Are you keeping your tenants safe and your property protected? Are you sure that it has fully functioning smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed? Here’s a reminder of your responsibilities to your tenants as their landlord.
What are your responsibilities?
Regulations for private sector landlords were introduced in October 2015 detailing a legal responsibility to protect tenants from the risks of fire and CO poisoning. The expectation of landlords is very clear, and there is no grace period to let you meet legal requirements. You need to ensure that your rental property has fitted:
• At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of the property which is used as living accommodation;
• A carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is burned. A solid fuel-burning appliance could be a coal fire or wood-burning stove.
In addition to the alarms being fitted, you should also:
• Follow the legal requirement to check that alarms are in working order on the first day of each new tenancy. After this, the tenants are responsible for regularly testing alarms. Guidance suggests that this should be done monthly.
• Consider where you fit the alarms. Smoke alarms should be on a ceiling in spaces where the air circulates. CO alarms should be at head height and only a few meters from the fuel-burning appliance. However, the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed.
• Ensure alarms are audible throughout the property.
• Consider fitting a CO monitor near gas appliances as these can also emit carbon monoxide (although this is not required by law).
• Consider how you will prove you have checked the alarms at the required times.
Landlords who fail to comply with the regulations can expect a fine of up to £5000.
Regular property inventories can ensure compliance
As highlighted in our contact us today.
Despite the challenges of lockdown, landlords and property agents still have responsibilities to tenants to maintain their properties. At No Letting Go, we have tailored our service to ensure that we can still deliver regular property checks safely and effectively even when we cannot physically visit a property.
Keeping priorities in check
The landlords and property agents we support are familiar with the start-to-finish support our inventory management service offers. From a pre-tenancy inventory check, through interim checks and ending with an end-of-tenancy check, we have created a rigorous audit regime so that those responsible for managing properties can:
• Fulfil their legal obligations
• Keep tenants safe
• Maintain properties in a good condition
• Maintain high levels of property management service
• Meet contractual requirements
• Continue providing value for money as property agents
To ensure that none of these responsibilities slip, we have expanded how we conduct regular property visits that will ensure you keep meeting your obligations as a landlord and property agent, even during these difficult times.
Virtual property visits supported by the latest technology
Property visits have always been key to ensuring that all is in order with the property and a good relationship is maintained with tenants. While lockdown is a requirement, No Letting Go has looked for ways to reduce contact and minimise the risk to those around us, establishing a process for virtual property visits when tenants are not comfortable with a face-to-face visit.
Thanks to the investment we’ve made in our propriety inventory software called Kaptur and our Digisign function, we already have the tools in place to enable virtual property visits. Through a 15-minute phone call to tenants, we can complete an inventory questionnaire covering key aspects of a property inspection.
The information provided during the call will be recorded on our Kaptur software and sent to the tenants. They will be able to upload photos of the property, raise any maintenance issues they may have, review the report, digitally sign it, and then return the report electronically.
Quick and efficient, these checks ensure landlord priorities can be met while tenants still feel supported in their home with minimal disruption.
Don’t let lockdown stop you from meeting your rental property commitments
Everyone has to spend more time in our homes at the moment; as a landlord, it is important that you remain on top of your commitments to tenant safety and protect your property investment.
If you are a property agent managing several properties, you cannot afford a backlog of property visits to build up and risk not meeting your contractual obligations to your clients. Maintaining regular checks is key to protecting your property and ensuring your tenants’ safety, maintaining a good reputation as a landlord, and protecting your long-term income.
If you would like to discuss how the local inventory specialists at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your costs, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
At No Letting Go, we are very proud of the market-leading property management franchise business we’ve built together with our franchisees. As we continue to grow, we thrive on working with dynamic and driven individuals looking for the opportunity to run their own business, and we’re looking for new business partners.
What we do at No Letting Go
We provide reports on the conditions of residential rental properties for landlords, agents and tenants. There are several vital reports services in our portfolio, but most common are check-in and check-out reports for tenant changes.
