Budgets can be tough to manage for landlord and letting agents alike. Sometimes, property maintenance costs can eat into your finances dramatically.
From what’s involved to how to save, we offer insights and guidance on how to best manage budgets when undergoing maintenance on your property portfolio.
What Is Included In Maintenance Costs?
Before we go into budget management, we need to be clear on what maintenance costs are involved in renting a residential property.
Here’s a list of all the things to consider when it comes to maintenance;
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to fix any repairs needed resulting from normal wear and tear. This can include;
- Repairing or replacing white goods and appliances
- Fixing boiler issues
- Repairing any electrical faults
Refurbishment & Decoration
Keeping your property looking fresh for new tenants is an important part of being a good landlord and attracting the right target tenants. It’s recommended that carpets are replaced every 5-7 years, and properties are fully redecorated every 3 years.
However, if your property is looking particularly lived in after a tenancy or you come across some questionable stains, you might need to redecorate more often.
Here’s what else is included in refurbishment and decoration;
- Painting throughout
- Replacing carpets or flooring
- Replacing curtains
- Replacing old, tired furniture items every 10-15 years
- Replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings every 10-15 years
It’s not just the inside that needs attention. Staying on top of the exterior of your property can help ward off future structural issues and save money in the long run.
Here’s what it could include;
- Replacing missing roof tiles
- Clearing guttering
- Garden fence maintenance
- Window cleaning and repair
Thorough cleaning is essential between tenancies, and you may also need to arrange for cleaning to be done during a tenancy. If the windows need cleaning for example, or if the property has suffered water damage.
Particularly important during void periods, regular property inspections are an important part of maintenance for buy to let properties.
Inspections protect your property from theft, vandalism or damage from unnoticed leaks, preventing the need for extensive future repairs. We offer a professional vacant property inspection service to give you peace of mind that your investment is protected.
Gas Safety Certificates & Safety Checks
UK landlords have a legal requirement to arrange regular safety checks, including;
- An annual gas safety inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer
- Electrical safety checks
- PAT tests for white goods
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Ensure smoke detectors are present and working
This cost is usually overlooked by most landlords, but the time you put into the maintenance of your portfolio really adds up. Particularly if you are balancing your duties as a landlord with another paid job, extra time spent on maintenance may mean losing out on wages.
If this is the case, it may be worth investing in a full management service from a property management company so you can swap a management fee for more time for other ventures.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Rental Property?
Maintenance costs will vary depending on several factors;
- Size of the property
- Age of the property- older homes require more upkeep
- Location of the property- service charges vary dependant on area
- Type and number of tenants
For example, if you rent to students or large families, you may have to fork out more for accidental damage repair costs.
Landlord Maintenance Costs: How to Save Money
Now we’ve discussed what’s involved, it’s time to look at ways to save.
Choose Your Target Tenant Wisely
While finding tenants may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to maintenance, the tenant you choose could have an effect on your maintenance costs.
For example, as mentioned above, renting to students can result in more accidental damage as there tends to be more people living in one property, and tenants have a reputation for partying! Similarly, renting to tenants with pets is likely to involve more refurbishment at the end of the tenancy.
Deciding on your target tenant from the get-go is an important part of the process.
Act Fast When It Comes to Repairs
The quicker you act on repairs and maintenance tasks, the more popular you’ll be with tenants and the less likely they are to develop into serious issues. Usually, dealing with problems as soon as they arise means you can save money in the long run as you have time to think about the best possible solution.
Paying for maintenance costs early will also help you to manage your monthly budgets and keep on top of your spend.
Buy Quality Furnishings
Opting for the cheapest furnishings available isn’t always wise. The cost of replacing flimsy furniture every year is likely to add up to more than investing in quality in the first place. This is particularly true for mattresses, sofas and dining tables. Our blog on furnishing your rental property will help you with some handy tips.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to decorating your properties, more is less. You don’t need to go overboard to provide a comfortable home for tenants. Simple, modern furniture without too many frills will appeal to most and will be kinder on the budget.
Tip: Avoid painting everything white as it will require more upkeep. Neutral, mid-tones are much more forgiving.
Don’t Skimp on Landlord Insurance
Landlord insurance is essential when renting a property. Finding the right deal can help you save when things go wrong. Quality contents or accidental damage insurance will protect you in the case of weather damage or accidental spills.
Make sure you shop around for the best deals.
Check Council Tax Exceptions
If one of your rental properties is vacant for a period, or you are performing refurbishment that renders your property inhabitable, you may be eligible for Council Tax redemption. This will leave you with some extra cash to spend on essential repairs and decoration.
Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance
By increasing the energy-saving potential of your property, you could save money that can be injected back into the maintenance budget.
By reinforcing insulation in your rental property, you could save a significant amount in tax.
Know When To Ask For Help
While rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can save on service fees, it’s not always the best option.
Botched DIY can end up costing more than the original problem, and when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues, professional is always best.
Get More Than One Quote
When you need to pick up the phone to a plumber or tradesperson, make sure you do your research.
Particularly important when it comes to bigger jobs, getting several quotes will help you find the most competitive price.
Invest In A Comprehensive Inventory Service
Compiling a comprehensive written and photographic list of all of the items and furnishings and their condition within your property is one of the best ways to recuperate maintenance costs at the end of a tenancy.
If there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear, it will be much easier to deduct the appropriate costs from the deposit.
A professional property inventory service provides an impartial account of your property and is delivered using high quality photography in a handy, easily accessible digital report.
Landlord Maintenance Responsibilities: Help From No Letting Go
The costs of being a landlord are wide ranging. From agent fees to mortgage interest, balancing your rental income with outgoing costs can be tough.
That’s why sometimes it pays to get some help. Whether it’s repairs and maintenance reports or inventory services, our teams of experienced clerks could help streamline your business so you can take control of your budget.
Browse our full list of property management services to find out how we can help.
It’s a common question among new or soon-to-be landlords – do I need landlord insurance?
The short answer is yes. In addition to healthy investment returns, being a landlord comes with a lot of added risks and responsibility. To minimise this risk, investing in reliable insurance is essential.
Protecting your investment is paramount, but the jargon around landlord insurance can make it tricky to keep your facts straight.
We’ve curated a simple, yet comprehensive guide for landlords to help you get your head around landlord insurance and work out which type is best for you.
Here’s what it is, how it works and how to get it.
What is Landlord Insurance Cover?
Landlord insurance is a type of home insurance, specifically designed for rental properties. This broad term can include anything from contents insurance to rental protection.
Your policy could cover;
- Damage to the property
- Loss of rent
- Damage to or loss of contents
- Legal claims made against you by tenants
Is Landlord Insurance a Legal Requirement?
While landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, standard home insurance will not cover you for rental properties and going without could cost you dearly in terms of money, time and hassle.
Do You Really Need Landlord Insurance?
Often, you will need permission from your mortgage provider in order to let your property to tenants who will most likely require specialist insurance.
Legal issues aside, it’s always a good idea to protect your property as comprehensively as possible to protect both yourself and your investment.
What’s the Difference Between Home Insurance and Landlord Insurance?
Home insurance is designed to protect private homes from damage and loss. A rental property comes with a whole host of different issues. For example, as a landlord, you are less able to keep an eye on the day to day happenings in the property and have to rely on tenants to update you on any problems that occur.
Here’s a few of the differences between home and landlord insurance;
- Home insurance only covers the owner/occupier if they are in need of alternative accommodation. Landlord insurance covers tenants in this situation.
- Landlord insurance can cover you for loss of rent.
- Landlord insurance can cover any legal costs needed as a result of your actions as a landlord.
Types of Landlord Insurance
Here, we provide a brief overview of the different types of landlord insurance available;
Landlord Buildings Insurance
Buildings insurance covers any damage caused to the building itself. This could mean damage from fire, flooding or even malicious damage caused by the occupants. Every insurance provider is different, so you’ll have to check which type of damage this covers.
We highly recommend getting buildings insurance, especially if you are the freeholder.
Landlord Contents Insurance
Contents insurance protects against loss or damage of goods and furniture within a property. So, if you are renting a furnished property, it could be a good idea. However, this type of insurance does not protect against normal wear and tear.
Different insurance plans offer various cover and allow you to insure different parts of your property. For example, communal areas in flats or shared accommodation. It won’t protect items belonging to tenants.
Accidental Damage Insurance
Accidental damage insurance comes under contents insurance and can cover the cost of anything from spills and stains to broken windows.
Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance
Otherwise known as rental protection insurance or loss of rent insurance, this type of cover protects you if you are unable to rent out your property as a result of an insured event like a fire or flood.
Tenant Default Insurance
Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two months, covering the cost for up to eight months. You will need to conduct the proper credit checks at the start of the tenancy to be eligible.
Commercial Landlord Insurance
If you let to a third-party business, you will need commercial landlord insurance. Commercial buildings have different designs and purposes, meaning there are different risks attached.
Commercial landlord insurance can cover accidental damage, vandalism and rental income protection.
Landlord Liability Insurance
Also referred to as property owner’s liability cover, this type of insurance covers legal defence costs and expenses in the event your tenant has an accident and considers it your fault.
With this type of insurance, you’re looking at high limits, usually upwards of £1 million.
Legal Expenses Insurance
This covers legal expenses such as court costs when chasing up late tenant payments and gives you access to legal expertise.
Employers’ Liability Insurance
If you employ anyone else to work at one of your rental properties, say as a gardener or cleaner, you are required by law to have this insurance. Employers’ liability covers legal defence costs and awards made for any injuries, accidents or illness as a result of your negligence.
HMO Landlord Insurance
If you rent out an HMO property, the terms of your insurance cover will differ slightly from single occupancy homes.
Finding an insurance plan tailored to HMO properties could help you get the protection you need.
Alternative Accommodation Insurance
If your property becomes uninhabitable due to an insured event and the tenancy agreement requires you to provide alternative accommodation for your tenants, this type of insurance is a good idea.
Unoccupied Property Insurance
Unoccupied property cover can help during void periods or if you need to make renovations to your property. To qualify as unoccupied, a property usually has to be vacant for 30 days.
You will also need to arrange for regular vacant property inspections.
Multi-House Landlord Insurance
If you have several properties in your portfolio, it is probably worth taking out multi-property landlord insurance.
By including all of your properties on one policy, you could save money and time on paperwork and other processes.
Landlord Home Emergency Insurance
Boiler breakdown or serious leaks are a surprisingly common occurrence. Landlord home emergency insurance provides you with 24/7 access to emergency cover for plumbing, heating, power and security issues.
What Kind of Insurance do I Need for a Rental Property?
The type of insurance you’ll need depends on the type of property you rent and your specific needs as a landlord. We answer some common questions;
Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Have Buildings Insurance?
In most cases, you will need to take out a specific insurance when renting out a property in addition to your home buildings insurance.
Some policies may allow you to amend your existing home buildings insurance to cover your activities as a landlord, however you may also want to take out extra insurance to cover all bases.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting to Family?
Yes. It is just as important to have insurance when renting to family members. You will need to draw up a tenancy agreement for legal purposes, even if it’s just a casual arrangement.
Renting to offspring or siblings may feel informal, but if they are paying you rent, you are legally regarded as their landlord and standard home insurance won’t cover you.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance If I Live in the Property?
Even if you live in the property, standard home insurance won’t protect you. Make sure you tell your lender that you live in the rental property when you take out the insurance. Again, you will need a tenancy agreement in place.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance for a Flat?
Renting out a flat is the same as renting a house when it comes to insurance.
The only difference with renting a flat is that you may not need buildings insurance if there is a freeholder arranging this. Be sure to inform them that you are renting out your flat so they can make any adjustments to their insurance policy.
Do I Need Landlord Insurance if Renting a Room?
Again, standard home insurance is unlikely to be valid when renting out a room in the same property you live in.
If you have a lodger, you will need a tenancy agreement in place for your landlord insurance policy.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?
Landlord insurance can cover a variety of different risks and situations, depending on your needs. The basics are buildings and contents cover, but you can add extra policies as you see fit.
We answer some common questions about landlord insurance cover;
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?
Yes. If you want your insurance policy to cover accidental damage such as dodgy DIY or carpet stains, opt for accidental damage insurance to protect your property.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Appliances?
Yes. Contents insurance covers white goods and appliances provided by you in the rental property.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Injury?
Yes. To protect yourself against legal claims made by tenants, landlord liability insurance will provide legal defence costs and expenses.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Unpaid Rent?
Yes. Tenant default insurance covers you if your tenant fails to pay rent for two consecutive months.
How Does Landlord Insurance Work?
Your first step in purchasing landlord insurance is to decide what type of cover you need. It’s possible to find a tailored policy suited to your individual needs and requirements. Whether you opt for basic cover (building, contents and liability) or go for comprehensive cover, make sure you read the fine print to find out exactly what’s included.
What is Sum Insured?
The sum insured is the amount an insurer will pay out for a claim. The higher the value of your rental property, the larger this amount will be. Make sure the sum insured is enough to rebuild your property, rather than focusing on its market value.
