Top Tips for Landlords


A stitch in time….

Don’t you just hate it when clichés turn out to be true.

1. Constantly keep your eye on the industry.

Here at Lodestone, we constantly watch the market to ensure we are always ahead of any changes in regulation, products, industry and economic changes. This helps us to provide a better service. Likewise, you should look at yourself as a business, and ensure that you always keep up to date with relevant announcements relating to landlords and buy to let properties. There are plenty of specific news sites out there, so take advantage of the free information. You should also keep an eye out for useful newsletters, guides and even social media pages to help keep you up to date.

Many landlords have property in different local authority boroughs to where they live, so ensure that you always keep up to date with local laws and regulations as there may be things that you need to do to keep yourself legal.

2. Review your letting agent.

If you use one, then you should think about the letting agent you are using, the service they provide you, and whether or not they are charging you a reasonable price. If you pay your agent to carry out periodic inspections for you, don’t be scared to contact your tenants directly and ask if these happen. It will reassure your tenants that you have their best interests at heart (even though inspections can be a pain), ensuring that you want to be kept up to date on any maintenance issues etc.

It is a legal requirement that letting agents be a member of a government approved letting agency redress scheme. You can find more information on this here Registering with a redress scheme as a property agent – GOV.UK ( Before you choose an agent to manage your property for you make sure you check that they are registered.

3. Carry out periodic inspections.

As mentioned in the previous point, if you choose to manage your property yourself, then you should carry out inspections. This is a very important task, and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Contact your tenants and schedule a suitable time with them at which you can visit and carry out the inspection. If you can schedule a full year’s worth at the end of the previous year, you’ll save your self a job, and start the new year a little more organised!

4.  Take notes.

When you do carry out your inspection, ensure that you take notes. You can use pen and paper, but its easier and safer to use a phone or tablet. Ensure that you don’t forget or miss anything, you don’t want to waste your tenants, or your own, time. Make sure you deal with or at least agree to, any issues that the tenants are having, and at the same time keep a record of how the tenants are looking after your property.

5. Update contact details

Whilst visiting the tenants, check that you have their up-to-date contact details, and the same for your agent if you use one, and any other property contacts you use. If you change your details, be sure to let them know.

6. Landlord responsibilities

Are you doing everything that you should? Have a look here: Renting out your property – GOV.UK ( When starting a new tenancy, you should check this to make sure you are keeping within the law. There are also certain documents that you legally have to provide your tenants with. Make sure you do!

7. Property maintenance

The minute that you are made aware of an issue with or something that needs fixing at the property, make plans to have a professional investigate. It could be something as big as a broken boiler, and it could be as simple as a blown fuse, but whatever it is, if the tenancy agreement holds you responsible, deal with it! Its not going to repair itself, and the problem could get worse. The sooner you deal with it the less money it will cost you in the long run.

8. Respond to tenants ASAP.

If your tenants do send you an email or text, don’t leave them waiting. Treat them as you would like to be treated and be courteous enough to let them know you have received it and are dealing with it. It creates trust and common ground.

9. Maintenance & Repairs Professionals

You may well be a DIY expert, but it pays to have a professional or team of professionals who you trust, that you can call on in the event of an emergency. Using the same people can get you discounts or better rates, but still make sure that you do your research and shop around to compare prices.

Using professionals isn’t just sensible to ensure the job is done to a good standard, its also wise because certain jobs can only be carried out by specifically qualified people, such as Gas Safe registered engineers.

10. Communicate via email if possible

Whoever you correspond with, be it the tenants, the managing agent or any of your professional tradespeople, we recommend that you communicate via email wherever possible. Doing so ensures that you can keep track of all communication, and evidence sending and receipt of important information/ documents. There can be no disagreement about whether or not you sent or received something.

11. Important dates

When you are a landlord it is imperative that you keep on top of everything, especially important dates. Make sure you have everything written down and set up reminders for them. Dates to consider making note of would be tenancy agreement renewals, annual maintenance checks, energy supply renewals, insurance renewals, and so on.

12. Compare energy suppliers.

As mentioned above you should consider reviewing energy suppliers. This is particularly important if you include the bills in the rent. Once your contract is due for renewal, shop around and check the competition, you could save yourself some money, and if you’re feeling generous, could pass this onto your tenants.

13. Review your tenancy agreements.

As we mentioned at the very beginning of this tip sheet, it important to keep up to date with industry news and regulation. Laws can and do change at any time, so you should make sure that you make any amendments to your tenancy agreements to reflect this.

14. Deep clean between tenants

Hopefully they will be a rare occurrence, but if you do find yourself with a void period, you should take advantage of it. Of course, it can be a worry because you’re not receiving any rent and you still have a mortgage to pay! Don’t worry, just use the time to give the property a good clean, and if need be a fresh lick of paint. Not only will this be pleasant for your new tenants it may actually help you secure that tenant!

15. Refresh your property.

As we mentioned above a lick of paint goes a long way, but don’t stop there, think about new carpets or flooring as well. This can make your property more homely and inviting, and that fresh modern look might be just what your prospective tenants are looking for.

This doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg though. There are lots of sites out there which are very useful such as Shpock and Gum Tree, where you can pick up cheap or even free, unwanted decorating materials, and second-hand furniture, that may well be in perfect condition.

16. Organise your receipts.

As we have said elsewhere in this article, consider being a landlord as a business. As any responsible businessperson knows, you have to submit tax returns every year. Whether you do this yourself or use the services of an accountant, keeping a record of everything you have spent and received throughout the year is vitally important, and it will save you a huge amount of time.

17. Review your rent.

Many landlords fall into this trap. They think I’ve got a tenant who isn’t too bad and doesn’t cause me too much difficulty, so just keep the rent the same year after year. Don’t! You shouldn’t be scared to review this on at least an annual basis. Speak to local agents and other landlords if you know any to see what they charge. If your property isn’t producing the rent you hoped for, then review it. After all, this is a business. It needs to at least break even, but preferably make you a profit. If it just isn’t working, then consider selling up and buying elsewhere.

18. Review your Buy-to-Let mortgage

Just like you review your rent and other bills, you should also regularly review your mortgage. A good mortgage broker will automatically know when your mortgage rate is expiring, but if you have arranged it yourself then make sure you keep track of this. It is, after all your biggest expense. Your mortgage broker, will also have a view on the general market conditions and be able to advise you about what may happen in the short/ medium term with things like interest rates etc. The better the rate you can get, the more profitable the property will be.

19. Prepare for regulation changes.

Most years see some changes in regulation. For example, in 2018 it became illegal for a landlord to start a new tenancy if the EPC of their property was F or G. From 2020 this applied to new tenancies as well.

Make sure that you are always prepared for any changes. We have another article on this site about important dates for 2021, so take a look at it.

20. Enjoy it.

Last but not least, take time to step back, look at what you’ve achieved and just enjoy it. If you put in the time and effort this will be very rewarding and come become a good retirement option for you. But never forget, it is a business, and as with enjoy job, you take holidays. Make sure you do the same here. Take a break and relax. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and eager to get going again.

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