Landlord Inspections: What You Need to Know

Landlord Inspections: What You Need to Know

Ever had your investment abused by careless tenants? It’s a horrible feeling. You feel cheated by people you trusted. Deposits and flawless inventories are great ways of combating bad tenants but there’s another step you should be taking. Landlord inspections are vital for ensuring your tenant is actually maintaining your property. Many landlords avoid checking their investment purely because there are clear regulations to follow. Don’t be one of those landlords, here’s what you need to know about property inspections.

Why Should I Inspect My Property?

Not convinced about the need to inspect your property? Here are a few advantages of inspections:

  • You can assess how your tenant treats the property
  • You can check on any maintenance issues that need your attention
  • You boost your reputation as a landlord and become more approachable
  • You can create an open pathway of communication with your tenants
  • You can take a look at the living conditions of your tenant
  • You can keep an eye out for any illegal activities
  • You can check that you’re still offering a safe and legal letting to the tenant

When Can I Enter My Property?

You can’t just turn up and inspect your property. There are laws you need to follow when it comes to inspections. Legally, there are three main rights of entry.

The Right of Reasonable Access

‘Reasonable access’ sounds like a very general term but it is simply defined. This ultimately refers to the need to access the property immediately to carry out emergency/necessary repairs.

The Right to Enter to Inspect the State of Repair of the Property

As owner of the property you can also enter to inspect the ‘state of repair’. For inspections, you aren’t granted immediate access. You must provide notice at least 24 hours before entry. You must also carry out all inspections at reasonable times of day. If someone other than yourself (or a previously agreed agent) is inspecting the property, you must notify a tenant of this in writing.

The Right to Enter to Provide Room Cleaning Services

If you offer room-cleaning services to your tenant and this is stated clearly in the contract, you can access the property without permission. This is a relatively uncommon situation.

Try Not to Scare the Tenant

Inspections can be scary for your tenants. As soon as you notify them of your intention to check your property, they’ll begin to sweat. Be as casual and relaxed about it as you can. Explain there’s no reason for them to be worried, it’s just a mandatory walk through. If you’re able to, give your tenant more than the required 24 hours’ notice – a week is usually best. This gives them time to present the rental in a clean and tidy state. Be flexible about the time of your visit and offer to rearrange if it isn’t convenient.

What Should I Look for During an Inspection?

There are plenty of issues to look out for. Your inspection can be as thorough or casual as you’d like. Having said this, keep your eyes peeled for these common problems:

  • Damage beyond wear and tear (broken windows, stained carpets, etc.)
  • Damp and mould
  • Leaks
  • Condition of furniture and white goods
  • Excessive rubbish
  • Poorly maintained garden
  • Faulty smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors
  • State of the loft/attic
  • Signs or rodents/infestations

What Happens If the Tenant Refuses Entry?

If a tenant refuses to grant permission for entry, you can’t go ahead without their blessing. As a landlord, you have to respect the tenant’s privacy. This can create a difficult and worrying situation. Tenants only tend to refuse entry if they’re hiding something unsavoury from you. Unfortunately, you can’t take the issue any further.

How to End the Inspection

Communication is key here. If there are issues you’re not happy with, explain why and discuss whose responsibility it is. If you’re coming back to complete any repairs, give full details of when this will be. Don’t forget to ask your tenant whether they know of any issues or damages that require your attention. Ultimately, thank them for their time – remember, they weren’t obliged to let you in.

Property Inventory services

Want to lower the possibility of deposit disputes and damage to your investment? No Letting Go’s will manage the entire inventory process in a professional and open manner. This includes check ins and check outs. Find out more about how we can help you here.

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Can’t Afford Rent, What Should I Do?

Can't Afford Rent, What Should I Do?

Stop, breathe and don’t panic. If you can’t afford rent, it can feel like your whole world is about to come crashing down. Don’t stress, you’re not going to be living on the streets. There are plenty of genuine reasons why you could be short this month. How you handle this situation has a huge impact on your future in your current rental. Here’s what you need to know and how to resolve the issue.

Manage Your Budget

If you’re likely to be short of money, the first thing to do is to look at your budget. What money have you got coming in and what money do you have to pay out? Is there any possibility of offering a partial payment to your landlord?

Rent is far more important than a new haircut or the expensive steak dinner you’re planning. If there are any opportunities to cut down your expenditure, do it. Unfortunately, this can be more difficult than it sounds. Sometimes tough sacrifices have to be made. It’s important to ensure you have enough money to actually survive. Food and everyday essentials come first.

