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Twohoots
01-04-2010, 20:04 PM
Will very soon be renting out a small house. Never done this before and obviously want to do it properly. Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent and would welcome any tips people would like to offer.

The house is nicely decorated, spotlessly clean and easy to maintain, as is the garden.

It has curtains & carpets and a built in cooker and we thought it would be good to install a fridge and washer/dryer as well. There is also a smoke alarm.

We need to decide on a rental price and then we will advertise it locally and pray that we find a nice single person or married couple. It is only 1 bedroom.

Thanks in advance

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 20:14 PM
Will very soon be renting out a small house. Never done this before and obviously want to do it properly. Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent and would welcome any tips people would like to offer.

The house is nicely decorated, spotlessly clean and easy to maintain, as is the garden.

It has curtains & carpets and a built in cooker and we thought it would be good to install a fridge and washer/dryer as well. There is also a smoke alarm.

We need to decide on a rental price and then we will advertise it locally and pray that we find a nice single person or married couple. It is only 1 bedroom.

Thanks in advance
This thead may be of interest/use to you:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=23015&highlight=plunger

mjbfire
01-04-2010, 20:24 PM
Yes, to fire alarm and cooker as these are the basics.

Fridge/Washing maching and Dryer depending on market. As if in the house you have to repair/replace it if goes wrong. If it a midweek or weekend market then yes otherwise, my view no. I also have curtains up when people viewing, but they always have they own or buy new ones(Maybe it's my taste)

Before

landlord gas safety cert(If any gas in house)
Engency performance cert.
Electric Cert(Specially if you have done any new electrical works)
Have you got yourself a Sample AST and know what in it.
Are pets allowed?
Are kids allowed?

While finding a tennant
Have you worked out how you going to do your referances, Credit Referances.
Are you going to take DSS(As you will get a lot of these people, if not,make clear in advert, if you are speak to council first, or local agent)
Where are you going to put there deposit(DPS etc)

After tennant found
Are you going to do the inventory yourself(Suggest first time get a firm in, as after that it's normally just admendments)

There are books, about this subject which you can pick up, from all good book shops, as the above is just what I think is the least you must do.

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 20:31 PM
I disagree that you need to get a company in to do your first inventory. It is easy. You just need (i) a notebook (either real or virtual) and (ii) the ability to name objects in a house. The average ten year old can do it. Or you can use InventoriesRus or the LLZ proforma inventory (See Agreements section). But an inventory clerk will charge you upwards of £150 to..well, make a list of the things in your house. It's a rip-off.

It's just a detailed list, with an explanatory note next to any items which are not in very good/new condition. Send me a pm if you wish and I will send you an example of one.

If you are self-managing - well done. You will save a fortune.

What is important is that you keep everything friendly, but professional. A basic understanding of economics, of LL & tenant law and of human psychology are really useful.

Good luck - I wish you success.

P.Pilcher
01-04-2010, 21:00 PM
When I started out I was keen to save money by DIYing everything. I did my homework and successfully found a number of good tenants. I was also pleased that I had done my homework as I had to do one or two section 8 and section 21 evictions. I also did I don't know how many 50 mile trips for viewings for potential tenants who never showed up. Subsequent experience has shown me that I seem to get much more trouble tenants that haven't come via a good property agent. Up until recently I was accepting tenants who were coming via a certain Christian organisation who were doing their best to help people. Some of their recommended tenants were excellent some... well.....I'll say no more! The cost of evicting tenants because they don't pay their rent is substantial, and I'm thinking of a four figure sum even if a DIY eviction is done. Compared with the £3-400 it costs me to engage a good agent with a high street presence it is substantial. They do the viewings, they do the checking, the referencing, the interviewing and merely report back to me when they need to establish whether a certain person will be an acceptale tenant. One of my agents even protects the tenant's deposit for me in their approved, ringfenced totally "Kosher" scheme. Over the years, I have established an excellent working relationship with my agents and now wouldn't dream of not using them. In the long term, to me they are worth every penny.

Trouble is, it is difficult in your situation not to have to learn this the hard way!

P.P.

mjbfire
01-04-2010, 21:09 PM
Yes Mind, i agree it is easy.

