Mould. The scourge of the rental property market. No matter how much effort you put into ventilating a property and keeping things dry, it somehow seems to find its way back again and again.
But whose responsibility is it to deal with mould in a rental property? And are tenants able to demand rent reductions for lingering mould?
We’re exploring this common problem to help landlords and tenants alike come to a happy solution. From prevention to deposit deductions, let’s look at landlords mould responsibility to get to the bottom of who is culpable and prevent disputes before they arise.
What is Damp and Mould?
Before we delve into who is responsible for dealing with mould in rented properties, let’s look at the different types of mould and its causes.
Rising damp is the name given to the process of water rising up and into a building from the ground through bricks and mortar. All houses should have a layer of waterproof material called a ‘damp proof’ to prevent rising damp. However, when this fails, problems occur.
If this issue isn’t solved promptly, it can lead to mould forming that’s difficult to remove for good.
Penetrating damp is caused by leaks that allow water into the property, causing surface mould growth. These leaks could come from broken roof tiles, blocked guttering or faulty plumbing.
The main thing to remember about penetrating damp is that it comes from outside the property and is usually a structural issue.
Condensation happens when moisture in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces, leading to water droplets and mould growth. If a building is poorly insulated or the ventilation or heating system is faulty, then the condensation is considered a structural issue. However, condensation can also be caused by tenant’s lifestyle habits.
The Health Risks of Living with Mould
The Housing Health and Safety Rating (HHSR) dictates that damp is an essential repair as it can cause health issues for tenants.
Mould is a fungus which can trigger or exacerbate the following health problems;
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions
- Skin rashes
- Asthma attacks
Not only is mould detrimental to physical health, it can also have an impact on tenant’s sense of wellbeing. This is why it’s so important for landlords to deal with mould swiftly and efficiently.
Is Mould the Landlord’s Responsibility?
With regards to mould, when fingers are pointed, things can get complicated.
Legally, rising damp or penetrative damp caused by structural leakage is the landlord’s responsibility to put right. Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, it is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve mould issues caused by structural faults.
However, when interior condensation is caused by the tenant, this shifts the responsibility.
Condensation can be caused by;
- Drying clothes indoors
- Showering and not opening the window
- Cooking without opening the window
- Not heating the property sufficiently
Determining whether mould in a property is due to the tenant’s lifestyle habits or the poor ventilation of the property can be tricky.
First Steps When Mould Is Spotted
If you’re a tenant whose spotted mould anywhere within your rental property, you need to alert your landlord straight away. Describe where the mould is and any damage to furniture or belongings. Once the problem has been reported, the landlord has to respond within 14 days.
For landlords, when a tenant reports mould in the property, arrange an inspection to determine the cause of the mould and, where necessary, ensure repairs are made.
Once a damp problem has been resolved, you may also need to repair any damaged plaster or flooring and redecorate affected areas.
If you don’t respond within the two-week timeframe the tenant could contact the local authority who could force the issue through. That’s why it’s vital to arrange an inspection and repairs as soon as possible.
Can I Withhold Rent for Mould?
If your landlord refuses to make repairs, withholding rent can be risky. Technically, tenants do not have the right to withhold rent and could be subject to repossession or even eviction.
However, tenants do have the right to make the repairs themselves and make up the cost in future rent. If you decide to go down this route, you need to be certain that the repairs needed are the responsibility of the landlord. Be sure to seek legal advice before making this stance and follow the correct procedures.
Can a Landlord Deduct Deposit for Mould?
If there is mould in a property at the end of a tenancy which was not there at the start, landlords have a right to deduct money from the deposit only if the mould was caused by the actions of the tenant.
The amount deducted is at the discretion of the landlord, and will take into consideration any repairs or redecoration needed above the level of fair wear and tear.
Is Mould Considered Normal Wear and Tear?
Whether mould is considered to be fair wear and tear depends on the cause. If there is evidence to show that the mould has been caused by the negligence of the tenants and advice and regular maintenance has been supplied by the landlord or letting agent, then compensation can be claimed.
Can I End My Tenancy Early Due to Mould?
If you’re a tenant who has found themselves in a mouldy property with an inefficient landlord, there are steps you can take.
If your tenancy agreement has a break clause, then you may be able to end the tenancy early. However, if not, contact your local authority who will perform an inspection to determine whether the landlord is culpable of negligence. If so, they will issue a notice to the landlord demanding repairs.
From a landlord’s perspective, if you attempt to evict your tenant without fixing a reported mould problem within six months of it being reported, this could invalidate a Section 21 notice.
Condensation and Mould: Advice for Tenants
If you’re a tenant living in a rental property, there are some simple ways to prevent mould;
- Dry clothes outside when possible or keep them in the bathroom with the doors closed and windows open
- Cover pans with lids when cooking to prevent excess steam escaping
- Close the kitchen and bathroom door when in use
- Use a bath mat to soak up excess water
- Turn on the extractor fan when cooking or bathing
- Leave a gap between furniture and external walls
- Air out cupboards and wardrobes regularly
- Turn on the heating regularly and try to keep the house a consistent temperature
Preventing Mould: Advice for Landlords
Minimising the chances of mould growing at the start of a tenancy agreement could save you money on maintenance in the long run.
Here are some ways to prevent mould in your property;
- Ensure the property is well ventilated
- Maintain gutters and roofs to prevent leaks
- Ensure all plumbing is in good working order
- Repair any rotten window frames
- Improve the insulation of the property
- Install extractor fans in the bathrooms
- Repair or replace faulty damp proof course
Avoid Disputes with a Comprehensive Property Inventory
In cases where it’s difficult to determine the responsibility for mould, a detailed property inventory could help.
Prevent disputes before they can occur by investing in a professional, unbiased inventory report. By providing detailed written and photographic evidence of the state of the property, this report helps landlords and tenants alike by proving responsibility and supporting claims.
At No Letting Go, our team of experienced inventory clerks are well versed in helping landlords and property professionals streamline their workload and comply with regulations.