If you’ve drawn up a full budget and you definitely can’t afford to pay your rent, it’s time to talk to your landlord.

Communication is Key

The worst thing you can do is ignore the issue. It’s always unpleasant to explain to someone that you can’t make a payment. Forget your pride and be honest. Explain the situation.

When explaining to your landlord that you can’t afford rent, there is some vital information they need to know:

  • Why can’t you pay the rent?
  • When can the landlord expect their money?
  • How can you work together to resolve the issue?

Remember, landlords are people too. They will understand if you’ve fallen on hard times, it’s better to be open and honest. Depending on the landlord, their reaction will vary. Don’t stress, they can’t immediately evict you. There is a formal process in place for this type of issue.

What Happens Next?

Depending on how your conversation with the landlord went, there may be a simple resolution already in place. No matter what happens, expect to receive a formal demand letter from the landlord. This letter will request payment from you and make it clear that legal action is a possibility. Don’t panic, this is normal. This is a formal procedure the landlord is putting in place in case you continually fail to make payment.

Guarantor Letters

If you still haven’t paid 14 days after the rent is due, the landlord can send a letter to your guarantor (if you have one). Again, communication with your guarantor is vital. You may be able to seek help from a close friend or loved one. Don’t let your guarantor be surprised by your rent arrears.

Section 8 Notice

If you’ve gone a month without paying and a second payment is due, you officially have two months of rent arrears. This means the landlord (under the Housing Act 1988) can apply to reclaim their property. They can serve a Section 8 Notice which is a formal notification that the landlord wishes to take you to court if you don’t pay the arrears within the next 14 days.

Losing Your Deposit

This may seem obvious but if you have rent arrears, the landlord can legally keep your deposit. This may not recover all the owed rent but it could be helpful if you’re entirely unable to make payment.

A Word of Advice

We know that finances can be a huge burden at times. Unpredictable situations can turn your life upside down. Debt is a hugely challenging issue for many people. Don’t struggle on your own. There are plenty of debt charities like StepChange out there who can help put you back on course. If you’re struggling to talk to your landlord about arrears, they can help.

Being open and honest with your landlord about your financial issues can make you feel a lot better about the situation. You may even be able to avoid those sleepless nights. Remember, landlords don’t want the hassle of taking you to court or evicting you. Try to come to an amicable resolution that keeps all parties happy.

No Letting Go’s Inventory Services

Have you struggled with landlords over deposit disputes? Don’t have the same issue in the future. No Letting Go’s inventory services can help. We offer a full, professional and impartial check-in and check-out procedure to ensure a hassle-free inventory process. Find out more about how we can help you.

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Best Apps For Landlords

Best Apps for Landlords

Being a landlord is tough, busy and time consuming work. Thankfully though, there’s plenty of new technology out there that can make life easier for the average UK landlord. It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to choosing the best mobile apps. And how can you be sure these apps will make your profession any easier? What are the best apps for landlords?

From local landlord inventory services to helpful communication software (and everything in between) the market is huge. So here’s our pick of the best apps worth trying. Think we’ve missed something off the list? Get in touch on Twitter and tell us your thoughts.

The Landlord App

The name really says it all. The Landlord App basically offers a comprehensive selection of features to help landlords operate and manage their businesses more effectively. From finding new tenants to scheduling utility bill payments, it can even help with chasing payments owed as well as much more. Coming highly recommended by the vast majority of landlord inventory services in the UK, this is app is worth a try.

DIY Landlord

By landlords, for landlords. DIY Landlord allows the user to keep track of all their current rented properties. Offering key financial information like cash flow and rental payments, the app’s main dashboard will become a sight for sore eyes. If you’ve got a large property portfolio, this app will save you significant time, stress and worry.

Scanbot

Ideal for keeping track of your most important documents, Scanbot allows the user to create high quality JPEG or PDF copies of documents in a matter of seconds. From contracts to receipts to invoices and so on. Simply use your smartphone’s camera to instantly scan and record your documents. Copies are saved in excess of 200dpi for outstanding quality and the app does a great job of reducing motion blur.

Mobile Landlord

Forget the filing cabinet of paperwork, the Mobile Landlord app covers everything. Create a profile for up to five properties and keep all relevant information in one place. From tenancy details and expenditure to key trade contacts, this app covers it all. You can even set key reminders like updating the Gas Safety Certificate.

