A handy checklist for new portfolio landlords in Leeds
We are biased, we know, but we do believe that Leeds is one of the best student cities in the UK. It is compact, home to 60,000 undergraduates, has a fantastic transport network and, unlike London, Cambridge or Oxford, property and rents are affordable.
You may know this already – but if you’re new to being a property landlord, we thought that we’d offer a 10 point checklist that may come in handy for you.
If you need other advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Rooftop Living in Leeds.
The title promised a list, so here goes:
- Invest in the right area
- Work out yields
- Choose the right letting agent
- Reference your tenants
- Sort out landlord insurance
- Put a tenancy agreement in place
- Protect deposits
- Ensure the property is safe and clean
- Carry out an inventory
- Get the marketing right
Now each of these 10 points would probably form a blog in their own right – but we will flesh out the detail on the points.
Invest in the right area
In Leeds, student areas are pretty easy to find. Hyde Park and Headingley are the epicentres of student living and we’re based in Hyde Park for this reason. We’re accessible for both tenants and landlords and we know every nook and cranny of the area, as well as Kirsktall, the city centre etc. We have area guides to hep you too in where to look.
What you shouldn’t do, in our opinion, is invest in areas where property is too expensive. Horsforth has Trinity University so a ready population of students to let to – but there’s an issue there. Property prices are very high and students would prefer to live in Headingley or Hyde Park and travel to university by bus, car or train and navigate Brownberrie Lane on foot.
Work out yields
You’re investing in Leeds property to see a yield from rental income and capital growth. Your yields need to be healthy – 5% plus is a good start. With saving rates (and borrowing) at historic lows, you will make more money with property investment than leaving it comatose in a bank savings account. But you need to do your homework and ask experts like us at Rooftop Living.
Choose the right letting agent
You need a company who are established and experienced. One with knowledge of favoured student areas, one with a proven tracking record of success with landlords, investors and tenants. One with social proof – by this we mean active marketing on channels where students are – Instagram is the obvious one here.
Reference your tenants
You must establish a contract with tenants. This usually takes the form of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy – you can find templates online and any letting agent will carry out this process for you.
You wouldn’t drive a new or old car without insurance, so it is with property. Things may happen outside your control – structural damage from winds and storms, or flooding. You are well advised to take out insurance for your investment – you can pick from Buildings, Contents, Legal Expenses and Rent Guarantees, or a package that covers all four. Again, we can advise.
We’ve touched on this before – the AST above. Just to reinforce though, this is a legally binding agreement and sets out payments, dates and duration of lets and notice periods for tenancy termination by either party.
All landlords should add tenant deposits to one of three government approved deposit schemes. You have 30 days to do this from receiving funds. And you should pay heed to the Tenant Fees Act from 2019 which stipulates permissible deposit limits. These schemes protect you and tenants and we can advise too.
A clean and safe home
Student accommodation doesn’t have to be the stereotypical dumps from programmes like “The Young Ones”. Many overseas and national students expect clean and high quality accommodation and who can blame them when they’re spending 37 weeks a year there? We offer a lot of boutique style accommodation and, unsurprisingly, these are in high demand and have few if any void periods.
As well as being clean and modern, your student property needs to be safe.
You must provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) and ensure that electrics and appliances are all safe.
Carry out an inventory
This needs to be done before a tenancy starts and at the end. Why? To avoid disputes over deposit deductions. If you’ve supplied 20 pans and there’s only 10 left at the end, or your washing machine mysteriously disappears or changes brands, you need this to be included in the original inventory. All good letting agents, like us, will advise you on inventories.
Students tend to more definitive than other tenants. By this, we mean they are looking to live in certain areas for a defined period of time. A group of friends who find a 4 bedroomed property are highly unlikely to change their mind, as a family can if they decide not to move. If an 18 year old has got an offer to study in Leeds, they will need accommodation for the next three or four years.
Marketing has evolved. If you went to university 30 or 40 years ago, you probably looked on campus noticeboards or sought advice from university accommodation staff. The internet changed all that with property portals, websites, social media becoming prominent.
Your property has to be marketed effectively to your target audience and where they are likely to be looking.
Rooftop Living exemplifies this – just click the Instagram and Facebook icons to see for yourselves. This is not a vanity strategy – students follow and engage with our channels and you need to use a letting agent who is using marketing fit for 2021 and not 1981.
We hope this blog has been useful and if you need more advice, pick up the phone to talk with our friendly team, drop us a message on socials or email us.