Whether you’re a landlord looking to recover costs against mould damage, or a tenant leaving a rental property, browse our full list of property services to find out how we can help.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have recently revealed that 93% out of 8.5 million rental homes in the UK are not fit for disabled access, leaving at least 365,000 disabled people in unsuitable accommodation.
There is a pressing need for more accessible rental properties across the UK and the government is cracking down on landlords who do not make the necessary changes. However, this does mean that there is a large number of disabled tenants looking for appropriate housing.
From entry ramps to chair lifts, there are many ways to adapt a property for disabled access. Adapting a home and renting to disabled tenants could even open your property up to a wider range of potential renters.
Here, we look at ways to adapt your rental property so you can welcome a new target tenant group to your portfolio.
UK Rights for Disabled Tenants
Before you start thinking about adapting your property, it’s important to be aware of disabled people’s rights in the UK.
The Equality Act 2010 set out ways to protect people in society, including the rental sector.
According to the Act, a person has a disability if;
- The person has a physical or mental impairment, and
- This impairment has a substantial, long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Now, let’s look at your responsibilities as a property professional.
Laws for Private Landlords and Letting Agents
It is against the law for a landlord to discriminate against a disabled tenant. For example, as a landlord, letting or estate agent it is illegal to;
- Refuse to rent to a disabled person because of their disability
- Refuse to allow a guide dog or assistance dog under the no pets rule
- Charge higher rent or deposit to disabled tenants
- Refuse access to additional facilities that are available to other tenants (e.g. laundry room or parking space)
- Evict a tenant due to disability or illness
- Give tenants a less secure tenancy agreement
If a tenant feels they are being discriminated against, they could talk to Citizens advice or the EHRC and you could experience serious repercussions.
Landlord Responsibilities when Renting to Disabled Tenants
When renting to a disabled tenant, you are responsible for providing necessary, reasonable adaptations to make your property accessible and suitable to their individual needs. This can include additional services or equipment known as ‘auxiliary aids’.
Auxiliary aids can include;
- Wheelchair ramps
- Written documents and signs in Braille
- Accessible door handles
- Accessible taps
- Special furnishings (e.g. raised toilet seat)
Refusing these changes could mean you’re breaking the law.
How to Adapt Your Property for Disabled Tenants
When renting to a disabled tenant, it’s likely you will need to make some changes to your property in order to make it accessible. These changes very much depend on the individual needs and requirements of the tenant.
Here are some of the ways you may be required to alter your rental property;
Installing Access Ramps
If your tenant uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter and your property has steps up to the entrance or between rooms, you may need to install access ramps at entrances.
Installing Chair Lifts and Railings
For multi-story homes, chair lifts and railings may be required for less able tenants. Railings may also be needed in bathrooms.
Fitting Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom Facilities
Wheelchair users may need lower kitchen and bathroom facilities which are accessible at chair height. Bathrooms may require a wet room and accessible toilets.
Doors and entrance ways may need to be widened to allow for safe wheelchair access. (Usually 750mm)
Raised Plugs and Features
Features such as plugs and light fixtures will need to be accessible to your tenant(s).
Ground Floor Level Access
Some disabled tenants will require ground floor level access. You will need to provide a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen at ground level.
Your tenant may need access to a parking space which is easily accessible from the property.
Written Signs and Documents in Braille
Visually impaired tenants may require all tenancy documents and signs throughout the home to be provided in Braille. This includes features such as fire safety notices. Tenants with learning disabilities may ask for documents provided in alternative formats.
Covering the Costs of Adapting a Property
You may be thinking about the cost of these changes and how you’re going to cover them.
It’s true that some of these adaptations involve significant work, costing around £20,000 to adapt a standard property.
However, there are ways to help cover the costs;
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
Landlords and tenant alike can apply for a disabled facilities grant which provides funds for adaptations. This grant is supplied by the local council and is subject to an eligibility test where an occupational therapist will assess the property and the adaptations needed before making a decision.
The amount you receive depends on the changes needed, but sums of up to £25,000 can be granted.
To apply, contact your local council.
Remember, if you fail to make the necessary changes, it could cost you a whole lot more in legal costs if the case goes to court!
A Helping Hand from No Letting Go
While this information may appear daunting at first, No Letting Go are on hand to help;
- For example, our 360 Virtual Tour and Photography service allows potential tenants to view your property from any location- solving accessibility issues for many disabled tenants.
- Providing a safe, comfortable and accessible home is particularly important when renting to disabled tenants. All of our property services are designed to streamline your workload and ensure your property is fully compliant with current health, safety and legal regulations.
- Once you’ve made these adaptations to your rental property, it’s important to protect your investment. Our professional inventory service helps to safeguard your property by providing evidence of the condition of your property at the start and end of the tenancy.
Discover the rest of our property management services 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.
Achieving a high rental yield is one of the main goals for successful landlords. In order to cover the costs of mortgage repayments, repairs and maintenance, an adequate rental yield is essential to stay afloat.
Although you may feel constrained by property location or property prices, there are ways to maximise profits and cut outgoings.
From making simple renovations, to targeting specific tenants, here’s some straightforward advice on how to increase rental yield on your rental property.
What Does Rental Yield Mean?
As a landlord, you’ll be more than familiar with the importance of rental yields. For anyone new to the game or thinking of taking the plunge into property investment, here’s a simple definition.
Rental yield is the annual return on investment you make as a landlord on a buy-to-let property. It’s the remaining amount of money left over after rent, divided by the value of the property and is expressed as a percentage.
How to Work Out Rental Yield on Rental Property
To work out the rental yield of your property, first deduct all annual expenses and outgoings from the annual rental income, then divide this number by the purchase price of the property. Next, times this number by 100 to find the percentage yield.
Alternatively, find a free rental yield calculator online to do the hard work for you.
What is a Good Rental Yield?
In order to comfortably cover outgoings, a rental yield of 8% or more is deemed good.
