First Time Landlords

If you don’t already own a property to rent, then it’s time to start looking. The key question is what is the best investment? Pinpoint, with our expertise in sales, lettings and property management, and as one of the prime letting agents Belfast, and beyond, are in a great position to advise you. 

To make it as easy as possible for you we collate useful information about properties we market with investment potential e.g. asking price, estimate of spend, potential rental income, and put it into an easy to read spreadsheet.  Contact us to obtain a copy of our investment matrix by email and sign up to our mailing list to receive it each month.

2. What help do I need?
The lettings market moves quickly and an increase in legislation means you need to be properly prepared so as to avoid future pitfalls.  Pinpoint has the time, experience, expertise and professional contacts to assist you in the process.  We offer a tiered lettings service so you can choose the level which suits your needs best.  Contact your local rental team to find out more.  We can also assist you to find the best NI mortgages and rates for buy to let landlords.  Ask to speak to Patricia McKillop of PMK Financial Services, an Independent Financial Advisor experienced in mortgage advice, landlords insurance, buildings and contents cover and much more.

3. What rent should I charge?
Lettings agents can advise the rent you should charge and the potential yield you could earn from your let. There may be a number of fees to consider too, and all agents will charge differently, and you need to factor in other costs e.g. Energy Performance Certificates, rates and registration fees.  If you would like to talk to us for some advice, don't hesitate to call your local Pinpoint office and, before you allow fees to be the deciding factor on which agent you choose to use, read our article on Online Estate Agents = Attractive fees with hidden costs. The most important question to ask yourself is this: which agent will be the most helpful to me as a landlord?  Click here to book a valuation of your rental property.

4. Make your property safe and get insured
There are lots of property regulations to keep your tenant safe. We know it’s important to you to be a responsible landlord, so make sure you are fully compliant at this early stage. Need some assistance?  Don't hesitate to ask us, we are happy to answer any queries you may have.
For additional security, make sure you are fully covered. Regular domestic policies often do not cover rental properties. It is also possible to insure against non-payment of rent. Patricia McKillop of PMK Financial Services can advise you on, or arrange rental property insurance and rent protection insurance on your behalf.  Contact your local Pinpoint office to arrange an appointment.

5. Find a tenant
It’s time to get your property seen by potential tenants. The internet is the single most important place to advertise your let, so be sure your agent has good online coverage. Prepare your property to look its best for viewings. Once you’ve found a tenant, you’ll want some reassurance that your property and rental income are safe. Knowing that your tenant has been fully referenced and credit checked gives you huge peace of mind. Pinpoint use the tenant referencing service Homelet to carry out the required checks on all prospective tenants.

6. Put a tenancy agreement in place
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant. The main advantage of having a written tenancy agreement is that it sets out the rights and responsibilities of both tenant and landlord in a way that is legally enforceable. This keeps disagreements to a minimum because both sides know where they stand. It should cover things like lease length, restrictions e.g. pets, late payment penalties, service charges and repairs.  By using an agent like Pinpoint, experienced in letting property Northern Ireland, you will ensure that your tenancy agreement is legally compliant with the most uptodate legislation and so safeguarding your rights as a landlord.

7. Register as a landlord
All private landlords in Northern Ireland need to register with the Landlord Registration Scheme website, for which there is a cost.  The Registration Certificate is then valid for three years.  We can't do it for you, but our staff will sit with you and help you through the online process if you need any assistance.

8. Make an inventory
Shortly before the tenant moves in, make sure you or your agent has made an inventory of the contents of the property and its condition. If an inventory is not carried out, or if it was insufficiently detailed, then it may not be clear how the property should be left before departure, which could lead to a deposit dispute. Dealing with a deposit dispute can be stressful and costly for those involved so it’s always preferable to avoid this.  For more information read our article on The importance of inventory for landlords and tenants

9. Collect the deposit and start receiving rent
You are legally required to put your tenant’s deposit in a government protected scheme. We register deposits with a scheme called the Tenancy Deposit Scheme to the benefit of both tenants and landlords. It will soon be time to collect the rent. You’ll need to decide whether you want to do this yourself, or let your agent take care of it.  

10. Property inspections
You want to know your property is being looked after. Visiting the tenants every six months to check all is ok is recommended. As part of our tiered level of lettings service Pinpoint can take care of this for you.

11. Maintaining the property
As time goes on, it’s inevitable that your property will receive some wear and tear. It’s your responsibility to maintain the property at the standard it was first let. Remember, keeping on top of small problems now could help you save large sums of money later.  Some agents, like Pinpoint, offer a property management service which you can avail of depending on the level of service you choose.

12. Renewing or ending the tenancy
You’ll be surprised how quickly the initial contract passes by. As it comes to a close, it’s time to decide whether you wish to renew or terminate your contract. If you choose to terminate you must give your tenant the appropriate notice. If you (and the tenant) choose to renew, they, their guarantor and you will need to resign to a new lease period.

If they, or you, do not wish to renew the tenancy at the end of the lease period then it comes to an end and it’s time for your tenant to move out. You’ll need to revisit the inventory, settle any disputes and return the deposit. Consider what to do next with your property. Is it time to sell or will you let again? If it’s the latter go back to stage 2! 

But don’t forget to consider any work you need to do to the property before it returns to the market.