Smart investors are keen to snap up bargains, and the buy to let market remains surprisingly active. However, whilst it is tempting to go out and buy, buy, buy –a word of caution, because it might not be so easy to let, let, let.
Finding a tenant is only one aspect of the venture which some landlords feel can be done independently of a lettings agency. However, we often hear sob stories from new landlords who tried to go it alone - with disastrous consequences.
For example, according to the National Landlords Association, some 50% of landlords have had a property abandoned by a tenant. This usually follows at least one month of rent arrears and can also include substantial repairs bills and cleaning costs, and arrears of electricity, gas and water, which may have accrued without the landlord’s knowledge. So the issue of credit referencing and deposit protection becomes an issue.
Then there is the problem of possession. You can’t just reclaim the property, as the tenants are unlikely to have formally relinquished their occupation. So despite having an empty property, you could still have to gain formal possession through the courts. This can take months and be expensive, especially when compounded with rent arrears and a period of vacancy. And if you re-let the property illegally you can be fined up to 25% of the property’s open market value!
As you might expect from the above, most experienced landlords choose to employ lettings specialists such as ourselves to manage their investment - as well as simply finding a tenant. Our landlords typically agree that this could well represent one of the most rewarding aspects of their investment in the right letting agency.