Calculating your rebuild cost accurately will ensure you don’t overpay for your insurance. There are online rebuilding cost calculators to help, although keep in mind, this will only provide you with an estimate rather than exact values.
Levels of Excess
You will also need to think about the amount of excess you are able to pay if you need to make a claim. Higher excess reduces the cost of your insurance and different claims can come with different levels of excess.
Before you buy you will need to know;
- Your rental property’s rebuild value
- The level of excess you can pay
- What type of cover you need
How to Claim Landlord Insurance
If you ever need to make a claim, make sure you do so as soon as possible. You will need to provide as much evidence as you can to get the best pay-out. This could include receipts, invoices and photographic evidence.
How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?
The cost of your landlord insurance will be dependent on a variety of different factors;
- Location – Local crime rates and the probability of severe weather in a certain area will affect the cost of your insurance.
- Type of tenants – Students, tenants with pets and those on housing benefits are deemed more of a risk by some insurers, meaning higher insurance costs.
- Size of property – More tenants means higher costs.
- Number of properties – Naturally, more properties mean more costs. Look for an insurer who offers portfolio property discounts.
- Sums insured – Your insurance will cost more the larger your sums insured
Which is the Best Landlord Insurance?
To compare landlord insurance and get a landlord insurance quote, there are plenty of price comparison sites to reference.
Here are some popular landlord insurance providers;
- AXA Landlord Insurance
- Aviva Landlord Insurance
- CIA Landlord Insurance
- SAGA Landlord Insurance
- Direct Line Landlord Insurance
- Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance
Makes sure you shop around and do your research to get the best deal for you.
Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go
We understand the importance of protecting your rental property for the long-term success of your business.
A detailed property inventory is one of the best ways to secure your property by providing the critical evidence you need to recuperate costs. Find out more about our professional, unbiased property inventory service to get started.
If you’re a landlord looking for a trusted letting agent in London, we might be able to help. We understand the importance of leaving your investment in safe hands and work with a wide range of property specialists in London and across the UK.
No Letting Go help letting agents and property businesses streamline their inventory management processes and provide essential reports. Thanks to this, we know a thing or two about finding the right partner for you and your property needs.
We’ve listed some of the best letting agents, London to help you find a reputable agency in your local area.
Letting Agents: North London
Let’s start with lettings and estate agents in the North London area. The following agencies have either been recommended by trusted sources or are businesses we currently work with.
Davies & Davies
This well-established independent letting agent has been running since 1927, managing sales and lettings from Finsbury park.
Voted as the 7th best Letting agent in the UK by the Best Estate Agent Guide 2019, Davies & Davies pride themselves on their bespoke level of service and their socially responsible attitude towards the local community. If you’re looking for a collaborative partner, this award- winning agency could be for you.
Best for: Slick, creative marketing campaigns
Finsbury Park Office, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG
Another long-running agency, Oliver’s Town Lettings have been around since 1988 and cover a wide area from Camden to Hampstead.
The agency deals with buying, renting, letting and selling for landlord and tenants and have excellent knowledge of the areas they work in.
Best for: Approachable customer service
Offices in Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Hampstead and Mayfair
Parkheath is a well-established lettings agent in North West London with a business philosophy of ‘sold on service’. The results speak for themselves, with 99% of sales and lettings clients happy to work with them again in the future.
Looking after properties located in areas around Belsize and Tufnell park, Parkheath lettings agent offer excellent knowledge of the property market and a reliable service.
Best for: Professional customer service
Offices in West Hampstead, South Hampstead, Belsize Park, Kentish Town and Kendall Rise.
Serving the areas around Dartmouth Park, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park, Matthew James estate agents are an independent company specialising in lettings and sales.
With customers describing them as ‘efficient’, ‘friendly’ and ‘honest’, your rental property will be in safe hands. They even have area guides on their website to help prospective landlords and tenants get to know the different areas they operate in.
Best for: Friendly team of staff
43-45 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AD
Dedicated to establishing long term relationships with their clients, this agency has a wide range of property types on its books. They can even help you with short Airbnb lets!
Best for: Variety of services
350 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PD
66 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6RL
Your Move Sterling & Co – Walthamstow
Centrally based in Walthamstow, Your Move Sterling & Co is the place to go for friendly and professional lettings services in the area.
As a landlord, when you let a property through Your Move Sterling & Co, you gain access to the landlord portal for quick and easy communication.
Serving Walthamstow, Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford in North East London.
Best for: Convenient communications
Email directly on the Your Move Sterling & Co website
From health and safety reports to property viewings, our franchises across North London all put the same level of dedication into their client services. No Letting Go Walthamstow property inventory services are owned and operated by Ann Ennis who has over 45 years of experience in the industry. Get in touch to find out how they could help.
East London Letting Agents
Now let’s turn our attention to the best letting agents in and around East London;
Martin & Co – Wanstead
Head up by local landlord, Mike Molloy, the Wanstead branch of Martin & Co provides a wealth of information on the surrounding area and property market.
With first hand experience of the private rental sector, Molloy understands the needs of landlords and tenants, providing an honest and intuitive service to clients.
The Wanstead branch manages property across Wanstead, East London and West Essex.
Best for: Landlords
74 High Street, Wanstead, London, Greater London, E11 2RN
Dabora Conway – South Woodford and Winchmore Hill
The experienced team at Dabora Conway lettings and estate agents put customer satisfaction at the heart of everything they do.
As a member of NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme), this growing business is committed to providing quality, tailored services.
With glowing customer testimonials and a professional team of staff, Dabora Conway is a great choice for lettings in the Wanstead, South Woodford and Winchmore Hill areas.
Best for: Customer commitment
Wanstead Head Office, 9 High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2AA
Winning gold in the property agency of the year awards 2018 for Stratford in the AllAgents Annual Awards, David Daniels is a trusted agency in the East London area.
Serving Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering, David Daniels is a member of ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
Combining highly qualified staff with a close attention to detail and local knowledge, this agency provides a comprehensive service for landlords.
Best for: Recognition in the property sector
Offices in Leyton and Stratford
Looking to save time on property management? If you operate in the East London area, our No Letting Go branches in Stratford & Newnham and Romford & Docklands provide landlords and property professionals with unbiased, professional services to help safeguard your investment.
Letting Agents: South London
If you’re a landlord looking for letting agents in the South London area, add the following businesses to your list;
C James & Co
For lettings in Wimbledon, Tooting, Colliers Wood and surrounding areas, C James & Co is committed to providing their customers with the latest innovations in Proptech.
C James & Co have dedicated teams of staff handling accounts, contracts and maintenance, ensuring each member is experienced and dedicated to their field.
As a member of ARLA, the agency stays on top of current regulations to protect landlords and their investments.
