- Updating legislation
Everchanging legislation requires you to be diligent as a landlord. We have seen many self-managed landlords that have been on top of the regulations at the beginning of a tenancy but have let things slip as time goes on. Keeping up with legislation keeps your tenants safe and you 'out of jail'. Landlords often come to us for some advice (always welcome) and we find gaps in their paperwork which would have put them on the wrong side of the law (big fines) and made it almost impossible for them to execute legal notices (like ending a tenancy) because the legislation has moved on and they haven't. As a landlord, you are a 'business' and must run it like one; being unaware of your obligations is not a legal defence. It is your responsibility to find out, not the government's responsibility to remind you. Don't rely on Google or a mate down the pub for the answers, just ask us.
- Rent reviews - charging the correct rent, have you kept pace?
Are you unknowingly giving away thousands of pounds? I am sure your rent was correct when the tenant moved in, but have you kept up with market changes? I recently visited a property where the rent hadn't changed in 4 years and was £300pcm below the market rate, the landlord was shocked when they realised that they had been 'giving away' £3,600 every year - a polite and professional conversation with the tenant later and the tenant is happy to stay, and the landlord is receiving their full rent. It is so easy to slip into the trap of “but they are great tenants, so I leave them alone” but it does you no favours long term. Good tenants pay good rents. Remember why you are a landlord; this is an investment to create income. You’re losing out by not keeping pace with rental increases, you’re essentially giving money away to the tenant who is still going to ask you to put your hand in your pocket the next time the boiler breaks or the roof leaks. Keeping up with the rental increases helps to protect your tenant too – if you decide to sell next week, the new market for your tenants may come as a bit of a shock if they’ve been underpaying for some time.
- Property Inspections
This is an opportunity to check the property and make sure your tenants are happy – mutually beneficial. You are not invading their privacy, you are looking after them, and your property. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard landlords say they wish tenants had reported maintenance jobs sooner so they could have nipped them in the bud, and tenants who didn’t report it because they weren’t asked. As the old adage goes: “You get what you inspect, not what you expect”.
As always, if you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.