into property investment, here’s a simple definition.
Rental yield is the annual return on investment you make as a landlord on a buy-to-let property. It’s the remaining amount of money left over after rent, divided by the value of the property and is expressed as a percentage.
How to Work Out Rental Yield on Rental Property
To work out the rental yield of your property, first deduct all annual expenses and outgoings from the annual rental income, then divide this number by the purchase price of the property. Next, times this number by 100 to find the percentage yield.
Alternatively, find a free rental yield calculator online to do the hard work for you.
What is a Good Rental Yield?
In order to comfortably cover outgoings, a rental yield of 8% or more is deemed good.
However, the average rental yield differs vastly depending on location. For example, cities like Liverpool and Nottingham enjoy higher rental yields of up to 12%, while London is more challenging and tends to stay around 4 – 5%.
Decide on a Tenant Profile
Having an ideal tenant profile in mind makes it easier to tailor your property to the needs and desires of tenants. By offering an attractive property to specific renters, you’ll be able to charge premium prices and stand out from the crowd.
For example, if you are renting to young professionals, it’s worth choosing properties in areas with good transport links and furnishing the property with convenient mod-cons.
Whereas families are more interested in space, excellent local schools and extra bedrooms.
It’s impossible to please everyone. Maximise rental yields by catering to a specific tenant group and provide them with what they really want.
Location, Location, Location
As always, location is key when it comes to improving rental return.
Picking an up-and-coming area is a good idea, as property purchase prices are lower and there is potential for increased rental income as the area expands. Somewhere with good transport links, access to great schools and a growing number of bars and shops is a safe bet.
Go Green for Tenants
With sustainable living becoming increasingly popular, improving insulation and making green changes to your rental property could strengthen the appeal to certain tenants.
Improving the energy efficiency rating of your property not only saves you money on energy bills,but is also a big deciding factor for potential tenants.
Think About Facilities
Equipping your property with high quality, time-saving facilities such as dishwashers, driers and high-speed Wi-Fi will attract more tenants and place your rental property ahead of the competition.
Think about what your ideal tenant profile wants out of a rental property and go from there.
Can You Add Another Bedroom or Bathroom?
Adding a second, third or fourth bedroom to your rental property is a guaranteed way of boosting rental yield.
If a property has a large living space that isn’t entirely necessary, turning it into a bedroom could drastically improve cash flow! Just take care to comply with bedroom regulations, especially if you plan to turn it into an HMO property.
A second bathroom is another way of adding value. Although this requires a little more upheaval, the results can be well worth it, especially in larger properties.
Keep Things Fresh
If larger scale renovation is out of your budget, simple, affordable updates such as new tiling in the bathroom or a fresh lick of paint can work wonders in attracting the best tenants.
The more you can do to make your property attractive to potential tenants, the more rent you can responsibly command.
Maximise Space for Maximum Yields
Another way to add value and appeal to renters is to maximise every inch of space in your property.
This doesn’t have to mean adding extra bedrooms. It can be something as simple as providing inbuilt cupboards and clever storage spaces. This is especially important if you’re targeting growing families.
Consider Allowing Pets
Flexibility is a trait highly valued by prospective tenants. From allowing minor aesthetic alterations to saying yes to pets, remaining open to tenants helps grow your yield in the long run.
Rental properties which allow pets tend to be few and far between which means they are able to command more rent- another easy way to increase your rental yield!
Avoid Vacant Periods
Naturally, extended vacant periods will have a negative impact on your rental yield.
Asking current tenants what their plans are well in advance of the end of a tenancy is one way you can avoid this. Early preparation means you can start advertising for new occupants quickly.
In the case of an extended void period, it may be worth lowering the rent requirements to encourage tenants and minimise losses.
Make Regular Rent Reviews
It’s important to keep up with the rest of the property market. Keeping a finger on the pulse and raising or lowering rent as needed is essential for maintaining and increasing rental yield.
Factors such as a new school in the area can dramatically increase rent prices, so don’t miss out on opportunities to cash in on your property investments.
Assess Your Outgoings
Taking a regular look at all of your outgoings is an important part of managing your finances. You may find that a few simple changes could be surprisingly profitable.
Mortgage rates, for example, are always changing, and it’s possible to find good deals on property insurance on comparison websites.
Keep your eyes peeled for deals to cut costs and improve rental yield.
Keep Up to Date with Regulations
Part of being a responsible landlord includes keeping up to date with current health and safety regulations. Good maintenance of your rental property results in long-term tenancies and increased interest from renters.
