A ‘Diet’ for Private Sector Landlords

We all know about a healthy diet. We know it should be balanced, with fats, carbohydrates and proteins providing essential vitamins and minerals to ensure that there are sufficient nutrients to build a healthy body.

Though we are hammered, almost on as a daily event, with television programmes about diet, exercise, self-restraint in what we eat, we all know one or more people who do not always follow the common-sense rules of healthy eating. 

It could be the child who is a faddy eater, the teenager who exists on chips and baked beans, the adults who refuse to eat fruit – all of these may mean that extra measures are needed if good health is to be maintained. There are other times in life when the modern diet may not provide adequately what is needed, when we are very young, or elderly, or vulnerable. We do not argue when we need to take additional vitamins, iron tablets, fish oil capsules for the joints.

What has this to do with private renting? The normal business of private renting is like the healthy diet that is recommended. The good landlord has good, clear paperwork and an excellent tenancy agreement. These are the basis of a good meal for the private landlord. They have the additions, to make the meal more attractive, in an excellent referencing procedure and a good deposit (protected by one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes).

They have photographs of the property and a very detailed inventory; the rent will be payable monthly in advance direct to the landlord’s bank account. That should be enough to meet the appetite of any landlord, but what about the dessert, the little extra sweet to finish the meal off? Good landlords, who interview correctly and in depth, can find they take not only a good tenant, but one who appreciates them and willingly plays a part in maintaining the property to the standard the landlord wants it to remain at.

Sadly, many landlords find that despite their efforts and the happy start they made, the tenancy does not remain in good health.

The rent payments stop – a definite lack in the diet there! They buy a huge dog without your permission – the equivalent to adding something very bad to the diet!

The neighbours start complaining about loud parties which disturb their peace – the bingeing of the private sector world!

If the landlord is inexperienced, or going through difficult situations in their personal lives, they are the vulnerable and quite likely to be taken advantage of by canny tenants.

When these situations occur, they cannot be cured by a tablet, but sometimes by a very bitter pill. They need the advice of experts; they are the vitamins that can cure the situation. Some go to solicitors and suffer the exorbitant charges they make.

Prevention is better than cure, so take preventative medicine. Join a landlord association, subscribe to Residential Landlord and learn from what they tell you. They can offer excellent advice at a fraction of the cost of a solicitor. Eviction, where there are grounds or where a s.21 is used, is well within the capabilities of the landlord who establishes his tenancies on a sound basis.

Only when the tenant chooses to use a solicitor himself, is it probably safest to involve a solicitor. The tenant’s solicitor will only take a case where they believe they can make money, so it needs someone equally committed to winning the case against the tenant.

A good diet, both physically and in the private sector, keeps the body and the sector healthy. Don’t quibble. Take the medicine when it is needed.

For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon

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