With all the new regulations, trust an agent in who understands them
“There are now 154 regulations that you need to comply with before you can move a new tenant into a property,” reported Adam Walker, a highly experienced management consultant business sales agent and trainer. Adam was attending a buy-to-let seminar and commenting on the fact that most landlords have insufficient knowledge or expertise to manage their properties themselves and remain largely unaware of new legislation.
Here in the UK, more than half of all landlords opt for a let-only arrangement. This is where an agent is appointed solely to market the property and find a tenant – often for just a few hundred pounds – but the landlord then assumes control and manages the property and the tenants directly, collecting the rent and dealing with all maintenance issues.
To compound the situation, tenant fees are being phased out this year and some of these administrative costs are likely to be passed directly back to the landlord in the form of additional management costs. Throw in more tax increases and the slowing of the rental market in general, and it is easy to see why landlords here in Bath may be tempted to cut costs wherever they can and opt for this type of let-only arrangement.
However, this ‘do-it-yourself approach could be costly if a landlord is unaware of new regulations and not fully insured and compliant, resulting in expensive legal costs and in extreme cases, even a prison sentence.
I want to attract and represent responsible landlords who value diligence and hard work and who understand the benefits to them of a fully comprehensive service. Appointing a reputable agent in Bath to fully manage a property from start to finish and who understands what is necessary to get the property ready to rent (and maintain it well throughout the tenancy) means that the landlord will ultimately enjoy smoother tenancies, better rent and happier tenants for longer periods of time.
Adam Walker also cited a recent article in The Sunday Times describing a horror story where a landlord’s legal ignorance cost her a lot of money and hardship. She had allowed an acquaintance to move into her property in South West London without carrying out proper references. The tenant never paid a single penny in rent from the day she moved into the property. When the landlord tried to evict the tenant and claim the rent she thought she was due, the tenant said she had refused to pay because the landlord had failed to carry out essential repairs to the property (despite the fact that it had just been refurbished).
The tenant made other allegations about the landlord, including that she had harassed her for not paying the rent (she had sent her text messages) and said that she was being illegally evicted because the landlord had failed to register with the local council as a licenced landlord. The dispute culminated with a successful counterclaim from the tenant for £9,000 to compensate her for all the stress of an illegal eviction.
This situation should never have happened. Full references should have been carried out, without which the tenancy should not have gone ahead. A detailed photographic inventory to prove the property was refurbished and in good condition should have been done by an independent company and updated both at check in and at the end of the tenancy so that it could have been relied on in the deposit dispute. All maintenance requests and the action taken should also have been logged, and the rent chased as soon as it was noted that it was in arrears in a legal and professional manner. The landlord should also have been offered rent protection and eviction costs insurance to cover her for her full losses when the initial steps to resolve the situation had failed.
In life, you get what you pay for and sometimes, it is that little bit of knowledge that causes the most harm. So put your trust in an expert agent here in Bath who will ensure you have a successful and professionally handled tenancy from start to finish, leaving you to relax.
To discuss your property needs, give me a call or feel free to pop into the office for an informal but knowledgeable chat.
Head of Lettings
Pritchards Estate Agents