Save Time and Money with A Professional Property Service
Instead of spending your time as a property manager, answering queries and sorting out viewings and check ins, allocating tasks to property professionals can help streamline your business, saving you time and money.
No Letting Go provide comprehensive property reports and essential services such as inventory management to help landlords protect their investment and increase yields.
For more information on how No Letting Go could help, visit our services page here.
There tends to be a focus on the need for potential tenants to make a positive first impression to secure the best rental properties. But making a good impression is just as vital for landlords and letting agents.
To attract reliable and responsible tenants, property professionals need to demonstrate their value to establish trust and secure an agreement.
Creating a positive first impression can determine what kind of relationship you’ll have with your tenant moving forward, not to mention positioning your property as an attractive prospect for renters.
If you’re a letting agent, property professional, or landlord, we’ve got some friendly guidance on how to give a good first impression to tenants and establish trust from the get-go.
What are Tenants Looking for in a Landlord or Letting Agent?
To make the right impression, it’s helpful to think about what a tenant wants from the person or company managing their rental property.
Top of the list are reliability, honesty and being easily reachable. Whether it’s at the first viewing, at the lettings or estate agency office or the first meeting between tenant and landlord, follow these tips to make a great first impression:
Be on Time
An obvious point to start with. Tenants want to know the person managing their home is reliable and can be depended upon in an emergency. Being late to the first meeting already puts you on the back foot.
If the first meeting is an initial house viewing, it’s worth getting there a few minutes early to ensure everything is in place and the property is looking its best.
Giving an overall impression of professionalism goes a long way in securing a tenancy agreement.
One simple way of achieving this is to dress in business-casual attire.
Know Your Stuff
As the main point of contact for tenants, you need to demonstrate knowledge about the property and local area to build trust. Before the first meeting, make sure you’ve got all the answers to potential questions to hand.
Common questions that might be asked by potential tenants include;
- Who are the current utility providers?
- What is the council tax band for this area?
- What day are the bins and recycling collected?
- Where is the fuse box?
- What are the neighbours like?
- What is the local area like?
Being able to answer these questions thoroughly and confidently will help to build a positive impression and demonstrate your experience and professionalism.
Friendly and Professional Body Language
Body language is key to making a good impression in any situation. From job interviews to meeting people for the first time, facial expressions and gestures really count.
Shake your prospective tenants’ hand while maintaining eye contact, smile, and try to display confident body language to really impress.
Stay in Contact with the Neighbours
Being in the position to introduce prospective tenants to the neighbours, or simply tell them who they will be living next door to, can go a long way in demonstrating your dedication to property management.
What are Tenants Looking for in a Property?
In addition to the way you present yourself, the way you present your rental property also has a huge impact on tenant’s initial impression. Here’s how to show your property in the best light:
Market Your Property Right
Most rental property marketing happens online these days. Be sure to regularly check and update any channels your property is advertised on to keep up a positive impression for renters.
A picture really can tell a thousand words and people expect to see clear, professional images when browsing for properties online. Any property with minimal or bad quality images will likely be dismissed instantly.
Include lots of pictures of all parts of the property and try to take them on a sunny day to show off your property in the best light.
If you’re a busy landlord or property professional, ensure your property looks the part online with a professional property appraisal. This service includes high quality photos and a record of essential details for marketing purposes, all uploaded directly to your platform. The easy route to impressing potential tenants!
Managing feedback is also important. Always reply to any complaints or queries online so that potential tenants know you are reliable and quick to respond.
Outward Appearances Matter
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but in reality, first appearances are important.
Make sure the exterior of your property is up to scratch. An overgrown front lawn, overflowing bins and scratched paint are likely to put people off before they’ve even stepped through the door.
Make Sure the Interior Lives Up to the Dream
When showing a prospective tenant around a property for the first time, they’re trying to imagine themselves living there.
Make sure everything is clean and tidy with minimal clutter to give the tenants as much of a blank canvas as possible to project their own visions for the future.
Consider A Moving In Gift
Whether it’s a simple, handwritten welcome card or a bunch of flowers. Providing a small gift is an easy way to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful landlord or letting agent.
If you’re an agency managing several properties or a landlord with a large portfolio this may not be feasible. For smaller landlords however, it could be a well-received gesture that goes a long way in developing a positive ongoing relationship.
You need to assess whether a gift is appropriate from case to case. At the very least, provide an information folder with essential details about the property such as relevant contact numbers and rubbish collection days.
