Top tips for unintentional landlords

by Sarah Ashcroft

One of the biggest trends in recent months in the private rented sector has been the rise of unintentional landlords. These are people who are looking to rent a room to someone or let a whole property for the first time.

Often down to an inability to sell their home in a depressed buying market, these landlords are keen to exploit the growing tenant demand in the private rented sector.

Nick Long, managing director of Towergate Insurance's specialist household division, believes these first-time landlords will need a bit of a helping hand to negotiate the sector. Here he lists his top tips for letting a property.

Lender and insurer notification

"Contact your mortgage lender and home insurer before letting out your property," advises Nick. It's important to ask the lender for its consent to let to avoid breaching the mortgage contract.

Landlord insurance

A good landlord policy, says Nick, should cover professionals, students and DSS tenants, loss of rent, unoccupied periods, alternative accommodation, tracing and accessing leaks, accidental damage, legal expenses and liabilities, plus rent protection. 

It's also vital for landlords to comply with fire, gas, electric, appliance and furniture regulations and install fire and carbon monoxide alarms. "Regular checks must be undertaken and records kept, if not, tenants could be at risk and the landlord insurance may not be valid," he explains.

Be aware of legal rights

For example, landlords must give at least 24 hours' notice if intending to enter the tenant's home, while there should also be clear guidelines on whose responsibility it is to upkeep the property and clear procedures relating to tenant eviction. For the contract, Nick suggests downloading a tenancy agreement template as a good option.


Since April 2007, all tenants' deposits need to be registered with an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme.  Landlords must make sure they do this. Nick also says a "detailed and accurate" property inventory is crucial.


"The majority of tenancy agreements come to a natural and amicable end, but if problems do occur, landlords must supply good proof for eviction, such as non-payment of rent for more than eight weeks or breaking the terms of the tenancy agreement," says Nick.

Eviction proceedings start with the serving of a Section 8 Notice for rent arrears, which gives the tenant 14 days to respond.  If this fails, landlords can apply to the Court for a Possession Order.

Published on: May 18, 2012

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