14th December 2018
Legislation. Compliance. Rules. Regulation. Words that can strike fear and disillusionment into the hearts and minds of many landlords. 2018 has been a regulation heavy year and I find more and more landlords asking me the question… Is it all worth it Angie? I think most readers will know my answer and of course it is YES, it is still very much worth it! Like any industry the professional lettings sector goes through times of turbulence and times of change and it can be difficult to see through the legislation haze and remain calm. That is where a managing agent is worth their weight in gold!
We all have busy lives and I think it’s safe to say that people rarely like change so the fast-paced rentals market can have landlords thinking they should “jump ship” when waters get choppy with new legislation and compliance being thrown at them from every angle. However, the best advice I can give is to continue to treat your property as a professional investment and safeguard it as best you can by instructing a professional managing agent who is equipped to tackle all of the legislative challenges for you. If you go it alone to save money you may end up drowning in confusion and run the risk of heavy fines if you fall foul of the legislation.
The team at Moores attend regular seminars to keep well informed of legislative changes. We also take part in webinars, training courses and undertake exams all of which ensure we are fully informed of every change which enters the industry. It is our job to know the industry inside out and we can ensure that a landlord remains fully informed and protected when new rules are brought into play. 2018 has seen changes to energy efficiency rules, reductions in tax relief, GDPR and 5-year electrical safety checks… the list also doesn’t stop there with dates still to be announced on several more changes in the pipeline.
The 1st April 2018 saw the introduction of Minimum Energy Levels for Energy Performance Certificates. The thought of this panicked a number of landlords that I spoke to when visiting their homes to value their property. However, our management clients had already been contacted in 2017 with our plan of action for this legislative change to ensure that if their property was affected then we could find a solution before 1st April 2018. With a portfolio just shy of 500 properties we only had 18 properties troubled by this and preparing in advance allowed us to do the minor upgrade work needed to ensure that all of our properties were compliant in time for April. This meant that every property could remain tenanted and be marketed without any delay. Preparation is key to keeping ahead of industry changes.
The How To Rent Guide was updated again in June 2018 and our system was immediately amended to ensure we provide new tenants with the correct information at the start of their tenancy as stipulated in the updated legislation. I know there will be plenty of landlords that don’t supply this document at the start of a tenancy when looking after the property themselves (or provide an out of date one), however it is imperative as failure to do so can invalidate a Section 21 notice which may leave you with a tenant that you cannot remove in the future.
February 2016 saw the introduction of Right To Rent checks which rattled a lot of landlords cages at the time. Now we are over 2 years into this I can report that we have adapted to this change with ease and can assure our landlords are protected by carrying out the Right To Rent check for them and providing them with supporting paperwork. Since its introduction we have declined 2 tenancies (as the applicants were unwilling to provide the relevant information) and we have also had a tenant provide fraudulent information (luckily the landlord was protected as he had used our service which always includes a professional Right To Rent check). This goes to show that landlords can get caught out and with fines of up to £3000 per tenant a landlords wisest choice is to safeguard themselves and instruct a managing agent to protect them.
I can see why landlords become bogged down in legislation and compliance however the best way to combat it is to work with it rather than against it. Inevitably industry changes will be implemented throughout your life as a landlord. More compliance. More Rules. More Red Tape. However, on the flip side this means that the industry is becoming better regulated and a professional & ethical landlord should continue to thrive in these conditions. I’m confident in saying that a landlord with a well-maintained property and quality managing agent will not only succeed in this competitive industry but they will also wonder what all of the fuss is about as they leave it to the professionals. We can navigate the rocky road of legislation and ensure you are protected so that your property investment will continue to prosper.
We are already preparing for 2019 (and beyond) and are planning for the further changes that are coming… are you?