The property industry is facing increasing calls for regulation, as a rise of accidental landlords means that many property owners are unknowingly falling foul of the law. These landlords, who are often letting out their houses because they’re in negative equity and can’t afford to sell, or are workers who’ve moved abroad, often lack the time or expertise to keep up with legislation, meaning lives are being put at risk. With former mayor Boris Johnson’s London Rental Standard attracting just 2,000 landlords across the capital, there are many who feel that landlords should be given lessons and exams at the most, and criminal record checks at the least. With an ambitious new mayor, the following issues may be facing a crackdown.
Wear and tear
Currently, there’s no legal definition for the term “wear and tear”, meaning landlords and tenants spend a great deal of time wrangling over damage done to carpeting, wallpaper or furniture at the end of a tenancy. Although some tenants can’t escape blame for not treading as carefully as they should, all too often landlords have unrealistic expectations about how “lived in” their property will be at the end of the tenancy.
Often the same protective instinct that leads to unrealistic expectations about the state of the soft furnishings, leads amateur landlords to believe they can inspect their property on a whim. They believe that because it was once their home, they have a right to view it anytime. The reality is – tenants are legally entitled to be notified of an inspection at least 24 hours in advance of the visit.
We all know that repairs can be costly and it’s frustrating to have to upgrade things in a property that you don’t live in. But landlords must realise that they have a duty of care – if appliances are broken or the house is in disrepair, they must take steps to resolve the issues, just as tenants should treat the property with the same respect they would afford their own. This problem is further exacerbated by many landlords being unaware of what they are legally responsible for fixing, and what responsibilities their tenants have.
Most accidental landlords believe that they simply need to serve their tenants with a one-month notice period to vacate or activate a break clause, but the process is actually a little more complicated. Legally, at the end of a tenancy landlords now need to give their tenants two months notice and serve them with a Section 21 notice if they want them to leave. In order to serve a Section 21 notice, there are a number of actions that a landlord has to undertake at the start of the tenancy.
For professional landlords, keeping up with legislation may be time consuming, but for those who have a day job, it can be intimidating and confusing as well, particularly as the rules seem to keep shifting.
This is why it’s incredibly valuable to trust your property with a reputable property manager. And savvy property managers will take advantage of software like Letflo to ensure that all their processes are safely compliant.
Letflo makes it our business to keep track of what’s needed to stay compliant and when. Your documents are all time-stamped and provided to tenants in a way that can be relied upon, so your records are audit-ready, and you can prove you’ve given tenants the right info at the right time. Best of all, as the processes develop, so too will Letflo. Ensure your property is protected by making sure your property manager uses Letflo to prove they’ve remained compliant with legislation.