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Old 02 August 2010, 11:27   #1
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Renting out a house/becoming a landlord - help

I may soon be in the position to rent out a 2 bedroom place in bristol. I have never done this before so some pointers would be good.
Specifically, should we use a letting agent for management? General consensus is they are a money grabbing waste of space. My brother and I both live in bristol but don't want to be constantly bothered by tenants problems.
What's the best thing to do in terms of tax? Do it through self assessment or set up a ltd company?
How much work is it to do it all yourself? I don't think we'll have too much trouble finding tenants, its the dealing with problems that concerns me as we both have full time jobs.

As an aside there is potential to convert the loft into a third bedroom, is this worth doing considering the cost involved? It could be done well by having its own access (I.e. not via another room but from the landing) but it would make the pretty big front bedroom smaller by a stairs width.

Any other tips?

Thanks, Tim
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Old 02 August 2010, 13:26   #2
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My Experience

I have just returned to my own house which I have had let for the past 2 years.

I used agents as I was not living close to the property. They were pretty much a waste of space (and 10% of the monthly rental).

If I did this again I would not use an agent, my overall feeling was that their attitude leant towards the tennants not the landlords. Living nearby means you can address any issues yourself and not get ripped off by the agents and their preferred suppliers of services (plumbers etc)

There you go, this was my experience and may not be a reflection on all agents.

Cheers

Paul
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Old 02 August 2010, 13:36   #3
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Tim I've let residentally for a few years now, we let an agent find tennants for us (complete with references etc.)but then manage the property ourselves. You can of course decide what you'll take by way of pets,smokers,children,students etc and have a couple of local tradesmen on hand in case of repairs (annual safety certificate) By and large we find that the better the condition of the property the better it stays.
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Old 02 August 2010, 13:58   #4
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Would be worth using a letting agency to find a tentant and sort out the lease/paperwork. It should be easy to manage the property yourself if the tenants are reasonable. Just make sure you comply with relevant legislation such as getting gas boilers serviced and the like. Tenants have a lot of rights these days.
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Old 02 August 2010, 15:13   #5
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Tufty, your comments echo many others I have had. So many people have used letting agents in the past and then just given up. I reckon we might give it a try by ourselves and then if we find its a PITA we can then go down the letting agent route.

Any other tips and advice? Anyone have any view on the loft conversion idea?
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Old 02 August 2010, 15:29   #6
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Tim,

Would definately get a letting agent to find and vet the tennants. But if you live close i'm sure you could sort out plumbers / repairs etc if needed.

Duncan
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Old 02 August 2010, 16:04   #7
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I'm not sure if it'll be hard to find tenants using Gumtree and the like, credit checks, references etc. might be a bit harder for me to do though but not impossible?
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Old 02 August 2010, 16:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimtim View Post
I'm not sure if it'll be hard to find tenants using Gumtree and the like, credit checks, references etc. might be a bit harder for me to do though but not impossible?
No not impossible but are you 100% sure the checks you make and the contract you draw up will be as tight as one from a professional letting agent? Yes you'll pay initially but 6 months of no rent during a dispute will wipe that out ten fold. Loft conversion wise, yes if going down the student route and you have no intentions of selling the property but no if not, there are many couples out there looking to rent (in 10 years I've only had couples) bottom line is fewer people = less wear & tear.
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Old 02 August 2010, 16:37   #9
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Someone mentioned to me that I wouldn't really get much benefit from having a letting agent in the event of a dispute as they would just end up getting a solicitor involved at my expense anyway.

I figured tenancy agreements are fairly standard and widely available. My house mate is a solicitor so he can always look over anything. Credit checks can be done online somewhere for a small fee I think. References from employers can be checked out, references from landlords are next to useless anyway because anyone without one is likely to make it up.

We wouldn't go down the student route, family or professionals only. Would a loft conversion be worth it purely for the potential increase in property value?
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Old 02 August 2010, 16:41   #10
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For the 300 or 50% of first months rent it's good value having the agent do all the credit / employment checks. Well, it has been for me. Never had a bad tennant, never had a vacant period.

Insurance, gas check, repairs etc I can sort myself.
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