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Five common worries for a Liverpool landlords solved

Here are five potential problems and their simple solutions for anyone thinking of becoming a landlord...

Five common worries for landlords solved

Here are five potential problems and their simple solutions for anyone thinking of becoming a landlord...

What if I fail to find a tenant?
Empty properties and extensive periods of void are among the biggest worries listed by new landlords. However, in the currently buoyant rental climate, a well-presented property that is marketed correctly (and at the right price) shouldn’t be empty for very long... "At Belvoir we ensure that each property is marketed correctly on many property portals, with detailed descriptions and internal photos," said proprietor of Belvoir Bedford Zoe Bywater. "We also advise landlords to give themselves adequate time to find a tenant by advertising the property 4-6 weeks before they want it let as tenants normally look about a month before they need to move in."

Proprietor of Belvoir Macclesfield Rosemary Millican said: "It is vitally important to ensure that the price is right too. A good agent will give you a realistic valuation, but it may also be worth doing your own research of what is currently available to let in the local area, via the property portals. Also think carefully about whether the property is presented well. Don’t put off doing jobs such as cleaning and decorating until you know a tenant wants the property – it may be making the property look un-cared-for. Tenants like to see that the property will be in a good condition and will be well-maintained during their tenancy."

Bywater said: "Finding a tenant should never really be an issue. If you rely on a proactive agent with excellent software that ensures all applicants are aware of any new properties – and the property is priced correctly and interest is monitored – there should not be any issue in finding a tenant."

What if a tenant damages my property?
Extensive malicious damage to a property by a tenant is uncommon but, along with minor and major accidental damage, it can occur... so it is always advisable to be prepared.

"It is worth taking out good landlord insurance which can cover damage caused by the tenants, whether accidental or malicious," said Millican. "Taking a deposit from the tenant is always advisable – but claiming deductions from the deposit can prove difficult if you do not have a good quality inventory and statement of condition signed by the tenant at the start of the tenancy."

Bywater said adequate insurance and a detailed inventory were essential: "A good agent will have taken a thorough inventory with supporting photos. At Belvoir we also ensure that we visit the property after one month, then every three months after that, providing feedback both to the landlord and tenant. This generally minimises the risk and gives the tenant a benchmark as to our expectations.

"Adequate insurance to cover any issues is vital too."

I don’t know anything about the legal side of lettings
If you’re unsure about the legalities involved with letting your property, there are many people who can help. A good professional lettings specialist will always be happy to offer advice and there are many professional bodies that can provide support and information too.

"There are various professional bodies where a landlord can access this information, such as the NLA, NALS, ARLA and the Property Ombudsman," said Bywater. "Also, during our appraisal we would detail all the landlord’s responsibilities and provide the supporting information within our Landlord Information Pack. At Belvoir we also regularly update our landlords on any changes to legislation, via newsletters and email updates."

What if I need to evict a tenant?
"There are many reasons why a landlord may need to start eviction proceedings, all covered by the Housing Act," said Bywater. "A landlord’s first port of call may be to discuss it with their managing agent in order to ascertain the reasons, and to pinpoint the correct notice and relevant legislation."

Proprietor of Belvoir Liverpool West Derby Adam Rastall said: "Evicting a tenant can be a difficult and long process so having a reputable agent help you can make it easier. There are several ways to evict a tenant and this depends on the reasons why you want to evict them – some landlords may just want their property back or the tenant may have fallen into arrears, which is one of the most common reasons why a landlord would want to evict a tenant."

Major Mahil proprietor of Belvoir Birmingham Central said: "A good lettings agent can guide a landlord through the eviction process by giving them step-by-step advice on the legal process, which must be followed and adhered to in the correct manner. If it isn’t there can be many problems, such as non-compliance, and the courts can throw out the case.

"As an example the first steps would usually be to put in place a Section 21 Notice which is a two-month Notice in line with the Housing Act. Thereafter a Section 8 Notice is served and a court date is awaited."

What if I haven’t got time to manage a rental property?
Easy! Get a good property management agency to manage it for you...

"A lot of landlords are busy professional people with little time to spare,” said proprietor of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea Wayne Mearns. "Many want more time with their families and find it increasingly difficult to juggle their lives, jobs and rental property.

"Viewings and rent collection can cause the biggest problems," he said. "A private landlord can use up lots of time showing prospective tenants around their property and during the many visits to the property once it is tenanted. And, of course, this isn’t ideal if they don’t live locally to the property.

"At Belvoir Southend-on-Sea we credit check all tenants, gather background information and also qualify the tenant through references. Once the property is occupied we will take on the full-management of the tenancy, if the landlord has opted for this."

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