It’s inevitable for landlords to face challenges at some point during their property letting. Certainly, it can be a stressful investment with potentially significant pitfalls at every turn, which should you be ill-prepared to deal with them, could have a major impact on your reputation as a landlord. But what are some of the common causes of stress for landlords? Typically, there are four main areas of concern: the ‘tenants from hell’ being the most common of issues, closely followed by property damage, disputes over deposits and dealing with evictions.
In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the major problems landlords can run into and detailing how an independent letting agent can help resolve these without any hassle. At the end of the day, it’s likely you want your rental investment to run like clockwork – something you can forget about and leave to run smoothly, perhaps checking in when required. And, a letting agency can assist you to do just that…
So, what are some of the most common causes of stress for landlords?
From a recent study conducted by PropertyLetByUs.com, it was found that 67% of landlords are currently more stressed than they were a year ago and 25% have found the experience more stressful than they anticipated. With over 7 million properties predicted to be rented by 2025, landlord stress is on the rise.
You’ve likely heard some of the horror stories – nightmare tenants that refuse to move on, a trashed home left in disrepair and so on. It could be enough to put anyone off, but with rental property in such high demand, many are taking the leap and letting out their homes. So, let’s look at some of the most common causes of stress you might want to consider before renting your property.
#1 Finding tenants
The first hurdle to overcome is finding tenants, this can be particularly tricky if you are new to the rental market or are in a rush to fill your property. To find a high calibre of tenants, you need to create a high-quality advertisement. If your listing falls short, you’ll be limiting yourself to prospective residents. You need clear, professional photos alongside a well-written description to manage expectations whilst also attracting viewings. Furthermore, it’s vital you consider where to set your rental price – you’ll want to sit competitively in the market to encourage the right tenant so research similar lettings or seek out the advice of an independent letting agent.
Whilst an advert should showcase your property in the best possible light, it must also be accurate and honest, otherwise, you risk damaging your reputation as a landlord. Try to ensure you provide a fully comprehensive guide within your listing – including whether you allow pets, smoking, students etc. to avoid wasting everyone’s time!
Remember, visibility is crucial so you’ll want to place your advertisement on the three most popular online portals (Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location) alongside other marketing channels to maximise your chances of finding the right calibre of tenants for your property.
#2 Choosing the right tenant
Once you have a pool of prospective tenants and enquiries flooding in, you have the added stress of identifying who you want to rent to. Deciding who you want to live in your property for the next 12 months – or longer is a huge decision and will have a major impact on your experiences as a landlord.
Can they afford the rent each month? Will they look after the property? Is it likely they’ll change their mind? All of these questions will spring to mind once you start narrowing down your search, and each requires careful consideration.
When assessing affordability, a thorough reference check can provide some reassurance for you as a landlord. You’ll want to check:
- Credit history
- Employment references
- Proof they can afford the rent
Plus, a positive landlord reference from a previous tenancy to prove the tenant paid their rent on time and treated the property well. A holding deposit can also confirm how interested the prospective tenant is before they move in, lessening the risk of last-minute drop-outs. When you enlist a letting agent, all these prior checks will be carried out, streamlining the entire process as a result.
#3 Maintenance issues
Handling maintenance issues can be a significant factor contributing to the stress of landlords. Keeping the property safe is your responsibility as the landlord, but arranging maintenance work can be difficult – particularly for emergencies that require rapid responses.
To successfully handle any maintenance issues, you will need to build an extensive list of reliable tradespeople that you feel confident calling upon. In addition, you’ll need to be readily available to communicate as the bridge between your tenants and these tradespeople.
An independent letting agent, local to the area should have a full list of trusted professionals to cover each area – whether it be plumbing, electric or gardening, they’ll be able to offer guidance should an issue arise. Ultimately, this will secure you property peace of mind as you can relax, knowing you’re in safe hands!
TOP TIP: If you are renting your property as a furnished, do a full inventory before your tenants move in to avoid any question over contents and condition once the tenancy is up.
#4 Knowing your legal responsibilities
When deciding to let property, it’s important you consider the full scope of the legal implications associated with being a landlord and the specific actions it requires. It’s far from straightforward.
There are hundreds of different laws to learn, and whilst you won’t need to know them all, it can be useful if you have a grasp on the most common. Furthermore, with new legislation introduced all the time, you’ll need to stay in the loop to avoid facing consequences in the long term. To avoid missing a crucial update, try subscribing to newsletters, reading articles and joining landlord forums to stay in the know. Or, choose to work with a professional letting agent – after all, it’s their job to know the ins and outs of the housing industry!
#5 Unpredictable circumstances
The past year has been turbulent for all and it has forced many of us to adapt. We’ll likely be feeling the effect from some time to come as we return towards ‘normal’ life once again. There will always be unforeseen obstacles to overcome and the most important thing you can do as a landlord is to stay up to date. With COVID-19, both landlords and tenants were eventually given formal guidance. But, this is not always the case, and even with constant, nationwide updates, you can incur significant delays.
Of course, not even a letting agent will be able to see into the future and pre-empt these unprecedented scenarios but, they will have access to the latest information and will be dedicated to assisting you. It can considerably ease your mind if you have someone to confide in and trust to have your back during these difficult, uncertain times.
What services will an independent letting agent offer?
Letting agents offer varying levels of service, so depending on how much you want to be involved over the course of your property’s rental. Likely, there will be a service level that suits your requirements:
- Tenant-find. A basic level service in which the letting agent will find you a suitable tenant. This will typically include crafting a professional advert, arranging and attending viewings, conducting the relevant checks and finalising the tenancy agreement. Once the keys are handed over, the rest of the property management will be left to you but it can be an excellent way to get yourself successfully set up.
- Rent collection. This can be offered as part of the tenant-find service. The letting agent will collect and handle the deposit and rent from the tenant. They’ll chase up, serve notices and be on hand to offer you legal advice should you run into trouble late down the line.
- Fully managed. The letting agent will take full control of your property, effectively acting as the landlord. They will correspond on your behalf with the tenants, organise any maintenance, inspections, deposit disputes and more.
Why choose Seymours…
Rental properties are a fantastic long-term investment but are not without their difficulties. Without due diligence, you can fall trap to these common pitfalls and thus, feel stressed and anxious about your rental property. But, with an independent letting agent by your side, you can reduce these common stresses and ultimately, enjoy your experience as a landlord.
With nearly 30 years in the letting market, we can provide you with property peace of mind. Not only are we able to provide you with support, expertise and our experience but we can guarantee you a high calibre of tenants – one of the main stresses landlords face.
Let your property with the experts today: choose Seymours Letting Agents.
If you’d like free market advice or need an instant property valuation you can trust, get in touch with the team at Seymours using this contact form, or call us one of our 19 dedicated branches and departments here.