Should I use a Letting Agent?
Many landlords prefer to let and manage their properties without using an Agent. In the past this was relatively straight forward, however these days there are many benefits to using a professional Letting Agent.
Law & Compliance
There is a huge amount of legislation and it is essential that you keep fully up to speed with all the different regulations. At the very least if you are planning to self-manage you need to be familiar with the following:
- Deregulation Act 2015 – 1 October 2018
- Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 – 6 April 2018
- How to Rent – the checklist for renting in England as published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
- Minimum Energy Levels Regulations (MEES) – 1 April 2018
- General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – 25 May 2018
- The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
- Immigration Act 2014 & Right to Rent Checks
- Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards – March 2019)
- Electrical safety regulations covered by The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993)
- Section 11 Repairing Obligations
The fines for non-compliance are significant and if you haven’t fully complied with the requirements under the Deregulation Act, you may find you can’t serve Notice on your tenant.
The Hassle Factor
Being a Landlord can be hard work! It is well worthwhile spending some time to consider the following:
- Do you have the time and energy to deal with tenant’s queries and problems?
- What would you do if your tenants want to break the tenancy early?
- How would you deal with a request to keep a pet?
- Do you know reliable tradesmen like plumbers, electrician and handymen who you can call on to deal with maintenance issues? And do you know that they have the required certification?
- How would you manage a boiler break-downs in the middle of winter?
- What would you do if the tenant won’t give you access to carry out the Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate?
- Are you prepared to carry out routine maintenance inspections and have difficult conversations with your tenants about housekeeping issues like damp and mould?
- Would you know what to do if your tenants stopped paying the rent?
- What do you know about ‘fair, wear and tear’? The importance of an Inventory & Schedule of Condition? And do you know how to register the deposit?
Being a Landlord is a big commitment so if you’re at all unsure about your responsibilities and obligations, you almost certainly need to instruct a Letting Agent.