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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, books to read 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. 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 £49

OpenRent is a fantastic way to find renters for your properties using the portals, sifting enquiries, organising viewings, creating the tenancy, registering the deposit, and initial rent collection. All for £49! Click here for my review of OpenRent.

Click here for OpenRent’s Rent Now service.

OpenRent Basic Portal Advertising £29

If you’re comfortable with creating your own tenancy, and registering the deposit etc, this is a great value option to advertise on Rightmove, Zoopla and OpenRent.

Click here for a free trial of OpenRent’s Ultimate Advertising option for landlords.

OpenRent Renter Referencing

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

However, OpenRent also offer it on a standalone basis.

Click here for comprehensive referencing for £20 per tenant.

Click here for less comprehensive, but speedy referencing.

Contract Property Management Services

One problem with self-managing and self-letting can be needing to get to the property if there’s a problem or meet a contractor.

Viewber provides comprehensive contract services, ranging from key management to property inspections and viewings. They have thousands of trained DBS-checked property assistants across the country, which you can book online.

Click on this link to register with Viewber and see the price list.

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

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.

Click here to book a Gas Safety Certificate for £49 plus £15 for additional appliances and £55 to service the boiler.

OpenRent EICRs 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.

Click here to book an EICR starting at £159 + £15 per bedroom, and £69 for PAT testing of up to 10 appliances.

Compulsory Alarms for Rental Properties

Every rental property in England needs to have a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms. There’s so much choice, but these are the ones I buy for my properties from Amazon. I’ve also added a fire extinguisher for good measure.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Landlords must provide carbon monoxide alarms in every room where there is a “fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers)”, ie boilers, wood-burning stoves and other operational fireplaces. They also must be tested once a year

For my properties, I buy the Amazon #1 best selling Kidde carbon monoxide alarm with a battery that lasts 10 years – click here to buy it on Amazon.

Smoke Alarm

Landlords in England must provide least one smoke alarm on each storey of their properties with living accommodation

Here’s a link to buy a single Kidde 10 year life sealed battery smoke alarm from Amazon, and this link is for a Kidde pack of two.

Fire extinguisher

It’s good practice to provide a fire extinguisher for the kitchen.

For more information on fire safety rules for landlords, take a look at my summary on this page.

Here’s a link to buy Amazon’s #1 best selling home fire extinguisher that extinguishes electrical, cooking oil, textiles, petrol/diesel and paper/card fires.

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. I’m sharing my referral code discount below.

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

Join the NRLA and become an Accredited Landlord

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

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

Use this referral code to get £15 off membership when you join the NRLA by clicking here to joinUYN-702.

Milly Bellotti: Social media training

Social media is a fantastic resource 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.

Find out more about Milly’s program here. This is not an affiliate link, but please let Milly know I sent you. Click here for Milly’s Posting Property website.

Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance is crucial for landlords, yet it’s so easy to overpay. Here’s a blog post on my own 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 Insurance Quotations

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

If you click on the links below, you will be directed to the relevant forms on the QuoteSearcher website, where you can complete your details. Their brokers will get back to you with competitive quotes.

Click here for quotes for landlord insurance and here for quotes for unoccupied property insurance.

*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.

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

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. For more on landlords’ obligations for unfurnished properties, click my blog post here.

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. 

Click here to search AO.com for products.

Useful kit for landlords

Laser measure

When I go on viewings, I always measure the key rooms, width of the house and outside space.

Often there’s either no plan, or the measurements aren’t accurate. In any event, experience has taught me not trust the measurements in the floor plan! It’s easy to measure them yourself using a laser measure.

Click here to buy the laser measure on Amazon that I use.

Moisture meter for wood

It can be useful to measure moisture from wood, such as skirting boards when on viewings. It’s not accurate on plaster or masonry.

Of course, you should read the instructions carefully and check the results with a surveyor.

Click here to buy the moisture meter on Amazon.

Looking to buy or sell up?

Movewise for Landlords

If you’re one of the 30% of landlords thinking of selling in 2023, Movewise make it easy for you.

Movewise do this by providing a single point of contact for sellers, and by offering multiple selling routes to landlords. This takes the hassle out of selling, especially if you’re selling a rental portfolio.

If you’re looking to buy, you can sign up to get on their database of buyers, for early access to deals before they reach the open market.

Click here to register with Movewise and find out more.

Books for landlords

Here’s a few books that I think should be on the reading list for landlords.

Rich Dad Poor Dad (2022)

This must be the most popular book for landlords and property investors in the UK. It was first written by Robert Kiyosaki over 25 years ago and has sold more than 40 million copies, in 38 different languages.

It has inspired so many property investors to take their first step.

Click here to buy the paperback or the Kindle version on Amazon.

The Victorian House Manual (2015)

This book is indispensable if you have a Victorian or Edwardian buy to let, like me.

It was written by experienced Chartered Surveyor, Ian Rock, and explains how they were built, how to renovate them and solutions to common defects. It also gives advice about repairs.

Click here to buy the hardback on Amazon. It’s their #1 best seller in Conservation.

The Price of Money (2023)

This is a great book by Rob Dix, of PropertyHub fame (the one without the beard)

It explains in a very understandable way, the financial system, inflation, property prices and, more generally, how money works. It’s excellent background reading for property investors.

Click here to buy the hardback or the paperback version on Amazon. It’s their #1 best seller in Conservation.

Final thoughts

I hope you found this list useful. If you think I’ve missed something, drop me a line by clicking here.

Thank you!

What landlords need to get landlord essentials
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