According to one Belvoir agent old style conflicts between tenants in rented properties and their private sector landlords are largely the stuff of fading legend these days.
Franchisee for the country’s largest property agents Belvoir, Amjed Rasul, told the Press and Journal that:
“In the real world, no-one achieves anything that old fashioned way.
“The modern approach is more about tenants and landlords cultivating partnerships. Both have interests to protect and they can both achieve that better by working together. If they can’t, then something is wrong – and mis-matches do happen – but good relationships are more the order of today.
“The truth is that a rented property may be part of a landlord’s livelihood but it’s also home to the tenant and the ideal situation is for them to work around each other.”
Past conflicts in rented properties have been common, ranging from serious crimes such as cannabis growing to the hilarious [not for the landlord], with one tenant ruining a washing machine when he said he put in a house brick to “stonewash” his denim jeans.
Dorian Gonsalves, managing director of Belvoir says,
“Whether it’s a laughing matter or an indictable criminal offence, the relationship between a tenant and a landlord is at the heart of today’s private rented sector,”
“Closer relationships obviously work better for both parties and, thankfully, that’s the way things are moving. The 170 branches throughout our UK network are reporting fewer and fewer cases of serious conflict.
“The current housing crisis has turned the private rented sector into a major home provider with nearly two million landlords renting to some 10million tenants and for them, working together means making it work.”
Professional lettings and management agencies, according to Belvoir, should be looking to the interests of both parties and using methods that create harmony.
Landlords can agree on periodic inspection visits so they can see how a property is being looked after, which affords a chance to see if there are any repair jobs or maintenance issues that need doing.
Tenants on the other hand can then let landlords, or their agents, know if they are planning a holiday and the property is going to be empty for an extended period – a condition set-out in every tenancy agreement. Occasional visits like this can ensure good communications and keep both parties interests safe.
Belvoir advocates developing close ties with neighbours so they can have the agent’s or landlord’s phone number and get in touch if anything seems wrong with the property.
Amjed Rasul says,
“An honest, upfront, practice like this creates a precise record of contents and condition that is beyond dispute. And that can save a lot of arguments later – especially over returning deposits.”
Belvoir has highlighted 10 common mistakes they find that landlords often make:
1. Reduced research
“One of the most common mistakes made by landlords new to the industry is lack of research,” says owner of Belvoir Portsmouth and Belvoir Waterlooville Samantha Bateman. “This includes lack of research about the local rental market, the facts, figures and finances involved, the laws and legislations associated with letting a property, deposit rules or the tax implications of being a landlord.
“Always fully understand the commitment you’re about to make and your key responsibilities before you invest.”
2. Property power
“Additionally, some new landlords don’t understand the power of investing in the right type of property,” continues Samantha. “The wrong property in the wrong location can lead to periods of void and reduced capital growth.
“Be aware of the rental demand in your chosen area, plus understand the sales market too so you can maximise your profit when exiting your investment.”
3. Cutting corners
“Reluctance to spend any money on the property, failing to present the property to its full potential, substandard workmanship or installing inferior fixtures, fittings or appliances are also common mistakes which can lead to reduced rental return or periods of void,” Samantha continues. “Plus, if you don’t show care about the condition of the property, it is likely that the tenant won’t either.
“Ensure you understand your obligations before you commit and always remember that cutting corners is often a quick way to cut profit potential.”
4. Points of view(ings)!
“There a number of mistakes that can be made during the viewings process,” says Samantha. “Being too pushy, being late or making promises you can’t possibly keep will have a negative effect on your relationship with the potential tenant before it even begins.
“Viewings are an opportunity to showcase your skills as a landlord and the tenant will want to see that you are efficient, effective and fair before they commit to you and your property.”
5. Insufficient information
“Failing to find out about your potential tenant’s financial status and their prior rental history can be a mistake with far-reaching implications,” she adds.
“Bad tenants can lead to late payments, non payments, disputes and lengthy eviction processes.
“Always carry out the necessary tenant credit checks, plus obtain references from their employers and previous landlord if they have rented before.”
6. Behind closed doors
“Never leave your tenants to their own devices for the duration of the tenancy,” continues Samantha. “While it’s important to respect their privacy it’s also essential to protect your property.
“Regular inspections at a pre-arranged time to suit both parties are vital in order for you to assess the condition of the property and ensure that the tenant is living within the rules of the tenancy agreement.
“Without these vital visits it will be impossible for you to know what’s going on behind closed doors (including on-going damage or subletting) and you may get a nasty surprise when you re-enter the property once the tenancy ends.”
7. Misjudging maintenance
“Never leave minor repairs or maintenance to escalate,” Samantha adds. “It can lead to withheld rental payments, an unhappy tenant and an unhappy working relationship, plus it’s surprising how quickly a small maintenance issue can become a big problem if left unresolved.
“Commonly ignored issues which can escalate at speed include blocked guttering or drains, missing roof tiles, the appearance of mould growth or leaking plumbing.
“Not only will unresolved maintenance affect your relationship with the tenant, it will also have negative implications for your property’s infrastructure… and of course your wallet.”
8. Business blunder
“Understand your target tenant and always remember that letting a property and being a landlord is a business venture,” advises Samantha. “It’s surprising how many new landlords fail to realise this and invest in properties with their own tastes or needs in mind.
“Keeping a property neutral and basic will mean items and decor are easy to replace or repair if they get damaged, plus presenting a property in this way will also allow a tenant to imagine themselves living there.
“Remember, too, that your relationship with the tenant should be a professional one. Becoming over-friendly can lead to difficulties if issues arise or dispute management is needed.”
9. No exit
“Have you got an exit plan? Do you fully understand the purpose of the investment?,” asks Samantha.
“Before investing you should ideally know why you’re buying the property, how long you’re going to keep it and how you’re going to execute its exit.
“Whether you’re looking for a high short-term monthly rental return or long-term capital growth, it’s useful to plan and prepare appropriately at the beginning of your investment journey.”
10. Expert appreciation
“Expert advice is an important resource for landlords, both old and new, so don’t ignore its value,” concludes Samantha.
“Property management agents are industry specialists who will be able to advise you on all aspects of being a successful landlord, from investing in the right property to running the tenancy.
“We understand the local rental market and have expert knowledge about industry legislation, we can also help landlords start thinking about and formulating their exit plan, plus we can arrange contractors when needed, be an independent third-party to advise both landlords and tenants accordingly and manage all practical elements of the tenancy too.
“The value of a good letting agent shouldn’t be underestimated so make sure you fully utilise their expertise in order to minimise potential problems and maximise your property’s profit potential.”
Belvoir website at www.belvoir.co.uk
Perfect Harmony between Landlords & Tenants https://t.co/QwT0LiL1UL
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) December 2, 2016