Best for: Dedicated network of staff
141 Kingston Road, Merton Park, London SW19 1LJ
110 Tooting High Street, Tooting, London, SW17 ORR
190-192 High Street, Colliers Wood, London, SW19
As the name suggests, this independent estate agent has an extensive knowledge of their local area postcode. Their slogan ‘It’s all in the postcode’ reflects their passion for the Wimbledon area and local communities within it.
Offering zero deposit schemes and experienced staff, SW19 guarantees speedy rental processes and security for landlords.
Best for: Local area knowledge
Offices in Wimbledon, South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood
With an outstanding local reputation and a straightforward ethos, Ellisons are a registered office approved by The Office of Fair Trading, The Estate Agency Ombudsman Scheme and ARLA.
With thousands of let properties in their portfolio, they are experienced at providing hassle-free transactions. They even offer free rental guarantee insurance to newly appointed lets.
Ellisons letting agents serve Wimbledon, Morden, Raynes Park, West Wimbledon, Motspur Park, Colliers Wood and Merton Park.
Best for: Fuss-free service
Individual office contact details are available on the website
From No Letting Go Battersea to No Letting Go Croydon, our branches across South London understand the importance of an unbiased, detailed property inventory. Interested? Contact the team to discuss your requirements.
Letting Agents: West London
Here’s our pick of west London lettings agents;
Ludlow Thompson- Kilburn
With fantastic reviews on AllAgents, the Kilburn branch of Ludlow Thompson is one to look out for.
Described as professional, helpful and communicative, this lettings agency covers extensive areas across Kilburn, West Hampstead and other West London areas.
All staff at Ludlow Thompson have undertaken industry qualifications to ensure professional property management at all times.
Best for: Customer satisfaction
We work with a number of lettings agents in West London, helping them to deliver inventories and organise property inspections.
Keen to be part of our extensive network? No Letting Go Ealing offers 360 degree virtual photography and property appraisals in Ealing and surrounding areas.
For landlords in the Uxbridge area, John Farrell leads the No Letting Go Uxbridge branch, delivering results through extensive local knowledge and the latest in property technology.
What We Offer
We offer a lot more than just property inventory services. Here are some of our other services at a glance;
- Check in/check out services
- Right to rent checks
- Property visits & inspections
- Dilapidation reports
- House viewings
- Floor plans
- Property appraisals
- 360 virtual photography
- Health & Safety reports
Find Your No Letting Go London Branch
Gaining access to the lettings and inventory services you need should be simple and fast. We provide lettings agents and landlords with a wide range of property services to save you time and ensure your compliance with the latest regulations.
Find your local London No Letting Go office here.
From comprehensive inventories to check in/check out services, our teams are experienced at providing professional, fuss-free solutions.
Browse our full range of property services to find out how we could help.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental properties are safe and comfortable for your tenants. One element of this is to make sure that the boiler is maintained and checked regularly.
With the summer coming up, you might think that your usual boiler maintenance checks can take a back seat while it’s not in use. However, it’s important to keep on top of boiler maintenance throughout the summer months to ensure it stays in tip top condition, saving you money in the long run.
To help you stay on top of your responsibilities, Paul Ritchie, Managing Director at All England Gas has an essential boiler maintenance checklist landlords will need this summer.
Run the Heating Once a Month
Let’s get started with some simple boiler maintenance tips;
In the summer, the warmer weather means it’s likely your tenants won’t have the heating on. However, this doesn’t mean you can ignore the boiler completely. Leaving the boiler doing nothing all season can cause some mechanical components to seize up and corrode. To prevent this, you should remind your tenants to run the heating for around 10 minutes, at least once a month throughout the summer.
This short period of time should not significantly affect the energy bill, leaving both you and your tenants happy.
Bleed Radiators at the Start and End of Summer
Even when the central heating system is off, pockets of air can find their way into the system and enter your radiators. This means they won’t heat up as well as they should when they’re switched back on in the colder months.
To prevent this, you should bleed your radiators at the start and end of the summer season to avoid any heating mishaps when it gets cold. This is something you can do as a landlord, but if your tenants have the radiator key, you can advise them to do it themselves.
To bleed your radiators, you or your tenant will need a key that fits into a valve at the top and side of each radiator.
Once you have the key, follow these steps;
- Turn this valve with the key until you hear a hissing sound — this is the air escaping.
- When the hissing stops and water starts to spurt out, this indicates that all the air has gone, and you should turn the valve back until the water completely ceases escaping.
- At this point you will usually notice that the system pressure has dropped and needs topping up.
- You can do this by locating the filling loop, which should be a hose with a valve at either end, and opening both valves to allow cold water to enter the main system.
- This two-stage process of bleeding the radiator and re-pressurising needs to be repeated until all of the air has been removed and the pressure is sitting at around 1.5 bar.
Get the Boiler Serviced
An annual service is essential for boiler safety and maintenance. Since your tenants will need the boiler throughout the winter, it might make sense for you to get it serviced during the colder months.
However, it could be more beneficial to have the boiler serviced in the summer instead to make sure it’s in full working order before temperatures drop. Servicing appointments will be cheaper and more readily available during these months, and you’ll have plenty of time if you need to get anything repaired or replaced.
Top tip: ensure you book a Gas Safe registered engineer for the job.
Read the Manual
If you haven’t already, read through the boiler’s owner’s manual. This will show you how it actually operates, and you might find that any issues that arise the following winter, like leaking pipes, are simple enough for you to diagnose and fix yourself.
For safety reasons, never remove the cover to fix any internal components of the boiler. If you suspect there’s an issue inside the cover, always call a Gas Safe engineer to take a look for you.
During the summer, your tenants aren’t going to be using the boiler quite as much as they would in the colder months. This provides you with the perfect opportunity to conduct these basic maintenance checks and get the boiler ready for the following winter.
Stay Secure with Boiler Cover
It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and your tenants against emergency boiler breakdown by purchasing boiler cover.
Your tenants have a right to hot water, working plumbing and heating no matter the season.
Don’t get caught out! Make sure you have a plan in place for when things go wrong.
Have some more questions? All England Gas offer a wide range of boiler tips and advice to help you keep up with all of your landlord responsibilities.
Protect Your Rental Properties this Summer with No Letting Go
If you go away over the summer, leave your property in the safe hands of the No Letting Go team. With 360 virtual photography you can even check up on your rental properties remotely!
For landlords with student properties, you might find yourself left with void periods over the summer months. To prevent damage and protect your investment during this time, No Letting Go offer vacant property visits and reports to ensure your property is secure and there are no leaks or other maintenance issues.
