With over 400 separate rules and regulations governing the lettings sector, there’s a lot to know about renting a property. Here are the pros and cons of managing a rental property yourself:

The benefits

1. You’re in control

If you manage the let, you’ll always know exactly what’s going on with your property and tenancy as long as you regularly engage with your tenant and make comprehensive maintenance checks, so it’s always legally and safely let.

2. Saving on letting agent fees

Some landlords decide to DIY manage so that they can save on management fees which can range from 10% to 18% of your rent.

However, these fees are tax deductible, so the final cost could be 20 to 45% lower, and the net cost of using a qualified agent may feel a worthwhile investment.

3. It may lead to a rewarding career

If you enjoy investing time and effort in learning every aspect of lettings and management, you might consider making it your full-time career. It could take a while to get to this stage and you might want to work with a qualified agent first, but as long as you invest in certain registrations, training, licensing, accreditation and insurance requirements this might be achievable.

The downsides

1. You’re 100% responsible for legal compliance

When you use an agent that has proper training and legal support, you can be confident that your property is always legally let and managed. During Covid, there were over 40 legal changes, so if you’re handling the let yourself, you’ve got to keep up with all the rules and regulations at a local and national level.

If you fall foul of the law – even unintentionally – it could prove expensive. Your local authority can fine you up to £30,000 for each violation without going to court and, in serious cases, you could receive an unlimited fine, a banning order, or even jail.

2. It can be time consuming

There’s a lot to take care of before a tenancy begins. You must make sure the property is legally compliant, advertise, carry out viewings, and secure a tenant. You need to make referencing checks, draw up the tenancy agreement, get an Electrical Installation Condition Report, and check the tenant into the property – with an inventory and prescribed information.

Each month you have to check rent has been paid and chase up the tenant if necessary. Every 12 months you need a gas safety certificate and you’ve got regular inspections and maintenance to organise.

Even with the best planning, unforeseen problems can arise. Whether the issue is with the property or the tenant, it may need to be dealt with immediately and if you have a full-time job, it may be impossible for you to respond. And who will cover you if you’re ill or go on holiday?

3. There’s no ‘buffer’ between you and your tenant

Most tenancies progress smoothly, but every now and then you will run into an issue with a tenant. If you’re not used to handling disputes, it can be very stressful. If things escalate you may sadly need to evict your tenant.

If there are problems during the tenancy, it can be helpful if an agent well versed in dealing with every landlord/tenant issue can act as a buffer.

Not sure whether to property manage yourself or use an agent? Leaders has three levels of lettings services depending on how hands on you want to be. Just contact the Leaders team in your local branch.

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