However, the average rental yield differs vastly depending on location. For example, cities like Liverpool and Nottingham enjoy higher rental yields of up to 12%, while London is more challenging and tends to stay around 4 – 5%.
Decide on a Tenant Profile
Having an ideal tenant profile in mind makes it easier to tailor your property to the needs and desires of tenants. By offering an attractive property to specific renters, you’ll be able to charge premium prices and stand out from the crowd.
For example, if you are renting to young professionals, it’s worth choosing properties in areas with good transport links and furnishing the property with convenient mod-cons.
Whereas families are more interested in space, excellent local schools and extra bedrooms.
It’s impossible to please everyone. Maximise rental yields by catering to a specific tenant group and provide them with what they really want.
Location, Location, Location
As always, location is key when it comes to improving rental return.
Picking an up-and-coming area is a good idea, as property purchase prices are lower and there is potential for increased rental income as the area expands. Somewhere with good transport links, access to great schools and a growing number of bars and shops is a safe bet.
Go Green for Tenants
With sustainable living becoming increasingly popular, improving insulation and making green changes to your rental property could strengthen the appeal to certain tenants.
Improving the energy efficiency rating of your property not only saves you money on energy bills,but is also a big deciding factor for potential tenants.
Think About Facilities
Equipping your property with high quality, time-saving facilities such as dishwashers, driers and high-speed Wi-Fi will attract more tenants and place your rental property ahead of the competition.
Think about what your ideal tenant profile wants out of a rental property and go from there.
Can You Add Another Bedroom or Bathroom?
Adding a second, third or fourth bedroom to your rental property is a guaranteed way of boosting rental yield.
If a property has a large living space that isn’t entirely necessary, turning it into a bedroom could drastically improve cash flow! Just take care to comply with bedroom regulations, especially if you plan to turn it into an HMO property.
A second bathroom is another way of adding value. Although this requires a little more upheaval, the results can be well worth it, especially in larger properties.
Keep Things Fresh
If larger scale renovation is out of your budget, simple, affordable updates such as new tiling in the bathroom or a fresh lick of paint can work wonders in attracting the best tenants.
The more you can do to make your property attractive to potential tenants, the more rent you can responsibly command.
Maximise Space for Maximum Yields
Another way to add value and appeal to renters is to maximise every inch of space in your property.
This doesn’t have to mean adding extra bedrooms. It can be something as simple as providing inbuilt cupboards and clever storage spaces. This is especially important if you’re targeting growing families.
Consider Allowing Pets
Flexibility is a trait highly valued by prospective tenants. From allowing minor aesthetic alterations to saying yes to pets, remaining open to tenants helps grow your yield in the long run.
Rental properties which allow pets tend to be few and far between which means they are able to command more rent- another easy way to increase your rental yield!
Avoid Vacant Periods
Naturally, extended vacant periods will have a negative impact on your rental yield.
Asking current tenants what their plans are well in advance of the end of a tenancy is one way you can avoid this. Early preparation means you can start advertising for new occupants quickly.
In the case of an extended void period, it may be worth lowering the rent requirements to encourage tenants and minimise losses.
Make Regular Rent Reviews
It’s important to keep up with the rest of the property market. Keeping a finger on the pulse and raising or lowering rent as needed is essential for maintaining and increasing rental yield.
Factors such as a new school in the area can dramatically increase rent prices, so don’t miss out on opportunities to cash in on your property investments.
Assess Your Outgoings
Taking a regular look at all of your outgoings is an important part of managing your finances. You may find that a few simple changes could be surprisingly profitable.
Mortgage rates, for example, are always changing, and it’s possible to find good deals on property insurance on comparison websites.
Keep your eyes peeled for deals to cut costs and improve rental yield.
Keep Up to Date with Regulations
Part of being a responsible landlord includes keeping up to date with current health and safety regulations. Good maintenance of your rental property results in long-term tenancies and increased interest from renters.
Save Time and Money with A Professional Property Service
Instead of spending your time as a property manager, answering queries and sorting out viewings and check ins, allocating tasks to property professionals can help streamline your business, saving you time and money.
No Letting Go provide comprehensive property reports and essential services such as inventory management to help landlords protect their investment and increase yields.
For more information on how No Letting Go could help, visit our services page here.
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.
Making the choice to buy a property is probably the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make. Definitely not one to be taken lightly.
You’ve probably been told that buying a property is the way forward in terms of financial stability and you may feel under pressure to buy your own home to make that first step onto the property ladder. But is it really the best option for everyone?
We believe there are pros and cons to buying a house and that renting a property can be a smarter option for some.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide, so you can decide, once and for all; is it better to rent or buy?
The Benefits of Renting
Despite what older generations might tell you, there are many advantages to renting in today’s world.
Consider these before you dismiss renting as an option:
It Pays to Rent
The costs of buying a house can seem never ending. Hidden extra charges like paying for surveys, stamp duty and removal costs are enough to induce a panic attack. For rental properties, the upfront costs are pretty standard; a secure deposit, a month’s rent and any Letting Agency fees are all you’ll need to pay.
Once you’re in, the costs don’t stop when you own your own home. Recurring expenses like homeowners insurance and property taxes are just the start. Maintenance and repairs can really add up too. A dodgy boiler giving up in the middle of the night mid-November or a leaky pipe creating a downpour in your bedroom is all down to you to fix. If you’ve ever had to track down a tradesperson out of hours you’ll understand the pain.
With renting, these responsibilities lie in the hands of your landlord. Landlords have a legal responsibility to provide a safe, liveable home that is well maintained. This means the landlord foots the bill for any essential repairs.
Skip the Hefty Deposit
For first-time buyers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy.
Soaring house prices have resulted in eye watering deposits that seem unattainable for lots of us. Finding somewhere to buy within a reasonable commute to work is almost out of the question, with people being forced to live in less desirable areas.
Although rent prices increase in sought-after locations, it’s far less drastic.
