Self-managing a property can be a very positive experience, nevertheless most of the times it is a challenge that takes effort and great amount of your time in order to keep up with rules and regulations especially after the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
The tight legislation of today’s private rented sector leaves no room for mistakes or negligence concerning letting properties condition, safety standards, certificates, documentation and so on.
From last November only agents and landlords who have been trained by approved bodies on “relevant up-to-date information in order to successfully manage tenancies within the law” can manage properties to let.
Landlords in England and Wales must be licensed to run a large house in multiple occupation (HMO), while in Scotland and Northern Ireland need to be registered, failure to be licensed it will certainly lead to a heavy fine and a rent stopping order.
What this means is that few landlords can have a DIY arrangement and today the choice for landlords is to either take on the full responsibility of the 400+ rules and regulations to let a property and all the fines for breaches or noncompliance that go with it – up to £30,000 from April – or to consider outsourcing this to a qualified letting agent.
The decision really comes down to time and knowledge. If a landlord is not prepared, or able, to spend time keeping abreast of letting law and health and safety requirements, or doesn’t want to be disturbed anytime during the 365 days of the year about leaks, chase non-payment of rent or sort out tenant disputes with neighbors, it is probably better to pass this responsibility to an agent.
“Landlords that do use an agent should bear in mind that handing over management to an agent doesn’t mean they can ignore legislation and they are still liable for civil penalties, rent repayment orders or prosecution if the agent makes an error. So it’s essential to choose a reputable agent from the outset.”
To ensure landlords secure a good agent, they should check if they:
- Are a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), organizations that keep members up-to-date with the law and best practice
- Have client money protection
- Offer easy-to-read terms and conditions that clarify what the landlord and tenant are responsible for
- Give clarity on fees charged
- Carry out regular property period checks
It is worth remembering that any agent fees charged are currently tax-deductible.