But I have so many stories, from other LL and on this forum, how the dps sides with the T.

The Top of the pops.
1) Items not being on the inventory, and therefore can't prove the condition or the condition of the item vage.
2) The inventory not signed and/or dated.
3) The inventory lost or no inventory.
4) Every photo not dated and signed by the T.

Which could cost you over £150 in the long run.

But if you do do it yourself,

Do the inventory 3 times.
1) Go round and note condition of everything.
2) Another day using document from day(1) go round again, with somebody else and note down the things you missed.(Light fittings, curtain rails, toliet rails)
3) Then go around again with the T, and get them to point out things, then and date and sign everything.(ie photos, your copy, their copy).

Next is just what I do,
Arrange to go back a week later, so give them time to pick up any thing else, then and date and sign everything.(ie photos, your copy, their copy).

For the future, when a tennant moves out, go and do a prelimary checkout two weeks before, and if any works need doing it gives the T times to fix it themselves. And also if they don't do the work , they less likely to complain, as you have given them warning.

And so far not had any disputes with the Ts, as far as Inventories go.

cymro123
01-04-2010, 22:14 PM
Agree with P.Pilcher about the value of a good agent - the problem is finding one - they are rarer than hen's teeth or an honest estate agent.

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 22:54 PM
When I started out I was keen to save money by DIYing everything. I did my homework and successfully found a number of good tenants. I was also pleased that I had done my homework as I had to do one or two section 8 and section 21 evictions. I also did I don't know how many 50 mile trips for viewings for potential tenants who never showed up. Subsequent experience has shown me that I seem to get much more trouble tenants that haven't come via a good property agent. Up until recently I was accepting tenants who were coming via a certain Christian organisation who were doing their best to help people. Some of their recommended tenants were excellent some... well.....I'll say no more! The cost of evicting tenants because they don't pay their rent is substantial, and I'm thinking of a four figure sum even if a DIY eviction is done. Compared with the £3-400 it costs me to engage a good agent with a high street presence it is substantial. They do the viewings, they do the checking, the referencing, the interviewing and merely report back to me when they need to establish whether a certain person will be an acceptale tenant. One of my agents even protects the tenant's deposit for me in their approved, ringfenced totally "Kosher" scheme. Over the years, I have established an excellent working relationship with my agents and now wouldn't dream of not using them. In the long term, to me they are worth every penny.

Trouble is, it is difficult in your situation not to have to learn this the hard way!

P.P.

My experience has been quite different, although I am able to do repairs/maintenance/redecorating myself, which helps. As long as you have a reliable handyman who lives locally to the property and you take the trouble to meet your tenants and reference them before you sign them up, I do not think an agent is particularly useful and they are not generally good value for money. Having said that, I have never had more than three properties to look after at a time. If you have lots and unless you want to make it your full time job, I imagine you will have to pay an agent to manage them for you. You wave goodbye to a big chunk of your profit however and if the tales of woe on this forum are anything to go by, you will end up endlessly enraged at their incomptetence. The good ones are indeed hard to find.

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 01:07 AM
It is easy. You just need (i) a notebook (either real or virtual) and (ii) the ability to name objects in a house. The average ten year old can do it. But an inventory clerk will charge you upwards of £150 to.. It's a rip-off.


It's just a detailed list, with an explanatory note next to any items which are not in very good/new condition.

My emboldening in "just"


You will save a fortune.


A basic understanding of economics, of LL & tenant law and of human psychology are really useful.


A little knowledge....

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 01:28 AM
Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent

I don't know on what basis you made this decision, but I hope you do not come to regret it.

There's lots of stuff you're going to need to do and some of this has already been expressed here, but there are other threads on this forum from others who have posted the exact same question, so search for them. Also, buy a few books on the subject too.

No-one starting off is knowledgeable enough to deal with all kinds of things that can and do come up before, during and after their first few tenancies and if you happen to be unlucky to come across a first class manipulator or "professional tenant" who knows or senses that you're a novice, you will find yourself in deep doo doo without a paddle pretty soon and you'll wonder why no-one warned you or taught you about this side of the game.

