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Introducing my new blog for landlords

Hello! This is my very first blog post for my new project, The Independent Landlord. I’d like to explain why you should subscribe to my newsletter, if you’re a landlord, or thinking about become one.

What qualifies me to write a blog for landlords?

After working for 25 years as a lawyer, I left the corporate world to find a more balanced life. This freed me up to have the time to study a French degree, something I’d always wished I’d done.

However, I also needed an income. I concluded the best way to do this would be to develop a buy to let portfolio. I’d already dipped my toe in the landlord waters when I’d become an “accidental landlord” after letting out the flat I already owned. This had gone well, so I bought three bedroom Victorian house an area close to a station, popular with families. I have since added two further Victorian houses, and sold the flat.

I let my flat through a local letting agent, who did a pretty good job. However, I decided to manage the property myself, to keep the on-going costs down, as the margins in rental property are so low. As it was a flat, I also had a large service charge diluting my yield!

To begin with, I relied on the letting agent to find out what I needed to do as a landlord. With hindsight I can see I was fairly ignorant about “landlording”, despite my legal background. I’ve been on a steep learning curve ever since.

Over the past 3 years, I have learned a lot about what makes a great rental property, how to attract good tenants and how to be an excellent landlord. I have also increased my margins by taking on more activities myself, including letting via OpenRent for a fraction of the cost of using a letting agent.

I’ve been sharing a lot of my ideas on the Instagram account I created in March 2022 called @indie_landlord.

From the questions I’ve received in my DMs, I can see that many people want to invest in buy to lets or maybe want to move to that next level in expanding their portfolio, but aren’t sure where to go to learn about the practicalities of being a successful landlord.

How is this blog different?

I’m independent in that I’m not trying to sell you anything or ask for investment. I’m not a part of a wider property business and have no particular axe to grind, other than wanting to be a good landlord!

As well as being a landlord, my background in both business and law, is really relevant experience. After all, being a landlord is a business, with lots of legal responsibilities. Like most successful businesses, I believe the secret lies in keeping the needs of our customers (renters) at the heart of what we do. And I believe that it is good business to be a good landlord.

I therefore plan to fill a gap in the information available for potential or current landlords, by writing this blog to share the secret to building and self-managing rental properties successfully, creating lovely places to live, generating good returns, and above all being a responsible landlord.

I’m not going to be giving financial advice, tell you how much you should borrow, or where to find investors. There are plenty of other people who do that, and they will most likely charge you for it. I also don’t share my own numbers. What I am going to do is go through the various stages of investing in and managing rental properties, and share what I have learned, and continue to learn.

I will also cover relevant legal topics, particularly when the renters’ reforms start to make their way through parliament, but I’ll do it in a user-friendly jargon-free way.

Please let me know in the comments if you’d like me to cover any topics. And please subscribe, so you don’t miss out on any of my free content.

You can also follow my alter ego, indie_landlord, on social media. Click here for links to indie_landlord.

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