Superstrike v Rodrigues landmark decision in lettings industry?

By now everyone has heard of the landmark decision of Lord Justice Lloyd on 14 June in a case that has sent shockwaves through the lettings industry. Put simply, the Court of Appeal decision in Superstrike v Rodrigues states that where an AST started before the advent of the deposit registration regulations but rolled over into a statutory periodic tenancy after 6 April 2007, any deposit should have been registered and prescribed information served. The implications of that decision are significant for the thousands of landlords and their agents who still have statutory periodic tenancies that arose in the months after April 2007. The decision is also a worry for all of those tenants who may have been evicted since then on the basis of an “unlawful” section 21 notice. After all, if the deposit was not registered and prescribed information not served, their landlord was not able to serve a valid section 21 notice to bring the AST to an end.

Since April of 2007 official sources suggest that over 1 million individuals have been forced to relocate in circumstances where, thanks to the Superstrike decision, a possession order was made on an invalid section 21 notice. The implication for landlords, managing agents and the judicial system is troubling. It is doubtless causing sleepless nights for those in the Department for Communities and Local Government charged with bringing some order out of the chaos.

Accordingly, it will come as no surprise for readers to learn that over the last few weeks there have been a number of meetings at a fairly senior level between representatives of the lettings industry, including ARLA, the principal deposit registration organisations and government officials to map out a way forward. Whether Mark Prisk, the current housing minister, will table new legislation to effectively overturn the Superstrike decision remains to be seen. However, with Parliament about to recess as I type this blog, it looks highly unlikely that there will be any significant change in the current position until October 2013 at the very earliest.

In the circumstances what should agents and landlords do if they have a pre-April 2007 AST which is still running on as a periodic tenancy?

The short answer is to refund the deposit as soon as possible to the tenant. Sadly, with the implementation of the Localism Act 2011 last year, it is no longer an option simply to register a deposit late if one wants to serve a section 21 notice. The deposit must be refunded in full.

To make matters worse, even if a deposit was registered on time – and remember time limits changed with effect from 6 April 2012 – if the prescribed information was served late, that now triggers a penalty of between 1 and 3 times the deposit plus the return of the deposit itself.

One intriguing aspect of the Superstrike decision concerns comments by Lord Justice Lloyd which suggest that when an existing AST lapses from a fixed term into a statutory periodic tenancy, it may be necessary to re-register the deposit, or at least re-serve the prescribed information. Logically this must be correct as the effect of the Housing Act 1988 is to create a “different” type of tenancy when an initial fixed term comes to an end. As a purely precautionary measure, therefore, we are now suggesting to all our clients that at the end of a fixed term, prescribed information is indeed re-served. Individual landlords and managing agents should also check with their deposit registration provider as to what else might need to be done to avoid their tenancy becoming a future test case!

One area which is being actively explored by some of the larger national chains is whether the entire problem of re-registration/re-service might be avoided by changing the definition of the fixed term. To avoid a statutory periodic tenancy arising at the end of, say, a twelve month AST, consider adding a rider to the definition of the term. This might provide that the tenancy continues “thereafter on a month by month basis until terminated by two months notice on either side”. Arguably this could prevent the tenancy changing from a contractual to statutory tenancy in the way that Lord Justice Lloyd mentioned in his judgment.

Clearly this has implications for renewal fees and flexibility. Accordingly, landlords and agents should seek professional advice both on the efficacy of adding such a clause and its exact wording.

As always, subscribers to our telephone helpline can receive “free” advice by calling the dedicated line provided. If you are not already a member of the Dutton Gregory telephone helpline service, please telephone one of our team on 01962 844333 for further details.

ROBERT J BOLWELL
Head of Landlord and Tenant Department
e-mail: r.bolwell@duttongregory.co.uk

Posted in Landlords, Lettings, Property Rental | Tagged Rodrigues, Superstrike | Comments Off

Landlord won’t make repairs? Here’s some legal advice

Mention the word ‘landlord’ to some people and it will yield a reaction of dread or intense anger. Stories of landlords from hell are all too common, and while most are genuine and responsible, a small number of landlords ignoring their legal duties have allowed the few to tarnish the name of the many. If you find yourself in a situation whereby a landlord is refusing to carry out repairs that you feel are his or her responsibility, there are steps you can take.