Ensure All Health and Safety Checks are in Place
If you can demonstrate that you are up to date with gas safety checks and Co2 regulations, your tenant will know you take your role seriously.
For landlords, demonstrating your responsibilities are being fulfilled puts tenant’s minds at ease. For example, landlords must ensure that smoke alarms are tested and working on every floor of a property. No Letting Go provide comprehensive reports which include a smoke and carbon monoxide safety section that will guarantee you meet all the requirements.
Tenants in the know will expect to see evidence and a thorough report will quell any potential reservations.
Invest in a Professional Property Inventory
Providing your tenant with a comprehensive, photographic inventory report sends the message that you don’t take shortcuts.
No Letting Go is the first choice for all types of property reporting for landlords and letting agents alike. To find out how we can help to position you as a first choice for tenants, browse the rest of the property management services on offer here.
International Women’s Day is held on the 8th March each year with the aim of re-addressing gender imbalances and recognising the achievements of women across the globe.
With International Women’s Day campaigns kicking off this week, what better time to celebrate some of the most successful female franchisees in the No Letting Go network?
Many of our successful No Letting Go branches across the UK are run by women. We spoke to some of these flourishing branch owners to get their insights into their experiences as women in the property industry.
Celebrating the achievements of women in property and lettings, we’re turning the spotlight onto No Letting Go’s most successful female franchisees.
International Women’s Day History
Before we dive in, here’s a brief history of the development of the day.
The International Women’s Day movement is growing from strength to strength each year.
The movement took its first steps back in 1909 in the US with the first National Woman’s Day, inspired by working women’s protests against poor conditions in the garment industry.
The first International Women’s day took place in 1911 and was celebrated by over a million women and men demanding women’s right to vote, to hold public office and to end discrimination at work.
It was 1975 when the United Nations implemented a recognised International Women’s Day to be marked on the 8th March each year. The International Women’s Day 2019 theme is all about “balance for better”. The idea behind this slogan is to foster a more equal gender balance around the world.
Women in Property
With the recent focus in the media on the gender pay gap, it was revealed that women working for estate agents and consultancies can earn up to 58% less than their male counterparts. These pay gap figures are above the national average, indicating that something needs to be done to ensure more women are filling senior roles.
According to the National Association of Estate Agents, 3 in 4 salespeople are men, however lettings is a more female dominated sector.
Thankfully, businesses are beginning to introduce flexible working and put more effort into re-balancing their hiring processes. The Bisnow property site’s ‘51 most influential women in UK real estate’ also points to women making waves in the industry.
No Letting Go is proud to champion successful women in property. We interviewed some of the most successful female No Letting Go franchise owners for their perspective on the industry;
Rachel Farr, No Letting Go Bath
Rachel purchased the No Letting Go Bath franchise in 2014, and by 2016, was already delivering 200 property reports every month.
Rachel and the rest of the Bath team have a reputation in the area for reliability, quality and excellent customer service.
How did you get into the property business?
‘I started working as a property/refurbishment manager doing up buy to lets for clients living and working abroad. I was in procurement and marketing for many years before moving into property’.
What do you consider to be the greatest success in your property career?
‘Growing and managing a business whilst having two small children and through two pregnancies.’
What do you attribute this success to?
‘A great business partner and building good client relationships.’
Do you have any female career role models?
‘Anyone who is a working mum and who manages to juggle everyday life and run a successful business in any industry.’
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
‘A good work-life balance, no day is the same and I get to meet new people’.
What are your future career plans?
‘To build and grow the business we have by taking on more employees to offer a greater range of services.’
Rachel’s impressive list of accolades include; No letting Go Best Regional Office, Busiest Office, Customer Service, Franchisee of the Year and a nomination for the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF awards.
Alison Hardy, No Letting Go Swindon
Alison Hardy became a No Letting Go franchise owner along with her husband over eight years ago. Since then, the pair have been busy winning their own clients and building their business in the Swindon area.
What has been the biggest success of your property career?
‘Winning all our own clients, having one of the lowest percentages of national contract work, and winning marketing and customers service awards from No Letting Go.’
Alison attributes this success to; ‘immense pride in the No Letting Go brand, a lot of flexibility, adaptability, resilience and hard work’.
What has been the greatest challenge?
‘Getting into agents that use local competition or do the work themselves and maintaining motivation with lower paid national contract work which is driven by volume sales across the whole network of offices.’
Have you ever felt any advantages or disadvantages to being a woman in the property industry?
‘None whatsoever. Especially compared to previous career roles in large organisations.’
