I've put together a checklist of every major step in the process of preparing a property and letting it out. Print it out, then tick off as you go to make sure you don't miss anything important!
I update the book at the end of each year, and when I do I'll send you a list of what's changed (plus the full text of any chapters with major updates).
In between, I'll email you every time there's a major legislation change that you should really know about.
In case you miss one of the emails, I'll summarise any changes since the last published version here. Check back for updates!
The Federation of Master Builders has put together a template contract, which you can use for any building work you're carrying out. (The tradesperson you're using doesn't have to be a member of the FMB.)
Important: some of the suppliers (but not all) listed below pay me a small affiliate fee for business I pass their way. This doesn't cost you anything extra, and it doesn't affect my referral: I only recommend companies I use personally or via my letting agency.
Recommendations may change over time (not all companies stay on top of their game for good), which is why I've listed them on this page rather than in the book. Do check back every so often to see if anything's changed.
I and lots of landlords I know are members of LNPG – a buying club for landlords that gives individuals access to trade prices (and sometimes even lower) on lots of materials.
I've had great discounts on bathrooms and boilers, and I know other landlords who've achieved brilliant deals on kitchens. What's more, it's risk-free: if you don't save enough to cover your annual membership fee, they'll roll it over to the next year for you.
They've given me a code to give you 10% off the cost of your membership: just enter the affiliate code RD10 when you sign up.
Landlord associations exist to represent the interests of landlords, and provide information and training. The biggest associations are the NLA and RLA, but my favourite is the Guild of Residential Landlords.
It's smaller, but I like it because it focuses its efforts on directly supporting landlords rather than campaigning and policy efforts.
The biggest benefit is a helpline, which you can call at any time for any tenant-related issue. I've used this several times, and always get to speak to someone immediately who clearly has an in-depth knowledge and is able to help.
There are also template documents for just about everything you can imagine, including a helpful AST generator and a template for carrying out your own legionella inspection.
At only £90 per year, I think it's one of the great bargains out there. Other than my book, obvs.
There are lots of companies who'll advertise your property on the major portals (Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket) and send the enquiries through to you.
There's not a great deal to distinguish them: after all, your advert is either up or it isn't. But the most cost-effective I know of is OpenRent.
With OpenRent, you get the first five days on Rightmove and Zoopla free – so if that's all the time it takes to find a tenant, you've paid nothing. To extend for another three months is only £29.
I use Discount Landlord for all my buildings insurance, and they guarantee to beat any like-for-like quote. To be honest, I've not shopped around extensively to test it, but whenever I've moved a property across from another insurer it's been significantly cheaper than my renewal quote. And importantly, the price doesn't get jacked up after a year for no apparent reason.
As always, make sure you answer all the questions accurately and read the policy documents in detail when they come through.
I use Surewise to take out emergency cover on some of my properties – which means the tenants get a number they can call for an emergency like boiler breakdown, a burst pipe, loss of electricity, and so on.
This type of policy only covers emergencies and only covers a first visit to effect an immediate repair (which may be temporary or permanent) or make the property safe.
I've used Fusion Furniture for a couple of my properties, and we recommend them to Yellow Lettings landlords too. They offer furniture packs which they'll deliver and set up – and then they'll take away all the packaging and mess.
You can also rent furniture by the month if you want to stage a property for a flip.
On the rare occasions when something goes wrong and legal action is necessary, our Yellow Lettings team will refer landlords to Evicthem. They'll speak to you to make sure you understand the best route to take, then draft all the court papers on your behalf. All you need to do is sign them and send them off.