Ralph James

What I let: an insight on being a landlord in Redhill.

Set back in an exclusive, gated development lies a modern two bedroom, top floor apartment, currently let by landlord Rob Wood.

Brook Road sits on the edge of Redhill’s town centre, adjoining the popular Earlswood area. The suburb is served by Earlswood railway station, on the Brighton line, with trains running from London Bridge and London Victoria. Nearby Earlswood Common is a local nature reserve.

Our lettings manager, Sam, recently caught up with Rob to get an insight on being an investor, and what it’s really like to be a landlord.

How much do you let this property out for?

£1,250 per calendar month.

Does this payment cover your overheads for this property?

Yes it does. The overheads for a buy-to-let property can vary considerably according to the type of property, age and condition. For many landlords the service charge in a block of flats will be one of the main costs, together with mortgage repayments of course! But for the right property which is well-maintained and managed, the rental yield can provide a consistent and positive source of income.  

How long have you been a private landlord for?

8 years.

What made you buy a buy to let property in this area?

My own home location was a big factor – I wanted to invest in property reasonably close to home so that I knew the area and could sort out any issues relatively easily. Also Redhill offers some good value with potential for solid rental yield and rising values.

What made you choose this property for a buy to let?

The block where I purchased my flat is very well managed by the Residential Management Company. This is important where there are communal costs such as gardening, maintenance of the common areas, insurance etc, to be managed. Also location is important, my flat was located in close proximity to rail transport but with plenty of green space around too!

Do you enjoy managing your own property?

Yes. It’s nice to be able to help tenants resolve the day-to-day issues that can arise, even with good tenants in a well-run property. But you have to be able and prepared to respond to requests quickly and efficiently. I once received a call from a distressed tenant needing a locksmith in the early hours of the morning!

Do you enjoy being a landlord?

Mostly yes. 

I think that a good landlord needs to be fair and reasonable in dealings with their tenants, and be responsive to their requests. Also it is important to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations concerning residential property – for example on matters such as fire-safety. At the end of the day a Landlord has responsibility to ensure the safety of their tenants. 

Do you have any advice for people considering becoming a Landlord?

Do your research on the property, the rental market and the managing company/agency.

Looking online at the annual accounts and speaking with owners in the same block is a good way to build a picture of the management situation. If you’re happy to manage your property then be prepared to resolve issues that arise; if not then find a good letting agent who will take care of things for you!  

Do you allow tenants to make the property their own? For example, are you happy for them to paint and put pictures up?

It depends! 

In leasehold properties like mine, it is the Leasehold Agreement which usually sets out what can and can’t be done in a flat, for example hanging washing, or keeping pets, and it is important to ensure that the tenants comply. Within those rules, I think it is important for a tenant to be able to make the property their own, as long as it can be returned to the state they found it in when their tenancy comes to an end.

If you have in insight to being a landlord in the Redhill, Reigate, Dorking and surrounding areas, and you’d like to be featured, we’d love to hear from you. Pop an email to our Lettings Manager at sam@ralphjames.co.uk.

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