What sets us apart from the competition is our bespoke tablet-based technology which offers full flexibility, allowing reports to be completed online while on-site. Accurate and efficient, it allows our franchisees to provide an excellent service to their clients.
Why landlords need inventories
Continued demand in the rental sector grows the need for clear and in-depth reports because they have an important role to play for landlords and their agents in ensuring a smooth tenancy:
• Meeting legislation requirements and ensuring safety standards are adhered to
• Building good relationships with tenants by providing objective reports
• Providing a key administrative service, freeing time for landlords to focus on growing their portfolio and other tasks
• Protecting an investment by confirming the good condition of a property
• Employing experienced experts to complete reports
• Providing an end-to-end service
The breadth of value an inventory service can add to a rental enterprise makes it an integral tool for any landlord or agent and offers them reassurance over the ongoing safety and upkeep of their investment properties.
Why become a franchise owner?
If you have ever thought of running your own business, being a franchise owner offers a great opportunity while providing a higher level of business support.
We continue to invest in our bespoke technologies, developing our offering to landlords and tenants so that franchisees don’t have to. You can reassure clients that they are meeting their legal and health and safety obligations with the latest software.
We also provide a national network that allows us to support national and large accounts so we can build a broad portfolio of clients.
As a franchisee, in addition to being part of a strong and growing franchise group with a strong reputation, you will be supported in making your franchise a success:
• Training at our Training Academy that covers not only how to produce reports but also how to launch your business, with ongoing learning and development support
• Business development support to grow your own business
• A national support network through our franchises
• The latest technology that provides a competitive advantage and enables you to work efficiently
Running your own business can be highly rewarding. The opportunity to do this with the support of a leading national brand opens a world of potential. If you would like to learn more about our exciting franchise opportunities or would like to contact us, you’ll find details here.
A property inventory process is crucial if a landlord wants to protect themselves against picking up the bill for property repairs caused by a tenant.
However, to be useful during a dispute, especially if the matter goes to court, it’s important that the inventory has been thoroughly completed as part of a well-managed process so that it covers every aspect of a property and is correctly preserved.
Why is an inventory system necessary?
One of the most common causes of disputes between landlord or letting agent and a tenant is over the return of a deposit at the end of a tenancy, especially if some needs to be retained to cover repair or replacement costs.
For all assured, shorthold tenancies in England and Wales which began after 6 April 2007, landlords must place deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) where it is legally protected.
A landlord, or their letting agent, must return the deposit in full if the tenant meets the terms of the tenancy agreement, doesn’t damage the property and pays their rent and bills. However, if you end up in a dispute with your tenant over the state of the property when they leave, the deposit remains protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
In this scenario, a well-managed inventory system provides the crucial evidence needed to settle any dispute and allow you to cover the cost for any damage.
What should an adequately managed inventory cover?
A property inventory is a comprehensive written and photographic report detailing the state of your property, including outside spaces, at the beginning of a tenancy.
It provides information on the furniture, fixtures, fittings and general wear and tear, details keys, appliance manuals and meter readings. Anything damaged or missing should be recorded in front of the new tenant.
A report also includes a safety section to record the evidence that a landlord or letting agent complies with safety regulations, such as smoke/CO detectors and the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, 1988.
An inventory must be scheduled for the check-in and check-out procedures of a tenant, to record the property’s condition as the tenant departs. This clearly shows any changes that occurred during the tenancy. Additional checks can also be scheduled during the tenancy.
It is important that all inventories are fully documented and witnessed. Having a professionally prepared inventory can help establish the landlord’s credibility if the case goes before a tribunal or judge.
How does inventory management benefit the landlord?
The details recorded in a property inventory provide the evidence needed to prove whether the damage was done during a tenancy and if it was the responsibility of the tenant. This makes a subsequent claim by the landlord or their letting agent against a protected deposit or zero-deposit replacement insurance much simpler and more likely to be upheld.
A detailed inventory also helps reassure your tenant that they won’t be blamed for any damage they weren’t responsible for. This gets the relationship between landlord, or letting agent, and tenant off to a good start and a happy tenant is much easier to deal with than an unhappy one.
