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The A-Z of a Landlord’s Pain Points

Reading Time: 11 Mins Read

Being a landlord can provide impressive returns, but it’s vital to understand the potential issues and remain up to date with relevant legislation.

From void periods to deposit disputes, there are numerous pain points which you may experience as a landlord. Some are minor irritants, but others are more serious issues. You need to be aware of the pitfalls if you want to avoid a hit to your pocket or even falling foul of the law.

Our A-Z of landlords’ pain points will help you run your property portfolio more efficiently – we’ve even included an indication of the expenses you could incur.

Contents:

A – Assured shorthold tenancy (AST) B – Budget C – Checks D – Debt
E – Emergency F – Fire! G – Gas H – Housing Act 2004
I – Improvement notice J – Joint tenancy K -Khapra Beetle L – Leaks
M – Mobile N – Noise O – Overstay P – Prescribed information
Q – Quit (notice too) R – Rent S – Subletting T – Tenants’ rights
U – Under-occupation V – Void period W – Water X – X-Rated
Y – Yield Z – Zone

 

Key:

£ Little cost, just inconvenience;

££ Up to one month’s rent;

£££ Up to six months’ rent;

££££ Up to a year’s rent;

£££££ The penalty could mean imprisonment.

 

The A-Z of a landlord’s pain points

 

A

Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of tenancy agreement. The only potential disadvantage of an AST is the right of the tenant to refer the rent payable to a Rent Assessment Committee. You could find that the rent is reduced, if what you are asking for proves to be ‘significantly higher’ than comparable ASTs. Before establishing which property to buy, or what rent to charge, seek guidance from your local property experts or check comparable properties online. £

B

Budget

Set aside a healthy budget to fund any changes to your rental property, which are required for compliance with government legislation. Read up on all the relevant legislation and consult an expert if you are unsure about anything. Keep an eye out for changes to the law, as failure to comply could land you with a large fine or a custodial sentence. £££

C

Checks

Landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s right to rent in the UK face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant. You must carry out the check for all tenants aged 18 and over; check original identity documents and make copies, which you should keep safe. Read this government guide to making the appropriate checks. £££

D

Debt

Late payment of rent, or a failure to pay, can leave you seriously out of pocket. Check your potential tenants’ references carefully before offering them an AST and address any issues quickly to prevent debt from getting out of control.

There may be a simple explanation for the arrears and communication is the key. If you can’t resolve the issue, always ensure that you follow the correct procedure for evicting your tenant. ££

E

Emergency

Even in a well-maintained property, emergencies may occur from time-to-time – or at least issues which your tenants consider emergencies – resulting in a phone call in the middle of the night. To avoid this, contact us about managing your property for you. £

F

Fire!

This is the emergency every landlord really dreads. A fire could completely destroy your property and result in fatalities. For the safety of your tenants, and to protect your property, make sure you adhere to all fire regulations. Check your smoke alarms and service your appliances regularly and PAT test electrical goods. ££££

 

The A-Z of a landlord’s pain points

 

G

Gas

As a landlord, you have a legal requirement to arrange annual gas safety Inspections. Keep track of inspection dates and always use a certified engineer. If you have an ageing boiler, you can improve safety and cut energy use by replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model. £££££

H

Housing Act 2004

You must acquaint yourself with the Housing Act 2004. This is legislation that all landlords must comply with or risk significant penalties. If there is anything that you don’t understand, seek guidance from a professional as ignorance is not an excuse if you are prosecuted. ££££

I

Improvement notice

Should you fail to carry out any required repair work to a rental property, which impacts on health and safety, your local authority could issue an improvement notice, forcing you to take action. The notice includes a deadline for completing the work. You may be prosecuted or fined if you don’t comply. It is far better to address any issues immediately, as this will minimise accidents and help you to maintain better relationships with your tenants. ££££

J

Joint tenancy

This is a form of tenancy agreement which can be used if there are tenants sharing a property. Joint tenants are jointly and individually responsible for paying the rent. In other words, if one leaves, the remaining tenants must continue to pay the rent in full.

Joint tenancy may also refer to the nature of your joint ownership of your rental property. If you share ownership with another person, you could also choose to be tenants in common. When investing in property, you should seek legal advice – although being tenants in common affords greater flexibility, there are potential downsides. ££££

K

Khapra beetle

Beetle infestations are rare, but they do happen and can cause devastation. If you are considering investing in a property, commission a full survey as this should reveal any tell-tale signs of previous problems or an existing infestation. ££

 

The A-Z of landlords’ pain points

 

L

Leaks

Water leaks could lead to serious damage to your property, which will be costly to repair. Ensure that your pipework is well-maintained and insulated where necessary – take particular care in cold weather. It is wise to check all plumbing before new tenants move in. £££

