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Tips for Accidental Landlords

With estimations placing the number of accidental landlords across the UK at approximately 5000,000, we help those on their way to becoming a landlord better understand and navigate the private rental sector with our tips for accidental landlords!  

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Happy and Excited Young Couple Look Around In Wonder at their Newly Purchased / Rented Apartment. Beautiful People Happily Embracing. Big Bright Modern Home with Cardboard Boxes Ready to Unpack.

What Is an Accidental Landlord? 

As the name suggests an accidental landlord is someone that finds themselves letting out their property to a tenant as a result of an unintentional outcome. Typically, this is through a property being inherited, or after taking the property to the market the owners have turned to becoming a landlord after being unable to find a buyer.  

Do You Need to Protect the Deposit?

Although rental property owners are under no legal obligation to take a security deposit from their occupants, if they choose to do so then the amounts must be protected through being entered into a government-backed deposit protection scheme. It is also worth noting that after the introduction of the 2019 tenant fees act, landlords are prohibited from requesting their tenants pay more than five weeks rent for this deposit unless the annual rental charge for the property exceeds £60,000. Once the amount has been paid by the tenant, the landlord will have 30 days in which to register the appropriate sums with a protection scheme, then provide the tenant with the details of the amount being protected, how they can appeal any deductions, alongside why any deductions can be made from the amount they will have refunded come the end of the tenancy. If it is found that the owner of the property has failed to take action to protect their occupant’s security deposits, if legal action is taken against them then they will be compelled to repay each tenant up to three times the amount provided for the deposit.  

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How Do I Find the Right Tenant?

Whilst many landlords may turn to experienced letting agents when beginning the search for a tenant, there is more to finding a good tenant than proceeding into a tenancy with the first offer received. In order to determine which applicants are a good fit for the rental opportunity landlords will put their aspiring tenants through the referencing process. This screening process will see each applicant complete a series of affordability checks requiring each prospective renters to reveal their employment status, income and credit history to provide the landlord with the confidence that they will consistently pay their rent on time. Alongside this, tenants will also be expected to offer their new landlord a reference from the owner of their previous rented home. This provides landlords with an incredible insight into their tenant’s behaviour, allowing them to know if they paid rent constantly, damaged the property or was the cause of antisocial behaviour complaints.  

find the right tenant
Own House. Happy Black Couple Showing Key Holding Moving Box And Hugging Standing In New Home.

Do You Need Landlords Insurance?   

Whilst landlords should note the law does not dictate that they must hold insurance, if they have obtained their rental property through a buy to let mortgage, the provider of the loan will often demand the owner takes out landlord buildings insu6rance to maintain the validity of the insurance. Buildings insurance for landlords will help cover the costs of any repairs if the structure of the property becomes damaged, making it a crucial policy for owners with any size portfolio to obtain. Alongside this many landlords choose to take out contents insurance to cover the furnishings and belongings they introduced to the property, covering them in the instances of accidental damage, they alongside events such as fires and floods.  

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Do You Need a Licence to Become a Landlord? 

It’s not just HMO landlords who require a licence for their rental property. Some local authorities have introduced selective licensing. Almost three-quarters of council’s in London have, for instance, while in other areas, such as Scotland landlords have to register with a scheme. Selective licensing mainly applies to areas where there are a high number of rentals and where the council want to keep an eye on conditions. 

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