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Look throughout literature, and what seems to run through the veins of the person who charges you money to live in their property is not the milk of human kindness, but a cocktail of meanness and miserliness.
The first rule of landlording, therefore, and one which should be woven into the welcome mat, is that while you can earn a decent amount of income from your tenants, you and they aren’t actually friends.
“Do not become too familiar with your tenant,” warns Paul Shamplina, the boss of Landlord Action, which offers advice to property owners.
Sure, you may have to pay those agents 10pc of your rental income, but it’s worth it not to get those midnight calls saying the boiler has broken, or that there may be a problem paying this month’s rent.
The first rule of renting-out, therefore, is that you can’t do it all yourself.
It’s not just a matter of knocking on the door on the first day of every month and collecting the rent; it's a matter of having all your gas and electricity installations checked for safety, as well as keeping your insurance up to date.
Pick the right area The other thing that inexperienced landlords don’t realise is that it is perfectly feasible to rent out property that isn’t in your own area.
“If you don’t live close to the property, you will need a letting agent to work on your behalf,” says prolific landlord David Lawrenson. “If you live far away, if you are a high earner in your day job, or you are just too busy, a letting agent may be good for you, either in finding a tenant or in managing the tenancy.
“After all, why waste time advertising and interviewing tenants, if your friendly local agent will do it for you at a fraction of the cost of your own lost work or leisure time?