Build a case

Home-Inventory-NoLettingGoIf a landlord is flat out refusing to do repairs or is ignoring your repeated requests, it may be that you have to take legal action; but before doing this you will need to build a strong case, which requires the help of a home or flat inventory company.

An inventory report is generally carried out before a tenant moves into a property and after they move out. However, it is possible to have in-depth reports quarterly, yearly, or at the mid-point in a tenancy agreement. By compiling a report, home or flat inventories can show clear evidence of damage and how a property has deteriorated since a previous report.

In addition to this, you should compile your own portfolio of evidence, by taking photographs of required repairs, copies of medical notes showing proof of your health being affected by the problem, receipts for any money spent on trying to fix the problem, and copies of letters sent to a landlord in relation to repairs.

While building a case, you should continually write to your landlord about the issue.

Contact Housing Standards Team

The next step is to contact your local council housing standards team. Housing standards are committed to ensuring all properties within their borough meet acceptable living conditions. Housing standards will ask for details and evidence of disrepair as well as name and contact details of the landlord. They will then arrange to visit the property and inspect the damage. At this time, the landlord will be contacted and given the opportunity to undertake all repairs. If he or she fails to do so, the council may serve statuary notices, followed by court action.

Taking legal action         

House-Repairs-NoLettingGoIt may be possible to take your landlord to court where an order can be given for necessary repair works to be carried out and possible compensation paid to you for inconvenience, damage to personal property and health caused by repairs not being done. Before taking this step though, you should be aware that court action can be a long and expensive process and should always be a last resort.

It is essential that you speak to your solicitor or to Citizen’s Advice before making a decision on legal action, and find out if you are eligible for legal aid. The evidence compiled by a home and flat inventory company and yourself will ensure you stand a good chance of winning in court; however, only ever proceed after having received comprehensive legal advice.

Photo sources: roaringapps.com – everythingsimple.com

Posted in Landlords, Lettings, Property Rental | Tagged landlords, legal advice, renting, Repairs | Comments Off

How selling the benefits of the local area can pay dividends for landlords

London-Areas-NoLettingGoThere’s no doubt that the process of finding tenants for your property has been made far easier thanks to the web, but are landlords using online resources effectively to maximise revenue off the back of increased demand?

When it comes to property, location is everything, but often that maxim is never fruitfully applied to the rental market where competition for properties in certain parts of UK ensures that even the most run-down rooms in less-than-desirable neighbourhoods command a battle for occupancy.

If you’re a landlord, why not try following these 3 simple steps to ensure that increased demand results in increased rent as a result?

Step 1: Understand the value that the local area brings to your property

No man is an island, wrote the poet John Donne, but equally, no property is either. Understanding how local amenities create demand is key to pricing your rent effectively.

Recent research from LSE suggests that a property in the close vicinity of a school rated Outstanding can be worth up to 8% more than those near to merely satisfactory schools. Schools, parks, leisure facilities, open spaces, great pubs and restaurants all act to push up the desirability of an area, and it’s only right that properties ticking all the boxes should command a premium. In fact, anecdotal evidence from Savills indicates that even the smallest things can have an impact: homes that have Waitrose as their local supermarket are typically worth 10% more than those with access to other brands.

ACTION: Identify all the potential selling points for the local area and try to assess the uplift in value that each one brings

London-Underground-Map-NoLettingGoStep 2: Prepare an information pack outlining the neighbourhood benefits

There’s no doubting that property particulars are important, but have you considered providing prospective tenants with an information pack about the local area? As well as being an excellent way to demostrate your utility and support as a potential landlord, it’s another great tool for helping tenants understand the triggers that are creating local demand for housing.

Don’t stop there though; use the information pack to highlight why there’s such interest in your property and why it might be worth paying more for ready access to a neighbourhood containing everything a tenant might need.

ACTION: Create or download information packs for your property to sell the benefits of the local area

Step 3: Understand the demographic demand of the area

Demographically, property values and household income used to be closely intertwined, but over time the link is becoming looser and looser, particularly in densely-populated urban areas. If you want to maximise rental income, it’s important to understand the demographics of those creating demand in the area – and to respond to that need with an appropriate rental price. High-income city workers might consider living in less affluent areas for reasons of convenience and accessibility, and in some instances that demand can allow landlords to increase rents above the local market average.

