If you’re a prospective or new landlord, the best place to start is my Landlord Guide, which is 100% free to download. It contains an accumulation of articles I’ve written over several years which I believe to be most suitable for inexperienced landlords.
Before you begin this journey through the Ultimate Landlord Guide, I should clarify that the guide is written for private sector UK Landlords in England & Wales with single tenanted properties (e.g. NOT for Houses in Multiple Occupation). However, it still may prove useful in elements for all UK based landlords as it covers good general practices.
Disclaimer: this is just a general guide to lettings for Landlords in England & Wales. Any legal information provided is not legal advice and should not be treated as such. The legal information in this guide/eBook is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. You should seek help from a professional for any legal matters.
The backstory (if you’re interested)…
I still clearly remember when I was first started flirting with the idea of buying my first buy-to-let property and becoming a landlord. But not just any old landlord, a filthy rich one, with the resources to make ludicrous and lavish purchases without blinking an eyelid, like an exotic and rare lizard. I don’t even like lizards, they make for a ridiculous purchase and pet, but exotic pets just scream pomposity and success- so why not? Does any of this sound familiar? Not necessarily the exotic lizard part, but the filthy rich part and the concept of being able to buy an old shit without financial restraints. Yes? Good.
I’m still pursuing my millions, and I don’t actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve got the ball in motion, I have a few BTL’s- and getting started is the hardest part.
However, at the very beginning I was clueless, it was pathetic, I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I had a goal, but not a single inclination of how to achieve it. Sound familiar? Good, because you’ve probably come to the right place then.
For me, the whole prospect of buying a house was overwhelming, let alone taking on the responsibility of being a landlord, a first-time landlord.
How does it work? What are the laws? Do I need to be qualified? They were just a few of the questions that ran through my mind, and I didn’t no where to find the answers. But the scariest aspect, which I still believe to be true for every first-time landlord, is the idea of investing so much money into something we know so little about. What if I lose it all?
I’ve seen other people do it successfully, and they make it look and sound easy. But the prospect is unbelievably scary when you’re dealing with our own money, right? I’m surprised I didn’t physically shit my pants when I transferred the deposit for my first BTL purchase, although I’m pretty sure I did in every metaphorical way possible. Scary.
I purchased my first BTL before buying my own house, so I was clueless and inexperienced in every aspect, but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my goal. Granted, it took me almost 2 years of just “contemplating” before actually getting the ball rolling, so it wasn’t just a case of “doing it” There’s no big-talk here, just the ramblings of a once petrified and unknowing prospective landlord that eventually found his shrivelled-up, raisin balls. Now, let me help you find yours… they’re in there somewhere, I know they are!
So where should I start? My first port of call was to do research, and lots of it. Apparently research is key. It’s boring as shit, which makes it a soul-destroying task, but it’s key. I wanted to maximise my chances of being successful so I figured learning some practical knowledge would be the best way.
Like the typical modern man/woman, I started my quest by scouring the internet for useful websites that could assist me with my pursuit to happiness. I found little, and the little I did find didn’t make sense to me and mostly wanted me to part with my cash to learn more. All I wanted was a one-stop shop, a step-by-step guide/resource in layman’s terms so I could understand the process of becoming a legitimate landlord. I couldn’t find it. But evidently, there was no shortage of virtual dogshit.
I read what I found and I learned what I could, but I can honestly say that I didn’t know anywhere near enough. In retrospect, it’s incredible I made it through my first purchase. But my inexperience (and lack of research) didn’t go unpunished; I made many stupid mistakes, which primarily consisted of overpaying for services I didn’t need, and neglecting laws I didn’t know existed. Guilty.
But the truth is, no matter what you read, no matter how much you listen, or who you listen to, the best way to learn is by actually doing it and putting yourself through the grinder. You’ll never fully understand the landlord cycle until you go through it several times over. However, that’s not to say researching is a total waste of time. I still wish I had an easy to digest step-by-step guide for new landlords so I had better direction.
My point is, no one can teach you everything about being a landlord, not even the experts, and no one can fully prepare you. So, while the steep learning curve is unavoidable – no matter how much research you endure – there is definitely perks to grinding through the mundane homework in order to substantially minimise risk. And hopefully, the homework doesn’t have to be utterly painful, especially since I’ve [attempted to] throw together an easy guide for new, prospective, and accidental landlords– something I wish I had found when I started pursuing the idea of becoming a landlord. It covers the key steps of becoming a landlord, so you can at least understand the process (without having to shuffle through several resources, and/or read a book thicker than my…). I’ve tried to put each point in order of occurrence.
You never know, after you read it, the idea of being a landlord may not seem so appealing. Or you may want it even more than ever. I hope it helps either way.