Rightmove

The Rightmove app takes everything the market-leading online estate agency offers and slips it into your pocket. It’s one of the best and most important apps you’ll find for keeping an eye on local markets and assessing property values/rent averages. It can also be a fantastic app to use if you plan on using Rightmove to advertise your property.

Tenancy Agreement

Let’s face it, tenancy agreements are some of the more tedious parts of the job. With the Tenancy Agreement app, you can create a professional tenancy agreement on your smartphone in a timely and hassle free manner.

Home Decorating Ideas

Interior design can be a confusing world! Especially for the uninitiated. If you’re a landlord crying out for inspiration, the Home Decorating Ideas app is on hand to help. Get free tips on interior design and save any snaps that take your fancy.

RenTracker Property Management

When you’re a landlord letting to various tenants, it can be difficult to keep track of all rent due dates and financial deadlines. RenTracker Property Management is here to help. This app tracks your finances including rent payments, expenses and taxes. It also gives you the opportunity to export your financial reports.

Ask A Lawyer

Got an important legal question to ask but don’t have the money or means to arrange a consultation. Ask a Lawyer is the answer. The app allows landlords to ask those burning questions about their business and receive expert answers and advice from qualified, experienced legal professionals. Best of all, it’s completely free!

Landlordy

Landlordy markets itself as the ultimate mobile companion for the DIY landlord, and it’s not hard to see why. With the ability to help you track rent payments, manage expenses and even prepare rent invoices you really should downloaded and use this app. It even gives you the option of exporting and sharing the data with your accountant, so that your finances are always up to date.

WhatsApp

It sounds so simple but it’s often overlooked. Keep up-to-date with tenants with WhatsApp. If your property is a HMO, create a house group chat including all tenants. This will help resolve any internal issues and can even boost tenant moral (happy tenants are likely to stay in your property longer).

LetsHelpYou

Advertise your rental property to UK tenants for free on the LetsHelpYou app. With a smooth UX, this app allows you to upload images and key details of your property at speed.

Landlord Property Buddy

Ditch the complicated excel spreadsheets, Landlord Property Buddy has got your back. This app offers a full range of property management services and comes highly recommended. Offering assistance with income/expenditure, transaction reporting, reminders, document safekeeping as well as invoices and tenant details. This app helps manage the full landlord experience to make your life a little easier.

Fixflo

Fixflo is one of the best apps of its kind. It serves as a convenient and reliable method for reporting and recording minor to moderate maintenance issues. The tenant is able to describe the problem, take a picture of it with their device and send it straight to the landlord’s device. It can also be used to report things like graffiti and vandalism, dumped rubbish, abandoned vehicles and more.

Kaptur Inventory Pro

Designed by property inventory experts for busy professionals in the property sector, Kaptur is the very latest property information collecting tablet technology. This offers the most efficient way to collect, prepare, report and manage information. Find out more about how Kaptur Inventory Pro can help you here.

If you’re a landlord suffering with the headache of rental inventories, find out how No Letting Go can help.

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Rachel Farr Finalist in the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF Awards

Rachel Farr Shortlisted for

We are very proud to announce yet another success in franchisee Rachel Farr’s career with No Letting Go. Rachel has been handpicked as a finalist for the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF Awards. Being shortlisted for this prestigious award comes only months after she won the NLG franchisee awards for Best Regional Office, Busiest Office, Customer Service and Franchisee of the Year. Here’s her story so far.

The Beginnings

Rachel initially purchased the Bath franchise in 2014. Originally attracted to the reporting technology, Rachel saw an NLG franchise as an opportunity to step into a management role and quickly grow her business.

By 2016 Rachel was running the top performing office for No Letting Go, delivering over 200 property reports every month. She quickly saw the growth she was craving as her team soon grew to five members. Rachel developed her own mentoring and quality checking programme on top of that already provided by Head Office. This reiterated the core values of No Letting Go, and delivered a service that’s consistent, reliable and accountable.

A Motivated Team

Rachel’s ongoing care and attention to the service her team provides has led to a consistent and motivated team. Something which isn’t easy for solo workers to achieve. Each individual working for Rachel knows exactly what’s expected from them and are confident in her ability to guide them through any issues they encounter.

Each of Rachel’s team is self-employed. This adds an additional responsibility to her position. She must ensure each member has a consistent workload to support themselves. Rachel understands these needs and as a result ensures everyone supplies the very best level of customer service.

