Thursday, 29 June 2017 10:27

Local Landlords Desperate Plea

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Local Landlords Desperate Plea

This month the trade association for inventory clerks called for regulated inventories to become compulsory in the UK lettings market. Not a particularly sensible suggestion and definitely not based on an impartial view or any sensible data, but in the current political environment, even some of the daftest ideas seem to have a habit of growing political capital and becoming 'policy' - so it was not surprising when one of our members decided enough was enough and she had to make  a plea for LESS not MORE regulation.

In her response, she stated "We are becoming increasingly tired of the knee-jerk reactions by Government" and went on to say, "PLEASE ask the government to stop trying to regulate everything Landlords (and Agents) do without properly investigating the pros and cons."  All very sensible in our view, but to see why she has come to these conclusions and some of the supporting information, please read on....

Call for regulated inventories to become compulsory in UK lettings market
I would like to get something off my chest about this particular article (as reported in RLA’s weekly summary).

We carry out our own Inventories, ask the Tenants to sign at check-in but give them 7 days to verify and report back in writing on anything incorrectly reported and/or anything they would like adding for their own peace of mind. It works well!

The reason we prepare our own written and photographic inventories is because we’ve yet to see a ‘professional’ inventory that actually is professional, meets our requirements and is succinct enough. They are also very expensive. By making an inventory regulated, it would mean we would have to outsource, adding to our already substantial overheads, and we would have no confidence in them. We sometimes have to check in new tenants within 24 hours of the outgoing tenants vacating – that wouldn’t be possible if we outsourced.

PLEASE ask the government to stop trying to regulate everything Landlords (and Agents) do without properly investigating the pros and cons. It would appear that government listens to complaints about, mainly, London landlords and agents and assumes we are all the same. I would be very interested in learning how they would ‘regulate’ this particular requirement. We are becoming increasingly tired of the knee-jerk reactions by Government.

Accreditation for all Landlords is, in our opinion, the way forward… that way, weaknesses in Landlords abilities to manage their properties and tenancies correctly can be sifted out and dealt with.

Regulation of Agents is a good idea also but, again, there are still some good Agents about, so assumptions shouldn’t be made.

So far, the following is impacting or is going to impact on our little business:

• Minimum room requirement of 6.5sqm
• Tax on mortgage interest
• Substantial increases in materials and labour costs
• Abolition of one month’s grace period for council tax in empty properties
• Abolition of ‘agent’ fees (we charge £50 only to cover the cost of Referencing, including Right to Rent checks and no further fees during the tenancy or for references provided at the end of a tenancy)

As a consequence, we have reluctantly had to increase almost all of our rents. We have quite a lot of longstanding, loyal, tenants and it’s a shame to have to do this but it has become necessary.

On the subject of abolition of ‘agent’ fees, it would have been much better if government introduced a CAP on fees rather than abolishing them altogether.

Whilst tenants usually have to find one month’s rent in advance plus the equivalent as a Security Deposit – they usually get their Security Deposit back. Paying for a ‘service’ (fee) is not immoral. If a deposit has been correctly lodged under one of the government’s schemes, that scheme has terms and conditions in place to ensure tenants get a fair deal with regard to the return of their deposit and inventories are a crucial aspect – if a landlord or agent hasn’t prepared this well or prepared one at all, then the landlord is the one who suffers, not the tenant, so why the need to regulate?

Please ask them to stop trying to pin Landlords and Agents down to so many rules and regulations… it’s tiring and is fast making what was a really enjoyable job a drudge and incredibly stressful. Government needs the PRS… but they are killing it!

Last modified on Thursday, 29 June 2017 10:46

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