Property is a great investment, keeping your cash secure and ensuring an income stream while also enabling you to benefit from capital growth as the property increases in value. However, property investment can also bring unexpected costs and frustrations. Here are landlords’ top 5 bugbears and our tips for tackling them.
- Vacant properties. If you have a mortgage on a property and depend on tenants’ rental fees to be able to pay it, a property that sits empty can be a huge drain on your finances. The key to filling properties quickly is to keep them well maintained and attractive, and to be savvy about where and how you advertise it. You need to consider the type of tenants you want and where they might be looking for properties. If you are placing it with an agent, ask them about where they advertise their properties, how many leads they usually get and long it generally takes to fill them. At Morgan Jones, we achieve 500+ tenant leads each month and on average it takes just nine days from starting to market a property to having a tenant agreed, accepted and ready to move in.
- Difficult tenants. Not all tenants behave as you’d like them to. That’s why it’s important to make regular checks to ensure your property is being looked after. Tenants who don’t pay their rent, or who don’t pay it on time, are one of the biggest problems faced by landlords, so it’s also important to have processes in place to address this as soon as it happens. Many landlords feel they would prefer an intermediary to carry out checks, chase payments and address any problems that arise. If that applies to you, look for a lettings agent that offers a full property management service, and ask them about how they deal with problems such as unpaid rent or problem tenants. At Morgan Jones we always act quickly to address any problems and if possible, keep the tenancy going – because it’s usually best to solve issues rather than having the property become empty again. That’s why we have close links with local councils in order to get help for tenants who are having trouble paying their rent. Our team are usually able to ensure that the landlord gets paid and the tenant does not become homeless.
- Paperwork, rules and regulations. The rules and regulations governing rental properties are changing all the time. Recent challenges include licensing, the Tenant Fee Ban, and interest relief removal – and then, of course there are the checks required for your property’s gas and electrical appliances. If you don’t have time or the inclination to keep on top of all the paperwork, you’ll need to find a lettings agent who will do this for you. At Morgan Jones we have 30 years’ experience in managing properties. We know the rules inside out and have an office-based team who look after all the paperwork, checks and compliance for all the properties we manage – leaving you to sit back and receive your rent.
- Spiralling maintenance costs. Being a landlord can bring a lot of unexpected expenses, especially when things go wrong with a property. In order to keep these to a minimum it’s important to regularly check the property for wear and tear and emerging issues such as rot and damp. It’s also important to shop around for quotes and seek recommendations and references for the contractors you employ to carry out the work. An alternative is to employ a lettings agent that has its own maintenance team, as this can enable them to keep repair costs much lower. We have a dedicated repairs team who understand that while it’s important to keep tenants comfortable, landlords generally don’t want to sign a blank check. We work with them to keep the properties we manage in excellent condition, with no nasty surprises.
- Difficulty reaching your letting agent. Some lettings agents are hard to reach: you’ll have to navigate chat bots, automated call handling and call centre staff who don’t know you or your property. At Morgan Jones we make sure we have someone available to answer queries even outside office hours – and you’ll always be speaking with a real human being who knows you and your property. We aim to keep communications with our landlords running smoothly at all times, so we also make sure that when it comes to payments and accounting updates, we’ll do whatever you like best – be that payment and notification as soon as rent is received, monthly payments and reports, or anything in between.