Do you have any female career role models?
‘I have had many over the years and like to think that I have used the experience of working with such positive role models to empower me to be a little bit of each of them… and at least the best I can be!’
Do you think there is an equal gender balance in the industry?
‘Yes. But in relation to the structure/ranks they sit in is a very different answer. But that is an observation of the Lettings Industry as a whole and in no way a reflection of our franchise business which, of course, is equal as we [Alison and her husband] are joint business partners.’
What do you think needs to change in the property industry?
‘Greater understanding from the government, more mandatory regulation, compliance standards and best practice that brands like NLG can deliver on. These expectations would improve the recognition of what we do and it’s key relevance in the process for agents, landlords and tenants alike.’
What is your favourite thing about your job?
‘Being responsible for generating our own workload, a portfolio of clients and building something ourselves (albeit with the backing of a proven brand identity). Also, the sheer diversity of properties we attend. We can be in a rambling country farmhouse with outbuildings and paddocks and then on through some gorgeous countryside to a swanky penthouse or urban apartment in the same few hours. No two days are ever the same which is exactly the same when it comes to our agent clients, landlords and tenants so it’s a great mix for the property mad and if you are a people person all rolled into one!’
Has the property industry changed since you started?
‘Yes. More people want to rent, more agents want to do things properly, everyone wants contractors to do things for as little as possible. The government is trying to bring in changes that are causing increases in rent and lack of affordability on a monthly basis rather than via fees charged in the first place.’
Alison and her husband are currently in the second stint of a five-year franchisee renewal cycle and are considering their options for the future.
Virginia Chrapowski, No Letting Go Edinburgh
Virginia became the owner of the No Letting Go Edinburgh branch along with her husband when looking for a way to escape her busy job and make a living in preparation for their retirement.
After a tricky first year, the business is moving in the right direction and seeing some great successes.
How did you get into the property industry?
‘Myself and my husband both wanted to leave our previous roles and work for ourselves. I previously worked in the Scottish ambulance service as a paramedic which was a very physical job, requiring me to work night shifts. The No Letting Go franchise opportunity was something we could both do together. We visited the Aberdeen franchise show, did lots of investigative work and eventually decided on No Letting Go due to lower start up costs and great support.’
What has been the biggest success of your property career?
‘We did well last year. Every time we win a new account we celebrate with a bottle of bubbly!’
What has been the greatest challenge?
‘Learning to run a business and keeping accounts as this was a big career change. Our next big challenge will come in May when all the students leave and we have to manage hundreds of properties in less than two weeks. Interviewing and taking on part-time clerks has been another challenge, although I have previous teaching experience which made this easier.’
Have you ever felt any advantages or disadvantages to being a woman in the property industry?
‘No, not particularly. Especially compared to previous roles I’ve had where I worked in a more archaic, masculine environment.’
Do you think there is an equal gender balance in the industry?
‘I’m not sure about the industry as a whole, but I seem to work with more women agents.’
Do you have any female career role models?
‘My family has a very strong work ethic. My daughter is very hard working, that’s just how we were brought up, I hope I’ve passed that onto my children.’
What is your favourite thing about your job?
‘I like the admin side of working in the office, something I wish I had more time to do!’
Virginia and her husband have no plans to throw in the towel for the foreseeable future, aiming to keep building the business until they reach the age of 70 (at least).
Claire Parfitt, No Letting Go Portsmouth
Claire Parfitt of No Letting Go, Portsmouth purchased a No Letting Go franchise with her husband in 2017.
How did you get into the property industry?
‘After graduating I moved to London and worked in the recruitment sector for a while before taking a job as an inventory clerk for a large estate agent. After a few years my husband and I moved from London to Hampshire and I continued to work as an inventory clerk but in house for a local estate agent and then self-employed, working for a few small inventory companies. My children were young at the time and I worked part time to fit in with their needs.’
What do you attribute your success to?
‘I had 13 previous years’ experience in the industry and a good local knowledge having worked for local agents. I also worked for the previous owners of the franchise for 3 years prior to us taking over. My experience has been combined with my husband’s experience outside of the industry.’
What has been your greatest challenge at work?
‘Currently the greatest challenge is recruiting and training suitable staff’.
Have you noticed any advantages or disadvantages of being a woman in the property industry?
‘Having children can impact the job roles a woman may consider as not all roles are easily adaptable to family life.’
Do you think there is an equal gender balance in the industry?
‘Yes, generally, although working part time around family life may affect sales target roles within the industry.’
