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Landlord Essentials: What Landlords need for Buy to Lets

Landlord essentials - tips of things to get for buy to lets

When I first started out as a landlord, I found it hard to find reliable suppliers of the essentials I needed as a landlord. There’s so much choice! And sometimes it’s difficult to know which is best.

So I’ve decided to make it easy for other landlords by putting all of my recommendations for the essentials in one place, which they can bookmark. My recommendations range from what they need for kitting out a buy to let for renters, the letting process, training, social media advice, legal advice and day-to-day management.

These recommendations are the things I’ve either personally bought, or which come highly recommended by other landlords. I hope you find it useful having recommendations for the essentials that landlords will need at one time or another, all on one page.

Of course, if you think I’ve missed anything off the list or have any questions, you can contact me here. Finally, here’s a link to my policy for recommendations and affiliate links.

This page contains affiliate links and I’m an Amazon associate. If you buy something after clicking through, you’ll be supporting this free blog. Thank you!

Online Letting and Management Services

I’m a big fan on self-letting, bypassing traditional letting agents, and doing it myself online. Click here for an explanation of how to let a property yourself.

I use OpenRent to find tenants and use their OpenRent’s Rent Now service, which is amazing value for £49. Take a look below. I also recommend their referencing service, and Viewber for back-up property management, as I self-manage too (find out more on self-managing here).

OpenRent Full Tenancy Creation £69

Openrent to let sign outside of Victorian house - self-letting landlord

OpenRent’s RentNow service is a fantastic way to find renters for your properties using the portals.

You can screen enquiries and organise viewings on the dashboard. OpenRent will create the tenancy, register the deposit, and collect the first month’s rent for you.

All for £69! Their referencing is only £20 per person.

It’s incredibly good value and puts you in control, without swamping you with admin.

>> Related Post: How to find tenants using OpenRent

OpenRent Basic Portal Advertising £49

Openrent to let sign outside of Victorian house - self-letting landlord

This lower cost option gives you the same viewing & enquiry organiser as RentNow, and the advertising on Rightmove, Zoopla and OpenRent.

It’s a good option if you’re comfortable with creating your own tenancy, and registering the deposit etc. It’s a great value way of advertising on Rightmove, Zoopla and OpenRent.

It’s only £49 and if you click below, you can get a free trial.

OpenRent Referencing £20

credit report ticked excellent which helps a landlord choose a good renter

Most landlords reference renters as an extra in the OpenRent RentNow process, once a holding deposit has been placed.

However, OpenRent also offer it on a standalone basis for £20 per person.

The comprehensive referencing includes a credit check, affordability, a landlord reference and an employer reference. Speedy referencing is quicker but doesn’t include the landlord or employer reference.

Click here for less comprehensive, but speedy referencing option.

Alphaletz management software


Alphaletz is a user-friendly, cloud-based software system which helps landlords keep on top of all the day-to-day tasks of managing their rental properties.

Alphaletz enables landlords to automate their portfolio by connecting their bank, storing documents, running reports for tax time, automating tasks and even sending rent reminders. 
It’s free to use for the first 3 properties.

Available on any device and there’s also a mobile app.

Landlord safety checks

Safety checks seem to come around so frequently, especially if you have a large buy to let portfolio. OpenRent provide a very competitive service for gas safety, boiler servicing and electrical testing.

OpenRent Gas Safety & boiler servicing

gas hob to show a gas safety certificate is needed

It’s a legal requirement for landlords to obtain a Gas Safety Certificate each year. Also, it’s best practice to service your boilers each year.
OpenRent have a network of vetted Gas Safe registered engineers to do this for you.

A Gas Safety Certificate costs for £45 plus £15 for additional appliances and £55 to service the boiler.

They also remind you when it’s due again.

OpenRent EICRs and PAT Testing

lightbulb to show EICR and PAT testing

All rental properties in England are legally required to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is also recommended once a year for standalone appliances.

OpenRent has a network of local electricians to provide a comprehensive electrical safety testing services for landlords.

An EICR starts at £159 + £15 per bedroom, and £69 for PAT testing of up to 10 appliances.

Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance is crucial for landlords, yet it’s so easy to overpay. Here’s a blog post on my experience of using QuoteSearcher’s website to find competitive quotes. If you’re unsure of what type of landlord insurance to get, an explanation of the different types available.

QuoteSearcher Landlord Insurance

QuoteSearcher insurance for landlords

I’ve teamed up with QuoteSearcher* who work with specialist brokers to bring you competitive insurance quotes for landlord insurance.

If you click on the link below, you will be directed to the relevant form on the QuoteSearcher website, where you can complete your details. Their brokers will get back to you with competitive quotes for landlord insurance.

>> Related Post: Guide to Landlord Insurance

Unoccupied Property insurance

QuoteSearcher insurance for landlords

Most Landlord Insurance will only insure landlords for a short amount of time (30-60 days) when their property is unoccupied for any reason. This includes voids between tenants, and during refurbishment.

Also, the cover may reduce while a property is unoccupied.

QuoteSearcher* work with specialist brokers who will be able to bring you competitive quotes for insurance designed for unoccupied properties.

