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Keeping properties safe, within the law, and choosing the right tenants are three of the most important aspects of ‘best practice’. Whether you are using a lettings agency or managing a property yourself, there are now many legal obligations to comply with, and although letting agents earn income from landlords to provide a service (tenant find to fully-managed), it is important not to forget tenants, especially in this new social world!
Dharmesh and Jyoti Patadia, co-founders and directors of D + J Lettings, are multi-property landlords who have experienced almost every situation a landlord can face and their priority is building good relations with both landlords and tenants. Dharmesh comments: “We have had a number of our tenants become landlords and many of our tenants, when they need to change the property they are renting, actively look through our property portfolio to continue renting with us.
“From a landlord’s point of view getting the right tenant is THE most important thing. We check for affordability to ensure that they can pay their rent and review their background and history to see if they will take care to look after a property. “In addition to application forms, credit referencing and general background checks we also do online checks on social media. We know what to look out for and we would not put any tenants in our landlords’ properties that we would not consider putting in our own.
“In lettings, both landlords and letting agents are of course bound by many legal obligations, and rightly so; we know there are rogue agents and landlords that unfortunately bring discredit to our industry. Bringing in right-to-rent immigration checks last year, having various health and safety checks, following fire safety regulations and complying with gas safety regulations are just a few of the regulations – all of which we agree should be in place and that we check our landlords comply with.
“We pride ourselves in providing a good service and, more importantly, developing relationships. We know sometimes things do go wrong: people lose their jobs through no fault of their own, a property gets damaged or something random happens, like freak weather that we have no control over. The key priority here is to ensure everyone communicates with each other and acts quickly, and with good relations with tenants and landlords it helps us to solve any issues or problems that occur.”
Alison MacDougall, Deputy Director Dispute Resolution at the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, gave her tip for best practice at the D + J Lettings Conference: “The essence of getting through a tenancy and everyone feeling good about it is to have good communications between landlords and tenants.”
Dharmesh continues: “Property condition reports and inventories are the most important documents to consider in best practice. If you are a new landlord and considering managing a property alone it is very important to get as much detail as you can in both these reports; for tenants it is key that you check the details on the inventory when you move in as it can save on any issues when you move out.
“Our regular inspection reports contain photos of the outside of the house, garden and every room in the house, with details of the condition and any maintenance needed. Our property managers then co-ordinate any maintenance required, communicating with both tenants and landlords.
Twelve top tips for new landlords who want to manage a property:
o Find the right tenant
o Do comprehensive referencing
o Undertake background checks
o Comply with all the regulations
o Lodge deposits with any authorised tenancy protection scheme
o Consider client money protection
o Always follow up any late payments quickly
o Undertake an in-depth inventory with photos
o Do regular inspections with photos o Maintain the property well
o Deal with enquiries quickly o Keep lines of communication open
If you decide to choose an agent and you can consider using one to help you market the property, or agents to provide full management, we recommend you seek those qualified by ALRA and with local knowledge and experience.
If you would like to know more or would like to attend one of our landlord masterclasses, contact: Dharmesh Patadia, D + J Lettings on 01462 455434. Include the photograph: Dharmesh Patadia, Director and Co-Founder and expert in lettings