ACTION: Research the demographics of those moving into the area and pitch your pricing at the trend, not those already living there

Author: Barry Bridges is the Co-Founder of Property Detective; a powerful tool that helps landlords, buyers and tenants research more intelligently the local issues affecting a property. He writes about property research, data and due diligence on their blog: www.propertydetective.com/blog

Photo sources: flickr.com/photos/ingythewingy – flickr.com/photos/neshuma

Posted in Landlords | Tagged demographic, London area, moving | Comments Off

5 Things every student should know before renting

student-renting-nolettinggoLeaving the family home to live in rented accommodation as a student is as daunting as it is exciting. The thoughts of a student are generally consumed by studying and socialising rather than the responsibilities of running a home and living with others. However, the good parts of being a student are definitely made easier if you know your rights and are organised when it comes renting. For the most part, landlords are genuine and caring people that are a joy to deal with, but there also some out there that are not so pleasant and can make your tenancy a misery if you allow yourself to be taken advantage of.

To make your rental experience a memorable one for the right reasons, here are five things that every student should know before renting.

1. Landlords are obligated to protect your deposit

Since April 6, 2007, landlords have a legal obligation to protect the deposits of tenants under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Landlords must safeguard deposits in one of three government schemes and inform tenants as to which scheme they are using within 30 days of receiving payment.

2. Don’t rent without an inventory

UK property inventories are provided by specialised inventory services and are designed to monitor the condition of a property and its contents before a tenant moves in and just before they move out. Having an inventory in place helps prevent disputes between landlord and tenant over damages that could result is the withholding of a deposit. If the landlord does not provide you with an inventory to sign, as the tenant you are well advised to compile your own. It is possible to do this yourself using photos and written descriptions; however, using one of the many qualified rental inventory services in the UK will ensure a much more comprehensive document.

3. You must abide by the rental agreement

As a tenant, it is important that you fully understand and adhere to the rental agreement provided by the landlord. The agreement will determine what is and is not possible in the house (i.e. pets, smoking, modifications) and you may be evicted and lose your deposit if you do not abide by the rules. If you wish to make any changes to the property, make sure to first seek permission from the landlord in writing.

4. You may not have to pay council tax

If you are a full-time student, you will be exempt from paying council tax; part-time students, though, will not be. When renting with other students it is wise to stick with people undertaking the same length of study. If you are a full-time student, try to share with other full-time students and vice-versa

property-to-let-students-nolettinggo5. Landlords are responsible for most repairs

Landlords have a ‘duty of care’ to tenants that involves carrying out most major exterior and structural repairs. Any problems related to the roof, walls, guttering, chimney, and drains must be carried out by the landlord. It is also their responsibility to ensure water, gas, and electricity is always in safe working order.

Most rental agreements will make it the tenants’ responsibility to take care of minor repairs and maintenance related to furniture, décor, and gardens.

Bills aside, renting a home should be an enjoyable experience and armed with these five tips it should be exactly that. One thing you should not forget at the end of your tenancy, though, is your deposit. To get your money back, make sure home or flat inventories have been carried out and signed by both parties. After three years of hard partying, you’ll need that money more than ever!

Photo sources: libguides.blc.edu – flickr.com

Posted in Property Rental | Tagged Inventory Services, Student Accommodation | Comments Off

How a landlord should prepare to go on holiday

Landlord-on-holiday-nolettinggoSummer is here which means its holiday time and a chance to escape the daily stresses and struggles that come with being a landlord. While they may be stereotyped as being a serious bunch, landlords like to have fun just like everybody else, and a summer holiday is one of the few times a year that they get to swap that stern expression for a smiley one. However, being a landlord means that it’s not possible to just pack a suitcase of leave; you have a duty of care to tenants and thorough preparation is needed before embarking on a well-earned break away from the UK. Property inventories need to be taken care of, tenants need to be informed of your plans, and contacts need to be arranged before you even think about which swim trunks to pack.

If you are a landlord planning a holiday, here are a few steps you need to take to ensure everything runs smoothly in your absence.

Notify your tenants

The first thing you will need to do is notify your tenants that you will be away. You never know what is going to happen to a property in your absence and there is a chance that your tenants may need to contact you. It is best to give tenants as much notice as possible that you are going to be away and provide them with dates, contact details, and emergency contact details in writing. Send all letters to tenants by recorded delivery so that you can be sure they have received the information.