*The Independent Landlord blog works in partnership with QuoteSearcher to provide quotes for landlord insurance and unoccupied property insurance. Once your details are submitted, their broker partners will call you back with quotes and from there you will receive a number of quotes to consider.

Landlord home emergency cover

Home emergency cover for landlords

YourRepair home emergency cover

YourRepair provide a range of comprehensive plans for landlords to cover repairs and servicing, starting at £11 a month.

All plans include the annual boiler service and a gas safety certificate. The Home Plus package extends to electrics, taps, toilets and drains from £16.50 pm.

Readers of The Independent Landlord can receive one month free, by using the link below. Check the exclusions in Section 4 before you sign up.

Support and Training for Landlords

I always say that my first bit of advice to landlords in England and Wales is that they should join the NRLA. Not only do they provide a brilliant helpline for members and provide lots of resources, but they campaign on our behalf.

My second bit of advice for self-managing landlords is they should join the Guild for Residential Landlords for specialist support.

Join the NRLA >> Accredited Landlord

NRLA logo

The NRLA offer excellent resources and discounts for landlords and have a very useful helpline for members.

They also provide good value quality training and a Landlord Accreditation scheme.

It’s incredible value and I’m an Accredited NRLA Landlord Member myself. Definitely worth joining, even if you use letting agents.

Readers of The Independent Landlord can receive a £15 discount when they join the NRLA for the first time by clicking the link below or by entering this referral code: SSAFF15.

Join Guild for Residential Landlords

guild for landlords logo

I’m a member of the Guild of Residential Landlords as they provide really useful guidance for self-managing landlords like myself.

They have separate websites for England and Wales, and provide excellent handbooks, forms, documents, and practical updates.

They’re not a lobbying organisation and are focused on useful content for self-managing landlords.

I’m a big fan, and see my membership as complementary to that of the NRLA.

Specialist legal advice from solicitor

landlord law logo

I cannot give legal advice as I’m no longer a practising solicitor.

Landlord Law offers an affordable and convenient telephone advice service for landlord and tenant matters.

By using the service, you’ll get up to 30 minutes’ telephone advice from a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor, who you can choose from a panel. The cost is £130 (£108.33 +VAT).

The telephone advice service is £15 cheaper for Landlord Law members. If you’re thinking of joining the Landlord Law membership, readers of The Independent Landlord will get a 20% discount on their first payment by using the coupon code RW75ZK3R. I’m a member of Landlord Law. This isn’t an affiliate link.

Free support from other landlords

The Independent Landlord Community

the independent landlord community private facebook group for landlords

I’ve created a landlord-only private Facebook group called The Independent Landlord Community.

It’s a supportive place for landlords in England and Wales to get reliable, independent advice from other landlords. No selling is allowed, and I keep an eye on the discussions to make sure everyone plays by the rules.

If you’re a landlord, come and join us. 😊


propertytribes logo

PropertyTribes is an independent place where landlords can get information from other landlords and property professionals, using the “hive mind” approach, with community-generated content on their forum.

Their mission is to ensure a positive experience of the private rented sector for all.

They also provide lots of useful videos and webinars.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

Smoke alarms

Kidde 233045 10Y29 RB Smoke Alarms 2 Pack 10 Year Battery Life

Landlords must install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of their properties with living accommodation.

I buy this Kidde double pack from Amazon with a 10-year battery life for my buy to lets. They’re the “Amazon choice” as well.

I’m an Amazon Associate and will get a small commission if you buy it, which will help support this free blog.

>> Related Post: Fire safety rules in English PRS

Carbon monoxide alarms

Kidde 5CO Battery Powered Carbon Monoxide Alarm 10 Year Life

Landlords must also install a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a fuel burning appliance. For instance, a boiler or wood-burning stove.

I buy this Kidde one from Amazon with a 10-year battery for my buy to lets.

I’m an Amazon Associate and will get a small commission if you buy this alarm, which will help support this free blog.

Appliances for Buy to Lets

Whenever I need appliances for my buy to lets, I always use AO.com. I’ve found they have great pricing, an extensive “landlord-friendly” range of products, and are really quick to deliver.

Appliances from AO.com

Bosch fridge freezer being delivered by AO.com to an unfurnished rental property

Landlords are legally obliged to provide cooking facilities (usually a cooker and an oven) for renters. Often landlords will also provide a fridge/freezer and extractor fan for the kitchen.

I recommend AO.com as their prices are very competitive and they are easy to order on their website. I use AO.com for all the appliances in my buy to lets and am an affiliate.

>> Related Post: Landlord Obligations for Unfurnished Properties

Social media expertise for landlords

If you’re looking to grow your Instagram account, then Milly Bellotti is second to none. The links are below.

Milly Bellotti: Social media training

Social media program for property investors by @posting property Milly Bellotti

Social media is a fantastic tool for property investors, but it can be daunting at the start.

A landlord herself, Milly aka @postingproperty on Instagram, runs an excellent program specifically to help property investors grow their business, by tapping into the huge potential social media channels offer. She’s the best I’ve seen.

You can find out more by clicking the link below.

What landlords need to get landlord essentials
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