Elephant Traps in Lettings

There is no doubt that there are many, many potential problems to trap the unwary landlord. We set out below a few of the main ones and would welcome your views on the others you have come across.

1.    Find the right tenant - High quality referencing is essential and helps to avoid later problems. Checks include County Court Judgement, Court Decrees, Credit History and Bankruptcy together with a Right to Rent and conversations with relevant personnel such as employers and previous landlords. 

2.    Detailed inventory - Over the years, we have developed a very strong inventory procedure and this really comes into its own when there are differences of opinion between tenant and agent as to whether a property has been left as it was found. 

3.    Tenancy deposit regulations - Every deposit has to be registered and re-registered every time a tenancy is renewed. Failure to comply can result in a fine of 3x the monthly rent. It will also remove any opportunity to serve a Section 21 notice.

4.    Handling complaints properly - Whatever happens, do not allow the property to fall into disrepair and be aware that a tenant can approach the local authority to complain if there are repairs needed. You have 14 days to respond to a tenant’s complaint.

5.    Ensuring a clean exit for a bad tenant - Ensure you serve Section 21 at the correct time – a minimum of 2 months before the end and not less than 4 months after the start of the tenancy. Note how it needs to be served – preferably not by registered post.

By Richard Hair

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