No Letting Go
At No Letting Go we offer an independent and unbiased professional inventory management service, providing a written and photographic report on the condition of the property and its contents.
If you would like to find out more about how our local support or national network could support you as your property management partner to streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit every sector of the economy, but it hasn’t been a disaster for the rental market that some were fearing – in fact, it’s remained relatively stable. So, what does 2021 have in store after such an unpredictable year?
Predictions for 2021 rental market
In 2021 the overall demand for rental properties is expected to be strong, which is good news for landlords and letting agents, but there are challenges ahead that could affect the market:
- Ongoing global pandemic: Landlords and letting agents will need to continue managing tenants experiencing reduced incomes and government temporary measures to prevent some evictions, at least in the short term. This will lead to some challenging times ahead and a need to adapt to any new measures put in place.
- Brexit: Rules allowing Europeans to work, travel and rent in the UK will change, leading to a reduced number of European tenants and business lets. Uncertainty around Brexit will also cause financial unease and changes in legislation that may affect the numbers of people willing to invest in property.
- The economy: Economic uncertainty will mean many renters could choose to delay purchasing a property, keeping the demand for rentals high. However, those on low incomes, typically renters, may see salaries continuing to be depressed, making rent rises difficult.
- Changes in taxation: Capital gains tax is under review, and there’s concern that general increases in taxation may make investing in property less appealing, reducing the supply of rental properties. This is better news for current landlords.
To what extent these factors affect supply and demand for rental properties has created mixed views in the sector. According to the site Letting Agent Today, Hamptons and Belvoir are predicting either minimal rent rises or static levels in 2021, while Savills suggest rental prices will increase as the sector continues to see demand strengthen.
Moving forward to 2021
Uncertainty is the most straightforward prediction to make for 2021. Yet, demand for rental properties is likely to remain high, and even if the environment is challenging, the sector is now better equipped to manage it.
In our 2019 predictions, we stated that ongoing digital transformation in the property sector would continue to be necessary, and it was. Technology has enabled our industry to navigate restrictions and continue business when the lockdown was lifted. In fact, digital tools such as No Letting Go’s DigiSign system has facilitated social distancing requirements for property check in’s and check outs, and reduced the admin burden of agents chasing for signed reports.
It’s these types of innovations and opportunities for increased efficiencies that will ensure our sector remains agile and able to react to whatever changes 2021 has in store.
No Letting Go
Whether you are a landlord or a letting agent, if you would like to discuss how our local support or national network could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact No Letting Go today.
Tenancy deposit disputes are messy and often frustrating for all involved. While the number of formal disputes remains low, the pandemic will have far reaching effects on all our finances and agents must prepare for increasing expectations in this area from both sides – landlords and tenants.
Disputes frequently arise from lack of knowledge or understanding about how this part of the tenancy process works.
While documentation is critical, it’s worth spending extra time with the tenant at the inventory stage of the process to prevent problems arising at the end of the tenancy.
Good inventory management protects both the landlord and the tenant and establishes what the tenant obligations are at both the start and end of the tenancy.
The deposit schemes will advise tenants to attend both the inventory and check-out appointment, but this is not always practical with these reports taking 1-2 hours and more on larger properties.
Tenants generally do not want to trail behind an inventory specialist, for this length of time. It is much easier, once the tenant has the report, to follow the structure which is clearly laid out and check the report is an accurate reflection of the property and its contents.
Detailed inventory and schedule of condition reports can run into 40+ pages, and whether conducting them in house or using an inventory specialist, neither are infallible – the tenant has a key role to play with the inventory, and will usually be allowed seven days to settle into the property and check through the inventory in detail.
Tip 1 – Educating tenants – a stitch in time…
The inventory and schedule of condition is a visual check of the property and not a maintenance report. If the scope of the inventory report is not understood, it can lead to delays in obtaining signatures – if, for example, the shower, boiler or hot water does not work properly, which is a maintenance issue.
Tenants must be aware it is their responsibility to check the inventory carefully, note any omissions and take pictures. Talking them through the process and explaining how the inventory protects them, is more effective than simply relying on T&Cs.