To discover the rest of our professional property services, including unbiased inventory reports and carbon monoxide safety checks, head over to our services page.
No Letting Go have entered the ESTAS for 2020, and now we need you to cast your votes!
The ESTAS Customer Service Awards are one of the biggest events in any property professional’s calendar. Celebrating exceptional customer service across the property sector, from estate agents to conveyancers and industry suppliers, the ESTAS help companies like ours maintain a high standard of care.
Here’s more about the awards and how you can get involved;
Update: No Letting Go Shortlisted for ESTAS Awards
We’d like to thank you all for your support over the last few months, your votes really made a difference as we are proud to announce that No Letting Go have been shortlisted for the ESTAS awards as a supplier to the Letting industry.
The No Letting Go team will be attending the awards dinner this May, so check our social media channels for updates.
What are the ESTAS?
The annual ESTAS awards take place in Spring and Autumn, attracting the top players in the UK’s property and lettings industry.
The purpose of the awards programme is to celebrate excellent customer service and recognise the companies going above and beyond for their clients.
How Does it Work?
Once a company has signed up to the ESTAS programme, they are then open to receive feedback from their clients and customers.
The awards are based purely on feedback from customers, ensuring honesty and transparency in the voting process. All reviews and votes will be verified by the ESTAS group.
Once all reviews and votes are counted and compared across the other property companies in the running, the winners are celebrated at the prestigious ESTAS awards ceremony.
The ESTAS Awards Ceremony
Over 1000 guests gather for the ESTAS Estate & Letting Agent Awards in May where property TV personality, Phil Spencer presents the award.
The ESTAS conveyancer awards are held in October.
Why Should I Vote?
For landlords and property professionals, reviewing the companies you work with will help improve overall customer service in the industry.
By providing honest feedback from clients and customers, the platform encourages agencies in the property industry to constantly improve their customer care. The official ESTAS stamp means that all feedback is authorised and regulated.
At No Letting Go, keeping track of our performance only makes us want to strive for more and provide the best services for our clients.
For prospective tenants, the home moving process can be stressful and complicated without a little help from the right places. The ESTAS provide a platform for honest feedback, helping you find trusted professionals. This gives you the peace of mind you need that your chosen property professionals are up to scratch.
Why No Letting Go?
At No Letting Go, we’re dedicated to providing the best customer service for our clients and customers. Across all of our branches throughout the UK, our franchisees receive extensive training in how to deliver our services and put the customer at the heart of everything they do.
Here’s a little reminder about the services we provide;
Professional Inventory Services
We offer a professional, unbiased property inventory service to help settle disputes through effective negotiation and provide the evidence needed for end of tenancy deposit claims. Using the very latest technology and audit tracking, our reports act as your compliance manager, including relevant health and safety checks.
Health and Safety Reports
Health and safety reports include Smoke and C0 reports, HHSRS and Legionella risk assessment.
Mid-Term Reports and Inspections
Reports and inspections ensure tenants are meeting their contractual obligations. They also check the wear and tear of a property and assess the satisfaction of tenants.
Our pre-check out service ensures that tenants are aware of how the property is expected to be returned at the end of the tenancy. This helps to prevent disputes before issues arise.
Open House Viewings
We can provide and facilitate property viewings on the landlord or estate agent’s behalf.
We have over 65 No Letting Go offices throughout the UK lead by dedicated franchisees with excellent knowledge of the local property market.
At local level, we pride ourselves in the turnaround time of our services. We achieve better or equal returns of our reports with our service level agreement time over 98.4% of the time.
Real Time Support
We offer real-time support for landlords and property professionals via a live and online support centre to get you the help you need instantly.
Latest Property Technology
We use the latest in property inventory systems to collect, prepare, report and manage information. The Kaptur system is designed for busy property professionals, helping to streamline your workload.
Previous Awards and Recognition
We’re proud to be Lettings Supplier of the Year 2016 and Best Inventory Supplier 2009 award winners. We’re also accredited by Safe Contractor, the British Franchise Association (BFA), Property Redress Scheme (PRS) and are regulated by Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA:PropertyMark).
Supporting No Letting Go
No Letting Go have an exceptional record for reliability, quality and professionalism. We have had less than 0.001% of reports losing a dispute since we started (as reported to us) and had no reported full lost cases as a result of using the complete No Letting Go service.
But don’t just take our word for it! Head over to our website where you can find customer testimonials and a full list of our property management services.
If you’ve worked with us or used any of our services, we’d love some feedback! Vote in the ESTAS awards 2020 to get your voice heard!
Landlords and property professionals get ready!
Thanks to the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act on 1st June, you’re likely to see an influx of tenants looking to benefit from this ban on tenant fees.
Recommendations from No Letting Go have recently been featured in the Property Reporter, exploring the impact of this upcoming ban on tenant activity and how landlords and property professionals can get prepared.
Read on to find out how to prepare for the tenant fees ban with our handy quiz and guide.
What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
The Act sets out new rules and standards for landlords and letting agents, banning several upfront fees.
This ban includes the following:
- Security deposits must not exceed the cost of five weeks rent
- Holding deposits must not exceed one weeks rent (and should be refundable to the tenant)
- The fee to change a tenancy will be capped at £50
Any breaches to these new standards could result in hefty financial penalties from the enforcement authorities, and landlords will be unable to seize possession of a property through section 21 notices until they have repaid these charges.
When is the Tenant Fee Ban Coming In?
The Tenant Fees Bill was first proposed by the government in 2017 with the aim of making renting more affordable for tenants.
The Tenant Fee Act comes into force on 1 June 2019 from which date landlords and lettings agents will no longer be allowed to charge fees as described above.
Tenant Fee Ban Update: Impact on Tenant Activity
Research from the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) identified a lull in rental activity during the first quarter of 2019 which they attribute to tenants delaying moving until this ban becomes law on 1st June.
According to Nick Lyons, No Letting Go’s CEO;
“It’s no surprise to see shrewd tenants delaying moves until after the fees ban and deposit caps are introduced on 1st June. The upfront cost of moving between rental homes can be high – particularly in London and the South East – so renters will do anything they can to keep costs down, even if that means putting their move on hold for a few months.”
The Impact on the Private Rented Sector
With potential tenants waiting to make their move, landlords and property professionals will need to prepare for a surge in activity after 1st June.
It’s likely that tenants have continued their property search over the last few months and will be ready to begin the rental process as soon as the ban is in place.
This swell in tenants could be an exciting time for landlords and property professionals, with lots of potential profits on the horizon. The better prepared you are as a landlord to take this on, the more you can benefit from this demand.
How to Prepare for the Tenant Fees Act
The first thing you can do as a landlord or property professional is to ensure you are fully aware of the details of the ban and which fees are prohibited payments.
