As a landlord, getting your homes occupied with good, reliable tenants in the first place is of crucial importance.
However, of equal importance is how those tenancies – and the rental homes your tenants live in – are managed over time.
It’s likely to be one of the biggest decisions you make as a landlord: do you go it alone and self-manage or do you get a property management specialist to take away the hassle, time and stress and do it on your behalf?
Here, we outline why you should choose the latter option…
Property management is particularly useful if you don’t live close to the rental properties you own, if you have several properties, or if you’re an accidental or part-time landlord without the experiencing of managing and maintaining a rental home – but really, it’s useful for any landlord who wants to relax in the knowledge that their homes are being well-looked after by experts.
A property manager or property management team will deal with tenants on your behalf – arranging tenancy agreements, inventories, the check-in and check-out process and any required maintenance and repairs, as well as dealing with any complaints from tenants in a professional and efficient manner. They will also collect rent on your behalf, chase up rent arrears if necessary, and start the eviction process if a tenancy reaches the stage where such action is required.
As we’ve seen in recent years, there has been an increasing amount of new regulation and legislation for landlords to adhere to – from the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge and the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief to new HMO regulations, the introduction of stricter energy efficiency regulations, the implementation of the Fitness For Human Habitation Act and changes to Section 21 notices.
It’s a fast-moving industry, too, with a range of potential new regulation coming into play in the next few years. This includes mandatory electrical checks in privately rented homes, compulsory membership of a redress scheme for landlords, wide-ranging government plans to reform the redress system, and the planned scrapping of section 21.
It’s a lot to keep up with, which is where the experience and knowhow of an expert property management team comes in handy, ensuring you remain compliant at all times.
Naturally, all parties involved in a tenancy hope it goes as smoothly as possible, but sometimes disputes and issues will occur. These problems can prove time-consuming and costly to resolve. By hiring a professional management agent, however, these problems could potentially be avoided, or, if they escalate, be dealt with in an effective way.
Here at Balgores Property Group, for example, we train up all our management staff to the highest possible level to ensure the service you receive is top-class and that our team is ready to deal with all eventualities during a tenancy.
Since the introduction of deposit protection schemes in April 2007, end of tenancy disputes and queries have become a far bigger issue for landlords. To limit the chances of deposit disputes occurring, regular inspections of a property, a thorough inventory and regular attendance at training courses to keep up to speed with the way that dilapidations are viewed through the various deposit schemes can all help to keep problems at bay.
Generally speaking, careful negotiation, clear explanations and a little compromise here and there means that most deposit disputes can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion without call for independent arbitration.
Other areas where a property management team is worth its weight in gold are maintenance and rent arrears.
Maintenance is typically the main cause of friction between landlords and tenants, so if this can be managed in a seamless fashion the chances of disputes arising is much reduced.
Most often, disputes over maintenance occur due to misunderstandings over who is responsible for what when it comes to rental properties and their upkeep. With this in mind, our staff are experienced and well-trained to deal with incoming calls, providing them with the ability to distinguish very quickly between issues that are genuinely the responsibility of the landlord and those which fall under the remit of tenants.
If possible, it’s far better for an issue to be resolved over the phone – negating the need to call out a contractor or tradesperson. However, if a contractor does need to be called, a property management team will have specialist, pre-qualified people they can turn to solve the issue.
At Balgores, for example, we have an approved panel of contractors ready at hand, who all have public liability insurance and have proved to us that they offer a high standard of work at a reasonable price.
When it comes to rent arrears, this is something all landlords will want to avoid. If your tenants do fall into arrears, you’ll want the comfort of knowing that your property management team has the structures and processes in place to cope and deal with arrears in a way that ensures they are paid before they get worse. In most cases, Balgores manages to achieve this result without requiring legal action.
If this path of action is unsuccessful, though, your property manager should be on hand to walk and talk you through the often-complicated laws of eviction. They will also instruct solicitors on your behalf and can even appear in court on your behalf if that is needed.
These days, several rental warranty policies exist and here at Balgores we would strongly recommend taking these out. That way, they will ensure peace of mind and that you suffer little, if any, financial loss.
You can find out more about our property management services in Essex, East London and Gravesend by calling: 01268 271110.
You can also find out more about the services we offer at one of our many branches.