Flexible Housing for Flexible Living
In today’s world of employment, people switch jobs every few years and no one is quite sure what’s around the corner. If work decides to transfer you to the opposite end of the country or, worst case scenario, you lose your job, you could be left with mounting mortgage repayments. Selling is stressful, costly and always takes longer than you expect.
The pros of renting a house mean it’s easier to move quickly. Usually, tenancy agreements have a break cause and you could move somewhere new within a month with minimal fuss.
Scared of Commitment?
If you’re a commitment-phobe in your relationships, you might not want to be tied down by a property. Renting a home is the more flexible option, allowing you to jump ship if things get boring.
Renting could also be the intelligent choice if you’re moving in with a new partner. There’s nothing like a few months of living together to test a relationship. Discovering your partner’s unsavoury living habits could swiftly make you think twice about your happily-ever-after home. Toenail clippings behind the sofa or late night video game sessions could be the final straw.
The advantages of renting a house mean you can test each other out short-term, without the added pressure of mortgage repayments.
Stay Safe and Secure
As we mentioned earlier, landlords have obligations to fulfil when it comes to property maintenance. These responsibilities stretch further than fixing the odd appliance.
Safety standards have to be adhered to, such as gas, electrical and fire safety checks. These regulations are all designed to protect tenants.
Avoid Rising Interest Rates
Rising interest rates mean your mortgage repayments go up. If the budget is already tight, this could have grave consequences on your finances and living situation.
Equally, property values are famously volatile, and if the value of your property goes down it will be more difficult to sell later down the line.
Renting sidesteps these stresses.
The Cons of Renting a House
As with everything, there are some negative aspects to renting. It really depends on the stage of your life you’re at and what will benefit you now as well as in the long run.
Think about these issues before making your final decision:
Sacrifice the Freedom to Decorate
One downside with renting is that you’re more restricted when it comes to redecorating and making structural changes to your home. Alterations need to be ok’d by the landlord before they go ahead, sometimes even down to hanging a picture frame!
This isn’t a problem if DIY isn’t really your thing, and most landlords are reasonable when it comes to home improvements. You are enhancing their property after all.
If you have a pet you’ll need to make this clear at the beginning as living with pets isn’t allowed in all rental properties. It is possible to rent with pets, just make it a priority for your search.
Be at the Mercy of Your Landlord
One thing that can put people off renting is the idea of being at the mercy of their landlord. If they choose, landlords can raise the rent and even decide to kick you out.
Although this is a possibility, it’s a rare one. Landlords have to compete with the rest of the property market and if they charge extortionate prices they risk not filling properties. You also have a tenancy contract which will stipulate how much notice a landlord can give you if they decide to make changes.
Save Money in the Long Run?
Many people claim there is a long-term, financial benefit to buying. Once you’ve finally paid off your mortgage, they say, you will be able to live rent free.
But, how long will that take?
Mortgages that take up to 35 years to repay are not uncommon. That’s a long time to commit to.
In the short-term at least, it’s cheaper to rent. Rent is usually less than the monthly mortgage repayments and the original deposit is just a fraction of the cost of buying a house.
The Final Say
To sum up, it really depends on your specific situation as to whether it’s best to buy or rent.
Some things to think about before you buy are;
- Before making an offer on a house – can you afford the mortgage?
- Can you afford the monthly repayments (taking possible rises into consideration)?
- Are you planning to stay in the property for a significant length of time?
If it’s flexibility, minimal upfront costs and the security of knowing your landlord is there to cover maintenance you’re after, renting is the best option.
On team rent? If you let out your home, make the process as smooth as possible by taking advantage of No Letting Go’s inventory services. This way, you won’t get caught out with unexpected charges as all the information about the property’s condition is independently evaluated and stored securely. Whether you’re a landlord or letting agent, find out how we can help with our professional, unbiased property reports.
Letting out your property can be a daunting thought for many. How can you ensure your next tenant will be a good tenant?
Answer: with a tenant reference check.
But, many landlords are still in the dark about what the vetting process involves. So, what is it and why is it worth doing? Time to take a closer look.
What is a Tenant Check?
A tenant reference check is simply a way of determining whether a prospective tenant is reliable, and able to keep up with monthly rent payments.
Of course, there’s no way of guaranteeing how someone will behave in the future. However, tenant checks can give you an insight into who you’re letting your property out to.
Tenant Referencing – What Do They Check?
So, what do landlords check for?
Remember – this is about safeguarding both you and your property. You’ll want to ensure a potential tenant is who they say they are, and that they can keep up with their contractual obligations.
For this reason, the vetting process looks at a number of different areas, which can include:
Proof of Identity
Photo ID is usually preferable, such as a driver’s license or passport.
If this isn’t available, other forms of identification are sometimes accepted, such as a signed bank card. It’s up to you what to accept during the rent check.
Most landlords’ primary concern is whether a potential tenant will be able to keep up with their monthly rental obligations.
Checking their background allows you to see proof of this. Usually, this part of the referencing process includes:
- Proof of employment – such as a contract, a letter from an employer and/or recent payslips
- Bank statements (particularly if someone is self-employed)
- Proof of benefits claims (if applicable)
For a landlord, a tenant credit check is often seen as essential. However, when it comes to poor credit history, only CCJs and bankruptcy are public.
For this reason, their current financial situation is much more telling than a tenant credit check. Just because someone has fallen into rent arrears in the past doesn’t mean they will do now!
Unless, of course, their recent circumstances prove otherwise.
Right to Rent
It’s essential that your future tenant has a right to rent in the UK.
There are fines issued for private landlords who let to those not legally allowed to rent.
If you’re concerned that a certain tenant may not be able to afford their rent, you can ask for a guarantor. This is particularly prevalent in student properties, for example.
Sometimes, you can ask the guarantor to agree to a credit check. It’s also common to ask for recent payslips to ensure the rent can be paid should the tenant fail to do so.
If no guarantor is available, you can ask for a higher deposit upfront to cover any potential problems that may arise.
