Name – Julia
I worked as an estate agent for both corporate and independent agencies before opening my own estate agency business in Brentford, West London in 1999 specialising in residential sales and lettings. During this time I bought and sold properties and currently have a small portfolio of five in Brentford.
What do you find most challenging as a landlord?
The most challenging aspect of letting property is the amount of legislation and regulations involved. Having my own agency means I have to keep up to date with all regulations on behalf of our landlord clients and therefore managing my own properties is easy. I am also a member of Propertymark which is the professional body for estate agents.
Legislation and Regulations include:
- Fitness for Human Habitation Act – this act ensures a property is fit for purpose.
- Energy Performance Certificate – minimum rating E. A certificate lasts for ten years.
- Gas Safety Certificate – for any gas appliances and must be carried out annually.
- Carbon Monoxide and Smoke alarms – the tenant is responsible for testing these throughout the tenancy.
- Electrical Installation Condition Report- this regulation only came into force in 2020. All circuits must be tested and any remedial works carried out. Portable Appliance Testing is not mandatory. All EICR’s are valid for five years.
- Furniture Fire Regulations – this is to ensure all soft furnishings are allowed under the safety regulations. Antique furniture is exempt.
- Tenant Fees Act 1999 – this is new legislation to protect the tenant
- Inventories – whilst not mandatory, it is strongly advised to have a comprehensive inventory should any problems occur when the tenant vacates
- Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement – this is a standard tenancy agreement which the tenant should have access to prior to signing
- Tenancy Deposit – strict regulations protect the dilapidation’s deposit and a certificated must be issued to the tenant
- How to Rent Guide – this is a government produced leaflet offering advice to tenants and must be given to all tenants
- Prescribed Information – a specific set of information relating to a tenancy, which a landlord or agent is legally obliged to provide to tenants. Information includes the amount of the deposit and the administrator of the tenancy deposit scheme.
- Permission from mortgage lender
- Insurance – rent guarantee, landlords insurance etc
What costs do you typically incur as a landlord?
Due to the amount of regulations a landlord will often use the services of an estate agent to find tenants, take up references and to manage the tenancy throughout the term. Costs for fully managed can be around 10% to 15% of the annual rent. As regards repairs and maintenance it is always advisable to have good and properly qualified contractors and to check their professional indemnity insurance.
Have you ever had any problems with tenants defaulting, if so how do you handle these?
It is impossible to let property and not to experience void periods or problems with tenants not being able to pay. Court is the ultimate remedy but it is always advisable to have a good relationship with the tenant so they can approach their landlord or agent with any problems they are experiencing, such as job loss or break up of relationship. The earliest any problem can be reported, the sooner a solution can be found.