Arrange an emergency contact

landlord-responsability-on-holidayYou owe it to yourself to distance yourself from work as much as possible and, while you should always remain contactable, it is best to hand over responsibilities to someone that you trust. Whether that happens to be a family member or a friend, ensure that they have everything needed to deal with every eventuality.

When your emergency contact is running things in the UK, property inventories, rental agreements with new tenants and pre-existing repairs should all have been taken care of before you leave. Provide your contact with the following list of items:

  • all keys to all properties, garages, units and lock-ups
  • contact details for all tenants including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
  • money to pay for any unexpected bills (i.e. any emergency repairs that need to be carried out)
  • a list of contractors that you regularly use in case of emergency repairs
  • details on how you can be contacted (i.e. phone number, email address, hotel details).

You should also personally take your contact to each rental property and show them how to access and turn off water, gas, and electricity in the event of an emergency.

There is a lot of work that goes in to having a relaxing holiday as a landlord, but if you want to forget about rental inventory services, UK tenancy deposit schemes and rental agreements for just two weeks of the year, you have to prepare. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail – do not give your tenants reason to disturb your holiday!

Photo sources: commons.wikimedia.org – Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Landlords | Tagged holiday, landlord | Comments Off

Landlord Vs. Pets: is it time to allow pets indoors?

dog-separation-anxietyBritain is a nation of pet lovers. According to latest statistics by National Pet Month, a massive 48% of UK households have at least one pet – that’s 13 million homes across the UK! Taking these statistics to be true, that means the majority of homes (52%) are occupied by people without pets, and with around 3.84 million homes in the UK being rented properties, we can easily assume that a large proportion living as tenants are without furry, feathered or scaly companions.

In the aftermath of the recession, demand for rental properties increased dramatically; however, the number of pet victims increased in kind. Most landlords refuse to allow pets in their properties, resulting in many people having to give up their dogs, cats, birds, and other forbidden pets.

Most landlords see pets as a hassle. They often fear that properties vacated by pet owners will result in significant damage that will not only cost money to repair, but be off-putting to prospective new tenants. However, with the number of loving pet-owners desperately looking for rental property, is it time for landlords to rethink their stance?

No pets allowed

Looking at things from a landlords point of view, there are legitimate reasons for not wanting to allow pets into a home:

  • Damage – animals can scratch and chew walls and floors and cause damage to furniture.
  • Disgruntled neighbours – barking dogs and squawking birds can be annoying for close neighbours.
  • Odours – animals that are not properly groomed or have accidents inside or outside properties can lead to long-lasting odours.
  • Liability – pets may pose the risk of biting or attacking other tenants or neighbours.

As a landlord hiring a UK wide inventory company to check over a rental property, any of the above showing in a report will be far from ideal. However, there are a number of positives to allowing pets that make the proposition a lot more appealing.

Pets welcome

dogs-in-the-houseThere is a genuine gap in the market for rental properties that allow pets and making a house or flat pet-friendly can really expand the prospective tenant pool. Given the fact that pet-loving landlords are hard to find, there is also the opportunity of increasing rent amounts. People would much rather pay more to rent a home than face the alternative of getting rid of a pet.

Another plus side of the general lack of available properties allowing pets is the fact that tenants will be more likely to stay in a home for longer.

Pet proofing

Home inventories coming back with reports of damage and odours is the main reason for the refusal of pets, but there are ways to counter this: firstly, you can pet-proof your property with pet-friendly carpets, cork-based Vi-Plank flooring and carpet tiles. Secondly, you can add additional clauses to rental agreements that cover the returning of a property to its original pet-free state, and finally, ask for a larger deposit.

Rather than worrying about what home and flat inventories are going to say, think about the extra money and monthly income that could be earned as a landlord that allows pets, and how happy you could make pet-loving families in the process!

Photo sources: blog.sfgate.com – dog-milk.com

Posted in Landlords | Tagged pets, property inventory, renting | Comments Off

Life of an inventory clerk – Swindon & Cotswolds local branch

Have you ever wondered how the life of a professional inventory clerk is? We decided to ask directly to our franchisees and share with you their professional experiences but also any light hearted or intriguing anecdotes. The first ones to answer our questions are Alison & Mark from the No Letting Go Swindon & Cotswolds local branch.

