Landlord Advice: Interview with a landlord

Landlord interview: John hamilton, private landlord in England
John Hamilton is a private landlord in England and owner of 62 properties, from family houses and flats to studios.

Questions answered by a successful landlord in England

Successful landlords come from all walks of life, but they all have one thing in common: they know how to make money by renting out property.

In this interview, we speak with John Hamilton, a successful landlord from England who shares his secrets to success. John answers our questions and, towards the end of the article, gives some of his own advice and opinions on being a landlord in England.

John, welcome to RentalDocs. Why did you decide to become a landlord?

Thank you for asking me! I became a landlord as there was a growing demand for rental properties in my area, and I saw an opportunity to provide a service that would be in high demand.

I also liked the idea of being my own boss and having the ability to set my hours and work from home.

What do you think are the challenges of being a landlord?

The challenges of being a landlord include dealing with problem tenants, maintaining the property, and keeping up with tenancy laws. Landlords also need to be prepared for repairs and unexpected expenses.

What do you think is the most important quality for a landlord?

The most important quality for a landlord is being proactive. Landlords need to be able to identify problems early on and work with their tenants to find solutions. They also need to be organised and stay up to date on tenancy laws.

A rental property in England
John owns a variety of rental properties in England.

What are the most important things to remember when signing a tenancy agreement with a tenant?

When signing a tenancy agreement, it is important to remember a few key things. First, you need to make sure that both you and the tenant understand all of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

Secondly, you need to be sure that all of the information in the agreement is accurate.

Finally, you should keep a copy of the written rental agreement for your records and ensure the tenant also has a signed copy.

Useful landlord resources:

What are some of the most common problems that landlords face with tenants?

The most common problem that landlords face with tenants is late rent payments. Other problems can include damage to the property, noise complaints, and tenancy agreement violations.

What is your advice for dealing with problem tenants?

The best advice for dealing with problem tenants is to be proactive and communicate with them regularly. Try to identify the issue early on and work positively with the tenant to find a resolution.

If the problem persists, you may need to take action such as issuing a warning or terminating the tenancy.

John has renovated some of his older properties to a high standard, making good quality homes for his tenants.

In your view, what are some of the biggest mistakes that landlords make?

The biggest mistake that landlords make is not screening their tenants properly or performing a tenant background check. This can lead to problems down the road, so it is important to take the time to check references and run a credit check.

Another mistake is not being prepared for repairs or maintenance issues. It is important to have a budget set aside for unexpected repairs.

What are your thoughts on our RentalDocs tenancy agreement template?

The RentalDocs tenancy agreement template is a really helpful tool for landlords, but it is important to make sure that the template is customised to fit your specific needs if needed with your particular property. That’s why I like it, it’s easy to change.

Be sure to include all of the necessary clauses and terms, and be sure to go over it properly with your tenants before signing off. The extra documents included are very handy and a step further than most tenancy agreements go.

Download Our Trusted Tenancy Agreement

For England & Wales

For Renting Properties: Tenancy Agreement Form
For Individual Lodgers: Room Rental Agreement

Are there any other tips you would like to share with landlords?

Some other tips for landlords include being organised, staying up to date on tenancy laws, and having a good relationship with your tenants. Landlords should also have a good understanding of the repair and maintenance process, as they may be responsible for some or all of the costs.

Image of some flats in Derby, England owned by landlords.
Although some properties may seem attractive at first glance, if you are buying as a landlord you should take repair and maintenance costs into account. Photo © Dave Bevis (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What do you think are the benefits of being a landlord?

There are many benefits to being a landlord. One obvious benefit is the potential to earn income from rent payments. Another benefit is the ability to provide housing for tenants who may not be able to find housing otherwise.

Landlords also have the opportunity to build positive relationships with their tenants and be a part of their lives. It’s not always about the money.

What has been your biggest challenge as a landlord?

One of the biggest challenges I face is tenant turnover. It can be costly and time-consuming to find new tenants, so I always try to do everything I can to keep my current tenants as happy as possible. It’s all part of being a good landlord.

Another challenge is maintaining the property; it’s important to stay on top of repairs and preventive maintenance to avoid larger, more expensive problems down the road.

What is your tenancy agreement like?

It depends on the property, but my tenancy agreement is pretty standard; I use the RentalDocs tenancy agreement in Word Doc format, mainly because some of my properties do require additional information to be added. I have also used the tenancy agreement PDF on occasion if no changes are required.

It’s really important to have a clear and concise rental agreement in place to avoid any misunderstandings down the road. I also happen to like the tenant advice sheet, which I also customise for each property, as well as using the basic property inventory template.

Photo of an older rented house in Surrey.
Generally speaking, older properties such as family homes are more expensive to maintain, although rents can be much higher depending on the area and facilities on offer to the tenants. Photo © Ian Capper (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What advice would you give new landlords?

Research is key! There’s a lot to learn about being a landlord, from tenancy law to repairs and maintenance.

I would also recommend joining a local landlord association; it’s a great way to network and stay up-to-date on changes in the industry.

Lastly, always be prepared for the unexpected; things can and do go wrong, so it’s important to have a contingency plan in place for your property. If you are thinking of becoming a landlord for the first time, make a checklist and consider what can go wrong as well as the benefits.

Being a respectful and understanding landlord will get you a lot further than being a grumpy, unreasonable and difficult landlord.

John Hamilton

What are the key factors of being a good landlord?

Make sure that you are always available to your tenants if they have any questions or problems, and try to be as fair as possible.

Be patient, as some tenants may take longer to pay their rent than others. Don’t contemplate throwing your tenants out just because they are 3 days late with the rent. Sometimes things happen. If you are fair, it will look better for you as a landlord.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to evict a tenant if they are genuinely not following the terms of their tenancy agreement. Landlords have a lot of responsibilities, but if you follow these tips, you should be able to succeed.

A landlord in England or Wales should always have a legal tenancy agreement in place. This will help both the tenant and the landlord know what is expected of each other.

Can you explain the benefits of using an AST?

Using an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is a good way to protect yourself as a landlord. This type of agreement is specifically designed to protect landlords as well as tenants and an AST gives you certain legal rights should there be any problems with your tenant.

For example, all of my AST rental agreements are for six months, so even if there are problems, the tenancy can be ended after that specific period with the correct notice.

Image of some rented flats in Surrey.
A good idea if you are starting out as a new landlord is to decide the types of property you will initially purchase. Photo © Peter Trimming (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What about your responsibilities as a landlord?

It’s important to remember that you are responsible for the condition of your property and that it meets all safety regulations. You should also make sure that you have adequate insurance in place.

As a landlord, you also need to be aware of your responsibilities towards your tenants. For example, you need to ensure that the property is safe and habitable, that any repairs are carried out promptly, and that the property is generally well-maintained.

You also need to respect your tenants’ privacy and give them reasonable notice if you need to enter the property.

Any final thoughts for new landlords?

It’s also very important to remember that you are running a business, so you need to keep accurate records of your income and expenditure, and you need to ensure that you are complying with all the relevant legislation.

Overall, being a landlord can be a very rewarding experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a big responsibility. If you’re not prepared to take on that responsibility and play your part, then it’s probably not the right thing for you.

Printable Tenancy Agreement
Landlord Advice Blog
Using The Tenancy Agreement