I would not recommend you do it yourself, unless you have some solid hand holding by a local experienced agent, or a lawyer who is also a landlord, or a seasoned landlord who is your friend.

If you don't have access to these people, I would recommend employing a reputable & experienced local letting agent, one that you have a good rapport with, because if you let someone in your house that you have not sussed properly and they turn bad, the letting and management fees that you will pay the agent will look like chicken feed next to the financial losses that could ensue and the multiple cans of worms that you could find yourself in.

Then after a couple of years, you can try doing some aspects yourself, like sorting our minor repairs, decorating, viewings, etc., and then go from there.
You soon learn if you have the temperament and mindset for this game, which not something that is considered by many folk that I have come across in my years.

I abhor the TV programmes that pretend the letting business is for anyone who has a home and that its just a series of steps and then you'll be fine, ala, "just get tenants in"...blah blah blah.

There are those times when everything is wonderful - you find a tenant, quickly and cheaply, who is great all round, pays their rent on time every time, cleans and looks after the property and leaves it in the condition you gave it to them (or better) and who also recommends you to their friend or work colleagues.
But its hard for all these good components to come together (and without any bad aspects) and so they are minority experiences, not the majority, as are the really bad ones, but because the really bad ones sting quite a lot, they leave a mark on you much stronger than the wonderful experiences.

Also, being able to judge who is a decent person that will be a good tenant and who is not is one skill you will have to learn if you want to do it yourself (that's what you mainly pay the agent for). There are some things facts and figures can't reveal.

This isn't a business that many people can do and just because you own a house doesn't qualify you to be a landlord or indicate in any way whether you will be successful or not.

Whatever you decide, I hope that you only have good experiences with lettings and if you do right by people, most of them (85% or more) will usually do right by you.

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 07:55 AM
My emboldening in "just"
OK -on reflection, I would add 'and as many digital photographs as you think necessary to show every part of the house contents and their state of repair and cleanliness at the start of the tenancy'. Give the tenannt a copy of both list and photos and ask them to sign to say they agree it is a full and accurate inventory.


A little knowledge....
Which is exactly what many letting agents have, but being in charge (frighteningly) of hundreds of other people's properties, they tend to lack the interest/motivation to do the right thing by you/yours, at times. It's a bit of a lottery. You might get a good one, or you might end up buying an expensive dog and barking yourself.

property mongrel
02-04-2010, 09:17 AM
i too am a newbie at letting and i decided that i would use a LA until i felt happy enough to deal with it. imvle letting is not something you have a go at, and why worry as no harm can come of it. i know of one landlord who lost rent as the tenancy agreement did not contain the words "per calendar month".

if i had read the threads here before letting i might not have done it at all, it's all doom and gloom. but then people only ask for help when there is a problem and there must be thousands of LLs and Ts without issues. i hope so.

i did do the inventory myself with my own drawn up forms. seeing the forms offered on this site, they are very similar. for a newly refurbished 1 bed flat i took 72 digital pictures and a video of me going around the flat filming each room from top to bottom all around the walls. i met T on site, did a walk through, went through the inventory and gave T and LA copies signed by me and T.

my LA has been brilliant, very good, attentive to detail and thorough. 10% is well worth paying for my peace of mind.

pm

Snorkerz
02-04-2010, 11:53 AM
Just to show how easy it is to contract a letting agent who is not competent to do even the 'standard' tenancy procedures

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=27320

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 12:18 PM
Just to show how easy it is to contract a letting agent who is not competent to do even the 'standard' tenancy procedures

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=27320
Do you know, exactly that thought occurred to me when I read that thread. It's a bit worrying when a letting agent has to come and ask for help on a site like this to serve a s8 notice, isn't it?

Perhaps it was a 16 year old on Work Experience and everyone else in the office was out for lunch? :D

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 14:36 PM
Which is exactly what many letting agents have, but being in charge (frighteningly) of hundreds of other people's properties, they tend to lack the interest/motivation to do the right thing by you/yours, at times

That is an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of the industry.

Even though there are Charlestons and cowboys around because the industry is not licensed or regulated, there are plenty of agents who have been in existence for many years and who provide good service and who remain unregulated.