1) Some of our readers may be unsure as to what is involved in your line of work. Shed some light by telling us about a typical day in the life of a professional inventory clerk.

Independently and impartially carrying out a detailed inventory of and reporting on condition and cleanliness of properties primarily in the residential lettings sector before, during and after a tenancy has taken place. A typical day will involve liaising with letting agents / landlords and tenants in order to make this happen!

2) As a professional inventory clerk it is essential that you have an eye for detail; what other skills would you consider essential to do the job well?

To-Let-Agency-NoLettingGo

Photo: geograph.ie

Empathy, enthusiasm, resolve, impartiality, flexibility, initiative and resilience!!

3) How might a landlord prepare for an inventory?

Ensure in good decorative order with carpets professionally cleaned and vacuumed, all rubbish/ unwanted items removed, kitchen and bathrooms , flooring and woodwork all professionally cleaned throughout.

4) When moving house, stuff is constantly being shifted about from place to place and it is all too easy to overlook the odd item when packing. You must have come across some oddities during your time as an inventory clerk. What are the five strangest items you have found in a property during check out?

Wardrobe novelty door knob decorations such as soft toys/ hearts etc, a leather whip, , a straw boater hat and recipe cards to name a few!

5) Property is hot business at the minute, often seen as a great investment if managed properly. If you could offer three tips for new landlords wanting to let their properties what would they be?

Maintain it. Have it professionally cleaned and arrange a detailed, impartial and professional inventory make.

6) Landlords and tenants are two of a kind; they can be great, a perfect match but they can also be high maintenance, occasionally apathetic and sometimes complacent. What are the three most typical complaints landlords have in relation to the inventory market?

  • Poor quality reports from previous inventory providers
  • Tenants leaving the place in a worse condition than taken on, most of the time not technically correct as they often have a ‘rose tinted view’ of their own properties
  • Missing / damaged items or appliances

7) And what about the tenants, do you ever receive any complaints from them if so what are typical complaints and are they always justified?

  • Non- completed tasks / actions by landlord or through letting agent such as phone points that were supposed to have been installed
  • Grass cutting before tenancy
  • Cleanliness or lack of it! in relation to the property

8) Animal lovers can often be dismayed when moving into rented accommodation as many landlords do not allow pets to be kept within their property. In your experience, what implications and issues does owning a pet have on a property?

  • Wear & tear on carpets
  • Build up of pet hair
  • Smell
  • Cleanliness
538030708_3289eec9f3_o

Photo: flickr.com/Mike K

9) You must have held the keys to a fair few houses in your time: from the elegant to the beautifully designed to the stunningly decorated. Can you tell us about any interesting houses you’ve come across?

48 room 138 page inventory on an 11 bedroom, 7 bathroom country house with swimming pool, tennis courts, changing rooms, walled garden and stable blocks & outbuildings. A number of large farmhouses all with seemingly single people moving in!!

10) On the No Letting Go website it states: “No Letting Go will provide peace of mind and ensure no horrible surprises”, give us an example of any “horrible surprises” you’ve encountered.

  • On a job in a rural location everything was prepared meticulously by the both agent and landlord with carpets professionally cleaned and even re-stretched,  yet when we arrived to carry out the inventory make , overnight a Jackdaw had fallen down the chimney and marked the carpets again with loose carbon from the chimney and had several accidents shall we say, scared in a corner we managed to get him outside and contacted the agent  bringing the tenants attention to it at check in but adding that additional cleaning was being arranged as we carried it out!
  • Upon carrying out a inventory on a newly renovated property the landlord said would be clear but they had still been living in the property , were pulling cables through the ceiling still for inset spotlights and even though there were ‘glass walls’ upstairs  the landlords partner was running around half naked !!

11) There are many routes towards owning your own business, what compelled you to become an inventory franchisee, has it been a wise decision and how much did you know about the world of inventories previously?

General interest in / passion for property. Not sure yet as still early days yet love the work but need it to provide a better income level & no not really!!

12) Would you recommend inventory management as a career for others?

Yes, if you are hard working, adaptable, flexible, self- reliant and personable you’ll do very well.

