Becoming A landlord (Need advice from experienced landlords)

Discussion in 'Property investment and tenants' rights' started by Tobyboy, 19 Nov 2018.

  1. Tobyboy

    Tobyboy New Member

    We have what used to be our family home in Dublin. A 3 bed terraced house. We have decided to rent it out and become landlords as we need the income. We have read a lot of horror stories about been a small landlord, and if reading in the media was to educate you as to landlords, then been a drug dealer probably commands more respect in the current climate.

    Anyway, we are looking for advice from experienced responsible landlords, as to the must do's and must not do's. The PRTB were pretty unhelpful and would put you off the idea tbh.
    Whats the best way to try get a solid tenant? What should you ask for? and what checks to make. Where do we get a good lease document from? Anything else to keep in mind?
    Any advice welcome
  2. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    Well there are loads of threads on here for starters. And I know there is another site that is called or something. A lease isn't worth the paper it's written on, in my opinion. Make sure you vet your tenant's properly, find out where they are currently living, why they are leaving, where they work etc. Know as much about them as you can. I'd also ask for a 3 month deposit if I were you. The horror stories make the headlines, but that's a minority of cases. Make sure you keep one rent account, rent goes in, bills go out. Keep it separate from your current account. Take pictures and get the tenant to sign them.

    The RTB can't tell you how to be a landlord. That's not their role, they are there to enforce the rules.

    Any chance of some figures?
  3. Tobyboy

    Tobyboy New Member

    Thanks for your reply. I had a search on this site and boards and still felt I needed to post. I will look at the other site you mentioned. Can I ask you why it makes a difference to know where they are living currently. What will we learn from that? Could most reference's not just be 'set up'? How do we know the reference's are bona fides? Is it the norm now to ask for 3 months deposit?
    What figures are you asking me for?
    Thank you.
  4. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

    If they are currently renting then you can get references from present landlord.

    Employers will confirm employment.

    I don't know if 3 months is the norm or not? I would certainly look for more than one months rent for deposit.

    You need to ring and check references, get landline numbers for any business type referees (agents/employers).

    If you are still feeling unsure, then it might be worth using an agent for the first letting.
  5. Alistair

    Alistair Registered User

    Hi Tobyboy,
    I have held a small portfolio of buy-2-lets over the past 20 years or so and have seen many many tenants come and go during this time. In the majority of cases, we have gotten it right when selecting a suitable tenant, but on occasion, we've gotten it wrong. When it goes wrong, it goes very wrong.

    Over the past number of years there has been an increasing and onerous amount of new (2004 Residential Tenancies Act) and additional legislation (2015 Residential Tenancies Amendment Act) passed into law which to my mind signals a clear strategic intent to remove small landlords like myself from this particular business in Ireland. I am not opining whether this is a good or bad strategy, just that the nature of amendments coupled with changes in tax treatment have made this a far less attractive business, for the small time landlord.

    In my view the intent of these legislative changes has been to improve accommodation standards, safety and security of tenure and I think this has largely worked for everyone's benefit (I will caveat that by saying that the removal from the market of all accommodation having shared kitchen and bathroom facilities may have resulted in increasing the homelessness rates). However, while there are many supports for a tenant, there is zero support for the landlord when a tenant decides to break the terms of a tenancy agreement and become uncooperative. If a tenant stops paying rent or damages a property, there is a completely inadequate legal remedy that may take in the order of 12 months for a property owner to recoup possession of their property. It is during this time that the tenant all the legal protections, but the property owner may still has to service a mortgage and possibly witness their property being damaged further and incur legal costs over a protracted period of time, not to mention the costs to put the property right again when they finally have the tenant removed through the courts.

    Landlords are vilified by the populist media and tenant advocacy groups but yet are left to carry the financial risk and legal burden should the case arise. I think Bronte is correct that you need to request and check references and referees in as much detail as possible. Non employer references aren't really worth anything in writing as they state very little so best to talk to a previous landlord if at all possible. Prospective tenants who have moved frequently without sufficient reason would be a red flag. Equally, walking the tenant through their responsibilities concerning upkeep of the property, including the exterior (and possibly garden) is vitally important prior to the start of a tenancy.

    The government is introducing too much volatility into the market for any would-be landlord to be able to ascertain with any degree of certainty the net returns a rental property would provide into the future. I would strongly advise against becoming a residential landlord in Ireland.
  6. Zebedee

    Zebedee Frequent Poster

    I agree with Bronte’s/Thirsty advice. However from experience I wouldn’t use agents as they don’t really care about the quality of tenants. There is nothing like your own assessment.