We all have experiences of poor service from people in giant companies, but we also get service from people who are nothing more than shining stars who work in the same kind of comapnies and that make us sit up and take notice and surpise us, pleasantly - the same is true in the lettings industry.

The fact that you haven't come across any or enough good agents is unfortunate, but you shouldn't extrapolate from your narrow and limited experience for the rest of the U.K.

By all mean people should do things themselves, if they can, as it can save money, but you are talking from the position of many years of experience and from memory, you're operating at the grotty end of the market, so you're probably a bit more battle-weary than many on this forum and of course, the OP, who's a complete novice.

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 14:43 PM
OK -on reflection, I would add 'and as many digital photographs as you think necessary to show every part of the house contents and their state of repair and cleanliness at the start of the tenancy'. Give the tenannt a copy of both list and photos and ask them to sign to say they agree it is a full and accurate inventory.


You are also doing a disservice to the inventory clerk profession.

I hope you and others who "DIY" their inventories, don't come up against problems/arguments, etc., from being simple amateurs with a pen and camera and that if you have to go to court, hope that the judge will accept your unqualified position as an inventory clerk.

Anyone can buy and use a camera - that doesn't make them photographers.
Anyone can buy a drill and bit and turn it on - that doesn't make them tradespeople.

Same applies to inventories.

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 15:12 PM
That is an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of the industry. ...in your view.


Even though there are Charlestons and cowboys around ...I think you mean charlatans. The Charleston is a dance.


We all have experiences of poor service from people in giant companies, but we also get service from people who are nothing more than shining stars who work in the same kind of comapnies and that make us sit up and take notice and surpise us, pleasantly - the same is true in the lettings industry. Quite possibly, and I agree that there will be some shining stars. It does not however mean that it is generally an 'industry' in which we can take pride. It doesn't seem to be very industrious, for a start.


The fact that you haven't come across any or enough good agents is unfortunate, but you shouldn't extrapolate from your narrow and limited experience for the rest of the U.K.My observations are based not only on my own limited experience of agents but also on the experiences of friends/colleagues who are landlords and who tend to use agents as they choose not to self-manage, and on the catalogue of woe and inefficiency which is the 'Letting Agents Questions' forum on this site.


By all mean people should do things themselves, if they can, as it can save money, but you are talking from the position of many years of experience and from memory, you're operating at the grotty end of the market, so you're probably a bit more battle-weary than many on this forum and of course, the OP, who's a complete novice. Since you know next to nothing about me or the properties I own/manage I do not really think you are qualified to tell me what end of the market I am concerned with. Please be reassured that I do not consider letting as a battle, nor do I feel 'battle-weary'. If self-managing were so awful, I would not be recommending it to OP.

The inescapable fact is that many letting agents generally charge a lot of money to do very little and in many cases, to do it badly. Given half a chance they will try to carry on charging you for it even if you disinstruct them. You need only run your eye down the list of thread titles on the LA forum to see that.

For a more detailed debate on what LAs actually do for their money, see #11 onwards of : http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=26065&page=2

or this one:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=26843&page=2
My calculations of the details of time management of tasks have been verified on another thread by a particularly expensive agent, whose endorsement of them logically points to his earning in the region of £700 per hour minus overheads:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=27111

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 15:19 PM
You are also doing a disservice to the inventory clerk profession.

I hope you and others who "DIY" their inventories, don't come up against problems/arguments, etc., from being simple amateurs with a pen and camera and that if you have to go to court, hope that the judge will accept your unqualified position as an inventory clerk.

Anyone can buy and use a camera - that doesn't make them photographers.
Anyone can buy a drill and bit and turn it on - that doesn't make them tradespeople.

Same applies to inventories.

You do not have to be David Bailey to be able systematically to photograph walls, floors and furniture. In this age of digital photography and automatic focus cameras you would have to be extremely technophobic not to be able to make a video, or to take a collection of still images useful to support a written inventory for most private rental properties.