Business Development

Rachel takes an impressive approach to business development. In 2016, she completed a database of every letting agent within a 50 mile radius. She also maintains regular contact with all members of this database. This not only boosts NLG brand awareness massively but has led to an impressive reputation in the area. Being widely acknowledged for her reliability and quality, Rachel’s business development actions have led to a 39% increase in active clients in a year. The majority of which came from letting agent recommendations.

No Letting Go Development

Rachel’s key approach to business development doesn’t only stop with her personal ventures. She has also been a key player in regional improvements. She works closely with her three neighbouring franchises to support each other, share ideas and attend regional conferences. She has also worked with NLG Head Office to aid in the ongoing development of our technology. Rachel not only invests her time to understand her customers but does the same with her team and business too.

Family Life

All this is made even more impressive when hearing that Rachel welcomed her second baby into the world last year. Working through her pregnancy, Rachel continued to strive for building her business, reputation and team. Moreover, four members of her team also have to juggle their work with young families making their achievements even more remarkable.

The EWIF Awards

The EWIF Award ceremony will be held on Tuesday 16th May 2017. We will be sure to notify you if Rachel wins the Woman Franchisee Award. Everyone at No Letting Go wishes her the very best of luck.

If you’re interested in mirroring Rachel’s success and getting involved in a No Letting Go franchise, we want to hear from you. You can find out more about becoming a franchisee here.

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A Guide to Fair Wear and Tear

A Guide to Fair Wear and Tear

It’s the three words all landlords despise: wear and tear. But what does it actually mean? Is wear and tear an excuse for carelessness or can it be measured? Where does wear and tear end and where does damage begin? We understand exactly how confusing the issue can be. We also understand how it can reflect upon a landlord or tenant. This is why we’re bringing you our guide to fair wear and tear to offer some answers and solutions.

What is Wear and Tear?

This question is certainly a tricky one. The truth is, wear and tear differs from situation to situation. It’s unfortunate but there are no clear rules on what is ‘reasonably acceptable’. Having said this, common sense must always be used. If you fit fresh white carpet in a bedroom, you can’t expect it to be fresh and white a year later. If that same carpet is burnt and stained with red wine marks, it can be considered damaged.

There are a few key points that affect the definition of fair wear and tear:

  • Length of tenancy – the longer a tenant stays, the more wear and tear you’ll see.
  • Number of occupants – the more occupants in a property, the more likely there’ll be wear and tear.
  • Age of occupants – when there’s children in a property, there’s a much higher chance of wear and tear.
  • Quality of the property – if you’ve got a newly refurbished property, there should be little wear and tear. Having said this, wear and tear in new properties is far more apparent.

Negligence and Recklessness

If something requires repair, intensive cleaning or the care of a specialist, it’s most likely been damaged. Holes in walls, burn marks and broken furniture are all examples of damage. It’s worth asking whether the issue has come about due to negligent or reckless behaviour. Comparatively, is the issue a symptom of natural use?

How to Prevent Wear and Tear?

One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to actually prevent it from happening in the first place. This isn’t an exact science, there’s no way to completely stamp out wear and tear or damage. Having said this, there are a few handy tips to keep it to a minimum:

Decorate Appropriately

Don’t create a showroom house which looks perfect but will never be used. Decorate appropriately for the property you have. This means opting for the durable items which will stand the test of time. Buying cheap is tempting as a landlord but you’ll forever be replacing items.

Keep the Property Clean

It sounds so simple but this really does go a long way. You set the acceptable standard for your tenant. If the property is immaculate when they move in, they’ll want to keep it that way. If it’s a little scruffy with no attention to detail, they won’t take pride in its upkeep.

Be a Good Landlord

Again, this is pretty much as basic as it comes. If you keep the tenant happy and show your professionalism, they’re more likely to treat the property with respect. Be prompt in addressing repairs and maintenance issues. Make yourself easily available. If you show that you care, they will too.

Look for Long Term Tenants

This can be a little tricky but it’s worth it in the long run. Look for tenants that will actually stay at your property for an extended period of time. These tenants are more likely to take pride and ownership of your property.

Regular Inspections

There are some very clear rules on how you must approach an inspection – you can’t just turn up and take a look around. The problem is, these regulations often put landlords off inspecting the state of their investment. Schedule in a quarterly inspection and make note of any wear and tear or damage before it gets too far. Address the issue there and then if needed. Inspections are a great way of quelling problems before they get too far.