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
‘Being my own boss.’
Has the property industry changed since you started?
‘When the tenancy deposit scheme was introduced in 2007 it meant that more landlords were using proper inventory companies to complete their inventories which increased business. The increase in online estate agents has changed the dynamic of the industry and high street agents are having to adapt to compete.’
A Franchise with No Letting Go
From the successful female franchisees we spoke to, juggling work and family life was the main issue faced by women. However, each franchise owner asserted that they felt little to no disadvantage to being a woman in the industry with No Letting Go.
Is a franchise for you?
Franchising allows you to hit the ground running by offering tailored training and support. You don’t need any previous industry experience as No Letting Go provide everything you need to get started, as well as the backing of a well-established and trusted brand.
If you’re interested in joining the No Letting Go franchise network, request an information pack or call back to find out more.
The way you do your taxes is changing.
Say goodbye to piles of paperwork, the tax system is having a digital makeover.
Although changes to routines can be worrying, these alterations are being implemented to make life easier for businesses and self-employed individuals. The proposed scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
As a landlord, you’ll need to be aware of these changes and how they affect you, in order to prepare for digital taxes becoming mandatory in April 2019. Here’s everything you need to know about making tax digital for landlords.
What is MTD?
Making Tax Digital, or MTD, is a government scheme to overhaul the tax system to make it completely digital by the end of 2020. This means that from April 2019, VAT tax records and VAT returns will be managed online.
Will MTD Affect Me?
Any VAT-registered business with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold will have to make these changes.
So, if you are a landlord with an annual rental income of over £10,000, then the MTD changes will apply to you from April 2019. With UK rental prices rising, this is likely to affect most landlords in the UK.
The Making Tax Digital timeline commences on the 1st April 2019, when the changes will become mandatory for all customers, excluding a small number of customers with complex requirements which are being deferred until October 2019. (These types of customers include trusts, non-profits and public sector groups).
The new process will require self-employed individuals and landlords to:
- Use specific software or apps to keep track of their records
- Update HMRC every quarter through a new digital tax account
- Provide a full annual declaration at the end of each year
Further information can be found in the Finance Act, 2017.
The Income Tax Pilot Scheme
The government already has an income tax pilot scheme in place, which self-employed businesses or landlords can use voluntarily.
This scheme allows users to test out the MTD compatible software to store their digital records and send income tax updates to HMRC in place of filing a self assessment tax return.
Voluntary users can choose from a number of software options, sending a summary of income and expenses to HMRC every 3 months and sending a full report at the end of the year. You can even pay bills as you go and ask your accountant or bookkeeper to send the updates for you.
A Closer Look at the HMRC Making Tax Digital Scheme
Many landlords already choose to manage their taxes and accounts digitally through cloud based apps and software programmes.
Once the changes come in, these methods and software applications will need to follow new regulations. HMRC are not building their own software programme but will provide a list of approved software companies, some of which will be free of charge. You will still be able to use your current software system, as long as it complies with the new system.
Users will be required to communicate with HMRC via their Application Programming Interface (API) platform and submit VAT returns using information from these digital records.
This software should be able to calculate your return automatically- saving a whole lot of time and effort.
If you currently use spreadsheets to manage your taxes, it may be worth switching to a software solution now. Although spreadsheets are allowed if they comply with the new regulations, it might cost you more money to produce quarterly reports.
Your digital tax account will allow you to view and access all of your tax information in one handy place online. An agent services account grants accountants or other financial professionals you may employ access to relevant tax details.
Is the MTD Scheme Compulsory for Landlords?
Unless your annual income from your rental property and trade combined is under £10,000 or you are unable to partake in digital programmes due to disability or age, this change is compulsory.
It is expected that late fines will be implemented if you fail to file reports on time once the scheme is established.
MTD for Multiple Properties
If you are a landlord of multiple properties, you will only be required to provide income and expenditure for your investments as a whole.
However, it’s best to keep a record of individual properties to manage and assess the income of various rental properties you may own.
The Benefits of MTD for VAT
According to the latest edition of the tax gap report, there was a gap of around £33 billion in the last tax year! This clearly shows that something isn’t right and suggests that lots of people are making errors when it comes to submitting their records.
By digitising the way tax records are stored and reported to HMRC, the scheme hopes to make tax reporting far more accurate and easier for stakeholders to complete. Sending this information directly to HMRC online will hopefully minimise any mistakes that currently occur during the exchange of information.