If OP does not feel that he wants to do the inventory himself, fine. Let him employ an inventory clerk. There is no need to get so heated about it all. :)

It is unhelpful to scaremonger about what judges will and will not be swayed by, in terms of inventory evidence. The most significant factor in preventing Ts wilfully damaging one's property is being able to choose and reference good Ts in the first place. If damage is done accidentally, good Ts will also be less likely to contest deductions and you are less likely to end up in court. Apart from one year when we had a couple of tenants whom I would consider less than ideal and whom I had to charge for careless damage/negligence, I have rarely have to make any deductions. It seems to me there is a conflict in interests if you are asking a letting agent both (a)to find you some tenants and (b)to manage your property with those tenants in it. They have an obvious interest in doing (a) quickly and without worrying too much about the references so they can get on with (b) which is even more lucrative. If LAs were financially liable to LLs for tenants they find for them, who subsequently turn out to be useless, I would have more sympathy for them. But they aren't, so I haven't!

Snorkerz
02-04-2010, 15:20 PM
I think you mean charlatans. The Charleston is a dance.Could be "Charleston Property Management" of Frome - though I supect not - I'm sure they are a very lovely set of people (just in case they ever see this)

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 15:36 PM
Could be "Charleston Property Management" of Frome - though I supect not - I'm sure they are a very lovely set of people (just in case they ever see this)
Who knows?!

Freudian slip?

Twohoots
02-04-2010, 19:49 PM
Thank you all very, very much. I am going to print all the replies off and sit and read them carefully. Stuff makes more sense to me when it's on paper - how weird is that?

The little place we will be letting is literally a few hundred yards from our own house. I've been in there today and it's looking good and would make a lovely little place for someone. If I do anything I do it to the best of my ability and do as much research as I can beforehand. I am also a very honest person. The Landlord Zone has been a great place to start.:)
Thanks again.

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 20:15 PM
Thank you all very, very much. I am going to print all the replies off and sit and read them carefully. Stuff makes more sense to me when it's on paper - how weird is that?

The little place we will be letting is literally a few hundred yards from our own house. I've been in there today and it's looking good and would make a lovely little place for someone. If I do anything I do it to the best of my ability and do as much research as I can beforehand. I am also a very honest person. The Landlord Zone has been a great place to start.:)
Thanks again.

You're welcome. All the best in your new venture.

Grrr
02-04-2010, 20:51 PM
It very much depends on the agents. My experience of them has not been so good and generally I feel I can do a better job without them. Not to mention save 6-10% of the annual rent, plus VAT!

If at all possible, show potential tenants round yourself. It's you who needs a good rapport with these people, not the agent.

Remember that when agents do a tenant check, they REALLY want to let people through so they can get their commission, and then on to the next. In most cases they pay a remote computer based referencing firm £20-30 to tick a few boxes. Ultimately, if they accept a tenant who later lets you down it's YOU (not the agent) who has to lose rent and pay legal costs.

Far better to do thorough referencing yourself. Get the potential tenant to fill in an application form asking for pertinent details and getting them to agree to a credit check. You can get a credit check on someone for around a fiver. Speak to their previous landlord yourself (did they pay the rent reliably and on time? Did they look after the place? Would they let to them again?). Speak to their employer yourself (google the employer to check they exist, don't ring someone on a mobile - use a landline, preferably via a main switchboard and check who you're speaking to. Ask if the potential tenant is employed 'for the forseable future' and confirm that they are paid what they have told you)

If any of the above doesn't feel right, or if the information given is fudged, find out more. Make sure your gut instinct says that all is well. If not, walk away.

Some landlords also insist on always getting a home owning guarantor to agree to cover the rent if there's a problem.

I don't want to tempt fate, and I'm certainly not complacent, but I've been doing this for 8 years now during which time I've probably had over 30 tenants (mostly on shared leases) and (aside from a minor blip or two) I have never had someone default on rent and I have never had to resort to legal action.

Join the NLA or RLA and make use of their advice line. You can also ask here or on other landlord forums like 'property investing - practical' at fool.co.uk and you'll get better help than from most agents I've encountered.

My only other advice, is set up a simple website with photos of the property. It makes it much simpler when advertising in newspapers and on Gumtree.com etc if you can refer them to your site.