A Previous Landlord Reference
Ideally, you’re hoping for a reference that demonstrates that the tenant is reliable and trustworthy. This not only includes paying rent on time, but also respecting both the property and the landlord.
Questions to ask the landlord include:
- Did the tenant have any outstanding rent?
- Did the tenant cause any damage to the rental property?
- Did the tenant have any problems with the neighbours?
- Did the tenant receive their deposit back? If not, why?
- Would they rent to this tenant again?
If a prospective tenant is unwilling to provide the necessary contact details, this may send alarm bells ringing.
Details of Previous Address
You may also want to see proof of previous addresses, to ensure the tenant is who they say they are.
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How to Run a Background Check on a Tenant
Some landlords are happy to ask for the necessary information themselves.
This can be a time-consuming process, as you’ll need to gather a number of relevant details, such as guarantor information. You’ll also need to reach out to the employer, establish whether the potential tenant has any current debt and interview them.
Questions you may want to ask the tenant include:
- Will they be renting with pets?
- Will they have any family or friends staying with them regularly?
- What’s their working schedule like? Do they work night shifts?
- Have they read the tenancy agreement?
If you’re using a letting agent, they should arrange the vetting process on your behalf.
Should You Use a Tenant Referencing Service?
To ensure the background check is as thorough as possible, it’s recommended to use a professional tenant referencing company. For example, the National Landlords Association can run a check for you.
While these won’t be free, they will help minimise the risk of rent arrears or other potential issues that may arise.
For many, the extra cost is worth the peace of mind.
How Long Does Tenant Referencing Take?
The length of the process depends entirely on each individual situation.
Sometimes, if everything runs smoothly, your referencing company can complete the check in around 48 hours.
But, this isn’t always the case. The process can be delayed by a number of factors, such as:
- If a previous landlord drags their feet about giving a reference
- If a potential tenant takes a long time gathering necessary financial details
- If a potential tenant is unemployed, or a freelancer
- If a potential tenant cannot get a guarantor
A tenant reference check gives many landlords peace of mind. We can also help remove the stress of letting your property, with our professional inventory management services. We’ll ensure you’re compliant with all regulations, protecting both you and your property. Find out more about our services here.
HMO properties continue to be an appealing choice for landlords as they offer lots of advantages.
For one, they are often more profitable than other types of rentals.
However, these benefits come with added demands put in place to protect renters. How can you understand and deal with these requirements as a HMO landlord?
This guide covers everything you need to know.
What is a HMO Property?
Let’s start with the basics. HMO stands for houses in multiple occupation. Put simply, a rented house shared by multiple people or ‘households’ which can consist of a single person, families or cohabiting couples. In order to work out if your property is HMO you will need to know about the different types of HMO housing.
There are several types of HMO properties:
- A house or flat shared by three or more people from at least two households with shared communal areas.
- A home lived in by the landlord as the owner-occupier that has more than two tenants and in which some areas are shared.
- Since The Housing Act 2004, some student accommodation comes under HMO. Privately owned property shared by students, who are each treated as a separate household and have exclusive use of the accommodation is HMO.
- Here’s where it gets really complicated: A building or part of a building made solely of converted self-contained units which do not meet the conversion requirements of the Building Regulations 1991, and in which more than a third of the units are occupied by short tenancies. This is also referred to as Section 257 HMO.
To be considered HMO a property must…
- Be shared by more than two people.
- Be the main residence of the tenants.
- Have rent paid by the tenants.
The key thing to remember is that properties tend to be HMO if the people living there are not related and share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Separate tenancy agreements are also a good clue.
What are the Legal Responsibilities Involved in HMO Properties?
As the landlord of a multiple occupancy home, you are subject to additional legal responsibilities. It is important to understand these legal obligations as failure to do so can result in some hefty fines of up to £5000.
Here’s a list of the legal requirements as a HMO landlord:
- Display a notice in a prominent position within the property detailing the name, address, and contact number of yourself or the property manager.
- Ensure the property is well maintained and professional health and safety inspections in line with safety rating systems are performed. Remember to keep good records of all inspections and work done.
- Make sure the property is not overcrowded.
- Adhere to fire safety standards by providing working smoke alarms and heat detectors in kitchens as well as keeping fire escapes clear. A fire risk assessment needs to be carried out in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If the assessment is not performed to standard and copies are not kept, the landlord is liable to face criminal charges in the case of harm or death to tenants from fire.
- Maintain a clean water supply and proper drainage, which includes protecting pipes from frost.
- Issue inspections of electrical equipment at least once every five years and keep a record of the report.
- Supply a gas/electrical safety record within a week if requested by the council. If you rent bedsits you also need to comply with the Heat Network Regulations.
- Maintain cleanliness and safety in all communal areas
- Ensure the exterior and interior of the property is kept in good order.
- Provide the minimum number and location of shared bathrooms and kitchens. Advice on the local requirements can be found at your local council’s Environmental Health Department.
- Facilitate regular refuse disposal.
- Have an up-to-date legionella risk assessment.
- Ensure you have the correct landlord insurance. A HMO property requires a specific policy. You also need to be wary of tenants who wish to sublet as most insurers won’t cover this.
It’s not just landlords who have to follow the rules. Tenants are also under obligation to:
- Allow the landlord reasonable access and information so you can complete your duties.
- Act in a manner so as not to damage items it is the landlord’s duty to provide.
- Follow refuse and fire-safety guidelines implemented by the landlord.
What is a HMO Licence?
Another thing to consider as an HMO landlord, is whether your HMO property needs a license. Some multiple occupancy HMO’s legally require a license to make sure the property is being managed correctly.
You will need a license if:
- Your property is higher than three stories and has five or more occupants from two or more households. This is called mandatory licencing.
- The council believes a significant number of HMOs are not being managed properly. This is additional licencing and the conditions depend on the local council.
If you’re still not sure if your HMO property needs a licence, you can check with your local authorities. Some councils require all private landlords to apply for a license so it’s worth a check to avoid any unwanted fines.
