Letting property seems a great investment idea (it is if you get it right) and lots of new landlords have recently jumped on the band wagon very much encouraged by all those TV programmes and sometimes by investment advisors who know little more about letting property than the investment clients they are advising.
Successful landlording requires a certain kind of enlightened, cautious approach which avoids the big expensive mistakes: making sure you do you homework and selecting tenants VERY carefully. If you don’t do it right you pay a big price – you learn the hard way, and usually very quickly, but sometimes with disastrous consequences. It’s all about going up the learning curve as quickly as you can – reading the content of a website like LandlordZONE will certainly help.
Here is a note of warning: an article by Midlands solicitors, Young & Lee:
West Midland people looking at property as an alternative to traditional investments are getting their fingers burnt.
Birmingham and Black Country solicitors Young & Lee are expanding its litigation team to deal with an increasing caseload from clients. The company has doubled its commercial and property team with more new appointments planned in the autumn.
â€œWith traditional investments performing poorly in recent years and all the problems with pensions an increasing number of people in the Midlands are looking at property and â€œbuy to letâ€? as an alternative way of securing their future,â€? said Victoria Grundon, a property expert in the commercial litigation team with Young & Lee.
â€œThere are an increasing number of private landlords and â€œbuy to letâ€? has really taken off but people need to understand that it is no easy option with many pitfalls.
â€œI deal with some horror stories where people have tenants damaging property, running up huge rent arrears but finding it impossible to recover the money or get rid of the bad tenants. People have got into real financial problems because they have invested in a buy to let property and need that money to pay the mortgage but find themselves with tenants who will not pay.
â€œIt takes at least three months to get a tenant out. Many people let on a â€˜nod and a winkâ€™ but it is essential that a proper legal agreement is drawn up. When things start to go wrong they often leave it too late before taking the proper steps. Tenants, including bad tenants, have rights and a property owner cannot just ask them to leave and change the locks â€“ it is a process that involves going to court and getting a possession order and instructing bailiffs. If the owner does not do it right they can themselves get into serious troubleâ€?
Victoria Grundon said that â€œbuy to letâ€? can offer good returns although like any investment property can go down as well as up: â€œIt is vital to select tenants with care The priority of letting is too often just to get someone in as quickly as possible. Remember the ultimate responsibility is with the owner not the agent.â€?
Young & Lee are a commercial and family law practice employing 70 people in Birmingham City Centre and Kingswinford in the Black Country.