Grrr

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 21:25 PM
Since you know next to nothing about me or the properties I own/manage I do not really think you are qualified to tell me what end of the market I am concerned with.

Oh but this is not so, is it MTG, given the copious posting you have provided on this forum, in some detail, of your operations and the tenants you deal with.


Please be reassured that I do not consider letting as a battle, nor do I feel 'battle-weary'. If self-managing were so awful, I would not be recommending it to OP.

One's view about something changes once you've been in it for a while and you may have forgotten what it was like when you started out, all those years ago.
While you know yourself and are comfortable doing what you do, you cannot assume that others will be or that they will have the temperament, etc., for this kind of business, especially someone who you don't know and are unlikely to do so.

Also battle-weary is not just about actual physical battle.
Its that you've been through enough experiences to have learned whatever game/business you are in and have survived.
Many people start off in something and give up because they can't take it.

The OP will only realise if DIY managing is for them after they've had some bad experiences and found that they have survived (or not).
I just hope that if the OP does do this, that they don't suffer too much.


The inescapable fact is that many letting agents generally charge a lot of money to do very little and in many cases, to do it badly. Given half a chance they will try to carry on charging you for it even if you disinstruct them. You need only run your eye down the list of thread titles on the LA forum to see that.

I don't disgaree that there are lettings agents that are bad, corrupt and even evil (Fo****).
So why don't you consider being an unofficial (or official) agent for your friends/family's properties and see what's it like?
I think you've discover a different experience to the kind you've had so far.



My calculations of the details of time management of tasks have been verified on another thread by a particularly expensive agent, whose endorsement of them logically points to his earning in the region of £700 per hour minus overheads:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=27111

I think agents take the p*** with landlords because they know many landlords don't like engaging with tenants and dealing with repairs, etc. or even that landlords think that tenants prefer to use agents (not true) or that they have more reach (possibly true) and so they will have more success through an agent.

But not all agents treat their landlord customers like this and the OP should be able to find one or more in their area who has at least, a good reputation.

HairyLandlord
02-04-2010, 21:40 PM
If at all possible, show potential tenants round yourself. It's you who needs a good rapport with these people, not the agent.


No. You actually need both but you seem not to know the value of a good agent.


IRemember that when agents do a tenant check, they REALLY want to let people through so they can get their commission, and then on to the next. In most cases they pay a remote computer based referencing firm £20-30 to tick a few boxes. Ultimately, if they accept a tenant who later lets you down it's YOU (not the agent) who has to lose rent and pay legal costs.

A simple pack of lies.


IYou can get a credit check on someone for around a fiver.

Not true.


ISpeak to their previous landlord yourself (did they pay the rent reliably and on time? Did they look after the place? Would they let to them again?). Speak to their employer yourself (google the employer to check they exist, don't ring someone on a mobile - use a landline, preferably via a main switchboard and check who you're speaking to. Ask if the potential tenant is employed 'for the forseable future' and confirm that they are paid what they have told you)

Referencing is much more than the obvious questions and most employers will not release information via the telephone even if you are a potential LL.

Also, referencing agencies have info that you and the public do not.
Are you willing to forgo that knowledge for £30 or less?
If you are, then you have to accept whatever happens subsequently that could have been avoided, had you got that little piece of information.


IIf any of the above doesn't feel right, or if the information given is fudged, find out more. Make sure your gut instinct says that all is well. If not, walk away.

This is asking a lot of novices.
An agent can weed out those potential agents that they feel or know are going to be problem.
That's the value of an agent if you don't have that skill or feel for people.

mjbfire
02-04-2010, 21:46 PM
Twohoots, you mentioned that the house is close to yours, it may not be a problem, but you seem like you take a lot of pride in it.(Which is good).
But remember once you let it out, for all tense and purpose it's theirs. Unless they are doing major physcial damage to it, using it for illegal purpose or not pay rent, it's going to be differcult to get them out within the fixed term(6 months?).
Anything else they can tell you to mind your own business, and if you pop round without their agreement to complain about anything or even bumb into them, the words "harressment" comes to mind.
So as well as all I mentioned before, have a read up on
Breach of Quite enjoyment
Harressment
Illegal eviction
So even though they are a few hundreds yards, do everthing by phone or letter.

