Dealing With Becoming An Accidental Landlord

Accidental landlord

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The current property market isn’t exactly all smiles and bags of cash at the moment. In fact, according to Rightmove, the average asking price has dropped for the third consecutive month.

You may find yourself wanting to sell your property either to upsize, downsize or try a new area but have come across a roadblock such as:

  • You are in negative equity (where the property is worth less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage)
  • There is no interest in your property from buyers, even after dropping the price
  • You will struggle to pay estate agents fees AND the fees for your new home (including hefty stamp duty fees)

In this situation you may find that your only option is to let out your property, effectively making yourself an Accidental Landlord. An Accidental Landlord is someone who didn’t plan on letting out their property but for financial reasons, have had to do just that.

First thing’s first, DON’T PANIC! There are plenty of websites and communities out there with great resources to help you out (some of which will be featured here soon). You can get immediate advice by doing the following:

1. Speak to your financial adviser

Ask them what your options are. They will exhaust every possibility for you and provide information about which routes you can choose to go down. You can find an IFA by visiting Unbiased.

2. Seek advice from several Letting Agents

There are a LOT of estate agents out there and every single one of them will be fighting for your custom. Very good agents are few and far between so you want to speak to a few of them to get a feel of how they work. Ask about their Rent Only and Full Property Management schemes. Also ask for references!

Or why not manage the property yourself?

3. Check for accreditations and schemes

Any agent can be a member of a scheme but you will find that they will follow particular practices and stick to procedures much better than “Daves Lettings” on the street corner who looks a little shady! Check for agents that are members of The Property Ombudsmen  National Approved Lettings Scheme or SafeAgent.

4. Money isn’t everything

Just because an agent is cheap it doesn’t mean that they’re any good. This also applies to agents that are expensive. Although generally you get what you pay for, in the case of estate agents you really need to put in the research to make sure you’re getting an agent which will genuinely look after you, your tenants and your property.

5. Read the contract. Then read it again!

If you decide to let out your property with Awesome Estates (after putting in adequate research), you will be expected to sign a contract binding you in to a minimum length of time, payment terms and other fees. Get this contract looked at before you sign anything! If you can, try to get it checked over by a solicitor (not one that the agent recommends) to make sure it’s legal and fair.

This might not be the situation that you wanted to be in but look on the bright side, you are now a landlord with a property empire!!! OK maybe not quite just yet but think of this as an opportunity and who knows? This might just be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Next: Need to move out of your new rental property? We tell you how to find the best removal company.

Are you an accidental landlord? Share your story in the comments below.

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Caroline Engstrom

Caroline Engstrom has a passion to help landlords and tenants by providing helpful tips and advice regarding real estates.

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