How to Apply for a HMO Licence
A HMO license application form can be requested from your local council and the application can be made by a landlord or property manager. Unfortunately, there is normally a fee, the amount is set by individual local authorities and it is non-refundable regardless of the success of the application. Once issued, the licence will last up to five years.
You will need to inform several ‘relevant persons’ about your application and provide their details to the council.
Here are some of the things councils look at when making a decision whether to grant a HMO license:
- If the HMO property accommodates for the number of people living there and the shared facilities are suitable.
- If the landlord or managing agent are ‘fit and proper’ to take on the role. This can include looking at criminal convictions and previous unlawful discriminations as a landlord.
- Since 1st October 2018, councils also check that bedrooms meet the minimum size requirements.
HMO License Refusals
If the council decides not to grant you a HMO license, it may be possible to use a different license holder such as the property manager. You will usually be granted a month if you decide to try and persuade the council to change their decision. The council will always give you the reasons behind their ruling.
The council also has the power to revoke a license of they believe the conditions are being violated. You will have two weeks to respond and a month to appeal to a Residential Property Tribunal.
Breaking the terms of the licence also risks fines of up to £5000. If the conditions of your license have been broken and your tenant gets Housing Benefits, the council can apply for a Rent Repayment Order and reclaim rent paid for the time the HMO was unlicensed.
As a landlord, you are also able to revoke your license if you wish to change license holders or cease to run the property as a HMO.
Remember it is a criminal offence to disobey licencing laws and without a required license you are at risk of repaying up to twelve months rent and fines of up to £20,000! Without proper licensing, a Section 21 Notice will not be valid and you may be unable to evict tenants.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you now have all the information you need to be a responsible, capable HMO landlord and you won’t get caught out by any hidden legal requirements. That being said, managing a HMO property isn’t always a walk in the park. With so many tenants under one roof, vital tasks like managing inventories can prove an arduous task. Luckily, No Letting Go provides fuss-free inventory services via cutting-edge technology, along with a whole host of assistance plans to avoid disputes and make the process as simple as possible.
A landlord’s main responsibility is the tenant. But, do landlords have a duty of care to neighbours?
In short: yes and no.
It’s difficult to hold landlords legally responsible for their tenants. Unless, that is, the landlord is deliberately encouraging antisocial behaviour.
However, even without law involvement – neighbourhood disputes are never good for a landlord’s reputation.
Let’s settle this once and for all! Time to dig a little deeper…
Types of Problems Tenants Can Cause
So, in the eyes of a neighbour, what constitutes a problem tenant?
For many, when they hear the phrase ‘difficult tenant’, noise is often what first springs to mind. This is for good reason!
Noisy tenants are a huge nuisance. Particularly if these disruptions continue late into the night, it can cause problems for all neighbours living nearby.
What is classed as noise nuisance? Let’s dig a little deeper:
- Late night DIY
- Parties/ large gatherings with loud music
- Uncontrolled pets
- Children allowed to play in the communal areas of flats
Noise, caused by any of these reasons, can be a serious grounds for a dispute.
With noise nuisance – time of day is essential. Most neighbours will forgive being loud before it gets dark, within reason, of course!
‘Inconsiderate behaviour’ is a broad term, as it encompasses many different things.
But, here are some of the worst offenders:
- Parking across other drives
- Refusal to empty bins
- Leaving on bright lights that disturb others
- Invasion of privacy
- Abusive behaviour
If a tenant is displaying one or more of these habits, neighbours might have a lot to say. Is it fair for landlords to be held responsible?
A Landlord’s Duty of Care
Landlords have a number of responsibilities, most of these concerning the tenant. Similarly, a letting agent’s duty of care is to the tenant.
However, landlords will often find themselves in the firing line should the neighbours complain.
Landlord negligence cases don’t often relate to neighbours, simply because it’s difficult to proceed against landlords for the actions of their tenants. You can’t blame one human being for the actions of another!
However, is this always the case?
When is a Landlord Liable for Tenant Negligence?
In some cases, private landlords are liable for tenant negligence.
Often, this occurs when the landlord encourages the nuisance, or deliberately turns a blind eye.
Also, if the landlord deliberately let the property out with knowledge of a nuisance, this makes them liable. For example, leasing the property for use as a music venue.
Particularly if these problems are frequent, those living nearby may hold the landlord responsible.
Landlords do have a duty of care to neighbours to some extent!
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How to Deal With Noise Complaints
Of course, noise complaints aren’t the only reason for disputes. However, they are the most common.
If you have knowledge of a recurring antisocial tenant behaviour, you must be shown to do something about it. Reduce your risk of being liable by being seen to change your property management practices. Ensure you haven’t authorised actions that might constitute a complaint!
Difficulties with neighbours can harm your reputation, dissolve relationships and cause you a lot of hassle. If possible, avoid this at all costs!
The only problem is, how is this done?
Ensure Neighbours Have Your Contact Details
Many neighbours wonder how to get a landlord’s contact details. You must ensure they have yours!
There are many things that go into being a good landlord – availability is one of them. Do yourself a favour and find out who your neighbours are!
Put yourself in the position of those living near your tenants. Wouldn’t you wonder how to find a landlord’s details?
Talk to Your Tenant
The first step is always to talk to your tenant open and honestly. Try not to automatically look to them as the cause of the anti-social behaviour in private housing.
Go about things differently! Being receptive and able to talk about problems with your tenant is hugely important.
Don’t pick a fight deliberately, instead, ask their opinion on what the neighbours have been saying. Explain the problem, and ask how they’re going to rectify it. Offer some suggestions of your own.
It’s important to build a good relationship with your tenants, so ensure you listen to their side of the story!
Use the Tenancy Agreement
If problems persist, use your secret weapon.
The tenancy agreement should have set out a ‘nuisance’ or ‘noise’ clause. Refer to this if you discover your tenant is behaving problematically!