The Tenant Fees Act Quiz
Here at No Letting Go, we’ve put together a useful quiz including all the important points you need to remember about the upcoming Act.
This short, multiple choice quiz consists of 15 questions encompassing everything from tenancy deposits to permitted payments.
Another way to stay ahead of the curve is to outsource important reporting and services to the experts.
The Importance of Professional Inventories
With deposits being capped at five weeks rent, landlords and letting agents will need to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting their rental properties.
If you own property in locations such as London or the South East, this change could make a difference to the amount of deposit you can ask tenants to pay. To compensate, having a comprehensive inventory in place can help when it comes to making deposit deductions.
No Letting Go provide independent inventory reports detailing the condition and contents of your property at the start and end of the tenancy. Using the latest software, the report contains extensive written and photographic evidence in addition to meter readings and safety compliance checks.
The benefit of investing in a professional inventory service is that an unbiased account can help prevent and resolve any conflicts that may arise.
For lettings agents, partnering with us could save time and money at what looks set to be a busy period this June. Outsourcing this administrative work will free up time to provide a personalised service to your clients.
Get Prepared with No Letting Go
To ensure you have everything in place before 1st June, it’s best to start preparing now. Once you’ve got clued up and taken our quiz, it’s time to think about streamlining your workload.
No Letting Go provides services encompassing everything from right to rent checks and house viewings to unbiased property inventory reports.
Browse our full list of services here to find out how we can help you navigate this transition.
In a rapidly changing world, the property management industry needs to keep up. With the widespread digitisation of products and services taking over almost every sector, estate agents, property professionals and landlords alike will need to stay on the pulse.
PropTech has become one of the latest buzzwords on everyone’s lips. However, this doesn’t look like a passing fad. Not only could property tech improve the property market, but it could completely transform it for the better.
With this year’s Future PropTech event coming up, we thought it was a good time to explain what PropTech is, and why as a landlord, you should embrace it.
What is PropTech?
Firstly, let’s try to define this much-used term.
PropTech, or property technology, refers to the digital transformation of the property industry. This includes innovative technology products to improve the real estate industry as a whole. From 3d printing and machine learning to big data and virtual reality, real estate technology is ramping up a gear.
So, how could PropTech benefit you as a landlord or real estate professional?
Simplifying Tenant Checks
There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes for property professionals when letting a property. From tenant checks to inventory management, the list goes on.
New, smart technologies could help simplify and streamline some of these processes.
Moving potential tenant checks into the online space could be key in managing workloads. PropTech innovations can help this happen, by providing easy online systems or applications. These online systems can conduct credit checks, employment history checks and process references, all at a few clicks of a mouse.
Finding the Right Tenants
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves in the private rental industry and could help landlords and tenants alike find the perfect match.
By providing accurate data, smart algorithms can pair landlords with the right tenants, eliminating unsuitable partnerships and saving time.
The Badi Platform, for example, helps novice landlords rent out spare rooms safely and securely.
Smart PropTech in the Home
Smart technologies using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are becoming increasingly popular and widespread.
Smart meters, smart security and intelligent temperature control in the home, for example are all big attractions for potential renters. To stay ahead of the competition, getting excited about these advancements could benefit you as a landlord.
We’re not saying that every tenant now expects a smart fridge that monitors its contents, but high-speed broadband could be a game changer in today’s rental market.
Handy Mobile Applications for Landlords
Mobile apps are a great way of staying on top of your portfolio. There is now a growing number of mobile apps for landlords designed to save time and make your life easier.
From tracking rent to keeping important documents safe, there’s now an app for everything! There are apps for setting key reminders such as when to update your gas safety certificate, and apps to help advertise your property to the right tenants.
For busy landlords, these organisational miracles are worth getting excited about!
Collecting Rent on Time
It’s become so prevalent now that we can barely remember our lives without it but setting up online direct debits is all thanks to these new technologies!
By setting up regular, online payments with your tenants you can feel reassured that your rent will be delivered to your bank account on time, without having to chase it up.
This process has become even quicker and easier with the development of mobile banking, meaning you can access vital information and make emergency payment transfers on the go.
These technologies are evolving all the time, so who knows how convenient rent collection could be in a few years’ time!
Streamlining Maintenance Work
For landlords with several rental properties in their portfolio, dealing with routine maintenance can feel never ending.
New PropTech technologies can take the hassle out of maintenance by providing convenient apps and systems to make requesting and performing maintenance tasks easier than ever.
For example, a tenant could report a broken boiler on an app, which could then be assessed for level of urgency, then a message could be sent to both you, the landlord, and your chosen engineer or tradesperson. Uploading photos of the repair needed also cuts out the middle step of the landlord or letting agent visiting the property to assess the issue.
360 Virtual Reality Tours
Virtual reality is becoming more prevalent everywhere we look, including within the real estate market.
Virtual tours of properties allow buyers, sellers and renters to view buildings remotely. For example, if you’re a landlord living in a different country to your rental property, a virtual tour allows you to inspect your investment without the hassle and expense of travel.
It’s also a big draw for potential tenants who are often time-poor and can help your property stand out from the crowd in an increasingly saturated market.
No Letting Go provide a nation-wide 360 virtual tour service for all types of properties with a speedy 24-hour turn around. Our tours can be embedded into any compliance report or be used in commercial sales and marketing literature. A VR tour is a great way of providing a thorough inventory for tenants or for inspecting derelict or uninhabited buildings.
Future PropTech 2019
Future PropTech 2019 is described as the world’s number one PropTech event and is a great opportunity for landlords and property professionals to discuss challenges in the industry and collaborate to find solutions.
Through a series of talks, workshops and brand showcases, this event is an easy way of keeping track of current trends and gives you the chance to network with fellow property professionals.
Stay on the Pulse with No Letting Go
Here at No Letting Go, we are dedicated to staying ahead of the latest technology in the property industry.
For our reports and inventory services, we use Kaptur, the latest in property inventory software. It’s designed by property inventory professionals to provide the most efficient way to collect, prepare, report and manage information.
If you’re a landlord or property professional looking to get ahead of the PropTech curve, we could help. We have branches across the UK providing professional, comprehensive inventory services, unbiased compliance reports and property viewings.
Browse our full range of property services here to find out how we could help.
Some believe tenants with criminal convictions are less likely to pay rent, and more likely to cause damage.
However, is it really that simple?
Should you let to tenants with a criminal record? Let’s take a closer look to help you weigh up the different factors.
Why Do Some Landlords Have Their Reservations?
First things first, let’s explore why some landlords have reservations about letting to certain tenants.