Posted in Franchise, Home Based Business, Property Inventory Management | Tagged Franchise, inventory clerk, Property Inventory Management, Swindon & Cotswolds | Comments Off

Disputes are determined at the start of a tenancy, not the end

The importance of Inventory Management Reports.

The importance of correct paperwork when letting a property cannot be underestimated. There are over 55 pieces of legislation to rent a single property and all require adhering too. Mostly, this legislation can be effectively managed at the start of the tenancy.

Condition and misuse of property reporting comes under the general term of Inventory Management reporting. These reports cover:

  1. Inventory and Schedule of Condition – a detailed professionally prepared aesthetic description of the internals and externals of a property, an inventory of all fixtures and fittings and their condition.
  2. Check In – the process of agreeing the inventory, the condition and cleanliness with the incoming tenant and registering of meters and keys.
  3. Property Visits – mid-term periodic inspections to check that the property is not being misused and that the tenant is adhering to the tenancy agreement.
  4. Check Out with Damage and Dilapidations – the report that determines the change between the start and the end of the tenancy, lists damages, missing items, the state of the cleanliness, property and garden condition, outstanding or due maintenance items, meters read and keys returned. The check out is carried out as the last act of the tenancy and is therefore usually carried out on the last day of tenancy.

Should the dispute end up at adjudication with one of the deposit schemes (ADR), the requirements for inventory management documentation are clearly defined as crucial. The onus is on the landlord to show why they are entitled to claim money from the deposit. The landlord must support their claim with robust and reliable evidence to show that the tenant has broken the tenancy agreement, and that the landlord has suffered, or is likely to suffer, a loss as a result.

The dispute service states the following:

“…..inventories that are not prepared by independent companies or individuals…..are likely to place less weight on their contents. It may also be necessary for a landlord to provide more corroborating evidence to show the condition of the property than would normally be required if the process was carried out by qualified and independent inventory clerks”.

“where landlords use their agents to conduct their check-in and check-out inspections………there is an added need to show that the process, and the person undertaking the inspection, was impartial. Adjudicators will take into consideration the general circumstances and relationship between the parties in determining what weight to put on the evidence”

“…..where a landlord puts the onus on the tenant to complete their own check in inspection, this type of check in is far less robust than a ‘full’ check in”.

“Just providing an inventory to the tenant and expecting them to note any discrepancies, or relying on a document that has not been signed, will not be sufficient to convince an adjudicator; the landlord will need to provide other evidence to show that their expectations and the tenant’s obligations were fully explained to the tenant”.

“Where a check-in is challenged by the tenant, a full audit trail of what remedial action has occurred should be provided and a revised check-in agreed and signed”

Further information on the requirements of the deposit schemes and other useful articles on inventory management can be found http://www.nolettinggo.co.uk/property-inventory-articles.html

 

Posted in Property Inventory Management | Tagged disputes, property | Comments Off

Demanding Tenants

I received a call from a tenant the other day; he had moved into a property with his partner and had sent the landlord a long list of issues on day one. The landlord kept his response simple, “Sorry, sold as seen” and as far as he was concerned that was it. The tenants subsequently sent me the list and asked for my advice on their position. Here’s the list:

  1. Lounge walls have lots of scuff marks and needs an immediate re-paint
  2. Chest of drawers in second bedroom not opening smoothly and needs repairing
  3. Mould in sealant around the bath needs replacing
  4. Cushions on the sofa are very flat and uncomfortable
  5. Only 3 dining room chairs at the table which should have 4
  6. Lock on the master bedroom door doesn’t work

I can see the landlords point;the tenant saw the house online, viewed the property with the estate agents and wanted it as it was. Yes there are a couple of understandable points within the tenants list, but I imagine on reading it the landlord had the sudden realisation he had some rather pedantic tenants on his hands for the next year! Then I thought are these tenants pedantic or are they just house proud? They have gone through the flat and are not happy about scuff marked walls and mould around the edge of their bath.

I once had two male tenants,professional sharers just out of uniin one of my flats. At the first maintenance inspection three months in they had not even unpacked their moving boxes and it was pretty evident they didn’t clean the bathroom or kitchen either. At the end of the tenancy the mould on the shower and bath seals was almost coming alive!

What I am saying is, is it so bad that you have picky tenants? Are they just trying to make a home for themselves? Surely landlords can be safer in the knowledge that they are taking pride in looking after your investment property as if it was their own rather than using and abusing it leaving you a royal mess to deal with before you can find tenants when they vacate.