The agreement will have clearly laid out rules and regulations, which must be adhered to. Explain exactly which ones they’ve broken and why.
Of course, don’t threaten with eviction immediately. However, do explain that while you’re upholding your duties, their responsibility is to follow the tenancy agreement.
If they refuse to listen to your warnings, consider taking further action. But, this should never be your first step!
Inspect the Property Regularly
You can’t deal with the problem if you can’t see it!
There are rules surrounding landlord inspections, of course. However, particularly if you’ve been made aware of certain problems, it’s essential to visit your property regularly.
The likelihood is that tenants will be on their best behaviour around you. But, it’s a good opportunity to show your neighbours you’re taking steps to resolve the issue. Plus, it may ‘scare’ your tenants into changing their behaviour.
Involve the Neighbour
Don’t let your tenant’s actions reflect badly on you!
If possible, arrange a meeting between them and the neighbour. This can give them a chance to talk and, hopefully, clear the air.
Your tenant might not fully understand the impact their actions are having on their neighbour.
Take Serious Action
If nothing else works, take further action as a last resort.
This can come in many forms, such as:
- Contacting your local council
- Seeking legal advice
- Serving them with a section 21 notice (this allows landlords in England and Wales to evict tenants)
- Calling the police
The final option should only be used in extreme circumstances, such as abusive or aggressive behaviour.
Problem Neighbours in a Rented Property – Is it Your Tenant’s Fault?
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot.
What if your tenants aren’t the problem?
When it comes to neighbourhood disputes, landlords are between a rock and a hard place. As much as it’s important to keep up good relationships with the neighbours, you don’t want to alienate your tenant.
Particularly if you’re trying to encourage a long-term tenancy, you may feel as though you have to be on your tenant’s ‘side’.
However, sometimes it’s the neighbours that are the nuisance. Let’s have a look at why:
Can Neighbours Complain About Noise During the Day?
Some complaints, such as noise disputes, are simply unfair. It might be that your neighbour is being particularly pedantic.
For example, if your tenant has guests round during the day for a barbeque, this is not grounds for a noise complaint, unless it goes on until the early hours.
Be realistic. Your tenant is likely to have guests round sometimes! But, ensure this doesn’t contravine the tenancy agreement.
Is the Neighbour Lying?
If the complaints seem vague, or the neighbour ‘can’t remember’ the time of the day your tenant was loud, this should send alarm bells ringing.
Consider your tenant also. Do they seem like the kind of person they’re being painted out to be? Do they fulfill all their other tenant obligations?
Trust your instincts. The relationship between landlord and tenant is important!
It might be that your neighbour has problems with your property being let out, for example, to students.
Is the Neighbour Being Disruptive?
Perhaps it’s your neighbour who’s the nuisance. Landlord negligence has many forms, so don’t ignore your tenant is they come to you with a complaint about a neighbour.
Think of private tenant’s rights and noise disturbance. Do they deserve to live near rowdy neighbours?
Here’s what to do:
- Ask your tenant to keep a record of the problems
- Talk to the neighbour
- Use a mitigation service
- Contact your local authority
- Take legal action
Follow these steps in that order, keeping communication with your tenant at all times. Never jump to legal action first!
We understand that being a landlord and managing your property can be tough. But, we’re here to help. We provide professional property inventory services, so you can avoid the pains and hassle of doing it yourself. Find out more about our services here.
Historically, landlords and animals don’t have the best relationship.
The fear of damage, infestations and related costs sometimes seem too much hassle than they’re worth.
But, people love their pets!
So, landlords who ban them run the risk of putting off many potential tenants. It can feel like a catch-22!
To try and help, here’s a landlord’s guide to renting with pets.
Pros of Being a Pet Friendly Landlord
When you think of animals and rental properties, you might only conjure up negative images.
But, there are some pros!
Here’s a closer look:
Expands Your Options
By allowing pets in your property, you open the door to a far greater number of potential tenants.
To some landlords, this makes clear business sense!
Tenants with pets know it’s not easy to find a landlord accommodating to their situation. This means they’re likely to stick around and settle in your house.
Encouraging a long term tenancy has many perks. From no rental void periods to the lack of hassle of constantly changing contracts, there are advantages to allowing tenants to lay their roots in your property!
But, this does come with its own compromises. Pets are one of these!
It’s fair to up the rent of any property that accommodates pets. We recommend adding a small amount that will help to account for wear and tear later on.
Don’t forget, you can’t claim back any money from the security deposit for fair wear and tear.
Increasing the rent on a property from £600 to £650 per month, for example, is a reasonable decision. It’s not a drastic inflation that will put tenants off. But, it can help to cover any additional work needed when the property is vacated.
A pet brings a greater risk of damage to your property, especially, if it’s furnished.
We recommend adding a fair amount onto the deposit to cover any additional costs that could be caused by the animal. Your top priority should always be to protect your investment! Peace of mind should never be underrated.
Some landlords choose to do things separately, and ask for a pet deposit. This is in addition to the standard security deposit. It’s up to you!
Helps Build a Positive Relationship
The best tenancies are happy tenancies! Establishing a good relationship between landlord and tenant is key to this.
As renting a pet friendly house is so rare, you seem like a reasonable and positive landlord for allowing it. While there are no promises, this may give your tenant more respect for you.
Plus, since most tenants will be aware that landlords like you are rare, they’re more likely to respect your home in hopes of staying there.
Attracts Responsible Tenants
Tenants with pets are generally more settled in their lives. This is due to the responsibility that comes with owning an animal.
The more stable and responsible the tenant is, the more likely they are to respect your property. This is a general rule, of course, as we can’t speak for everyone.
Reduced Void Periods
A pet friendly property is likely to let out quicker than one which isn’t.
With the abundance of tenants with pets out there and lack of rental properties who allow them, demand will be high.
This means facing the prospect of a void period is far less of a concern!
Cons of Being a Pet Friendly Landlord
Of course, with the positives come some inevitable consequences.