    I had a single house for rent for many years. I always thoroughly vetted the tenants and was very fortunate that I didn’t have any major problems. However even managing a single house takes up a lot of time even with basic things (eg boiler breaks down - have to get someone to fix it immediately - have to wait outside house all afternoon for plumber to arrive). Or the tenants don’t cut the grass and it’s waist high and neighbours complaining etc. I think you have to be pretty attentive to ensure the property is looked after.

    My father used to say when renting out there’s no such thing as easy money.

    If you have got good tenants I wouldn’t be quick to review the rent. Even it is a bit below the market rate it’s worth it. Good tenants are priceless and for me having peace of mind was great. I’ve enough to do in the day job.

    There is great value in keeping the neighbours sweet (checking in with them to see if there is any problem). They can also be your eyes and ears that can help nip potential problems in the bud.

    I sold up in the end a few years ago. The main reason was that I felt that the pendulum was swinging more towards tenants rights and I couldn’t keep up with legislative changes and was afraid of getting caught out. It’s interesting that the RTB says that a lot of complaints are due to “inadvertent” mistakes by landlords rather than by the shysters. However inadvertent mistakes can be costly.

    As you say the reputation of landlords isn’t great and a couple of years ago the govt started to cap mortgage relief etc. So that was another catalyst for me.

    The govt keeps swinging one way or the other re tenants/landlords.

    A couple of years ago it was “houses are unaffordable, landlords crowding out first time buyers, force landlords to sell up and houses will be more affordable”. Now it’s “rents are too high, get more landlords in and rents will come down”. The real issue is lack of supply.

    This post is a bit of a ramble but I hope you get something useful out of it.

    (Just saw Alastair’s reply. I agree with everything he says)
  7. PaxmanK

    PaxmanK Frequent Poster

    As a landlord of many years and a member of a landlord club with a fair few members my advise would be to avoid it at all costs.
    No need for me to explain why at this stage, you can read it all over the place.
  8. Tobyboy

    Tobyboy New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2018
    Thanks for all your replies. There is some helpful stuff in there. It's interesting some say use agents while other say don't. I can only extrapolate from this that there are some very good agents and some couldn't care less ones. If people know of any very good diligent agents in West Dublin?
    Can anyone tell me where I would find a copy of a comprehensive up to date lease?
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2018
  9. gar32

    gar32 Frequent Poster

    116 Lots of helpful tip's here.

    I rent a small 1 bed out and got 800 emails from people looking to rent.

    Go with the most professional emails make sure you advert states you would like some back ground information as demand is high for house.

    I had 20 viewing over 2 days making sure I got a understanding of the people. Why the want to live there and for how long etc.

    Explain to the people it's your only property and you need someone who is going to look after it.

    Good luck and don't for get the TAX man want's his share LOL
  10. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

    Avoiding bad tenants is important.

    Tenants are bad for two reasons, they have problems in their lives, usually financial, which they expect to push on to the landlord. Or they are just malign.

    Mostly the former.

    My three guidelines are

    1 No hard cases, I'm not a social worker. This is really important, lovely people in difficult circumstances. Avoid. They may indeed be lovely people, their circumstances may well have arisen for genuine even heartbreaking reasons, but unless you are willing to take on their troubles do not rent to them.

    2 Ask for a large deposit. If they can get a deposit together they can probably pay their rent.

    3 Stay away from people who are too good to be true.
  11. Daffodil

    Daffodil Frequent Poster

    My advice - DON'T DO IT. I am currently trying to get a tenant out of my house so it can be sold. The rent hasn't been paid for months yet I still have to cover the mortgage. The most frustrating thing is that if I am in arrears with my mortgage my credit rating gets shot to pieces whereas as my tenant can just walk away with no repercussions. There should be a mechanism whereby the credit bureau is informed of tenants who refuse to pay the rent and this be added to their credit history. Why is that only the land lords get penalised ????? The RTB are a joke and just keep giving the tenant more and more time to appeal their decisions. It's not rocket science - you don't pay the rent - you're out. I'm at my wits end now and just want my house back but it's impossible. I would NEVER advise anyone to become a private land lord in Ireland - you have NO rights.
    PaxmanK, Palerider, landlord and 2 others like this.
  12. Feemar5

    Feemar5 Frequent Poster

    Get references with telephone numbers from Employers - at least you know they are "real". Personal references are useless, can be written by family members. Some landlords will give good references just to get rid of troublesome tenants. Keep track of the rent and do inspection visits and if you get a good tenant hold on to them !
  13. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    I’m not so negative, being a landlord has made money for me.