Set Your Expectations

There’s no harm in outlining your expectations from the beginning of the tenancy. Explain to your tenant that the property will require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it stays in a good condition.

Examples of Fair Wear & Tear

Sometimes, it’s easier to establish what’s considered fair wear and tear by highlighting a few examples. Here are a few issues you’ll encounter which should be labelled as wear and tear:

  • Small marks/stains on carpets
  • Small scuffs/marks on walls
  • Naturally worn down carpets
  • Loose hinges/handles on doors
  • Faded/cracked paint
  • Frayed fabric
  • Small tears/cracks on furniture
  • Faded curtains
  • Dirty windows
  • Loose/tight tap handles

Examples of Damage

Like the above list, here are a few examples of what can be considered damage:

  • Broken locks
  • Broken doors
  • Tears, large stains or burns on carpet
  • Large scratches on wooden floors
  • Burnt/split kitchen worktops
  • Holes in walls
  • Poorly painted surfaces
  • Torn curtains
  • Broken windows
  • Broken toilet seat

An Inventory Check In & Check Out

One of the biggest issues surrounding wear and tear is the deposit disputes that occur when a landlord and tenant disagrees. This is made even more difficult when there’s no photographic evidence to resolve the issue. It’s fair to say, this is an issue which can be stressful for everyone involved. With No Letting Go’s inventory services, you’ll receive the peace of mind which comes with an impartial, fully documented check in and check out procedure. Our service is reliable and consistent producing reports which stand up to scrutiny during any dispute. Find out more about how we can help make the inventory process seamless here.

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8 Tips for Preventing Rental Void Periods

8 Tips For Preventing Rental Void Periods

They’re the stuff of nightmares, sleepless nights, endless worrying and a bucket load of stress. No landlord wants to be caught up in a rental void period. Unfortunately, they’re pretty common and easy to fall into. This can be really damaging to landlords with a smaller portfolio. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips you can implement to avoid them altogether. Here are our 8 tips for preventing void periods. If you know of any more that could help other landlords, get in touch on Twitter.

1. Properly Maintain Your Property

So, let’s get this one out the way early. There could be an underlying reason why no one wants to rent your property. Ensure everything’s tidy, clean and in a liveable condition. Bathrooms and kitchens are key selling points of your property – do they need any work? Would a quick renovation boost your chances of attracting new tenants? The appearance of your property matters.

2. Advertise Everywhere (and Early)

It’s surprising to some but landlords do require marketing skills. Especially if you’re privately renting, you need to be able to market your property. Advertise your property everywhere you can, from local newspapers to online sites. If you want to stay away from void periods as much as possible, it’s important to advertise your property as early as you can. Don’t wait till the house/flat has been vacated.

3. Charge Reasonable Rent

Don’t inflate the rent you’re charging for the sake of it. Do your research and find out the average rent for the area. Then question how your property compares to the area’s average. Above all, charge a fair rent. You may be tempted to undercut the area’s average rent to ensure your property is seen as more attractive. Be warned, this could change the type of tenant you let to. Consider a deal including amenities if you want to make your listing more appealing.

4. Pick Good Tenants

This is a tricky one but will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. If you can let to good tenants you’ll reduce the risk of sudden changes in circumstance. Unfortunately even the best tenants can have unpredictable lives and there’s no simple way to get around this. Also, it’s very tricky to tell which tenants are genuinely ‘good’. Screening checks don’t tell the full story. The best tenants are steady and secure in their careers and lives.

5. Be Open Minded

It’s always important to have an open mind with potential tenants. Whether they’re looking to redecorate parts of the property or live with a pet, you may not like it but it’s worth considering. A tenant with a pet is likely to be more stable. Whereas a tenant who wants to redecorate will likely see themselves in the property for an extended period of time.

6. Why Not Try a HMO?

If you rent in an area popular with students or young professionals, it may be worth considering turning your let into a house in multiple occupation. You’ll need to adhere to specific licence rules about health and safety but it’s nothing a reasonable landlord couldn’t keep up with. This way, when one tenant moves out, you’re still making money from the other occupants.

7. Upgrade Your Furniture

Back to what we said earlier about how appearance is everything. If you’re offering a furnished property, it may be worth making a few extra purchases. Upgrading furniture will give your property a new lease of life. It could be the difference between attracting new tenants or not.