Some of these you might already be aware of, but, let’s dig a little deeper.
Risk of Damage
Pets are renowned for causing damage to properties.
From chewing through furniture to lack of house training, there can be a number of potential causes of damage by pets.
Of course, you can claim this back through the deposit. However, for some landlords, it’s not worth the risk.
Pets are notoriously smelly – even when they’re cared for properly. These smells can be difficult to shift.
The tenants often don’t notice it themselves, which makes it more frustrating.
This can also cause financial complications! Other than cleaning costs, pets can give the property a dirty feel which can lead to difficulty bringing in new tenants.
Animal hair is difficult to remove from upholstery and carpets.
If you’re in the unfortunate situation of letting to a tenant who isn’t too fond of cleaning, this can be an arduous or costly process for you.
A property which houses a pet requires an extremely thorough clean once it’s been vacated. This isn’t only costly, but time consuming too.
There’s the potential that future tenants may have a pet allergy!
Alternatively, if you, as the landlord, have an allergy, this can cause complications when you inspect your property.
If you let to an unsavoury tenant with an aggressive pet, you’re likely to face some serious difficulties.
This could be the welfare of your neighbours, the difficulty of communicating with your tenant, threatening behaviour or even being unable to inspect the property.
Of course, these are worst-case scenarios. But, it’s important to consider every possibility.
Some landlords feel that if they allow one pet into their property, tenants will take advantage of this.
Is there a danger of your investment becoming overrun with pets?
Problems With Neighbours
Will the neighbours be as accepting of the new houseguests as you?
Pets cause noise, wonder into nearby gardens or cause general annoyance.
If your tenants aren’t receptive to complaints, you’ll receive the brunt of the anger. Are you prepared for this?
How can you be sure that the pets you accept into your property won’t have fleas?
Infestations can cause lasting problems that can be costly to repair.
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What Animals Will You Accept?
Now you know the pros and cons, have you decided to go ahead with allowing pets into your property?
If the answer is yes, you need to work out what you will accept.
Obviously, there’s a big difference between a dog and a fish tank. Also, just how many pets will you accept – only one, or multiple?
It’s important to be clear on this very early on.
Let’s examine what you might be up against…
Renting With a Dog
Renting a house with a dog is a big deal. For most landlords, these are the animals they’re most wary of.
Here are just some of the problems they can cause:
- Noise, such as barking, causing complaints from the neighbours
- Damage, such as chewing up furniture (particularly puppies!)
- Bringing in fleas
You’ll need to be very clear on the rules you lay down before the tenant and their four-legged friend move in. For example, explain clearly that the animal isn’t to be left alone in the house for prolonged periods of time.
If your property is a flat, you might want to think carefully about with tenants keeping a dog is appropriate. They need lots of time outside, so access to a garden is often necessary.
Also, more often than not, the older the dog – the better! They’re more likely to be well trained, quieter and well behaved.
Whether you want to accept pets into your home or not, assistance dogs must be allowed. This is due to anti-discriminatory laws against disabled tenants.
In these circumstances, the choice of renting with pets is out of your hands.
Birds and Rental Properties
Birds might seem harmless on the surface. However, if kept in cages inside, this could lead to mess.
Also, think of noise. One bird might be manageable, but dozens of them could cause your neighbours serious disturbances.
Renting with Cats
Cats are one of Britain’s most popular pets!
Luckily for landlords, cats are relatively trouble-free. Many of them spend most of their time outside!
However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing to think about. For example, will you allow a litter tray in your property? If not, be clear on this before tenants move in.
Also, there are problems concerning cat fur. Some breeds of cat shed more than others! If you say you allow cats in your rental property, will this be breed-dependent?
Small Popular Pets
Particularly if you rent to a family with children, small furry animals might be a request.
These animals could include:
- Guinea pigs
- Pet rats
You might consider laying down rules that they must remain in cages outside, or live in rooms without carpet. Of course, the choice is entirely up to you!
Can You Let to Pet Owners?
Before you get carried away, though, you need to work out if it’s possible. Can you allow pets into your rental property?
If your property is leasehold, you might find it tricky to rent with pets. As many leases ban pets, you’ll need to change yours.
But, this can be easier said than done.
For example, if you own a flat in a large block, other leaseholders will need to be consulted. The more property owners, the trickier this will be.
Tips for Landlords Letting to Pet Owners
Allowing pets in rentals is a big consideration.
So, if you’re going ahead with it, here are some tips to help you along the way:
Meet the Pet
It might sound strange, but meeting the pet before agreeing to let to its tenants is essential.
You’ll be able to get a feel for its temperament, noise levels, how it reacts to new people and whether it’s house trained.
Of course, you can only get so much from one meeting. But, if the pet is badly behaved, that’s all you need!
If you feel it’s necessary, ask to meet the pet more than once.
Think of this as a bit like a ‘tenancy screening’, but for an animal!
Get a Previous Landlord Reference
Asking for a pet reference may sound a bit extreme. But, when it comes to looking after your property, nothing is too far!
If the potential tenant has let with their pet before, ask for contact details for their previous landlord. Find out information such as:
- How well behaved the pet was
- Whether any damage to their property was caused
- Was the tenant responsible?
- Did the neighbours complain?
- Were there any problems relating to the pet at all throughout the tenancy?
Set Up Open Communication from the Start
All tenancies require good communication from both parties.
However, when it comes to pets, this is even more important. It’s vital to speak with the potential tenant about their pet at the very beginning.
After that, clearly explain what it is you expect and lay down the rules. Make sure these are included in the tenancy agreement.
Consider Property and Pet
Your property and the pet itself… Are they compatible?
Cats and dogs might not enjoy living in a top floor flat, for example, as outdoor access is key.
Accept pets within reason. Think about the space and neighbours – not every pet will be able to live in your property!
If you’ve decided to rent with pets, your property’s inventory will be more important than ever. You’ll want to ensure there’s no room for miscommunication. No Letting Go can help you look after your investment. Find out more about our services here.