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 22:04 PM
Hairy : I do not have the time or inclination to answer all your many and rambling points, but I would reassure you that I do in fact manage other people's rental properties as well as my own, which is what has led me to the conclusion that it is not rocket science. There is no mystique to it and I can reveal, for example, that it does not cost anything like £200 plus VAT to adapt and print off a standard tenancy agreement, or £28 plus VAT simply to pick the phone up to ring a gas fitter to arrange a CP12.

The qualities needed to be a successful letting agent are :
(i) a modicum of knowledge of human psychology
(ii)a basic grasp of book-keeping
(iii) a sound grasp of LL and tenant law and the sense to know when you need a lawyer
(iv) honesty
(v) the ability to communicate clearly in writing or face to face.

Sadly, as the litany of complaints on this forum testifies, many LAs simply do not have these qualities.

Grrr
02-04-2010, 23:28 PM
Oh dear HairyLandlord - you really are a grumpy so and so aren't you? Has it been a bad day or are you usually like this? It's terrible etiquette to call someone a liar when we've only just met!

In my experience of several agents in my area, they dont do the referencing themselves and the computer based reference for around £30 IS a matter of fact. I've been given them and found them to be next to useless. And it IS a fact that agents don't have to foot the legal bills or miss out on unpaid rent - the landlord does. (Not sure which bit is a 'pack of lies' - perhaps you could explain)

You're right that you can't get a credit check for a fiver. It's £8 via the NLA. Not a huge amount more, and I did say AROUND a fiver!

There is little of use that a referencing agency can find out that you can't. Have they got CCJs? Have they got behind with debt? Were they on the electoral role? All available to you for a small fee. Add to that a good personal conversation with various referees and you have a far more robust and trustworthy process. I've never had a problem with an employer confirming information and landlords are mostly very happy to share knowledge with a fellow LL - I do it myself. What's more, £20-30 is what the agent pays for these computerised checks. You pay the agent a packet more!

You're right that a good agent can be really worth their fee for a new Landlord, but it really depends on the agent. Many that I have met would be an absolute liability for someone new to this.

Have a lie in tomorrow HairyLL and hopefully you'll feel a little better.

Grrr

mind the gap
03-04-2010, 09:26 AM
Oh dear HairyLandlord - you really are a grumpy so and so aren't you? Has it been a bad day or are you usually like this? It's terrible etiquette to call someone a liar when we've only just met!

In my experience of several agents in my area, they dont do the referencing themselves and the computer based reference for around £30 IS a matter of fact. I've been given them and found them to be next to useless. And it IS a fact that agents don't have to foot the legal bills or miss out on unpaid rent - the landlord does. (Not sure which bit is a 'pack of lies' - perhaps you could explain)

You're right that you can't get a credit check for a fiver. It's £8 via the NLA. Not a huge amount more, and I did say AROUND a fiver!

There is little of use that a referencing agency can find out that you can't. Have they got CCJs? Have they got behind with debt? Were they on the electoral role? All available to you for a small fee. Add to that a good personal conversation with various referees and you have a far more robust and trustworthy process. I've never had a problem with an employer confirming information and landlords are mostly very happy to share knowledge with a fellow LL - I do it myself. What's more, £20-30 is what the agent pays for these computerised checks. You pay the agent a packet more!

You're right that a good agent can be really worth their fee for a new Landlord, but it really depends on the agent. Many that I have met would be an absolute liability for someone new to this.

Have a lie in tomorrow HairyLL and hopefully you'll feel a little better.

Grrr

Don't worry, Grrr, HL's glass is often half empty, if you take my meaning. If you trawl back through his posting history you will see some real explosions of indigestion.

I was going to post after your earlier excellent advice to OP, to say how much I agree with everything you say. Helpful stuff.

tom999
03-04-2010, 09:44 AM
You can get a credit check on someone for around a fiver.

Not true.
Actually, it is true. I can get comprehensive credit checks done for under £3.00 each*.

I have never charged tenants for credit checks or 'admin fees'.



