In any typical day, a landlord might need to call a myriad of people to help with the development, management and maintenance of their buy-to-let property portfolio. Granted, on some days, there might be nothing to do. But on another day, landlords can experience anything from a tenant void and broken boiler to an insurance disaster or legislation change.
As a result, it’s always good practice to have a number of critical contacts in your phone book that you can call on for products, services and support.
Here are just 7 that we think are most important.
Landlords should remember that their tenants are their number one priority. Unless you outsource property management, you want to make sure your tenants understand how and when you are contactable and that you can get in touch with them when needed. After all, they are your customers and the ones paying the rent.
If you let shared houses, also known as HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), then you might want to set up a contact group to communicate anything that is general to the property, such as notifying them of a quarterly check or maintenance work.
Closely linked to your tenants is a lettings specialist. In some instances, you may need the support of an agent to help you find new tenants, although be aware that the majority of tenants prefer to deal directly with their landlord. Or a lettings advisor can help you with tenancy agreements and contracts, tenant referencing and immigration checks. More importantly, they understand the law, which is critical when something goes wrong and there is no other option but to serve a Section 21 – which starts the eviction process.
One of the biggest business expenses in property investment is mortgage interest payments and with a wide range of products available, it’s always good to form a strong relationship with an expert mortgage broker. They can keep track of the best deals for you to ensure you are paying the most attractive interest rate, let you know of any changes to lending criteria and also advise on the right product, because different types of buy-to-let property might require a different mortgage product.
Providers, plural, because it’s not just your buy-to-let property or contents you need to insure as a landlord. As well as needing different types of buildings and contents insurance to cover any periods when the property is empty, fully tenanted or undergoing refurbishment, you might also want to protect yourself against loss of rent, injury claims and emergency repairs.
It’s a fact that things break and need fixing or replacing, no matter how newly refurbished or high quality your rental property is. You might be happy to resolve small maintenance issues yourself but should know who to call in the event of a bigger job not suited to a DIY-er. Such contacts might include plumbers, electricians, builders and a general handyman.
Every landlord, or any business owner for that matter, should engage a trusted accountant and/or tax advisor before they even begin to invest in property. How you set your property business up to start with may impact how you can draw an income from it or pass it on in the future.
It also ensures that you structure your business legally and understand what expenses and operating costs you can claim. And of course, the landscape is always changing – take the Tenant Tax for example – so even if you do your own accounts and bookkeeping, having an accountant on speed dial is always handy.
While you won’t necessarily have an entire network of professionals at hand to call, you should at the very least be part of a physical or online group that you can tap into for extra support. This could include a landlord association, your local landlord group or council officers.
Fortunately, all of the above contacts (minus tenants but plus many more) make up our Power Team at Platinum Property Partners, giving our landlords instant access to a network of professionals they can call upon!