We have on occasion experienced irate tenants who have found a minor omission and believe it is a conspiracy to keep their deposit – so not a positive start for the agent or landlord.
Tip 2 – Check in the tenant – physical or digital
An accompanied check-in reaffirms the point above, and assists the tenant to understand the potential impact an inventory may have on the deposit.
Highlighting any issues within the property also makes them feel part of the process – and for these reasons, a check-in is highly recommended.
However, as minimising contact now takes precedence, use automation to capture areas of concern and obtain signatures within seven days.
Tip 3 – Terms and guidelines
Cleanliness is the main area of dispute, so take steps to head this one off at the start of the tenancy.
A good inventory will show the overall cleanliness of the property in addition to cleanliness room summaries using a glossary of terms contained at the start of the inventory document.
Cleanliness can be subjective, so it is advantageous to highlight where the glossary of terms is listed. Fair wear and tear does not apply to cleanliness, and so the property must be returned to the same standard, otherwise a deduction may apply.
Tip 4 – Not all cleaners are ‘professional’
Just because a professional cleaner has attended the property, it does not always mean the clean is to a ‘professional standard’ – if, for example, dust was present on skirting boards and shelves. In this situation, the term ‘good domestic standard’ may be used.
We are sometimes asked why it states this when a professional cleaner has conducted the clean. It is always advisable to get this right as it is generally the most contentious issue with tenants.
Tip 5 – Educate your landlords about fair wear and tear
It is vital to manage the landlords’ expectations. When a claim goes to adjudication and the breach is accepted, often the amount of the claim is reduced by the adjudicator, leading to a disappointed landlord.
This can occur for a few reasons, but the most common one is because fair wear and tear has not been factored into the claim. For example, if a carpet is three years old, the tenant is not responsible for those three years, so even if they have damaged the carpet, the claim has to factor quality, age, lifespan and condition.
A good check-out report will highlight if dilapidations are due to damage or fair wear and tear. See our landlord guide on fair wear and tear.
Tip 6 – Changes to the property – requesting permission
This is covered in most ASTs, but it is good practice to advise tenants to ask permission first.
Common deductions are attributed to damage or changes to walls from hanging pictures, adding additional hooks or shelves, painting walls and using blue tack.
It’s not unreasonable for tenants to make minor adjustments to their new home, but get them in the habit of asking first so you have the opportunity to remind them of their obligations.
Tip 7 – Outside maintenance – how does your garden grow…
Tenants often forget about the garden at check-out so they need to ensure it is left as they found it, otherwise they will face a gardening deduction.
Tip 8 – Videos are not the whole picture
Some agents use these as a quick alternative, but unless you are a professional cameraman, the video tends to go up and down and all around – not pleasant viewing for landlords or tenants!
Video evidence is acceptable by the deposit dispute schemes, but often does not capture quite enough detail, as its easier to miss items using this method– so if you go to dispute, you may end up disappointing your landlord.
No Letting Go
With No Letting Go’s inventory services, you’ll receive the peace of mind which comes with an impartial, fully documented check in and check out procedure. Our service is reliable and consistent producing reports which stand up to scrutiny during any dispute.
A thorough inventory report will provide evidence of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy and at the end to help landlords and agents cover the cost of any damage made on the premises by the tenant.
Discover our property inventory services today.
For property services to continue to operate in the “new normal”, we’ve all had to adjust our working practices to comply with Covid-19 rules. Yet in one key aspect of inventory management, we already had systems in place that enabled effective social distancing – our fully comprehensive property inventory software
What you need from property inventory software
At No Letting Go, we have a specifically designed property inventory software called Kaptur. With compliance at its core, it captures, stores, reports and manages property information.
In a previous post, The benefits of using a property inventory reporting system, we discussed in detail how these systems facilitate great property management from check-in to check-out, making them a great time-saving tool for letting agents. But in these times, when social distancing is paramount, the efficiency and operation of these systems take on new importance. Not only do they improve the property inventory management process, but they also enable letting agents continue supporting the letting of properties while observing social distancing.
