“What’s the one thing a self-managing landlord can do to save money?” Paul Shamplina, of Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords asked as he addressed an audience in London last week. “Use a letting agent.”
When doing so consists of paying 12% of a rental income each month in management fees, that may seem counter intuitive. But using an agent has many benefits. Landlords who use an agent tend to achieve better rental values, which can off-set that fee. Tenancies managed by agents attract tenants who are likely to stay longer, reducing void periods and the cost of re-marketing a property. It can mean that maintenance issues are addressed earlier, can be managed strategically and can cost less. And, importantly, it takes away the responsibility of managing a tenancy, saving a landlord the time and giving peace of mind that someone else with past experience and current expertise will know how to handle any possible situation.
After all, not getting things right all the time can have huge consequences.
The Deregulation Act 2015 alone demands that specific documents are served to a tenant prior to them receiving the keys to their new home – and recording which specific versions of those documents were served and how and when. It demands that deposits are properly protected and that the tenants are in receipt of related documents within the set timeframe. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in a future eviction notice being deemed as invalid should you wish to get your property back.
The need to serve documents correctly to end a tenancy can also affect the efficacy of getting possession of your property. With covid affecting regulations multiple times, ensuring the right versions of the correct section notice served with the right timeframe has been more complicated than ever. Professional agents will have their ear close to the ground when it comes to pending changes relating to legislation so that any notice can be served with confidence.
Poor property management can also risk more than the frustration of not being able to get your property back when you want it. Heavy fines or imprisonment can be imposed on failings and includes recent cases of self-managing Norfolk landlords being fined £6,100 for disrepair, £24,840 for failing to provide written records of gas safety checks and £20,000 for death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. These incidents could have been avoided with the guidance of a good agent. Meeting legislative demands concerning safety standards is part and parcel of letting agents work and avoids catastrophic consequences for landlords and their tenants.
And although the Government’s Renter’s Reform white paper has been delayed, it is going to be the most transformative piece of legislation to impact the private rented sector in 30 years. Landlords will be held to account to the same demands as agents, from client money protection to redress. Paul Shamplina again: “It’s not a case of whether to use an agent or not, but what agent to use.”
If you have rental property in West Norfolk that you would be best managed by an experienced and knowledgeable letting agent, give us a call on 01553 692828 and let Brittons let for you.