All private landlords are looking to safeguard their investment. This means making sure a tenant:
- Can pay rent on time
- Has the right to rent in the UK
- Is unlikely to cause damage to their rental property beyond fair wear and tear
For this reason, many run tenant reference checks to ensure someone doesn’t have a criminal history.
However, someone with a criminal past may not necessarily be a bad tenant. This also works vice versa.
How to Find Out If a Tenant Has a Criminal Past
Asking a tenant for a basic disclosure certificate will show their criminal record. Also, certain reference checks can give you the information you’re looking for.
What to Consider When Running Criminal Record Checks
If you run a background check and discover a prospective tenant has a criminal record, there are some key factors to consider:
What Crime Was Committed?
Some crimes are far more serious than others. You should consider the severity of the offence before deciding whether to rule out a potential tenant or not.
You should also weigh up whether this crime would impact them as a tenant. If someone was caught growing cannabis in your property, for example, this is grounds to serve them with a Section 8 eviction notice.
How Many Crimes Were Committed?
Was the crime a one-off offence or multiple? This should give an indication into whether they’re a reformed character or not. An isolated incident is very different to a long rap sheet.
How Long Ago Was the Crime?
Time is also a significant factor that you should weigh up. How long ago was their crime committed?
Arrests vs. Criminal Convictions
If considering a potential tenant, you need to ensure you only look at convictions – not arrests. Being arrested for something does not make someone guilty of that crime.
Is Anyone Else at Risk?
If you’re letting a HMO, you need to make sure your other tenants won’t be at risk. This involves looking at the nature of the crime; violent offences are very different to others.
Can They Still Pay Rent?
As a landlord, your primary concern will often be to ensure your investment is secure.
Has this criminal conviction prevented them from holding down long-term employment? If so, this may impact their ability to keep up with rental payments.
This is why thorough credit checking is essential.
Is Your Rental Property at Risk?
Does the prospective tenant have a history of arson, or vandalism? This may make you think twice about whether to let to them.
Regular landlord inspections can help you ensure your property is being looked after as agreed.
Tips for Letting to a Tenant With a Criminal Record
If you’ve decided to proceed, here are some tips:
Tenants with unspent criminal convictions can cause havoc for landlords, as they can make their insurance invalid.
You’re not legally required to check if your tenant has a conviction. However, many insurance providers insist you inform them if anyone with a conviction is living in the property.
Some insurance providers may refuse the tenant altogether, while others may increase your premium.
Run Thorough Checks
When it comes to a tenant with previous convictions, being thorough is key.
Don’t take any information at face value, always gather the facts for yourself. If anything seems unclear or vague, ensure you get to the bottom of it.
Meet the Tenant More Than Once
Form your own opinion of the tenant! Remember, you’re letting to a person, so building a relationship is highly important.
Meet them multiple times if possible, and decide for yourself whether you’d like to let to them.
To Let or Not to Let?
While many landlords have their reservations, there are some undeniable positives to letting to tenants with a criminal history:
- May encourage a longer-term tenancy, particularly if they’ve struggled to find somewhere to rent previously
- Builds trust with your tenant, helping to create a positive relationship
- Encourages the tenant to stay loyal, reducing the risk of void periods
You need to weigh up what’s right for you, considering all the factors mentioned above.
Need Help Safeguarding Your Property?
Regardless of who you let to, you need to ensure your property is being looked after properly.
From check in to check out, our property inventory services can help. We’ll make sure you’re compliant with safety regulations. We’ll also reduce the risk of disputes and ensure the terms of the tenancy agreement are being met! Hassle-free renting has benefits for everyone – so we’ll help you get there.
The way you do your taxes is changing.
Say goodbye to piles of paperwork, the tax system is having a digital makeover.
Although changes to routines can be worrying, these alterations are being implemented to make life easier for businesses and self-employed individuals. The proposed scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
As a landlord, you’ll need to be aware of these changes and how they affect you, in order to prepare for digital taxes becoming mandatory in April 2019. Here’s everything you need to know about making tax digital for landlords.
What is MTD?
Making Tax Digital, or MTD, is a government scheme to overhaul the tax system to make it completely digital by the end of 2020. This means that from April 2019, VAT tax records and VAT returns will be managed online.
Will MTD Affect Me?
Any VAT-registered business with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold will have to make these changes.
So, if you are a landlord with an annual rental income of over £10,000, then the MTD changes will apply to you from April 2019. With UK rental prices rising, this is likely to affect most landlords in the UK.
The Making Tax Digital timeline commences on the 1st April 2019, when the changes will become mandatory for all customers, excluding a small number of customers with complex requirements which are being deferred until October 2019. (These types of customers include trusts, non-profits and public sector groups).
The new process will require self-employed individuals and landlords to:
- Use specific software or apps to keep track of their records
- Update HMRC every quarter through a new digital tax account
- Provide a full annual declaration at the end of each year
Further information can be found in the Finance Act, 2017.
The Income Tax Pilot Scheme
The government already has an income tax pilot scheme in place, which self-employed businesses or landlords can use voluntarily.
This scheme allows users to test out the MTD compatible software to store their digital records and send income tax updates to HMRC in place of filing a self assessment tax return.
Voluntary users can choose from a number of software options, sending a summary of income and expenses to HMRC every 3 months and sending a full report at the end of the year. You can even pay bills as you go and ask your accountant or bookkeeper to send the updates for you.
A Closer Look at the HMRC Making Tax Digital Scheme
Many landlords already choose to manage their taxes and accounts digitally through cloud based apps and software programmes.
Once the changes come in, these methods and software applications will need to follow new regulations. HMRC are not building their own software programme but will provide a list of approved software companies, some of which will be free of charge. You will still be able to use your current software system, as long as it complies with the new system.
Users will be required to communicate with HMRC via their Application Programming Interface (API) platform and submit VAT returns using information from these digital records.
This software should be able to calculate your return automatically- saving a whole lot of time and effort.
If you currently use spreadsheets to manage your taxes, it may be worth switching to a software solution now. Although spreadsheets are allowed if they comply with the new regulations, it might cost you more money to produce quarterly reports.
Your digital tax account will allow you to view and access all of your tax information in one handy place online. An agent services account grants accountants or other financial professionals you may employ access to relevant tax details.
Is the MTD Scheme Compulsory for Landlords?
Unless your annual income from your rental property and trade combined is under £10,000 or you are unable to partake in digital programmes due to disability or age, this change is compulsory.
It is expected that late fines will be implemented if you fail to file reports on time once the scheme is established.
MTD for Multiple Properties
If you are a landlord of multiple properties, you will only be required to provide income and expenditure for your investments as a whole.