How property inventory software enables social distancing
Our property management software was created to facilitate the smooth operation of property inspections and cause minimal disruption to tenants, landlords and letting agents by taking away the requirement to be physically present for inspections. This also supports social distancing:
- Inventories are electronic, so no documentation is passed by hand between individuals
- Inventories are reviewed online
- We use Digisign so all parties can sign reports online
- Allows parties to review reports online
- Parties are able to amend reports online
- Queries can be managed online
- Photos added to reports make it easier to illustrate issues to tenants and landlords
Ensuring tenants and landlords have confidence in the system
Property inventories provide key evidence should a dispute arise about the state of a property. As a letting agent, it’s important for you that all parties can trust this process and feel comfortable that outcomes are objective, even when tenants and landlords haven’t been present at any inspections.
Landlords and tenants also feel that a third party conducting a property inspection is a good way to ensure an independent perspective. Providing a tool that generates detailed reports and lets all sides engage demonstrates how you, as the letting agent, are committed to meeting compliance obligations, which builds confidence.
There are many reasons why property inspections are so important, even in these challenging times. If it’s proving difficult to provide property inventory management for your landlords and their tenants while observing social distancing, then it’s time to reconsider your current approach and look for a system that ensures the safety of your client landlords and their tenants.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories then contact us today.
Research by Statista, a statistics portal for market data, found more than half of landlords who responded were in disputes with their tenants, the main reasons being arrears, cleanliness, pets, subletting and breakages. Using regular property inventories letting agents can help their landlord clients to avoid such problems.
When should you use a property inventory?
A property inventory provides a detailed report on the contents and condition of a property, listing furniture, fixtures and fittings and alongside the condition and cleanliness.
A property inspection must take place for each new tenancy to detail the condition of the property at the start; at regular intervals throughout the tenancy to record any changes and damages from the check-in inventory; and finally, at the end of the tenancy to assess the property as the tenant departs.
These regular inspections provide a full report of the property’s condition for the complete duration of the tenancy.
Why are property inspections of benefit?
Completing a property inventory might seem like a time-consuming task for a busy letting agent looking after a number of properties. However, a comprehensive inventory process can stop a landlord-tenant dispute from escalating into a legal dispute, which would be far more costly in time and money. A proper inventory system offers other benefits:
- Essential evidence about the state of the property
- Crucial evidence if you need to take the cost of a repair or replacement from a tenant’s deposit
- Claiming on insurance is much easier with inventory evidence
- A speedy inspection process to reduce the period between tenancies and maximising a property’s income potential
- Using a standard inventory process ensures that nothing is missed during a property inspection
What does an adequate property inventory look like?
To ensure that a property’s inventory and schedule of condition will be useful to avoid a dispute, it must include:
- Full contents of the property, fixtures, fittings and state of decoration
- Details of the condition for each item
- Photographic, date-stamped evidence
- A declaration page for relevant parties to indicate their agreement to the contents of the report
It must also be completed in an objective and unbiased way and enable easy comparison between reports to identify any changes in contents or condition. Ideally, a property visit should be completed every three to six months
Disputes between landlords and tenants are time-consuming, potentially costly and can affect the reputation of a landlord and their letting agent. Using an independent inventory service can help boost the credibility of an inventory for tenants because they will see it as being independent.
Discussing the tried and tested landlord inventory service we use at No Letting Go can help letting agents understand how our inventories are structured to facilitate comprehensive property inspections and designed to capture the right information to prevent disputes.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories the please contact us today.
A new year brings with it fresh opportunities to maximise the potential of your property portfolio and grow your business. It also brings new changes to the private rental sector.
So, what will the rental sector look like in 2020? And how can landlords, letting agents and property professionals keep abreast of changing regulations? Our rental property predictions 2020 looks ahead to key events in the industry.
From an overview of regulatory changes in the past year, to upcoming developments, we’re looking ahead to what 2020 will bring to the rental industry.
What Happened in the Rental Sector in 2019?
