View Full Version : Maintenance contract or not maintenance contract?
06-10-2011, 11:52 AM
I am thinking of letting out my first property, so please forgive me if I seem a bit of an amateur!
I am obviously trying to form a picture of how I will manage the property and I really don't want to go down a maintenance contract with the estate agent as it seems like a waste of money.
I would much rather manage it all myself. Am I being naive?
What do the majority of landlords do?
Those who self manage do you have a specific company you use?
06-10-2011, 13:09 PM
I can't say what the majority of landlords do, but I use a letting agent to manage the maintenance aspects, mainly because I live to far away from the property to consider taking on the responsibility for general maintenance myself.
However, using the agent also avoids me being called up at 3am when the tenant finds a pipe has burst and flooded the property. It also avoids me having to visit the property to investigate whether something is broken or is just not being used correctly. Part of the price for this is giving the agent free-rein, upto an agreed level, to authorise repairs without reference to the landlord.
A good agent will not apply any mark up to repair work and will select suppliers who do good work at sensible prices. (If they don't, too many of their customers will complain.)
I don't think you are being naive, but you do need to consider whether you really have the time to self-manage. I would suggest if you are employed full-time, you probably do not.
If you do go down this route, I would ensure you have a proper system setup to log tenant requests (and the time it takes you to deal with them).
06-10-2011, 13:41 PM
you should think about going on a training course or joining an association of some kind before getting into the landlord business - best investing some money before you get started so you get things right first time and saves you a lot of time and money in the long run. definitely do your research!
06-10-2011, 13:55 PM
as ll123 says: Both NLA & RLA run such courses: You'll save, in the long run, more than they cost even if you use an agent (you'll then know what the agent should be doing on your behalf..)
06-10-2011, 14:30 PM
We were all amateurs when we started out as landlords, but there are good amateurs who are keen to learn everything they need to know, and not so good ones who look at the easy bits, and hope the hard bits will either go away or sort themselves out in time.
Before you start, you need to know your legal obligations in becoming a landlord, and understand what your and your tenants rights are. Failure to do it right can at the very least, cost you a lost of money and heartache, and at the worse, result in a criminal record or even a prison sentence.
What experience or knowledge do you already have? Do you know about tenancy agreements, vetting tenants, deposit protection, health and safety requirements, EPC, gas safety certificates, eviction and notice requirements? Will you be using a mortgage to buy the property? Would you have enough spare cash to cover yourself if the tenants stopped paying, trashed it and refused to move out? If you feel you would be wasting your money using an agent, there are far higher costs involved than a 10-15% commission charge for managing the property for you - atleast in the early stages while you are still getting to grips with it.
Also, agent fees are allowable against your tax return, so may not actually be "wasted money" at all.
I do self manage now, but having had my property since 2000, it is only in the last 2 years I have felt comfortable to drop the agent and do it all myself.
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