8. Be Approachable and Professional

Whether you like it or not, as a landlord you could be the reason between a tenant taking your property or not. If you turn up to a house viewing late, wearing sandals and shorts you’ll look unprofessional. Dress well, be prompt, appear approachable and ensure the tenant knows you’re professional.

When you start renting, don’t neglect the importance of a full and accurate inventory. Remove the possibility of disputes with No Letting Go’s inventory services.

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Common Rental Scams to Avoid

Common Rental Scams to Avoid

With so much of today’s property hunt taking place online, there’s a real opportunity for scammers to capitalise on unsuspecting tenants. Thankfully, users remain vigilant and sham lettings are well documented. If you’re on the property hunt, here are the common rental scams to avoid.

Gumtree Landlord Scam

This trap is aimed at those living overseas who seek accommodation in the UK. A landlord will publish an ad on Gumtree featuring accredited NLA (National Landlords Association) logos. They will discuss the property in question with the individual and request payment before they move to the UK. Upon arrival to the country, the landlord is nowhere to be seen.

This is a popular scam in the lettings sector. It can be entirely dismantled by asking to see the property first. If you’re looking to rent a room or flat, you have the right to view it before paying any kind of deposit. If you’d like to find out whether a landlord is a member of the National Landlords Association, you can do so here.

The Fake Property

This is a dangerous one which is really tough to notice at times. This scam involves the landlord going a step further than just advertising a property. The scammer will have access to an empty property which they’ll show you around. Unfortunately, the building isn’t actually theirs to rent out. By the time you come to move in, the property’s already occupied.

It can be really difficult to actually recognise this until it’s happened. It’s always important to be suspicious if the landlord is pressing for you to pay a security deposit/first month’s rent immediately.

Unsatisfactory References

Now this is a clever scam, which again is pretty difficult to spot. A tenant will go through the motions of renting a property and everything will appear legitimate. Coming to the reference check stage, the prospective tenant will sign a contract which says that if the references aren’t acceptable the deposit will be returned minus a fee for reference checks. This sounds reasonable – besides, you’ve got good references so don’t mind signing. Unfortunately, they’ll be deemed as unsatisfactory by the landlord. When you receive the deposit back, it’s a fraction of what you initially paid. If you’ve been bitten by this, it’s illegal and you have a right to be frustrated. Seek assistance immediately.

Going After the Guarantor

This is a particularly nasty one. The landlord will claim there’s no need for a security deposit. It sounds like a perfect situation – you just need to have a guarantor. When the tenancy comes to an end, the guarantor will be hit with a wave of unnecessary charges for repairs. This scam highlights the importance of inventory services.

Illegal Charges

Dodgy landlords are big fans of adding illegal charges to the tenancy agreement. Be wary of anything you sign your name to. If the charge is in your tenancy agreement and you sign it, you’re agreeing to pay. If you’re unsure whether a charge is necessary, do your research before signing. If a landlord tries to charge you for something which isn’t in the tenancy agreement, you don’t need to pay.

It’s Not All Dodgy Landlords

It’s a two sided coin – tenants can scam landlords too. One of the most common includes a tenant who asks to pay a deposit via Western Union or some other similar service. They pay too much ‘by mistake’ and ask the landlord to send the extra funds back. By this time, the landlord’s made the payment and the original payment has bounced. This leaves the landlord out of pocket and red faced. If you find yourself caught up in this, don’t pay any additional funds back until the initial payment clears/bounces.

What to Look Out For

It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to lettings scams. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:

  • Free listings – scammers love sites like Gumtree which allow free listings. Always be extra wary of rentals advertised on these websites.
  • Multiple ads for the same property – these can sometimes have slightly different descriptions or pictures.
  • Poorly worded ads – does it read like it was written by someone who isn’t fluent in English?
  • Unnecessary description of landlord – often scams will make the landlord sound respectable and fair. If this feels a little unnecessary, consider why this information is being communicated to you.
  • Lettings agency with little online presence – sometimes scammers will create their own lettings agency to appear legitimate. Google the company and see what’s online about them.
  • Very low price – it’s the age old saying; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Pushy landlord – if the landlord is pushing you to pay money immediately, there’s likely to be an issue.
  • Pictures – are the pictures different to the property? Do the pictures look fake or unnatural?
  • They ask for money up front – Never pay anything before a viewing!