For busy landlords who manage multiple properties, it can be hard to stay on track of receipts and invoices. Implementing a digital system which allows you to add information on the go via mobile applications will help prevent taxable claims from escaping.
The digital system will also allow you to see approximately how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
By seeing all of your reports for individual properties in one place, it will be easier to manage your portfolio and determine which properties generate the best return.
Get Ready for Making Tax Digital with No Letting Go
To sum up, from the beginning of April 2019, landlords will be required to use MTD compatible software to manage their tax records, updating HMRC every 3 months and providing an annual declaration.
Although the end result aims to make managing taxes more efficient, there’s likely to be some teething problems at the start.
To prepare yourself for this shift, it’s best to start early. Make sure your current software is compatible, and if not, plan which system to use. Staying organised across the whole of your property management processes is key to ensuring a smooth transition.
No Letting Go provide professional, accurate property reports to help landlords and property professionals keep track of their investments.
To see the full range of reports we provide, browse the No Letting Go Services section on our website.
Thinking of converting commercial property to residential?
While renting out a property this way has its clear advantages, there’s a lot to consider. Ensure you’ve thought every detail through before you decide to go ahead.
Unsure where to start? Here’s a handy guide for landlords considering this path.
What to Consider When Changing Commercial Property to Residential
First things first, you need to decide whether this conversion is feasible for you at this time.
The Type of Property
There are many kinds of commercial building, from office to retail. Some of these may be easier to convert than others – so it’s vital you look into the specific details.
Class J allows developers a lot more freedom, however there are still some exemptions and restraints. Ensure you’re aware of these from the start.
Building Conversion Costs
While you’re not starting from scratch, it’s important to note that the cost of converting the existing building could be considerable.
Particularly if the building requires significant structural work, it might be more costly than expected.
Are you prepared for this?
Planning Permission Commercial to Residential
While it’s not always the case, you may require planning permission before going ahead with any work. Even if the building falls within Class J guidelines, you may still need permission.
Particularly if you plan on knocking down walls, for example, you may need to prepare for this extra expense.
Local Planning Laws
You may need to speak to the local planning authority, or local council, before going ahead with any work.
Bear in mind that the location of commercial properties might not be ideal for residents.
- Transport links
- Local amenities
- Nearby schools
- Noise pollution
- Access for developers
Ask yourself, ‘Can you live in your commercial building?’ If the answer is no, it’s unlikely it will appeal to tenants either.
More and more people are choosing to rent over buy, but location can make or break this. Particularly if you’re trying to encourage a long-term tenancy, the area is everything. Tenants will only want to lay their roots in your property if they like their surroundings also.
Unless you have enough cash upfront, it’s likely you’ll need a mortgage to purchase the property.
This may mean the conversion is subject to your broker’s terms and conditions.
While all landlords should consider insurance, when it comes to conversion, there’s an extra need to safeguard the building.
During the work planned to go ahead, are you covered? Consider the terms of your mortgage agreement – you may be required to get insurance.
Making a Commercial Conversion Liveable
There are a number of requirements that need to be met before tenants could live in the property. A commercial to residential conversion should consider the following:
- Electrical safety
- Removal of hazardous material
- Fire safety
Ensure all these needs are met before you consider letting tenants move in.
Commercial Property Change of Use to Residential – Other Considerations
Of course, there’s more to a conversion than simply making the property safe.
Residential units have things that commercial spaces may not, such as storage areas. Also, how secure is the rental?
It’s a good idea to imagine yourself living in the commercial property. Does it feel like a home?
The Pros of Changing Commercial Property to Residential
There are some undeniable perks with converting commercial buildings, including:
- You could potentially get a bigger property for a lower price
- You may not need planning permission
- There’s no property chain
- Investing in property can be hugely profitable
The Cons of Using Commercial Property As Residential
While there are some positives, there are also some inevitable downsides:
- Sometimes the conversion can be more costly than expected, particularly if planning permission is required
- You’ll need a specialist buildings survey, which can be expensive
- It’s easy for conversion costs to spiral out of control
- Conversions can run on for longer than anticipated
Meeting Your Requirements as a Landlord
Decided this is direction you want to take as a landlord? This journey is both an exciting and difficult one.
As with any property, there are a number of requirements you’ll need to meet as a landlord. But, you’ll also want to ensure your investment is protected every step of the way.
From check-in to check-out, No Letting Go will ensure you’re meeting all the necessary safety standards. As well as this, we’ll ensure your tenants are looking after the property as requested. Our comprehensive property inventory services offer you peace of mind, while making you the best landlord you can be!