* In case of any curiosity you may have: No, I'm not going to reveal where or how this can be done, on a public forum.

HairyLandlord
03-04-2010, 23:45 PM
I do not have the time or inclination to answer all your many and rambling points

But you do have time to waste reeling of your list of "qualities", of which only one can be classified as such.


The qualities needed to be a successful letting agent are :
(i) a modicum of knowledge of human psychology
(ii)a basic grasp of book-keeping
(iii) a sound grasp of LL and tenant law and the sense to know when you need a lawyer
(iv) honesty
(v) the ability to communicate clearly in writing or face to face.

Sadly, as the litany of complaints on this forum testifies, many LAs simply do not have these qualities.

The complaints on this forum about letting agents do not constitute "many" lettings agents, since you have no benchmark to know of what constitutes the letting agents' universe.

What you have slithered away from, something you do often it seems in your ramblings, is that the OP is the one who is devoid of all kinds of necessary knowledge, skills and maybe even certain qualities, which does not make them suitable to be a landlord.

Your readiness to hurl the OP into the marketplace, just like that, is a big mistake that I hope they don't come to realise if they take your ill-advised and reckless advice.

Snorkerz
03-04-2010, 23:55 PM
But you do have time to waste reeling of your list of "qualities", of which only one can be classified as such.
But the list you refer to isn't posted by MTG as a list of her qualities is it? It is a list of qualities required by a letting agent. Are we adding 2+2 and getting 5? So far as I know, MTG doesn't charge people 10% per month to manage their properties.

Rodent1
04-04-2010, 01:01 AM
But you do have time to waste reeling of your list of "qualities", of which only one can be classified as such.



The complaints on this forum about letting agents do not constitute "many" lettings agents, since you have no benchmark to know of what constitutes the letting agents' universe.

What you have slithered away from, something you do often it seems in your ramblings, is that the OP is the one who is devoid of all kinds of necessary knowledge, skills and maybe even certain qualities, which does not make them suitable to be a landlord.

Your readiness to hurl the OP into the marketplace, just like that, is a big mistake that I hope they don't come to realise if they take your ill-advised and reckless advice.
The price of a pint for a mate to do it ;)

mind the gap
04-04-2010, 06:56 AM
What you have slithered away from, something you do often it seems in your ramblings
Rather unfortunate clash of metaphors there, if I may say so. ('Slithering' suggests leglessness; 'rambling', quite the reverse). :D Besides which, I think you'll find that I am not in fact the one who tends to 'ramble' or 'slither'. Whole-text cohesion and syntactical coherence are my watchwords, dear boy! And you...?


the OP is the one who is devoid of all kinds of necessary knowledge, skills and maybe even certain qualities, which does not make them suitable to be a landlord. You cannot assume that at all. OP may have all the qualities I enumerated - they are in fact simply the qualities possessed by most responsible, thoughtful adults who have ever held down a job working with people and managing a budget of any kind. Property maintenance, of course requires practical skills - which not everyone has - and you will note that I have indeed recommended having a good handyman if necessary. I stand by my view that letting out houses is not brain-surgery and most intelligent, motivated and honest adults could do it better than many letting agents. I'm not expecting you to agree with it, but that's your prerogative.

Your readiness to hurl the OP into the marketplace, just like that, is a big mistake that I hope they don't come to realise if they take your ill-advised and reckless advice.

Stop exaggerating; and there is really no need to get quite so rattled about it all. Let us remind ourselves what OP said in his/her very first post when inviting 'tips':


Will very soon be renting out a small house. Never done this before and obviously want to do it properly. Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent and would welcome any tips people would like to offer.


It seems that Twohoots has already decided to self-manage. Some people (including me) endorse that decision and go on to offer tips as requested; others such as yourself advise caution about self-managing and say they'd recommend using an agent if a good one can be found.

If s/he is more persuaded by your arguments than by mine, I expect he will indeed abandon his idea of going it alone and find an agent.

Perhaps we should credit OP with a little intelligence.

mind the gap
04-04-2010, 06:59 AM
So far as I know, MTG doesn't charge people 10% per month to manage their properties.:)

That is correct - I don't!