Unfortunately, scam landlords give the profession a bad name. The truth is, scammers are few and far between though tenants are not always aware of this. This is why it’s even more important to get your inventories right. By turning to No Letting Go for our inventory services, you remove any possibility of deposit disputes and also reassure tenants of your legitimacy. Find out more about our services here.

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Visit No Letting Go at The Franchise Show – 17-18th February

the franchise show no letting go

No Letting Go is pleased to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at The Franchise Show on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th February. The event takes place at the Excel in London, and it’s one of the biggest shows of its kind in the UK. You can come and see us between 10am-5pm, where we’ll be talking about the lucrative opportunities that await in property inventory. The Franchise Show is completely free to attend and there are lots of useful seminars, workshops and even an advice zone for those who are considering buying a franchise.

This is the largest Franchise Show in the UK, and visitors will find plenty of useful information, no matter what stage of franchising they’re currently at. Come and say hello to the No Letting Go team to find out about the growth of the inventory market and whether this is the right industry for you. We’re always looking for the right people who we can work with who will be successful. Becoming a franchisee with No Letting Go could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

If you’re interested then make sure you read up on our information about building a business in property services, and make sure you come and say hello during The Franchise Show 2017.

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Should I Rent to Students? Landlord Advice

Should I Rent to Students? Landlord Advice

If you’re a landlord in a university town or city, you’ve probably seen the potential in student rentals. There are plenty of advantages in renting to students. Having said this, there are some pretty awful issues you could encounter too. Are students really as bad as people make out? Is your investment safe with them? If you’re sat asking yourself ‘should I rent to students?’ we’ve got a little advice and guidance to help you find the right answer.

The Strange World of Students

Students can seem like an entirely different species. Thankfully, they’re actually pretty simple. For most, this will be their first time living in private accommodation. They’ll need a little hand holding but this tends to come from the parents. They’re often told to ask specific questions, they’ll be informed of what to say and they’ll pour plenty of time over their contract. They may take longer in the initial signing process but remain supportive and up-front – they just want to make sure you’re not a cowboy.

Usually students aren’t too fussy – they’ve heard the horror stories and are happy to find your property clean and warm. If you can offer a tidy and furnished house with warm running water, they’ll be content.

Be warned though, not all students are the same. There are some very obvious cues worth noting. First of all, if you’re renting to a group of eight boys, all of which are on the university’s rugby team – expect lots of parties. Use your common sense with this one. You may well want to rent to a group like this, just know what to expect.

Party, Party, Party!

Right, let’s get this out in the open now. It’s very likely your student tenants will throw a party or at least invite friends over for a night of intoxicated fun. We highly recommend banning parties in the tenancy agreement – this is there more as a deterrent than something to enforce. The sooner you accept that parties will take place, the easier it will be letting to students.

House Party (Image Taken from Hexjam)

Image taken from Hexjam

Advantages of Renting to Students

There are some serious advantages that come with being a student landlord, here are some of the more notable points:

  • Demand – If you own a property in the heart of a town/city’s student area, there will always be a demand for housing irrelevant of any ongoing economic difficulties.
  • Duration – Students tend to rent for 12 month periods. No long term contract obligations.
  • Predictability – The student rental market is one of the most predictable, always handy for landlords hoping to rest easy at night.
  • Imperfections – The beauty of renting to students is that your property doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Furnishings – There’s no point investing in expensive furnishings. Head to Ikea and buy cheap.
  • High yields – There’s often more students living in a house than there would be in a regular tenancy.
  • Intelligence – Students by nature are intelligent (there are exceptions). This means any issues tend to be resolved relatively simply with open communication.

Disadvantages of Renting to Students

All sounding too good to be true? That’s because it is, there are some very clear drawbacks in renting to students:

  • Furnishings – All students expect a fully furnished property which entails the upkeep and maintenance of white goods.
  • Wear and tear – All student properties are more prone to wear and tear. Expect phone calls out of the blue about a broken sofa or bed.
  • Repaint – We know plenty of student landlords that have to pay for a fresh lick of paint on the walls every year.
  • Wannabee lawyer – Some students can get a bee in their bonnet about the contract. They’ll become adamant you’re trying to mess them over. The wannabee lawyer can be a particularly frustrating student to let to.
  • Private halls – Private accommodation for second and third year students is on the rise. Usually students prefer the experience of living in a house with friends but private halls are a real threat that’s worth your attention.
  • Maintenance bills – Maintenance bills are usually more expensive than those in a regular tenancy.
  • Screening – You can’t reference or credit check students, this can be worrying.
  • Finance – Students are notoriously poor with money. Their finances can come from student loans, grants, part-time jobs and parents. This instability can be a little frightening to landlords.
  • Summer holiday – Depending on the tenancy agreement, you could experience void periods during the summer holiday.