As a landlord it’s worth being reasonable when it comes to these kind of demands, maybe give in a little at the start, a couple of hundred pounds on a handy man putting a few things right to get off on the right foot could well be a good investment. Let’s be honest it’s your property and furniture you are improving and tenants who complain about things like scuff marks will probably look after their newly painted walls leaving them in a good state of repair for the next tenants. But be firm and set out exactly what needs doing and what they can expect from you with regards to maintenance in the future, taking this approach should avoid to do lists every month or so!

At the end of the day if your tenants are happy in their rental home they will treat your property with care and respect, they are also far more likely to want to extend their contract if they are happy and along with rental payments being made on time that’s all you want as a landlord isn’t it?

We know that you can’t rely on the luck of having caring tenants when it comes to your flat: take a look at our national property check services.

Posted in Lettings, Property Rental | Tagged letting agents, rental inventory, tenants | Comments Off

Is it easy running your own franchise business from home?

Lots of people dream about running their own business – for reasons which range from escaping the commute, spending more time with family or to simply fulfill an ambition and earn more money.

Working from home - No Letting Go

Working from home – No Letting Go offer great franchising opportunities

And one of the best ways to begin is to become a franchisee which will help you become quickly established with a business that is tried and tested.

Having a franchise means you will get the help and support you need for your business to do well and this is where becoming a franchisee for No Letting Go becomes a win-win situation.

You don’t need expensive overheads such as an office, you don’t need prior experience of the property market – you just need a computer, access to the internet and a ‘can do’ attitude.

Nick Lyons is the managing director of No Letting Go and he says: “Running a business from home is tough but the upside outweighs the downside – there’s no commuting, there is lots of flexibility, it’s cheap to do and you do get to spend more time with your family.

“However, there’s no getting away from the fact that you will have to work extra hard in networking, getting out and mixing with client prospects and then you have the possible loneliness because you don’t mix with other people as you may have done previously.”

As a home-based No Letting Go franchise you may still have clients visiting so you can’t afford to be sat around in your pyjamas all day long and you still have to report to a regional office.

Nick adds: “Franchising is a great opportunity for the right people. The reward potential is enormous but it still requires energy, discipline and dedication to be successful.”

There are franchising opportunities for a wide range of industries and No Letting Go have become the leaders in what is termed inventory management. That is when an inventory is made at a property for the landlord which is independent as well as being fair and accurate.

Like many opportunities, franchising is about what you put into it. It is not a short cut to success and you will need to be professional in your outlook and establish a routine that works for you which means no slacking to watch TV or entertaining people to coffee on a regular basis.

It also means that you need an office space which, ideally, has a door so you can keep distractions and family on the other side of it. Everyone needs to understand that when the door is closed, then you are at ‘work’ and should not be disturbed.

It’s only natural that some people won’t understand the difference and think that being at home means you are available for chores or favours. You will have to be firm – relent once and it will become a common feature and will lead to working for longer trying to get the work done.

Some people will also struggle to get their ‘business head on’ which is to say they don’t commute and don’t have that time between home and work to focus from one place to the next. It helps to dress as if you are going out to work.

The next big issue is spending long periods by yourself. Let’s be honest: after years of working in hectic office environments, this is going to take some getting used to.

You will need to structure your day and allocate time to achieving a set list of tasks. You will also need regular breaks from the computer and to get some fresh air and exercise. Do not start playing computer games or over-indulging in social media such as Facebook or Twitter – turn them off and you will reap the rewards.

It may also be a great idea to start networking and joining business clubs (especially if you become a franchisee of No Letting Go because the potential contacts you make could bring money in).

Finally, working from home is a great way to earn a living but if you don’t take time to make friends and create new networks then who will you boast to about your successes?

For more information about becoming a franchisee with the fast-expanding business No Letting Go, then visit: http://www.nolettinggo.co.uk/join-our-inventory-management-team.html or call 0800 8815 366.

No Letting Go are the UK’s leading provider of inventory management services, providing check in and check out services, property inventory and condition reports and specialist on site services to landlords, lettings agents and property professionals.

Posted in Franchise, Home Based Business, Landlords | Tagged franchise opportunities, No Letting Go, Property Inventory Management, Property management | Comments Off