• Katie

Are You A Go It Alone Landlord?

A poll was recently released stating that self managed landlords increased in the last quarter of 2019 to 43% from 36%. This immediately made me worry about all those landlords out there that may not know there are over 150 pieces of legislation that a landlord and Letting Agent need to know and follow. Leaving themselves vulnerable to an unlimited fine or a prison sentence if it goes wrong.

Very often landlords tell me they don’t need a full management package, they have been a landlord for years and built up a portfolio of tradesman and can therefore manage the property themselves. Gone are the days where you were able to pick someone out of the yellow pages. You need to hold a copy of the contractors professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance and health and safety policy. You have to make sure the contractor adheres to the policies in relation to things like: Asbestos, Legionnaires and you need to have a record of that. A gas engineer needs to be Gas Safe registered, always check the gas safe register for work the engineer is qualified to undertake www.gassaferegister.co.uk. An electrician needs to be NICEIC registered.

I am more than happy for landlords to manage their own property, as long as they know what they are doing and the risks and pitfalls that are out there. Under the Consumer Protection Regulation 1987, the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act 2004, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Law of Property Act 1925 it is imperative that you make sure your tenancy is safe. Did you know that if you leave soft furnishings in the property they all need to contain a fire safety label and comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010).

A few major points to consider if you are self managing a property:

  1. Register with Information Commissioner's Office and provide the tenants with your privacy policy.

  2. Get a Letting Agent to set up the tenancy to ensure all the correct documentation has been served correctly and won't bite you later if/when you need to serve the tenants notice.

  3. A really good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to help keep records and make notes is crucial. Such items that need documenting are when maintenance is reported, the fault and progress steps, any alterations or work done on any gas items, along with the contractors details and gas safe number.

  4. Its extremely important the person who is looking after the management of the property has had training on how to handle tenancies. It’s about making sure that in relation to the property that the tenant is safe and the property is compliant, what you can and can’t do! The person managing the property needs to know exactly what happens if an item of maintenance is called on, how long he/she has to repair it. Some repairs are needed within 24 hours whereas others are weeks. If you fall foul of the correct repair timescale you could be talking compensation, repayment of rent, banning orders or a Health Office talking about HHSRS (Housing health and safety rating system). You don’t want a Health Officer to attend the property, what else will he find, see or will the tenants provide them with a list of other trivial things which they haven’t made you aware because up till now they have been happily living with those quirks and not bothered you with them! We could be talking banning orders, thousands and thousands worth of fines, worst case scenario, they can seize the property from you!

  5. Invest in some training, knowledge is power.

Dealing with maintenance is only a small part of what a Letting Agent can do for a Landlord, to find out more or if you have a property related questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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