What is an abandonment notice and what service do No Letting Go provide?
If a tenant in your property is expected to have abandoned the residence, either the landlord or letting agent will need to place a notice of abandonment at the rental property. The abandonment notice must be displayed at the property and it is vital that someone attends the property on a regular basis to ensure the notice is still on display. No Letting Go can offer this service and provide not only evidence of the abandonment notice being in place, but also as an independent witness to help with the abandonment process.
What is considered as property abandonment?
It is required that tenants inform their letting agent or landlord if they plan to leave their rented property for a period exceeding 2 weeks; this clause is generally included in all tenancy agreements. However, in some instances it may become apparent that tenants have abandoned the property, usually after a period of not paying rent. However, Landlord and property professionals alike must proceed cautiously under these circumstances, as under the Protection from eviction Act 1977, the tenant is entitled to return to the property withing the tenancy period. Should a tenant suspected of abandonment return in the period to find the property let to new tenants, the landlord could be charged with a criminal offence. It is therefore essential that it is certain that the property has been permanently vacant and surrendered before re-letting the property; this can be evidence through the proper application of serving an abandonment notice.
Problems arising for landlords when properties are abandoned
Loss of rental income
The most obvious problem arising from abandonment is the loss of income from the non-payment of rent. Therefore, it is important to make sure an abandonment process is enacted in a professional and timely manor to reduce increasing loses.
Risk of vandalism and lack of security at the abandoned property
The longer a property is left abandoned, the more obvious this becomes to undesirables. Often, the knowledge that a property is occupied can be the biggest deterrent to criminals.
Unoccupied properties can also draw the attention of squatters causing a whole new host of problems for landlords.
Abandoned properties can result in higher insurance premiums
Many insurance companies become void if properties are left vacant for a certain period. As a result premiums can be eye watering for the time a property is left vacant.
If tenants leave possessions behind, these become the responsibility of the landlord to safeguard
During the period of the tenancy, the tenant’s possessions left behind after abandonment are still the landlord responsibility to safeguard. This is not only burdensome but can also be costly to put into storage.
The responsibilities of Landlord & Letting agents
It is down to both landlords and letting agents to ensure that any evictions being made are not unlawful. Before re-letting or changing lock you must be certain that the property has been surrendered. The first point of call is of course the tenant, recording all contact and attempting to receive written conformation of abandonment. Should you fail to make contract other avenues for evidencing abandonment are:
- Rent has stopped being payed.
- Belongings have been removed from the property.
- Keys have been left at the property.
- Neighbours have not seen the tenant for a long period of time.
Housing and Planning Act 2016
If you can ensure that your property has been abandoned, and your tenant is in rent arrears you are now able to take back possession of your property under the Housing and planning Act 2016.
Vacant property inspections
No Letting Go offer this important service for both landlords and agents during void periods. Most insurance companies require vacant properties to be visited either once a week or fortnightly to check that the property remains secure and to ensure that any property management issues such as water leaks, appearance of mould/damp, broken fence panels, are dealt with promptly.
What void periods in tenancies mean for a landlord?
By definition, a void period is the time when a rental property is left unoccupied. The obvious result of this is the landlord or letting agent receiving no rental income during this time, far from ideal! However, there are many other factors that come into play under these circumstances. Vacant properties can cause problems when it comes to insurance, maintenance, vandalism and even squatter to name but a few.
Insurance and vacant properties
Most typical home insurance will not cover long periods when a property is unoccupied, thus making the insurance void. This leave the property owner of losing everything in the event of fire, flood or any other catastrophic event home property insurance protects you from. In many instances this can leave property owner in financial ruin, so it is vital to take these risks seriously.
For instances when a property will enter a void period, special insurance is required, known as unoccupied property insurance. The price of cover is determined by a range of factors, such as the rebuild cost of the property, its location, security and, of course, the reason it is empty. It also goes without saying that these premiums can often be significantly higher than occupied insurance, so it is important to look at ways to bring these costs down. In some instances, you may even find the overall costs are cheaper when this insurance is combined with a periodic inspection from No Letting Go.
Risks arising from properties being left vacant
Falling behind on essential maintenance
When properties are left vacant, small issues can develop into more serious ones simply because they go unnoticed. Problem often develop slower over time such as leaks, electrical faults and infestations. Having a human present and living in property allows this risk to be identified early on so appropriate low-cost actions can be taken to prevent escalations. Our property reporting experts at No Letting Go are probably some of the best people in the country to identify these risks to alert you during a vacant property inspection, saving you from an expensive bill later down the line.
Risk of vandalism and lack of security at the abandoned property
The longer a property is left vacant, the more chance you have of the property falling victim to vandals and criminals. Quite possibly the biggest deterrent to these undesirable visitors is the knowledge that a property is occupied and thus that they will likely be caught. Naturally, void periods lack this deterrent and can even begin advertising your property vacant. Lights left off, overgrown gardens and a bulging letter box are what thieves and vandals look for when targeting properties.
