Letting an apartment can be tricky business, especially if you are a first time landlord. Woking in the letting business means I’m asked by friends and friends of friends whether or not it’s a good idea, and the answer is not a simple one.
Let’s take a look at a scenario and explore the upside and downside of becoming a first time landlord.
During the property boom years apartment construction was at a height never seen before in Ireland. Apartment blocks were the property developer’s development of choice and presented young professionals with a chance to get on the property ladder.
Many young people did so and despite the downturn, they now see their investment coming back around to positive equity, although Dublin seems to be where prices are climbing strongest.
Some of those people now see an opportunity to trade up and buy a house or maybe are moving in with a partner which leaves them with a pressing question…
Should I sell it and take the equity, or let it and become a landlord?
Advantages of Letting An Apartment Property
There are pro’s and con’s in everything and weighing up it important before you make your decision. Many before you have been blinded by the lure of apparent easy cash only to realise it’s not all sunshine and roses.
So let’s first take a look first at the pros of letting an apartment or any other residential property.
Steady Monthly Rent
Rents are rising and have been doing so for a while now. Certain property types are proving very popular with professional couples who are unwilling, or unable to get on the property ladder, snapping up the more attractive properties.
You could say it’s a landlord’s market, and having that extra income can help you meet commitments of your primary property or other expenses.
Increasing Property Value
Property values go up and down in the short to medium term, but over the long term property is always rising. You just need to know how and when to get in and out.
If you accept that your property value is going to dip occasionally then you can take the fall in property value on the chin. It’s all about mindset.
Property prices are rising again especially in Dublin and if you were financially strong enough over the last 10 years or so you’ll gain the benefit in the coming years.
Disadvantages of Letting An Apartment Property
Rather than discourage any of you would-be landlords from taking the step, it is to your advantage that we look at the potential downside to becoming a part-time landlord.
Landlord costs are high, so in brief, here are some of the things you’ll need to consider before making the move;
- You’ll need to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) which costs €90. Here’s some information regarding the PRTB process.
- You’ll need to have your apartment assessed by a Registered BER Assessor and obtain a BER Cert. Prices vary depending on the size of your property and who you hire.
- You will be liable for property tax applicable to rented properties. Check out the Revenue website for further information or consult with your accountant.
- Water charges will apply. Although there is a lot of talk in the media regarding the future of water charges, it’s likely that landlords and other commercial entities will have a commitment here.
- Insurance cost will go up. The fact you are renting out to others who have no investment in the property means that insurance companies add a premium above that which you paid while you lived there.
- Be prepared for ongoing repairs and maintenance costs. Things will break and the general upkeep will need to be met by you, unless you negotiate with your tenants that they will maintain the property. Although this is a rare thing.
- If you choose to work with a letting agent, then you will have fees to meet. This is usually 1 months rent per year.
- Income tax on rental income will need to be met regardless of whether you are making a profit on rent against expenses. So you could actually be losing money and still have income tax to pay on the rental income.
- As mentioned in #8 you may need to prop up the mortgage on the rental property if your rent doesn’t cover it.
- Your mortgage payment will go up. When you let your apartment your lender will restructure your mortgage neaning a higher rate of interest on your loan facility.
To put all of the above in a nutshell; Becoming a landlord is not a part-time exercise, it requires an in depth understanding of the market and all of the elements that lead to a successful letting.
Too many would-be landlords take the plunge only to realise that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The truth is that it can be a really rewarding enterprise but you will need to commit to understanding the game in order for it to work for you.
By all means let your apartment property, it can bring you steady returns in the short and long term. But rather than taking all the work on yourself and learn the hard way, consider working with people who understand the game and therefore reduce your risk.Contact Martin for further advice