When entering the buy-to-let market and becoming a landlord it is important to make sure you have correctly calculated the costs of owning a rental property. Amongst other issues the costs of maintaining the property to a good standard can be a drain on your rental income and affect the profitability of the exercise.
When it comes to repairs to the property a landlord’s responsibilities are clearly set out in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. These include keeping the structure of the property in sound repair including floors, windows, guttering and pipes. Landlords must also ensure that any gas or electrical equipment is safely installed.
These responsibilities may be set out in the rental agreement, but even if they are not, Section 11 can be an implied term read into the tenancy even if it is not spelled out in it.
You may be dependent on the tenant notifying you of any issues with the property, but it is wise to carry out inspections in a manner agreed between yourself and the tenant. Often it can be a minor irritant such as leaves in a gutter that can lead to major damage such as damp in upper storey rooms. By tackling problems early, you will avoid costly repairs down the line. Remember this is a major asset and disrepair will only reduce its value.
In terms of internal damage, it is important that you have an accurate inventory to check against, which has been agreed with the tenant prior to them moving into the property. These lists of contents and their condition are often a point of contention between the parties to a tenancy agreement and must be as accurate as possible. Fortunately, property inventory software is now available from many sites such as inventorybase.com, providing an accurate record.
One idea of how to spread the cost of these repairs is to put aside a proportion of the rental income into a repair fund. You may still be caught out if a major issue arises, but smaller jobs can be covered from this savings pot.
You would not skimp on repairs to your own residence and so do not be tempted to do so on property you rent out to others; it is not in your best interests.