It’s not the easiest time to be a landlord. Brexit is causing house prices to rise with far less consistency than they used to, and when combined with the fact that landlords are beginning to pay tax on mortgage interest which was previously given tax relief, the lettings market is certainly not the effortless cash cow it once had the reputation as being.
There are, however, still a huge number of things you can do to maximise your rental profits. So make 2018 the year you take a stand and step your property income up a level with these easy-to-action top tips!
Just because you’ve signed a mortgage contract with one provider doesn’t necessarily mean you have to continue paying that same provider for the length of the mortgage agreement.
With mortgage rates at a record low and the removal of the tax relief on mortgage interest payments it’s more important than ever to start shopping around to secure the best deals in 2018.
See what you can do to secure a rate that will stick with you even when the Bank of England ramps up the base rate again and remember you may even be able to negotiate better interest rates with the same provider – check if your mortgage is eligible.
Tax legislation is an endless web of exemptions, many of which landlords don’t even know about! If you’ve got the money to spare, getting a good accountant will be a worthwhile investment, and could well save you money in the long run. If not, spending an afternoon on Google working out exactly what you can expense will be an afternoon well spent.
In the same way as a business or a sole trader can claim business expenses, there are a range of things that landlords can also claim as expenses. The mortgage tax relief used to be one of these, but sadly this is being phased out – though you can still claim a gradually reducing percentage off until 2020.
The legislation has changed recently in this area so now is a great time to get up to speed on exactly what is and isn’t tax deductible for landlords.
This might not seem like something that will provide immediate cash benefits, but trust us – any landlord who’s been in the business long enough to encounter a rogue tenant will tell you how important it is to avoid them. A tenant that respects your property and pays their rent on time is an incredibly valuable resource.
Can you afford to make the mortgage repayments for months on end if a tenant gets into arrears? Didn’t think so – make sure you conduct a thorough reference check before your tenant moves in, and take a deposit when they do.
Similarly, however, being a good landlord will encourage good tenants. It’s a two way street. Having a good working relationship with your tenant encourages them to treat your property with respect. Yes, sometimes this means spending money by keeping up with repairs and maintaining the property – but it is money well spent.
As well as this, keeping on top of maintenance and repairs also involves being present. Conducting house viewings and inspections in person, and responding quickly when tenants contact you reminds them that the property belongs to you, a person, not some far off faceless entity. Building respect with your tenant pays for itself and then some.
Usually, if you wait for things to break before fixing them, it costs a lot more money in the long run. Keeping on top of repairs on a regular basis is the way to keep costs down here and also allows you to budget for regular outgoings rather than unexpected, huge, one-offs when something goes really wrong.
If you know the boiler or the oven are getting old and need to be replaced, do it this month rather than putting pressure on yourself to get it sorted in a rush at greater expense further down the line. In this case at least, the age old phrase ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ just, sadly, doesn’t cut it.
Making energy efficiency improvements to your rental property is a great way to cut down on ongoing costs. This could involve installing double glazing, loft insulation and draught-proofing… depending on whether or not you include bills in the rent, anything extra that will help cut down on the heating and electricity bills on an ongoing bases could save you money. Even if you have to set out an initial outlay of money, you’ll quickly find your reduced energy bills making up for this in the long run.
Luckily you’ll be happy to hear that many of these improvements can be funded using a government established grant, using the ‘Green Deal’. So you can get all or part of the initial cost funded by the government and then watch as your bills go down over the coming months. Perfect!
And don’t forget that any properties that have new tenants move in after April 2018 will have to have an energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ or higher – meaning you might well end up paying a whole lot more in fines as well as higher bills if you leave it much longer before you make the improvements.
You can take our word on this one – because we really know! Let’s face it, the days of old high street lettings agents charging extortionate money for services that you just don’t need are long over.
Using online letting agents like LetBritain allows you to pay a single, one-time payment that will provide you with all the services you need to get in touch with potential tenants and arrange your perfect tenancy.