Quite possible a landlord’s worst nightmare is the risk of squatters entering the property. Squatters too will look for signs that a property is unoccupied. A regular visit from a No Letting Go property reporting specialist can all help to reduce these risks and identify hazards.
Block management inspections
Shining a light on communal areas
Whether in the social housing or the private residential housing sector, No Letting Go provide estate and block inspections. Providing our clients with regular reports covering fire and safety, estate and block cleanliness and condition, maintenance, legionella risk assessment. Each report has urgent actions summary and are all audited. Working to our client’s service level agreement, reports are bespoke to needs using Kaptur report software. The reports are unique in that they have embedded 360 virtual tours, with a visual walk around the estate, highlighting key areas of detailed the extensive training by all No Letting Go assessors in areas
What do we look for during a block inspection?
Fire and Safety
One of the biggest hazards in poorly managed blocks are fire safety failures. It common to find things such as bikes, pushchairs and even rubbish blocking hallways and fire escapes. A No Letting Go block inspections will check and make you aware of these risks so the appropriate action can be taken. Undertaking these reports also demonstrates due diligence as a block manager to ensure the health and safety of residents is being upheld.
Estate & block cleanliness & condition
It well known that the communal areas in blocks are often not treated with the same love and respect as people’s private homes. As a result, these areas are prone to falling into disrepair; falling victim to damage, vandalism or even just a lack a persistent care. It may also well be the case that these issues go unreported and can get worse over time. Our block inspections can identify these issues and prevent the exacerbation of situations.
In blocks and estates, maintenance is a seemingly never-ending constant. Not only will our reports identify maintenance issues, but they can also check the quality of works carried out are up to standard. Many of our clients have portfolios all over the UK and in many instances, it is not feasible for their own staff to attend every building in the portfolio. We can help by saving you both time and money, checking the works for you and providing a detailed evidenced report.
A bespoke service level agreement
No matter what your needs may be, we at No Letting Go can customize a bespoke report to meet your need whatever they may be. Get in touch and find out how we can help you!
Other services we can offer whilst on site
Legionella Risk Assessments
One of the many legal responsibilities that landlords and letting agents have is ensuring that their properties are free of the Legionella bacteria, which can cause health problems to more vulnerable tenants or to any member of the public that may visit the property. If you have not the time to investigate and learn the requirements or able to visit your property, No Letting Go provide a guaranteed national service. If you would like one of our qualified inspectors to complete a Legionella Risk Assessment for any of your properties, then please contact us for availability.
360 Virtual Tours
Another service we can offer with our block inspections are 360 virtual tours to truly capture everything. These tours are ideal for looking back on those are that are not obvious as well as providing a point of reference to look back upon.
Mid Term Property Inspection Reports
How often is a mid term visit conducted
A personal visit of a rental property is often the only opportunity to assess how the property is being occupied and maintained. Regular inspections usually take place every three to six months, and are often vital for landlords who are either unable or unwilling to do this themselves.
The benefits of an independent inspection
Instructing an independent inventory company ensures that the agent or landlord keeps a professional distance and will be provided with an objective mid-term report. Whilst these reports do not constitute a full inventory check, they do form the basis for assessing and highlighting any problems with the property.
Its an opportunity to repair any minor problems before they spiral out of control and into major repairs. Something simple as a small leak can transform into a disaster if its neglected for long enough. Tenants tend to report serious issues, but many will not report minor issues until its too late.
Also, its easy to be unaware of problems, such as damp where the tenant has become accustomed to it, but someone else notices it the minute they walk through the door.
The visits also provide the opportunity to assess the tenants living conditions. If the property is not kept in good order, it may not be grounds to evict, but it will allow an agent/landlord to consider whether they wish to renew the tenancy when the fixed term comes to an end.
All parties will receive a copy of mid term report on completion of the assessment unless otherwise agreed by email. All copies of documentation and digital photographs are retained by No Letting Go for a period of seven years.
What does a mid term report contain
A mid term inspection reports on the condition of the rental property. The report is a smaller version of an inventory report containing overview photographs, and notes the following:-
- An overview of the condition of the property and its contents
- Checks the property is being used by the named tenants only
- Checks for maintenance work that may need carrying out
- Checks for smoking and pets within the property
The mid tenancy report is a good way to build relationships with the tenants and check that the property is being treated in a satisfactory manner.
Why use No Letting Go for your mid-term inspections
We carry out thousands of mid term term inspections every year across the UK. Our reports contain photos and descriptions of the property, providing a good insight into how the property is being looked after, for both the agent and landlord.
We also retain a full audit trail of the reports conducted on a rental property, be it a mid term inspection, inventory or check out.
Our inventory specialists will also confirm the appointment with the tenant prior to attending. We are happy to conduct the visit in an empty property or with the tenant present, and can re-confirm the process with the tenant once at the property, and note down any concerns they have.
If you are an agent who conducts these visits inhouse, our Kaptur software could provide a quick and easy solution to provide quick reports with an easy storage solution.