There are certain key issues that matter to all landlords. They need renters who are reliable, will pay their rent on time and not damage the property or disrupt other tenants. It’s important to make sure empty places are rented out as quickly as possible because an empty property means no money is coming in. Landlords also want to keep the cost of repairs and maintenance to a minimum while still complying with legislation.
But one of the most important factors is the landlord’s relationship with their letting agent. A significant majority of landlords have a main career alongside their portfolio so rely on an agent to manage their properties. There are several ways this critical relationship can fail and how it can be improved.
Poor communication and record keeping
Letting agents tend to be diligent at the initial stage of their business relationship with the landlord, staying in close contact through phone calls and emails whilst the contracts are being sorted out.
However, once this is set up, landlords sometimes find that communication reduces, leading to them feeling out of the loop. This is understandable to a degree as letting agents are usually responsible for several properties but it’s important to maintain a good relationship between agent and landlord.
A good idea is to schedule regular check-ins with the landlord to discuss any issues, no matter how minor. A brief phone call or email can keep both parties happy and connected. This requires efficient and accurate record-keeping and scheduling so you can see at a glance how things stand and if anything needs acting on.
Some of the most tedious and stressful parts of the property business are the quarterly inspections and emergency repairs that need executing. There’s the gas safety assessment and appliances that need fixing, not to mention issues with plumbing and electrics that require qualified tradespeople. This is usually a key reason why the landlord hired an agent in the first place, but due to the time-sensitive nature of the work it’s easy for oversights to occur.
This can lead to serious problems. A property with a leaking roof or black mold on the walls, for instance, is unlikely to attract tenants, leading to lengthy void periods. And once tenants are in, if repairs aren’t carried out the tenants may become unreliable, even withholding rent until the issues are fixed. Keeping meticulous records can help avoid these problems, but having a reliable team of tradespeople is even more important to ensure any problems are dealt with quickly and effectively.
Lettings agents are also usually responsible for choosing tenants. No landlord wants unreliable tenants who have no intention of paying the rent or disruptive parties who scare off fellow renters, so make sure you have extensive vetting procedures to root them out well in advance.
As soon as an issue is reported it’s the role of the letting agent to manage them to a high standard, recording the issue in detail and providing an immediate time frame for a solution. For example, if the property has a leaking roof, concerns can be kept to a minimum simply by the agent keeping both tenant and landlord updated about what action has been taken.
Be sure to keep all parties informed at every stage – this will ease the worries of both tenant and landlord. Not least because there is a body of legislation covering property complaints. If procedures aren’t met there can be serious consequences including court cases and fines. When it comes to complaints, it’s in everybody’s best interests to act quickly and decisively while making sure to keep everyone in-the-know.