10 steps to self-managing rental properties

Self-managing your property can provide you with a range of benefits. It can save you a fortune in agent fees for a start. Letting agencies typically charge between 8-20% of your rental income for property management, so it’s no wonder many landlords are beginning to look to self manage their properties to increase their buy to let yield. 

However, self-managing properties can be a lot of work and there’s a fair bit of legislation that you also need to know in order to be a compliant landlord. It can be a minefield knowing how to go about managing your properties on your own and where to even begin. 

Often, if a landlord has moved away or simply doesn’t have the time to manage their properties, they’ll turn to a letting agent to manage this. But if you do want to D.I.Y, we’ve created a list of things you need to know to help you get started:

1. Get your property rental ready 

Before you rent out your property, you need to ensure that the home has no repairs that need doing and that the home is safe to be rented out. It’s a good idea to get gas appliances  (i.e. boilers, ovens, radiators) tested by registered engineers to check that all lights and electrical outlets are working safely. Older boilers may be considered unsafe by modern standards and could need replacing before tenants can move into the property.

You’ll also need to ensure that safety devices (e.g. smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors) are all installed too. 

In order to ensure that all electrical appliances are safe to use, it is often necessary for a PAT test to be carried out on a rental property. Likewise, landlords are required by law to produce an Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate and also an E.I.C.R (which was only recently introduced) before renting out their properties. 

Often, if a landlord has moved away or simply doesn’t have the time to manage their properties, they’ll turn to a letting agent to manage this. But if you do want to D.I.Y, we’ve created a list of things you need to know to help you get started:

2. Kerb Appeal

You may even need to give your place a mini-makeover to make it more appealing. Opt for a neutral colour palette so there’s room for personalisation. If you’ve got bold and striking colours and accent walls, consider toning them down because they won’t be to everyone’s liking. Tenants need to feel like they could move in and wouldn’t need to do much work to the property. 

If you’re advertising your property as fully furnished, ensure that the furniture is of a high standard and you have all of the key pieces in the property, including a sofa, dining table and chairs, bed stand and storage space. Not everyone enjoys a flat pack Ikea home.  

Credit: Francesca Tosellini

3. What rent to charge

You don’t want to overvalue your property as this can put tenants off and can leave your property vacant a lot longer. If you undervalue it then you’ll reduce your potential yield. Therefore it’s vital you get this part right. Compare via property portals the price of other properties in the area that have the same amount of bedrooms, bathrooms and similar furnished/unfurnished homes. 

4. Property advertising

When your property is good to go, you can now advertise it to attract prospective tenants. 95% of tenants start their search for properties by looking at websites such as RightMove, Zoopla, On the Market and Facebook MarketPlace. Advertise your property across these leading websites for maximum exposure. There’s several tools on the market to help you easily do this, including companies such as Upad and Urban.

5. Viewings 

Once you have viewing requests come through, you’ll need to attend these yourself as a D.I.Y landlord. It’s a great way to gauge your prospective tenants and to get a feel for what they could be like. Try and be available in unsociable hours as tenants may need to view properties in the evenings and at weekends around work commitments. 

7. Tenancy security deposit

Once you’ve found your tenants, you may ask them for a deposit to secure the home or room. You’ll need to consider how much of a deposit you want to ask for. As a general rule of thumb, the deposit is normally no more than the cost of a month’s rent upfront. Or are you happy to proceed without a deposit and look at an insurance based scheme instead? 

If your property is in England and Wales and will be let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), you are legally required to hold the deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). This is a legal obligation that you must uphold. A TDS is an independent third-party scheme that offers protection to the landlord and the tenant. The three providers landlords can choose from are The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, The Deposit Protection Service and MyDeposits. 

You’re required to submit the deposit and the tenants should receive confirmation of this within 30 days of sending the deposit. The deposit should also be given back within 10 days of the tenant leaving the property. 

8. Money Money Money

Now you need to be able to agree on a date that the rent’s due and how to collect it. Will the tenant transfer it into your bank account via a standing order? Will they pay you in cash directly to you? Figure out what’s best for both parties. 

9. Managing Repairs 

As a landlord you’re responsible for the following repairs or issues within the property:

  • electrical wiring
  • gas pipes and boilers
  • heating and hot water
  • chimneys and ventilation
  • sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
  • common areas including entrance halls and stairways
  • the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
  • Damp, mould 
  • Rat and mice infestation

10. Evicting a tenant

Hopefully your time as a landlord goes smoothly but it’s a good idea to get eviction cover if things don’t work out with a tenant. For instance, if a tenant isn’t paying their rent or there’s anti-social behaviour going on and you need them removed from the property, this can end up being quite a draining task – not just on your emotions but on your bank balance. By having eviction cover, you can cover the legal fees if in the worst case it needs to go to court, the cost of bailiffs and also the cost of locksmiths in certain cases. 

Keep up with regulation

It’s important to keep up to date with different regulations that come in over time so that you stay compliant and you know that you’ll be a law abiding landlord. It’s easy to miss a piece of legislation or not keep in the loop with changes but it’s important to always keep in the know. A good starting point is to keep an eye on the NRLA website.

An extra helping hand

Being a D.I.Y landlord can be massively rewarding and you can really reap the rewards. However, we can’t deny that property management can be time consuming and everyone needs a helping hand. Our Howsy Connect product gives landlords the tools they need to make property management that bit easier. 

Through the Connect dashboard you can instantly market your property across Rightmove, OntheMarket, Zoopla and more, manage viewings and negotiate offers. We’ll even include two free references and credit checks.

In addition to this, automated rent chasing and collection with same-day payment processing is set up, so you are never out of pocket.

Finally on top of all this you will also receive eviction cover, including court fees, bailiffs and locksmiths. 

Discover more about Howsy Connect