M

Mobile

Give your tenants your mobile number and make sure that you have theirs stored on your phone. This will enable you to stay in contact should there be an issue or emergency. You might not want to hear from your tenants too often, but there are some things that you really need to know. £

N

Noise

One of the most common neighbour complaints is about noise. If you wish to evict a tenant because they’ve caused a nuisance or annoyance, you will need to apply to the court for a possession order. First, you must first serve the tenants with a correctly-written Section 8 Notice, specifying your grounds for regaining early possession. Before taking this drastic step, it’s worth seeing if you can resolve the problem through dialogue. £££

O

Overstay

Your tenant may overstay and if they do, you should act at the earliest opportunity, but within the law. Check your rights and the appropriate procedures carefully before you do anything. Engage the services of a solicitor if you don’t feel confident about handling the eviction process correctly. £££

P

Prescribed information

This is information landlords must provide for their tenants about the tenancy deposit protection scheme they have used, as well as other information about the tenancy. Failure to provide the information could lead to a fine and might delay or prevent an eviction. £££

 

The A-Z of landlords’ pain points

 

Q

Quit (notice to)

To end a shorthold tenancy, a landlord must give at least two months’ notice under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. If the AST isn’t for a fixed period, you don’t need a reason to end the tenancy, as long has you have secured the deposit in appropriate scheme and have provided sufficient notice. If you are still in a fixed term, you can ask your tenants to leave if they are in rent arrears or have conducted illegal activity at the property. £££

R

Rent

You’ve invested in rental property to generate income, but you can’t do this if your tenant doesn’t pay their rent. There are many reasons why your tenant may have stopped paying. It is important to establish what the reason is before deciding what you to do next. The issue may be temporary, in which case all you need is patience. Always check your bank statements so that any issues can be addressed at the earliest opportunity. If it is vital that you don’t lose your income, consider taking advantage of our Rent Guarantee Scheme. ££

S

Subletting

In some cases, private tenants renting an unfurnished property have a legal right to sublet to lodgers, without asking the landlord’s permission. This can be a problem because it prevents you from properly vetting the tenant. If your tenant sublets to someone without a legal right to rent in the UK, you, as the landlord, could receive a fine. Make sure there’s a clause in your tenancy agreement to prevent subletting without your permission. £

T

Tenants’ rights

Tenants have legal rights and if you contravene these, you could be fined. Make sure that you are aware of all your obligations as a landlord and all of your tenants’ rights. Be aware that there could be changes to the law at any time, which might affect you. £££££

U

Under-occupation

If your rental property is unoccupied, it won’t generate income, but will continue to incur costs. It is important to market your property extensively – to find great tenants who’ll want to stay and to fill any gaps. While engaging a letting agent involves fees, it may help you secure the right tenants, leading to a greater income overall. Full occupancy will more than outweigh the costs of using an agent. £££

V

Void period

This is the period of time that a rental property is not let. Once a tenant gives you notice of their intention to leave, you should begin the search for a tenant at the earliest opportunity to limit or eliminate void periods. Our Rent Guarantee Scheme means that you never have to worry about void periods. £££

W

Water

Water leaks inside your property can cause significant damage. You should also ensure that your roof and gutters are properly maintained, as an overflow could result in a severe damp problem. If your tenant fails to alert you to the issue immediately, it may become expensive to correct. We offer maintenance packages to help you deal with issues such of this. ££

X

X-rated

If you don’t conduct the appropriate checks, you could find yourself with the tenant from hell. A little time spent making your choice will save you from a great deal of worry and expense further down the line. ££££

Y

Yield

When investing in a rental property, it is vital to establish the rental yield. This is the proportion of the purchase price that the annual net income represents. The higher the yield, the better the investment. Understanding yields could help you to decide whether or not you should divide a property into flats or if you should consider creating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Z

Zone

London’s public transport system is divided into zones. Rental properties in zones 1 and 2 typically command the highest rents. In any region, the exact location of a property, and its proximity to transport links, will impact the rental yield that you can achieve. You must do your research before choosing a property as the most expensive homes are not always the ones which deliver the best yields.

Guarantee your rental income with Assetgrove

Assetgrove knows that being a landlord can be very rewarding, but we are also aware that it it has its difficulties too – not to mention the risk of falling foul of the law.

That is why we offer landlords our Rent Guarantee Scheme. It’s the best way to achieve hassle-free letting, because it provides you with a guaranteed monthly income for five years. We take care of every aspect of managing your property so you can get on with your life. This means Assetgrove will:

  • Guarantee there are no void rental periods
  • Make sure the property is occupied within 48 hours – as long as it’s up to scratch
  • Deal with all tenant issues directly
  • Maintain the property during the term of the contract
  • Take care of evictions
  • Cover all utility and energy bills

Contact us to find out more today.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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