It’s time to maintain your property, tenants and profits
Buy-to-let reviews should regularly be conducted. The ones we undertake most often are quarterly or six-monthly property inspections. This process helps us to ensure that your property is being cared for by your tenant, and helps us to maintain good property manager/tenant relations.
However, once a year, a major review should be conducted. This review covers all the elements of a property inspection, together with the following five items that many forget to consider:
1. Should the rent be increased?
It’s easy to overlook a rent review, especially if you have a good tenant and don’t want to upset them. It’s natural to be nervous that your tenant will look elsewhere if you raise the rent. However, as a buy-to-let investor, your aim will be to maximise your rental income profit. If you don’t do so, your financial objectives could move further away.
Part of our annual review process is to ensure that the rent you are charging is in line with comparable rents in the area. We also make sure that the tenant knows that there is likely to be an annual rent review, by including applicable clauses in the tenancy agreement.
Providing rent is increased proportionately, most tenants will understand your need to raise their rent. After all, they will be used to inflation causing their other bills and outgoings to increase. Remember, too, that it is easier to increase rents by, say, 3% to 4% each year than 10% to 15% every three years.
2. Have you got the best landlord insurance?
When reviewing the rent on your buy-to-let property, consider reviewing your landlord insurance, too. Providers constantly change their insurance conditions and rates. You should take this opportunity to make sure that your insurance policy does what you need it to, and that it is still competitively priced.
I’m not suggesting that you hop from one insurer to another, but a couple of minutes on the phone to your insurance provider could be rewarded with a lower rate for your loyalty.
3. Has your tenant changed the locks?
You’ll be surprised how many tenants feel it’s their right to change the lock on a property and not tell you. It isn’t personal. It’s not you that the tenant is worried about entering their property, but a previous tenant. It’s a natural fear.
However, it’s essential that you have a key that gives you access to the property in emergencies. If you do find the tenant has changed the lock, remind them that you need a copy for emergencies only. Put their mind at rest that on all other occasions (such as property inspections) you will always contact them first and arrange a mutually convenient time to visit.
4. Have you got your tenant’s up-to-date information?
Lives change. There are significant changes (such as change of job) and smaller changes that may seem inconsequential, but need to be updated on tenant files. For example, a new email address, mobile phone number, and emergency contacts. Check that all the information you hold is correct and up to date.
5. Are all the minor maintenance issues taken care of?
Our online repair reporting system makes it easy for tenants to report maintenance issues as soon as they arise. We categorise these and attend to them in a timely fashion, coordinating tradespeople and monitoring progress.
However, often tenants won’t say when a smoke alarm has been disconnected, or that air conditioner filters need to be replaced. The annual review is the time to ensure that these small maintenance jobs are taken care of and that any electrical and gas safety reviews are conducted.
At each property inspection, we’ll inspect the property and ensure that the tenants are respecting it. Regular inspections help to keep a check on wear and tear on items within your buy-to-let property. It keeps maintenance bills to a minimum. They also afford us the opportunity to remain in touch with the tenant and ensure that no big changes have taken place that could affect their ability to pay rent and look after their home.
However, while regular property inspections are advantageous, the annual review is the spring clean of the property inspection process. It combines an inspection with an assessment of the financial well-being of your buy-to-let investment.
We help our investor clients through their annual review. Aid them in the rent discovery process. Also, conduct a property inspection that ensures their property conforms with buy-to-let regulations. Contact Ezytrac today on+44 1522 503 717, and discover the difference that comprehensive investment property management services could make to your life as a buy-to-let investor.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA