WHEN Landlord Action was founded eight years ago, property investment was still a relatively exclusive phenomenon amongst cash rich people who could buy a property outright.
Since those days the increase in buy-to-let mortgages and the crash in personal pensions has seen more people taking out loans to finance the purchase of a property in order to let it out.
With that there has been a rise in the problems associated with being a landlord.
Landlord Action founding director Paul Shamplina says: “Personal debt is increasing amongst tenants and landlords.”
“If a tenant gets into problems and can’t pay the rent, landlords who have bought on a mortgage are going to feel the pinch much sooner. We find landlords are contacting us a lot quicker these days. They just can’t afford to have a tenant defaulting on rent which is effectively paying the mortgage.”
“There has also been a significant change in the buy-to-let market in the sense that the yields are much smaller now; and there is new legislation with the landlords deposit scheme meaning deposits are held by an intermediary.”
These changes mean Landlord Action, the original fixed fee tenant eviction company, is busier than ever. In the eight years since its foundation the company has successfully evicted more than 9000 tenants and in that time they’ve seen their fair share of copycat agencies setting up against them. But the cream always floats to the top.
Mr Shamplina explains: “It’s irritating for us when we see other companies offering a service which is ill thought out, not professionally run and actually causes landlords more problems. We regularly get landlords coming to us from these other places, in absolute despair at the mess they have made of what is already a stressful situation.”
Landlord Action was founded by and is still run by landlords. And it’s all they do, so the focus and expertise never gets diluted.
That primary place in the market is regularly emphasised in the media, with Landlord Action featured on national BBC and ITV television programmes, radio and in the national newspapers.
“We’ve had some pretty interesting stories over the years,” admits Mr Shamplina. “The largest rent arrears we ever handled was £53,000. And we once got instructed on a case where there was 14 months of rent arrears before the landlord decided to take action.”
“We’ve had a murder at a premises. And we dealt with two tenants who turned out to have committed a murder, not at the property where they were living, somewhere else. But we got the job of evicting them from their flat.”
To avoid such problems Mr Shamplina advises thorough homework before becoming a landlord: research the potential of the area; find a mortgage with a long fixed rate; build a margin into rent yield and mortgage repayments; and develop a good rapport with your letting agent and tenant.
Landlord Action: www.landlordaction.co.uk