Q. I’m about to become a landlord for the first time and I am filled with both excitement at the thought of owning my very first investment property but also if I’m honest I also feel a little apprehensive too. I think the feedback from friends who have already done so is a real mixed bag some telling me it’s the best thing they have ever done others saying it’s been a complete nightmare. I want this to be a success though as it will help fund my pension so I am in it for the long haul. I’ve heard about Rental Warranties that you can take out to prevent some of the issues I’m most concerned about. Do you think it’s worth taking one out or are they a waste of time?
A. Of course becoming a landlord for the very first time is going to have highs and lows. It’s exciting because you now own a second property which hopefully will earn you some great capital growth for the future but it’s also a worrying time too if you don’t do things properly right from the get go. To be a successful landlord you need to make sure you don’t cut corners. So start by using an ARLA regulated agent, this will mean that they are not only regulated and abide by strict guidelines but that they will take finding you a suitable tenant very seriously ensuring that the necessary referencing is carried out as well as drawing up a suitable contract to protect you if things do go wrong. Of course even when everything is done professionally by a qualified agent things can and do go wrong as sometimes tenants do not live up to their profiles. This is where a warranty can offer you some reassurance. Most of the referencing agencies that agents outsource the referencing process too offer this kind of protection to give landlords peace of mind. There are different types of warranties available some that kick in from the first month of non-payment others from the second month depending on the premium paid, so at least you are guaranteed income whatever happens to cover your costs. These warranties usually handle the eviction on your behalf too if it does go to court. Personally if you are feeling a tad nervous I think it’s worth the investment as its usually less than a couple of hundred pounds per annum and on the grander scheme of things not very much at all to get a good night’s sleep!