Student Rental Action Points

So you’ve decided to take the dive and let to students? Here are a few action points to set you on your way:

  • Go to a shop like Ikea or Argos to buy your furniture. Don’t spend much money on this at all, you want something cheap and cheerful.
  • Get students to provide a guarantor, this will usually be their parents. Do this and you’ll get your money even if the student can’t pay up.
  • Become a university approved landlord. There’s often a few checks needed but this is worth doing to market your student let.
  • Hold your student’s hands. Remember, they’ve probably not done this before – help them. Reassure them throughout the process. Go a step further and include a welcome pack for when they move in. In this, you can feature a few rules and even instruct them on how to use the boiler, heating, washing machine, etc.
  • Consider the possibility of dropouts. It’s worth including a clause in the tenancy agreement which states it’s the tenants’ responsibility to find a replacement housemate if one drops out.
  • Licence your property as a HMO (house in multiple occupation). Local councils have differing regulations for this but it cannot be ignored.

Student lets are prone to sudden and dramatic damage. The inventory process is imperative with this type of let. Remove the stress and any potential disagreements with No Letting Go’s inventory services. Find out more about how we can help protect your property investment here.

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It Pays to Rent! The Advantages of Renting

It Pays to Rent! The Advantages of Renting

Renting gets a bad rep! Everyone speaks of the advantages of owning property, the need to get your foot on the ladder and have your own piece of the pie. The truth is, it’s very easy to get caught up with this societal expectation without first asking, ‘is it right for me?’ There’s a lot of advantages of renting and you could find that in your circumstances, it does in fact pay to rent! Here’s a little more about why you shouldn’t jump at the first chance of home ownership.

Slash Those Maintenance Costs

Let’s face it, property maintenance doesn’t come cheap. If your boiler brews up a temper or your roof is a little leaky, there’s a landlord who’ll pick up the bill for repairs. If you own a property, this is all down to you. When renting landlords have certain obligations to you – for example it’s unacceptable to let tenants live in an unheated or poorly maintained property. If you’re a home owner and you can’t afford boiler repairs, your best option is to grab the closest blanket. Of course there are plenty of insurance providers that can help homeowners but ultimately the financial responsibility relies with the individual.

Can’t Afford to Buy

Here’s one of the biggest issues with home buying. It’s so expensive! Even if you manage to build up enough cash for a deposit and you secure a mortgage, there’s a strong possibility you couldn’t afford to live in some of the more desirable areas. Of course rent prices rise when you approach a more sought-after area but it remains a more obtainable option.

Minimal Upfront Costs

One of the most unattractive parts of buying a home is the huge upfront costs that come with it. There’s lots of hidden charges just waiting to sneak up and bite you. When you’re renting, the upfront payments tend to remain pretty standard; a secure deposit, a month’s rent and any fees the Lettings Agency charge.

Sudden Change of Circumstances? No Problem

Life’s unpredictable, circumstances can change dramatically and without warning. A spouse leaving or sudden change of job can be traumatic for homeowners. If you can’t pay your mortgage, your home will be repossessed. If you move, it’s going to be a very stressful time in your life. Renters on the other hand can find a stable footing quickly. Usually tenancy agreements will have a break clause and within a month you could find something more affordable.

Scared of Commitment?

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to settle down or doesn’t want to plan too far in the future, renting is the best option. You can jump ship (reasonably) easily and without financial burden. The lack of a need for long-term commitment makes renting a far more flexible and attractive option – especially for the younger generations.

Regulations

As a tenant, you can sleep easy at night knowing there are regulations keeping you safe and secure. We mentioned earlier about how landlords have obligations to fulfil, this goes further than just maintenance and upkeep. Gas, electrical and fire safety standards must all be adhered to. There are a lot of legal requirements put in place specifically to protect the wellbeing of a tenant.

If you’re interested in staying in the rental sector, don’t let inventories become a thorn in your side. No Letting Go’s inventory services can remove this necessary but frustrating part of the rental process. Whether you’re a landlord, tenant or lettings agency find out more about how we can help you here.

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