    If I were Daffodil I’d probably have got rid of the tenant if that is what it would take. But I’d do the sums first. Rather pay a fine to the RTB then let the tenant have one over there on me.
  14. Anna B

    Anna B New Member

    I am a landlord on a few properties but also have been a tenant too! My Dublin landlord wanted 6 months bank statements and proof of funds, 2 sold references in conversation with him as much more experienced agent he told me that gets rid of most people with that request, vetting out the possibility of someone not paying and not being a responsible tenant.
    With my experience HAP is a nightmare, if they don't pay their 30 or 60 a week to the council you don't get your rent. I think in Dublin councils operate differently so check that first, you cannot refuse HAP so the above checks are critical that you get a good quality paying tenant.

    There are no rights as a landlord, the tenancy board take forever if you have a problem while your tenant doesn't pay their way. so I know others who have had issues of non payment , they just changed the locks get them out and take the hit on the fine from RTB or are waiting on that to happen. It's a disgrace there is just no protection for landlords against people that don't pay their rent,
    really the government and the programmes on TV are making our that landlords are all huge property companies, they mostly are not, we're small fries that usually end up paying to sustain a mortgage/expenses, you have to see it as a long term investment. You need backing up of a local handy man to take calls if things go wrong, you need cash to replace items in the house and you have to keep it up to a good maintenance standard.

    Tax wise it's a nightmare you have to see it as a long term investment

    So overall you need to really VET your tenants yourself and make a decision yourself, get a handy man and a good accountant. there's a landlord association pay to join it for proper advise also.
  15. PaxmanK

    PaxmanK Frequent Poster

    Why am I not surprised.

    I was watching RTEs new drama called "Taken Down".
    Heres how the landlord is portrayed.
    Hes a Gangster.
    He kicks a family out for renovation and says laughing "Great job, and perfectly legal too, ha ha ha".
    Then he says to his builder, ok lets renovate, how many refugees do you think we will get into this room?
    The builder says 9. Nah we can do 12 easily.
    So then they put 12 people in a room and take the money off them.
  16. Delboy

    Delboy Frequent Poster

    Taken Down is not a drama. It's a piece of left wing liberal propaganda on several fronts
  17. DeeKie

    DeeKie Frequent Poster

    Do most landlords offer a fixed one year term in the lease? Is it better to let a place furnished or unfurnished?
  18. galway_blow_in

    galway_blow_in Frequent Poster

    Most will expect it furnished and if you find someone willing to rent unfurnished, they will want it for more than a year.

    Leases are sort of pointless as once a tenant is six months in situ, they aquire rights which will over - ride anything in the lease, I would not bother with a lease.just register the tenancy with the Rtb
    lff12 likes this.
  19. DeeKie

    DeeKie Frequent Poster

    Getting a handyman is the hardest thing! In Dublin at any rate.
  20. Andy836

    Andy836 Frequent Poster

    Get a good agent - when things go wrong, an agent will have plumbers, electricians on dial to fix things quickly. A landlord needs to be responsive & pro active.
    If you get a good tenant - keep them - don't jack up the rent at every opportunity.
    Be flexible - if a potential good tenant wants some changes (something repaired, fixed, repainted, an additional appliance, a bed replaced with a crib etc) then do it.
    Kids = wear & tear.
    If you have expensive wood floors - buys rugs and leave them there in high foot traffic areas.
    Don't be precious about old or cheap furniture. It's old or cheap. It's not worth anything.
    Donedeal = cheapest way to furnish a property.
    References are vital - work references are more important to me than a reference from current landlord as they might be trying to get rid of the tenant. Ring the HR people to confirm reference directly & confirm length of service.
    The deposit should be meaningful - 2 months or more if possible.
    Make sure they have all the required tools - if there is grass, make sure they have a mower etc.
    Don't be surprised by how useless some tenants can be - we've had tenants who didn't know how to defrost a fridge, another who couldn't change a washer in a sink drain, another who asked if we had underfloor heating (while standing next to a radiator).
    Picking a good tenant is the most important thing.