Managing a property yourself
Once you have decided to rent out a property, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to do all the property management yourself or employ a real estate agent to do it for you.
It needn't be all or nothing. You may employ an agent just to find your tenants and handle the bond details and then manage the property yourself; or you may just want an agent to collect the rent but do everything else yourself.
If you don't live near the property, then using an agent may be your best option. An agent may also be the best choice if the house has been your home. Sometimes it's hard to be objective when tenants don't keep the house exactly as you did, even though they may be considered good tenants by most people.
If you decide to 'do-it-yourself', look at renting out your property as running a small business and your tenants as your customers and make sure you are aware of both your rights and your responsibilities as a landlord.
Recent changes to tenancy laws have clarified your responsibilities in regard to the safety of the property:
- Owners and occupiers are both responsible for ensuring that a suitable enclosure is operational around a swimming pool or spa pool on the property. If a fence, wall, gate, window, door or other barrier around a swimming pool or spa pool is not in working order or does not comply with the Building Regulations 2012, As the lessor you will need to arrange repairs immediately. If delays occur, or you need more information, contact your local council.
- Loose cords or chains on blinds or curtains, which are not fixed out of reach, pose a strangulation risk for children. As the lessor you will need to make arrangements to make the window coverings safe. Product safety laws apply.
As with any other business, you must expect and plan for some losses or unforeseen expenses and also accept that others may not always be as careful about the use and care of your property as you are.
It is very important to maintain full insurance cover on the building and any furnishings. It may also be a good idea to take out rental protection insurance to cover any losses of rental income if, for example, the property becomes uninhabitable, your tenants do not pay the rent or there is a vacancy for some period.
Information provided on this site and in renting out your property will assist you if you do decide to manage your own rental property.