Before we start looking ahead, let’s catch up on some of the most important changes and updates to the private rental sector over the last year and what effects they’ve had on the industry;
Making Tax Digital
In 2019, the government announced that they would be helping small businesses convert to a new digital tax system to be fully implemented by the end of 2020 called Making Tax Digital.
From April 2019, VAT tax records and returns went digital, affecting landlords with an annual rental income of over £10,000. This change required landlords to use software or apps to keep track of tax records and to update HMRC through a new, digital tax account, if they weren’t already. Hopefully, this has made doing taxes more accurate and efficient for the majority of property professionals.
Letting Agency Fees Ban
February 2019 saw the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, prohibiting many of the fees required by letting or estate agents. From 1st June, letting agencies were no longer able to demand fees for;
- Security deposits over five weeks rent
- Holding deposits over one weeks rent
- Change in tenancy costs over £50
The Letting Agency fees ban raised alarm among some parties, with ARLA claiming that a blanket tenant fee ban would ‘put additional pressures on landlords, with fewer tenant checks and a lower quality of service’.
In 2019 PropTech became the buzzword on the lips of almost everyone in property. But what does the term actually mean? Put simply, PropTech or Property Technology is all about the digital transformation of the property industry, from big data to VR.
Moving tenant checks online and Apps that help landlords manage their property maintenance have been making everyday tasks faster, easier and more secure for professionals in all areas of the property industry.
For example, Kaptur is a digital property inventory system that allows users to manage work flows, reports and inventories all in one place.
This trend for digitalisation shows no signs of losing momentum as we move into 2020.
What’s New for 2020 in the Rental Industry?
Now, let’s turn our attention to upcoming changes that could have an effect on the private rental sector in 2020;
Abolishing Section 21
The new Conservative government has announced plans to abolish Section 21 repossessions in order to protect tenants. This change is likely to be implemented by the end of 2020.
This proposition has caused alarm amongst several landlord bodies, including ARLA, who are concerned that it will make it harder for landlords to regain possession of their properties if needed.
Good or bad, this will result in changes to the way landlords and tenants can legally end tenancy agreements. For landlords, this means following the Section 8 possession process set out in the Housing Act 1988.
Changes to Mortgage Interest: Section 24
By April 2020, tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be reduced to the basic rate of income tax and landlords will no longer be able to deduct any mortgage interest payments from their rental income.
In addition to paying more tax on rental properties, this change could even move some landlords up into a higher tax bracket.
Making Tax Digital
The scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
But what does this mean for landlords and rental property businesses?
In addition to minimising the chance of error, a digital system should allow landlords with multiple properties to stay on top of their taxes more easily. With all the information accessible on a mobile device, you will be able to see how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
However, if you’re not naturally tech-savvy, the new system might take a little getting used to – so you better get started!
Brexit and the Rental Industry
Regardless of your opinion on Brexit, landlords and property professionals may take some comfort as uncertainties regarding the effects on the housing market begin to stabilize.
Although a lot is still up in the air, it looks like we are definitely leaving the EU so landlords can start making long-term plans to grow their portfolio.
The effect of Brexit on the rental industry could even be a positive one, with an increasing number of first time buyers delaying getting onto the property ladder while agreements are being finalised.
Continued Demand for Rental Properties
On the whole, 2020 looks set to be an exciting and prosperous year for the private rental sector.
The number of people living in rental properties in the UK has been steadily growing over the last few years, and this looks like a continuing trend as we move into 2020. Clearly, this is good news for those working in the sector who are likely to enjoy relatively stable returns on investment.
Protect Your Property Investment in 2020
Keen to maximise the potential of your property portfolio in 2020? That’s where we come in.
Ensure your investment stays protected, attract the right tenants and encourage long-term tenancies with the help of our varied property services including;
- Property inventory reports
- 360 virtual photography
- Right to rent checks
- Mid term reports and inspections
- Property appraisals
- CO and Smoke reports
- Check in/check out reports
Want to find out more? Browse our property inventory services to get started.
With the festive period in full swing and New Year’s Eve celebrations on the horizon, many student landlords are bracing themselves for that dreaded call from a disgruntled neighbour in the early hours of the morning.
