There are a number of things you must consider before deciding to become a landlord. There can be a lot of initial expenditure and you will need to be able to dedicate a certain amount of time to your new business.
As the property owner, you should make sure that you keep accurate records for all your rented properties. This should include information on your property's amenities as well as any safety certificates associated with the property. As a landlord, you are running a business and should give the same level of importance to record keeping as you would in any other business venture. You must also comply with the Data Protection Act and may have to notify the Information Commissioner's Office of your business.
Generally, you will be liable for any repairs to the structure of the property and furnishings which were supplied with the letting and the tenants will be liable for repairs to their own items or for repairing any damage which is their fault. You should specify repairing obligations in your tenancy agreement.
When you communicate with your tenants you need to ensure that you do so in an appropriate and timely manner. If your tenants have literacy issues or do not speak English, you will need to consider how you can effectively communicate with them.
Even if you've hired an agent to manage your rental properties, you must make yourself aware of your legal obligations to your tenants. If a legal dispute arises you will need to show that you conducted yourself according to your legal obligations. If you're paying an agent to do this for you, make sure they have a sound knowledge of the legislation that governs the private rented sector in Northern Ireland.