However, it’s best to keep a record of individual properties to manage and assess the income of various rental properties you may own.
The Benefits of MTD for VAT
According to the latest edition of the tax gap report, there was a gap of around £33 billion in the last tax year! This clearly shows that something isn’t right and suggests that lots of people are making errors when it comes to submitting their records.
By digitising the way tax records are stored and reported to HMRC, the scheme hopes to make tax reporting far more accurate and easier for stakeholders to complete. Sending this information directly to HMRC online will hopefully minimise any mistakes that currently occur during the exchange of information.
For busy landlords who manage multiple properties, it can be hard to stay on track of receipts and invoices. Implementing a digital system which allows you to add information on the go via mobile applications will help prevent taxable claims from escaping.
The digital system will also allow you to see approximately how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
By seeing all of your reports for individual properties in one place, it will be easier to manage your portfolio and determine which properties generate the best return.
Get Ready for Making Tax Digital with No Letting Go
To sum up, from the beginning of April 2019, landlords will be required to use MTD compatible software to manage their tax records, updating HMRC every 3 months and providing an annual declaration.
Although the end result aims to make managing taxes more efficient, there’s likely to be some teething problems at the start.
To prepare yourself for this shift, it’s best to start early. Make sure your current software is compatible, and if not, plan which system to use. Staying organised across the whole of your property management processes is key to ensuring a smooth transition.
No Letting Go provide professional, accurate property reports to help landlords and property professionals keep track of their investments.
To see the full range of reports we provide, browse the No Letting Go Services section on our website.
There’s been lots of talk over the last few years around the possibility of abolishing letting agent management fees. Now, it seems, it’s come to fruition. On the 12th February, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 was passed and became law.
While good news for tenants, for lettings agents and landlords, this change requires careful planning. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s helpful to have all of the facts.
That’s why we’ve rounded up all the information about the new letting agent fees ban and what it means for landlords, letting agents, property professionals and tenants.
What are Letting Agent Fees For?
Up until now, letting agents have been legally permitted to charge fees for admin, tenant reference checks and other costs.
The responsibilities of letting agents include sourcing tenants, collecting rent, and acting as a means of communication between tenants and landlords.
Typical letting agent fees for tenants should be around £200 to £300 per tenancy, however some groups argue that this figure has been greatly increased by some rogue agencies. For tenants paying higher costs, this ban comes as welcome relief. However, lettings agents who charge reasonable and necessary fees may think otherwise.
The Government Proposal
The effort to get letting agent fees abolished was driven by the government’s aim to make renting more stable for tenants. With 4.5 million households in England now renting, this market is growing rapidly.
While they accepted that many letting agents provide a legitimate and valuable service, the issue of varying admin fees from agency to agency needed to be addressed.
According to the government, banning agency fees will result in greater transparency for tenants, make moving more affordable and allow landlords to ‘shop around’ to find the best letting agent.
The Tenant Fees Act 2019
The proposal to ban letting fees has been in process for a number of years.
The ball started rolling in April 2017, when the government opened up a dialogue to work on the details of the ban. The aims of the ban were to make renting ‘fairer and easier’ for tenants by making costs more transparent and to improve competition in the rental market. This consultation received responses from tenants (50%), lettings agents (32%), landlords (10%) and other stakeholders (8%).
The Tenant Fees Bill draft was then announced in June during the Queen’s speech at the opening of parliament.
In May 2018, housing secretary James Brokenshire MP introduced the bill to parliament, which then passed through the House of Commons in September.
January of this year saw the ban being passed in parliament which was then cemented as law on the 12th of February as the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
What is the Tenant Fee Ban?
The act sets out the new rules and standards for the ban on letting fees;
- Security deposits cannot be more than the cost of five weeks of rent payments. (Unless rent exceeds £500,000 when it’s capped at six weeks)
- The ban includes capping holding deposits to one weeks rent and making them refundable to the tenant
- The fee to change a tenancy will be capped at £50
- If a landlord or letting agent breaches the requirements, a fine of £5000 is payable in the first instance. If a similar offence has been committed within the last five years, it could be deemed a criminal offence. Prosecution or fines of up to £30,000 could be issued
- The ban will be enforced by Trading Standards who will help tenants recover funds that were unlawfully charged
- Landlords will be unable to seize possession of property via Section 21 until they have repaid any unlawful charges
- Letting agent fee transparency should be extended to property sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove
What Can Landlords and Letting Agents Charge Under the New Act?
Under the new act, property agents will only be permitted to charge for the following;
- Early termination of a tenancy at the tenant’s request. This means the costs to the landlord or letting agent to find tenants will be covered
- Council tax, utilities and communication services
- Payment of damages in the case of breached agreements
- Late rent payment
- Replacing keys etc.
Can Letting Agents Still Charge Fees?
Currently, yes. The ban only comes into play on the 1st June 2019. Until the letting agent fees ban date, this practice is still legal.
However, if you’re a landlord or letting agent you might want to start thinking about this change and what plans to put in place.
The Impact of the Ban on Landlords and Agents
One issue that is being raised regarding the ban is the possible impact on landlords. Some are arguing that the ban will result in charges being passed on from letting agents to landlords.
This, they argue, is counterproductive as it means landlords may be forced to raise monthly rent collections in order to make up costs.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) for example, are against the ban and believe that instead of an outright abolishment, fees should be ‘open, transparent and reasonable’. In response to the Government ban, ARLA recommend that upfront fees should be banned, but letting agents should be allowed to spread these costs across the tenancy.
They believe that a blanket ban would ‘put additional pressures on landlords, with fewer tenant checks and a lower quality of service’ and that ‘spreading the cost of these services will allow letting agents to retain current service levels to tenants’.
The Impact on Inventory Management
One suggested outcome of the ban is that letting agents will start to take inventory services ‘in-house’. A guide has been created by TDS, Propertymark and the Association of Independant Inventory Clerks (AIIC) to provide information on avoiding disputes regarding poorly executed inventories and deposit deductions.
Speaking on the report, the AIIC encouraged unbiased, comprehensive reports to protect all parties involved. Similarly, Propertymark highlighted the importance of a thorough inventory and the need for an ‘evidence-based approach’ to protect investments for both landlords and tenants.
Be Prepared with No Letting Go
Whichever stance you take, it‘s best to prepare for the changes early.
If you’re a landlord or letting agent looking to get ahead and prepare for the changes, No Letting Go can help.
We offer reliable, professional property management services to help you stay on top of your responsibilities and protect your investment. From property inventory reports to appraisals and tenant checks, No Letting Go helps protect your property for the long term.
Browse our full range of services here to see how we can help.