Landlords – like you – should be safeguarding their assets during the cost of living crisis. CIA are here to help with a few tips.

Imagine you’re facing three empty properties which you now have to pay council tax on with no rent coming in. It’s a situation that can easily spiral and leave you with hefty bills and facing selling or remortgaging to free up some equity.

Keeping the rent flowing is key and that starts with keeping your tenants in the property. In addition, there are a few nifty government schemes that you could be taking advantage of.

Be a face to the name. Communication is key.

Make sure you meet and speak with your tenants. You should be carrying out 6-month checks on your property to check fire safety and property upkeep. Use the checkups to build rapport and understand any changing circumstances in your tenants’ lives.

Questions you could ask –

  • How’s their work going?
  • Are there plans to change jobs or travel?
  • Where do their families live?

Whilst these questions may seem over-familiar it helps build a strong picture of the emotional pulls and financial ties your tenants have. Why is this useful? It helps you forecast any movements or changes to the tenancy.

As long as your questions don’t make your tenants feel interrogated, there’s no harm in asking.

Remember you’re not allowed to disregard prospective tenants for any reasons listed in the discrimination Equality Act 2010.

Get landlord’s insurance that covers unpaid rent

Before you even show prospective tenants around the property get your insurance in order.

CIA offer unpaid rent cover which certainly gives you the peace of mind every landlord needs right now.

Request a callback today and get a quote for your landlord’s insurance.

Have a thorough screening process for new tenants

If you’ve been paying council tax and bills on an empty property for the last few months, you’re almost certainly going to bite the first tenant’s hand off who shows interest.

The screening process and credit checks of your prospective tenants will be a huge indication as to the risk and reliability of what you are about to agree to.

You’ll want to run a thorough credit check to see if there are any outstanding financial arrears or court orders held against your tenant. You also want a reliable guarantor before any keys are handed over.

See CIA’s advice on a thorough screening process here. 

Check eligibility for a discount on energy bills

‘Bills included’ rental properties will need to take action and find out if they are eligible to receive a discount on their energy bills. This discount is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

You should have been contacted already as a government initiative has been released to offer support to landlords, property owners and rental tenants with the rising energy bills.

If you have been contacted regarding an energy bills discount, you might want to make this known to your tenants who can apply the discount to their bills. Or if you’re a ‘bills included’ property you’ll be able to apply this to your monthly or quarterly bill.

If there is still a significant increase in your energy bills, keeping good communications with your tenants about rising bills is advisable. Make sure they have plenty of warning and visibility on the exact amount the energy companies are asking from you.

Make sure you send this to your tenants in writing after having spoken to them. No surprises means no disgruntled tenants.

Improve your properties energy performance

Your property, by law, should be scoring energy performance rating E or EPC E. You’ll need to comply with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard and take appropriate action if your rating falls below E.

However, in the recent Rental Reform, this grading is aiming to be standardised at C in 2030. Getting your property sorted now and taking advantage of government energy performance schemes could prove a great investment of time and money if completed more immediately.

In addition to complying with the legal standard, you’ll chop a considerable chunk off of your energy bills as well. This can prove massively useful to your tenants over the harsh winter months.

Below, Gov UK has listed the cost of each improvement you can take to enhance your energy rating. These are cumulative and should be carried out in the order they appear to help improve your rating.

Recommended measures Indicative cost Typical savings per year Rating after improvement
Room-in-roof insulation £1,500-£2,700 £837 E39
Internal or external wall insulation £4,000-£14,000 £195 E45
Solid floor insulation £4,000-£6,000 £122 E49
Increase hot water cylinder insulation £15-£30 £142 E54
Draught proofing £80-£120 £18 D55
Low energy lighting £20 £21 D56
High heat retention storage heaters / dual immersion cylinder £1,200-£1,800 £319 D67
Solar water heating £4,000-£6,000 £57 C69
Replace single glazed windows with low-E double glazed windows £3,300-£6,500 £123 C73
Solar photovoltaic panels £5,000-£8,000 £287 B83

Figures taken from .gov

We hope these tips enable you to swerve the sting of the cost of living crisis as a landlord. Get your landlord’s insurance in place by requesting a callback today or giving us a call on 01788 818 670.

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