Tick Tock - Beat The Clock

With the countdown to Christmas well underway reduce your seasonal stress by helping your rental property run like clockwork with these five simple time-saving solutions

The experts at Belvoir reveal five top time savers for landlords

With the countdown to Christmas well underway reduce your seasonal stress by helping your rental property run like clockwork with these five simple time-saving solutions...

1. Organise and order

Organisation is key to being a time-savvy landlord…

Do you know where your paperwork is? Where have you put your vital documents? Is your insurance policy easily accessible? Getting the administrative side of being a landlord right is extremely important, your tenancy agreement, insurance policy, gas safety certificate and important contact numbers should all be easy for you to access. Plus, all receipts for work done to the property or items bought for the property should be kept together in one place, ideally itemised in month order.

Not having to search for important documents (or order replacements) can be a real time saver, including when you are filling out your tax return, assessing the figures to project profit or loss… and especially in an emergency.

Online banking is also very useful and will enable you to check rent has been paid each month, with ease and at speed. Relying on statements to arrive through the post may mean that many weeks are lost before you even realise rent hasn’t been paid.

If a landlord knows a property well leaving a ‘welcome pack’ for tenants when they move in can save time moving forward too, within it you can provide information about appliances and how to top up the boiler etc. This will save time on phone calls with tenants because you will already have provided all the answers in a comprehensive, accessible way.

Although putting together a pack like this will take a small amount of time at the beginning of the tenancy it can be passed onto future tenants too – so it will help save valuable time, time and time again.

2. Present and correct

Taking the time to find the ‘right’ tenant to move into your property can be a real time-saver…

Getting tenants into your property fast is great but only if they meet the requirements and you feel comfortable with them. Trying to save time by not carrying out credit checks properly or by not getting the correct references is likely to prove more time-consuming long-term. Committing to the wrong tenant can lead to the worst case scenario for even the most experienced landlord… a long and expensive eviction process.

3. Maintain and retain

Once you’ve found a great tenant, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with them and retain them if possible…

Retaining a good tenant is a great way for a landlord to save time, long-term tenants mean less time spent on marketing the property, viewings, credit checks and referencing procedures. Retaining tenants also minimises the potential for periods of void, plus you won’t be building relationships with someone new on a frequent basis, which can, of course, take time.

4. Proactive and active

Save time and money by dealing with maintenance issues as soon as they arise…

Dealing with repairs and maintenance issues immediately will ensure that problems don’t escalate and cause more damage leading to higher repair bills, problems with roofs, windows, leaks, damp etc should all be investigated as soon as possible.

Thinking short-term is short-sighted. While it’s easy to believe ignoring a small leak or loose tile will save you time today, the problem will not go away and is likely to escalate into a bigger issue later. Building good relationships with a group of proactive contractors that you can rely on at short notice is helpful.

Resolving maintenance issues as they happen will also save time because you won’t be dealing with ongoing complaints from your tenants.

Cutting corners by using inferior quality materials or sub-standard contractors when doing repairs can result in a second (possibly more costly and time-consuming) repair in the near future.

But what if a maintenance emergency arises when you’re away?

Storing the contact details for contractors in your mobile phone can be useful, then, if there’s a problem while you’re away from home you’ll be able to organise emergency maintenance with ease.

5. Market and manage

Ultimately, the most efficient time-saving solution for landlords is to get someone else to market and manage the property for you…

Using a reputable letting agent to manage your property will save you time and money as they are managing multiple properties on a daily basis and they are fully aware of any changes to the legal side of lettings.

They will ensure that properties are marketed at the correct price so good quality tenants are secured in a timely manner. They will also ensure that the property is managed proactively and any repairs are dealt with as soon as they are aware of them.

A letting agent can dramatically save you time in numerous ways, from organising viewings and setting up the tenancy, to compiling inventories, commissioning contractors for maintenance and overseeing check outs.

In short, if an agent is managing the property for you, the time you need to dedicate to being a landlord will be kept to a minimum.

Top time savers – at-a-glance...

√ Find the right tenant

√ Tackle maintenance as it arises

√ Communicate with your tenant and build a good relationship

√ Keep on top of admin

√ Set up online banking

√ Provide your tenants with a ‘welcome pack’

√ Keep important documentation together

√ Get things right the first time

√ Store emergency contact numbers in your mobile phone

√ Be organised and proactive

√ Retain good tenants

√ Have a long-term plan

√ Get a letting agent to manage the property for you

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