The Single Most Frequently Asked Question by Landlords!

I have lots of conversations with Landlords every week and one of the questions that we talk about A LOT is “What if my property gets trashed?”

“Trashed” is a word that I’ve heard a lot in the Lettings Industry when Landlords talk about check out

If there’s regular visits to the property, then you would know on your first visit whether the tenants are looking after the property. You’d certainly pick up on any damages, right? If you have a detailed professionally prepared Inventory, signed by the Tenant on check in, supported with photographs, you have your evidence, right?

But what about if you never went to visit? How would you KNOW whether your property is being looked after? How would you KNOW whether your tenants have adopted some pets or even whether the people in the property match the people on the tenancy? So I’m talking about sub-letting here – it can and does happen

I was talking to a Landlord yesterday with a portfolio of properties who hadn’t been to one of his flats for 18 months. He’s been a Landlord for 20 years and happy to manage his properties himself.  With 20 years experience he knows what he’s doing

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, in the beginning, there was no problem at all. The rent came in like clockwork, the tenants never bothered him with repairs – no news is good news, right?

Or so he thought …..

When he tried to contact the tenants to let them know he wanted to sell the property, he couldn’t get a response. The tenants refused to answer calls, emails, letters and he was at a loss as to what to do next

His only option was to serve a Section 21 Notice for Possession

So he went through the whole eviction process and finally got his property back last week

Guess what he found?

Several beds in a two bedroom flat, a kitchen damaged beyond repair, carpets ruined, broken furniture, the list is endless

So, my question to you is this ……

Do you think he could have seen this coming if he’d have made time for his 3 monthly visits? Do you think he could have saved himself a few grand on repairs?

If you don’t have the time or desire to visit your property, just let us know – we’ll do it for you and provide you with a full report and photographs, giving you peace of mind that your property isn’t going to be trashed when you get it back!

 

Why I dig deep when referencing Tenants

I don’t need to reference the Tenants, It’s someone I know” is a sentence I’ve heard many times when talking to Landlords

It’s a friend of a friend” “It’s my brother’s mate, they won’t let me down”

Ok, so this person may be vaguely known to you but have you thought about whether they can afford the rent every month? Do you have any proof of income? What does their credit history look like? Would their current Landlord re-let to them? What’s their background? Is their job a permanent, temporary or zero hour contract? What does their existing landlord think about them? Have they looked after the property that they’re currently renting?

I know that I want an answer to every single one of those questions before any decision is made.  Think of it as putting together a jigsaw and piecing information together, you’re building a picture of the people that you’re going to allow to live in your property

Most people wouldn’t lend one of their belongings to someone they vaguely know and yet still, some Landlords will hand over keys, almost on a hand shake!

It’s really smart to invest a lot of time in referencing and find out as much as you can. You’ll almost certainly regret it if you don’t. Talk to their existing Landlord if they have one, ask to see proof of income, contact their employer to verify the information they’ve given to you. Maybe offer a second viewing to find out more. Credit checking is vitally important – how would you feel if you found out after your new tenant moved in that they have several County Court Judgements against them and a history of not paying up?

Whether you credit check and reference your tenants or not, you need to comply with the Immigration Act which involves checking whether your tenant has the “Right to Rent” in the UK and this applies to the over 18s and lodgers

Photographic ID,the original documents must be checked and copied BEFORE the Tenancy starts

And if you don’t?

It’s a criminal offence for non-compliance – up to 5 years imprisonment and an UNLIMITED fine

The Company that we use for credit checks, referencing and Right to Rent provide us with a comprehensive report, usually within 3 working days – impressive!

All of those questions answered in full, in one report – Now that’s what I call “Peace of Mind”

Be Careful What You Agree To!

I’ve just had a conversation with a Self-Managing Landlord for whom we find tenants.  Recently, his tenant, a dear elderly lady, asked whether her son could have permission to put up some decorative plates in the living room for her.  She wants to stay long term which fits in with the Landlord’s plans perfectly

He has just been to the property on a routine management visit and established that there are 42 plates on the wall in the living room!

Always a good idea to establish exactly what your tenants are asking permission for and be careful what you agree to!

 

3 Ways to avoid a Deposit dispute at the end of your Tenancy

Deposit claims & disputes are, without doubt, one of the BIGGEST headaches for Landlords. One of those headaches that really does keep you awake at night!

Damages and cleanliness are the two main reasons why a claim arises on a deposit. 

HERE’S 3 WAYS TO AVOID A DISPUTE AT THE END OF YOUR TENANCY:-

– Have a Professional Inventory prepared

New Tenancy, new Inventory, every time.  It’ll save you time, money and worry and it’s the EASIEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to avoid disputes. When your tenant has signed the document on check-in, keep it in a safe place and provide them with a copy

2 – Regular management visits

How do you know that the property is being looked after if you don’t ever visit? How do you know whether your tenants have redecorated, have acquited a pet or even moved other people in? To prevent any nasty shocks or surprises on check out, visit your property every 3 months or so to MAKE SURE that all is in order

3 – Before & After!

To make a successful claim, the Deposit Scheme will ask for “before” and “after” photographs to support the case together with a copy of the Tenancy Agreement and Inventory, both at check in and check out.  Having all the information at your fingertips makes it easy to put your case together and provides clarity for your claim

If you need any advice on any aspect of deposit disputes, give Sue or Rob a call on 01395 222365