A new report has found that private residential UK landlords are losing £1.2
billion a year because of unexpected costs.
More people are renting than ever before and this is only set to rise: 2013 will
be the first time in half a century where more people are living in private rented
accommodation than in social housing. Forecasts from the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation indicate that an extra 1.5 million 18 to 30 year olds will be renting by
This presents many possibilities for established and would-be landlords and can
provide a lucrative source of income. However, landlords have been given a bad press
lately. Often presented in the media as greedy and money-grabbing, this ignores the
fact that many landlords are ‘accidental’ and they rent their properties out of necessity
(for reasons including needing to relocate, not able to sell their homes etc).
So while there is money to be made, many would-be landlords are heading into the
property market with rose-tinted glasses….
If you are considering letting a property, here are some points to consider:
The hidden costs…
Whether you have one property or several, it is always important to remember
that leasing a property is a commercial transaction and with any business there are
associated costs. These ‘hidden costs’ can include tenant arrears, the impact of having
a vacant property and unexpected maintenance charges. If you’re unaware of or
unprepared for these costs they can mount up and make a (sometimes significant) dent
in your rental income.
For example, the study shows that around 40% of landlords pay more than £1,000 a
year on unexpected costs, while one in seven says they have paid more than £1,500.
Around 70% of landlords have experienced vacant periods in the last three years. Less
than a third of these landlords were prepared for these costs.
But it’s not just financial costs…
Whilst there are clearly financial implications of being a landlord, there are also more
personal side-effects to be aware of. For example, 82% of landlords have experienced
inconveniences such as missing a personal event or having to cut back on social
activities due to being a landlord. One in five landlords say they have been called out
to their property four to five times a year with 20% saying they have taken a hit on
income from their day job to tend to matters.
Risk-proof your rental experience
Preparation, meticulous budgeting and foresight are therefore key when you are or
are considering becoming a landlord. Naturally there are some issues that will be out
of your control but others you can safeguard against.
Keep a forecast of projected costs and a detailed budget throughout. Think about
all the costs which may be involved, including maintenance costs, natural wear and
tear of furniture, carpets etc which will mean they need replacing over time, potential
increases in buy-to-let mortgage rates. Keep a contingency fund in case of unforeseen
Consider using a letting agent to manage your property. Agents can handle a
range of letting-related jobs, charging commissions based on the level of workload
that they take on: from simply finding a tenant through to fully managing the
property. Therefore the right choice of letting option for any landlord depends on the
level of responsibility, time, energy & risk that they personally are prepared to take on
compared to paying for a letting agent to do it for them.
We at Harringtons Lettings offer one of the lowest arrears rate within the Brighton
and Hove area. We only take on tenants with UK Home Owner Guarantors so that
your income is more secure. We also have a separate Management department who
are solely there to look after your property and can tailor our service to meet your
needs. To find out more about our landlord services feel free to contact us on 01273
A new report has found that private residential UK landlords are losing £1.2
Gas Safety Regulations put strict requirements on Landlords to ensure that the boiler and gas systems in rental properties are safe and well maintained on an annual basis. However, there is not the same level of requirement on Landlords to ensure that the electrics in a property are adequate and PAT testing is not a compulsory requirement unlike Gas Safety Inspections.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides that an electrical installation in a property is “Safe when a tenancy begins” and “Maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy”. The Act also imposes a duty of care on Landlords to ensure that their tenants are safe and that the property is maintained to a safe standard. Many Landlords overlook the need for an electrical safety test with many forgetting that appliances such as a fridge freezer, washing machine or microwave could just as easily cause a fire putting the tenant’s life at risk.
According to research by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) electricity kills at least one person every week in the home and almost 1000 are seriously injured every day. 20,000 fires a year are caused by faulty electrics. These are startling figures and we at Harringtons Lettings are advising our Landlords that it best to obtain an electrical safety certificate even through it is not compulsory for them to do so.
The above rules are slightly different for Houses of Multiple Occupation where a Landlord is required to obtain a landlord licence from the local authority. In Brighton & Hove one of the pre-conditions for obtaining a licence is that the Landlord must provide to the Council an inspection report carried out by a competent electrical engineer (preferably N.I.C.E.I.C or E.C.A) to show that the installation is safe and satisfactory and has been obtained within the last 5 years or as recommended by the engineer. The duty of care therefore imposed on Landlords of HMO’s is far higher than that of other Landlords.
PAT tests are very straight forward and are recommended to be carried out at least once every 5 years or on change over of tenants.
Harringtons Lettings have contractors on standby that can carry out a PAT Test and we would therefore be happy to help you meet the above requirements. Prices of PAT Tests will vary depending on how many appliances are provided with the property and what type of heating system is installed. Please feel free to call us on 01273 749169 if you have any questions
Do you know the Deposit Registration Procedure?
