“Accidental” landlords should consider professional support

April 13, 2015

Research from the National Landlords’ Association shows that 24 per cent of U.K. landlords – approximately 360,000 – came into the market accidentally or unintentionally.

The survey asked landlords why they first entered the buy to let market:

  • 11% entered by chance, for example through inheriting property;
  • 5% acquired an extra property, for example when they met a spouse;
  • 5% intended to sell but experienced difficulties;
  • 3% had to relocate for work, either home or abroad.

It is our experience that so-called “accidental” landlords do not usually think of themselves as a landlord at all – they already have a job and  are often unaware of their obligations as a landlord and the various pitfalls associated with renting out property – the main ones being, of course, non payment of rent and damage to the property.

In some instances, rental properties can be located a long way from the “accidental” landlord’s home area, throwing up other issues.  These include not knowing what is going on at the property, being unable to visit it if the need arises, or finding it hard to deal with maintenance and repairs.

“It may be surprising to find that so many single-property landlords struggle to make it work, but we often find that this is because so many simply don’t realise what they’re getting themselves into” says NLA chairman Carolyn Uphill.

Vanessa Warwick, landlord and co-founder of PropertyTribes.com agrees:

“In property investment, I firmly believe that prevention is better than cure.  I always advise “accidental” landlords to put their rental property with a reputable agent rather than go it alone.  There are now over 100 Government statutes and regulations that landlords need to adhere to in order to be compliant and my experience is that most novice landlords have no knowledge of these, and this can impact on the compliant running of the tenancy and also open the landlord up to financial loss.

Robust tenant referencing is one area that often catches “accidental” landlords out, whereas lettings agents have tried and trusted procedures in place to find good tenants.

All agents must be a member of an Ombudsman scheme, and, for additional peace of mind, you should look for agents who have joined a professional body, such as NALS, ARLA, or RICS, and agents who have recognised client money protection in place, as evidenced by the SAFEagent kite mark.  A reputable lettings agent will offer a full raft of support to a novice landlord and help them manage their property efficiently, profitably, and compliantly”.

Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, had this to say:

“We get numerous instructions from accidental landlords who are struggling to deal with problem tenants.

The main issues that we encounter are:

1.  Accidental landlords do not have a business or professional mindset and become too emotionally involved in disputes with tenants;

2. When we are trying to evict tenants for these landlords, they have failed to protect the deposit properly, and therefore they cannot serve a Section 21 notice on their tenants.  They are also opened up to be sued for compensation by the tenant, as well as their tenancy agreements are poorly written, or just given orally.

The biggest problem we have is that accidental landlords serve notices incorrectly – often they have used the wrong form or put incorrect dates on, or used the wrong grounds.  This causes massive delays when the problem arrives at Landlord Action and it can delay the eviction process significantly.

Accidental landlords also do not factor in the time it takes to manage a property and this proves to be an Achilles Heel time and time again as managing the property impacts on their already busy lives.

Our advice at Landlord Action is always use a reputable agent to manage the property as the saying “Cheap is always expensive” has proven to be the case all too often”.

At Northwood, we have 20 years of experience of supporting landlords of all levels of experience and at all stages of the landlord lifecycle.

Indeed, our Guaranteed Rent service was designed very specifically for this landlord demographic, as we understood how these landlords wanted to “let and forget” their properties.  Our CEO, Gemma Goodson, explains more in this interview with Property Tribes:

Here is a round-up of our top resources for accidental landlords:

Starting out as a landlord – the basics

How to let out your own home safely and compliantly 

Guaranteed Rent 

Help! I’m a landlord and I’m stressed! 

Testimonial – 14 years of rent paid on time by Guaranteed Rent!  

Choosing a professional lettings agent 

Our M.D.’s top 3 tips for novice landlords 

Read some more customer reviews of our Guaranteed Rent service >>> here.

Find your nearest office >>> here. 

Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised lettings agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.

Find us on Twitter @northwoodUK or visit our YouTube Channel.

 

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