It’s no secret that lots of students like to party, and if not managed correctly, related disputes can create rifts that are difficult to repair.
It can be a tough balancing act, meeting the needs of your student tenants and keeping the local community happy. That’s why we’ve produced this student landlord advice guide on how to deal with student parties at your rental property without alienating tenants or neighbours.
To Ban or Not to Ban
If you’re concerned about your student tenants hosting large parties in your rental property, you could insert a clause into the tenancy agreement banning parties of a certain size. While this helps to deter tenants from hosting massive gatherings that could damage your property, it could prove difficult to enforce.
For lots of tenants, a steadfast rule against parties of all kinds could put them off renting your property in the first place, and this decision will narrow your pool of prospective tenants. However, banning gatherings over a certain size is a sensible idea, especially in suburban areas.
Managing the Neighbours
The majority of student accommodation is in busy, suburban areas with convenient amenities close by. While this is great for students, it also means there tends to be a lot of neighbours living within close proximity.
So, if your tenants like to host noisy parties, this can become a problem and damage your reputation as a responsible landlord in the area.
It’s difficult to actually prosecute a landlord for their tenants’ antisocial behaviour, unless you deliberately ignore the problem, or the issue is ongoing. However, staying on good terms with the local community will make your life easier in the long run.
When dealing with noise complaints from neighbours;
- Make sure the surrounding neighbours have your contact details or the details of the letting agent in case an issue arises
- Talk to your tenants calmly to get both sides of the story
- Refer your tenants to the relevant ‘noise’ or ‘nuisance’ clause in the tenancy agreement to explain which one they have broken and why, and the possible consequences if this continues
- Never threaten eviction as a first reaction as this could backfire on you and damage your landlord/tenant relationship
- If problems persist, you could arrange a meeting with neighbour and tenant to clear the air and come to a solution
- As a last resort, you could contact your local council, the police or begin the eviction process
Clear and Open Communications
One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is to retain a cool and clear head when communicating with tenants and to keep interactions open and honest.
If you’re straightforward with your tenants, they’re more likely to be honest back. Make it clear from the start of the tenancy that you are happy to discuss any issues and ensure they have your contact details to hand.
If they feel like you’re on their side, they’re more likely to obey house rules.
Choose Simple Party-Proof Furnishings
As wear and tear tends to be higher in student rentals, furnishing a student property with expensive furniture is pointless. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to student parties. With extra bodies in the house and alcohol involved, a plush carpet and glass coffee table aren’t going to stay perfect for long.
Go for simple, more affordable essentials from somewhere like IKEA that won’t cost an arm and a leg to replace if necessary. Wipe clean surfaces and easy to clean lino floors are also a sensible option and will help your tenants stay on top of their duties.
Regular Property Inspections
One way to keep an eye on what’s going on in your rental property and help determine if regular parties are taking place is to schedule regular property inspections.
However, you need to ensure the correct procedures have been followed, as there are laws in place regarding the frequency and delivery of landlord inspections.
A professional property inspection will help determine if your property is being appropriately cared for, and whether your tenants are fulfilling their contractual agreements. This could include anything from red wine stains or cigarette burns on the carpets to extra people living in the property. Inventory clerks can even check in with the neighbours to ensure everyone is happy.
Is Renting to Students Worth It?
Despite these possible drawbacks, renting property to students can be very rewarding and comes with great benefits;
- High demand in student towns and cities
- Short term, set contracts of 12 months
- Predictable, reliable market
- Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) offer higher yields
- Students don’t expect fancy furnishings and are happy with simple amenities
- Low void periods
Protect Your Student Rental Property: Inventory Management
The most important step you can take to protect your student house is to ensure a thorough inventory is taken at the start of the tenancy.
A professional inventory service helps you recover any costs or losses due to damage at the end of the academic year. And that’s where we come in. We’re experienced at working with private landlords and letting agents by providing essential reports and property management services.
From check in to property visits, we’re on hand to make the process as stress-free as possible for landlord and tenant.
Find out how our property inventory services could help you manage your student property.