Type' landlords are' into Google, and the words that come up next are pretty unflattering.
According to the global digital giant, the most commonly searched phrases are 'landlords are parasites' and 'landlords are leeches'.
A few other choice terms – that we're too polite to use here – come up as well, but you get the drift.
There is a common public perception that all landlords are modern-day Fagins, renting out flea-ridden hovels at rip-off prices.
This raises two questions:
1. Is this a fair and accurate description?
2. Does it matter? Being a landlord is about providing rental accommodation, not winning a People's Choice Award.
You can probably guess our answer to Question 1. The suggestion that landlords are universally evil is blatantly untrue. There are some unscrupulous characters in the industry, but they are in the minority. There are many good landlords in Gloucestershire – we work with many of them every day – who take their responsibilities seriously. But since when did a tenancy running smoothly make the news?
So now we get to Question 2 – who cares if landlords are hopelessly misunderstood? Well, we certainly don't think the negative stereotype helps.
Some tenants adopt a bunker mentality that makes every conversation that little bit more difficult. It's much better if the lines of communication are open and positive. That way, if a problem does occur, the tenant is more likely to be patient while the landlord addresses it.
To build a positive relationship, it's essential that landlords:
- Be on top of all routine maintenance. Being sluggish when it comes to keeping the property in good condition builds resentment.
- Respond promptly to a tenant when they get in touch. Making them wait a few days because you're snowed under with other commitments is unprofessional.
- Carry out regular inspections. Misunderstandings are less likely to happen if you stay in touch.
In our experience, ongoing dialogue can prevent messy legal disputes. And the last thing you want is for the relationship to break down and for all communication to take place via lawyers.
If you can't dedicate the necessary time to managing a good relationship with your tenant, a good letting agent can do it for you – and save you money in the long run.
To find out how we help Gloucestershire landlords manage their properties through the pandemic's challenges, get in touch.
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