Further to the recent law change on 6th April, all new tenancy deposits need to be registered with a Deposit Stakeholder and there is a complicated procedure which needs to be followed carefully.
There are three different stakeholders to chose from; The Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and the Tenancy Dispute Service. We at Harringtons Letting use the Deposit Protection Service as we believe this is the one that best protects Landlords and Tenants deposits as the funds have to be physically transferred to the DPS for them to hold.
Each stakeholder has its own rules and requirements but the basic principle is as follows;-
1) The Landlord or Agent needs to register as a Landlord with one of the above Deposit stakeholders.
2) A clause must be inserted into the Tenancy Agreement prior to tenant signature listing which Stakeholder the Landlord intends to use and the stakeholder procedure for deposit return at the end of the tenancy. The clauses can be downloaded from the relevant stakeholder’s website.
3) A Prescribed Information Form together with the Terms & Conditions of the Stakeholder must be served on the tenants within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. This form lists details of the tenancy and the stakeholder and the best time to serve this form on the tenants is at the same time the tenants sign the tenancy agreement. This form can be downloaded from the relevant stakeholder’s website. DPS , MYDEPOSITS, TDS
4) The Deposit must then be registered with a stakeholder within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. This deadline is strict and must be adhered to. Failure to register will result in the Landlord or Agent being subject to a fine of up to three times the amount of the deposit and they will also not be able to serve a Housing Act Section 21 notice for possession meaning they cannot get their tenants out!
5) If the Landlord or Agent has opted to use the DPS, then the deposit must then be sent to the DPS via cheque for them to hold.
Harringtons Lettings are fully aware of the procedures and are happy to clarify any point. As mentioned previous we are also already registered with the DPS and will be happy to register any deposits on behalf of a Landlord for a small fee of £100 plus VAT. It is better to pay the fee to have peace of mind that all of the steps and procedures have been followed correctly. Please feel free to call us on 01273 749169.
At Harringtons Lettings we receive a huge amount of phone calls and enquiries regarding whether we accept pets, mainly cats or dogs. Unfortunately the answer is in most cases No; we do not unless otherwise specified. This is plain and simply because most of our Landlords do not accept them and also because we have encountered problems in the past with noise complains, damage to properties etc.
However as animal lovers we are sympathetic to your needs and would like to offer you some impartial advice to help you and your furry friend find a home.
Please see some tips below from www.letswithpets.org.uk
1 ) Don’t leave your house hunting until the last minute – Give yourself plenty of time to find a pet-friendly property and begin searching at least 6-8 weeks before you need to move out of your current home.
2 ) Be as flexible as possible – The more restrictive your search criteria are, the more difficult it will be for you to find a pet-friendly property. Try to be flexible on location and property type as this will increase your chances of finding somewhere for you and your pet to live.
3 ) Write a CV for your pet – Provide your prospective landlord with as much information about your pet as you can. Write a CV and include contact details for your veterinary practice and for someone who can care for your pet in case of an emergency. You could also include details of your pet’s last vaccinations and any flea and worming treatments they have received. See pages
9 and 10 for two sample CVs.
4 ) Get a reference for your pet – By providing your landlord with a reference from your previous landlord or your vet, you can show that your pet is both well behaved and capable of living in rented accommodation without causing problems or damage. This will also demonstrate that you are a responsible pet owner.
5 ) Introduce your pet to your landlord – Meeting your pet in advance may put your landlord’s mind at ease. You could invite your landlord to your current home so that they can see that your pet has caused no problems there. This is particularly important for dogs as it’s an opportunity to show that your dog is calm and well behaved.
6 ) Offer to pay a higher deposit – Many landlords are concerned about pets causing damage to their property or furnishings. By offering to pay a higher deposit, you will reassure the landlord that you will cover any damage that your pet may cause.
7 ) Offer to have the property professionally cleaned – Landlords often worry that accepting pets will lead to flea infestations, excess pet hair and dirty carpets and soft furnishings. To put your landlord’s mind at ease you might consider offering to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned when you move out. Some landlords and letting agents may ask for a non-refundable payment in advance to cover the cost of cleaning.
8 ) Be honest, don’t sneak your pet in without permission – It’s never advisable to keep a pet in a property without the landlord’s consent. This will only lead to problems in the future and could result in the termination of your tenancy. It’s possible that keeping pets in the property may even violate the landlord’s own leasehold agreement. It’s advisable to always be honest about your pets from the start.
9 ) Get written permission – If your landlord has given you permission to keep a pet in your property, make sure you get it in writing. You can also ask for a clause to be added to your tenancy agreement to cover the keeping of pets and make sure that any ‘No Pets’ clauses are removed. This will prevent problems from arising in future.
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