Posts with tag: property management

Property inventories important for lettings compliance and regulation

Published On: April 5, 2022 at 9:03 am


Categories: Landlord News,Lettings News

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Inventory specialist No Letting Go is warning landlords and letting agents about the importance of inventories for ensuring rental homes are fully compliant.

The firm highlights the growing push for more compliance and regulation, including the possibility of a landlord register being introduced and a new Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector being implemented. It argues that inventories play a key role in preventing poorly maintained properties from being allowed onto the market in the first place.

Nick Lyons, CEO of No Letting Go, comments: “Inventories can act as a great barrier against non-compliance – being that first block to prevent unfit homes from entering the market.

“A good inventory, carried out by a trained inventory specialist, can help highlight any potential issues with a property, and ensure homes are fully habitable and decent from the off.

“As part of the government’s plans for widespread rental reform – the largest reforms in a generation – there are proposals for a Decent Homes Standard in the PRS, in the same way there currently is for social housing, and also other measures aimed at clamping down on rogue operators. We all have a responsibility to make sure housing is decent and high-quality, as the rental market continues to grow, and inventories can play a key role in that.” 

Lyons says there is a huge amount of regulation out there for letting agents and landlords to adhere to, and this is ever-growing, but remaining compliant remains of vital importance. 

He continues: “We see plenty of news stories surrounding non-compliance, and the danger of it in terms of large fines and even prison sentences, but there are still a minority of agents and landlords who seek to get away with it.

“We know this is still only a small minority, but that minority gives the whole industry a bad name and drags the reputation of agents and landlords through the mud.” 

Landlords and letting agents can use inventories to help show the condition of a property before, during and after a tenancy, highlighting that they have nothing to hide. 

Lyons concludes: “Landlords and agents looking to break the rules or be non-compliant may want to sidestep the inventory process, which shows just how vital it is for a well-regulated, fully functioning market.

“The vast majority of landlords and agents will now carry an inventory out – it’s become standard industry practice – but we can’t get complacent or rest on our laurels.

“Inventory specialists may be able to spot the hidden defects and problems that an agent or landlord hasn’t considered, and feed this back to the client. This could lead to remedial action being taken to make sure the home is looking its best.

“The Levelling Up White Paper, which is expected to be backed up by the White Paper on Rental Reform at some point this spring, has made the direction of travel quite clear in terms of compliance and rooting out rogue operators, but implementation might be slow. In the meantime, inventories can still continue to be a terrific blockade against substandard homes making it onto the market.” 

Six ways to become a more environmentally friendly landlord

Published On: October 12, 2021 at 8:41 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Rental platform has shared its top tips for landlords looking to maintain a more environmentally friendly property.

Jonathan Daines, Founder and CEO of, comments: “The pandemic has, quite understandably, occupied a large share of our attention over the past 18 months. However, instead of drawing attention away from environmental issues, it has helped us to take a new look at human health, including the need to support it in the longer term by facing our environmental responsibilities head-on.”

LettingaProperty’s 6 ways to become a greener landlord

1. Replace the bulbs in the house with LED lights

LED bulbs last five times as long as halogen bulbs and are far better for the planet. There has been an EU-wide ban on producing or importing halogen bulbs since 2018.

Tenants can benefit too, as it can help reduce their electricity bills. The Energy Saving Trust reports that replacing every bulb in the house with an LED will save the average household around £40 per year on bills.

2. Installing a smart meter

This can be also help, particularly when in combination with a learning thermostat. Tenants will need to be proactive in adjusting their behaviour based on the visibility that the smart meter data provides.

3. Low-flow shower heads

These aerate the water that comes out, giving the feel of a normal shower with normal pressure, but only using half as much water. They are inexpensive and easy to swap for regular shower heads.

4. Dual flush toilet convertors

These are also an inexpensive option and can save a significant amount of water when flushing. They can be awkward to install, but are worth the effort in environmental terms and remove the need to buy a new, dual-flush toilet.

5. Ensure that tenants have sufficient recycling facilities

Provide a number of bins appropriate to the property’s number of occupants. This can promote the proper disposal of waste and help to create an environment free from overflowing bins. Landlords simply need to contact their local authority to ensure that the appropriate recycling bins and containers are provided.

6. Go paperless

Everything from tenancy agreements to inventories can be completed online. Doing so can save time as well as trees.

Jonathan Daines concludes: “These are all small steps, but they quickly add up, ensuring that landlords can ‘do their bit’ when it comes to working towards a greener world. Those looking to go the extra mile can consider green leases too, where environmental obligations between the landlord and tenant become contractual, encouraging both parties to do what they can to make the property more sustainable.”

Landlords and letting agents can improve compliance with reports and inspections

Published On: May 6, 2021 at 8:08 am


Categories: Law News,Lettings News

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Letting agents and landlords are advised to review their compliance procedures, as the UK sees a crackdown on poor property management.

According to inventory service provider No Letting Go, property professionals can ensure the safety of tenants and reduce the chances of being fined for non-compliance by conducting regular inspections and compiling reports.

Enforcement of PRS regulations is on the rise

No Letting Go provides the example of how a letting agency in Bristol was hit with a £330,000 fine in March for poor management of a range of flats across the city.

The company also points out that in April a landlord in Ipswich was fined £50,000 for a range of safety failings and a landlord in Aylesbury was hit with a £48,000 fine for letting a property which failed to meet minimum standards. In January 2020, 100 local councils were awarded an additional £4 million in funding to increase rental sector enforcement. It says we may now be seeing increased enforcement in some areas as a result of the additional funding.

Nick Lyons, Founder and CEO of No Letting Go, comments: “Enforcement of legislation and regulations is rising and there is a lot at stake for property professionals. Agents need to protect their businesses, but also help their landlords stay on the right side of the law.

“Compliance has become an integral part of the property management process and property professionals need to ensure all rental properties are safe, in a habitable condition and meeting the rising number of sector regulations.”

Inspections and reporting can help improve compliance

No Letting Go suggests that inspections of the rental property every three to six months, followed by comprehensive mid-term reports, can help to ensure properties remain compliant throughout a tenancy.

An inspection and subsequent report can assess and highlight any problems within a rental property, providing an opportunity to fix issues before they escalate.

Lyons comments: “Tenants generally report serious issues, but often fail to report minor issues until it’s too late.

“That’s why it’s crucial that agents and landlords carry out regular inspections. What’s more, evidence of inspections through mid-term reports can be invaluable if tenants are not looking after the property and further action is needed, or if the local authority is considering taking enforcement action.”

Lyons says a good mid-term report includes photographs and notes on the overall condition of the property and its contents, as well as checks on who is living there, any maintenance work that needs doing, and for smoking and pets within the property. 

He adds: “During the national lockdown, we have carried out virtual property visits, where a physical visit has not been possible, to ensure properties are in good condition. However, as lockdown measures continue to ease, visiting the property in person – in a Covid-compliant manner – is hugely valuable for letting agents and landlords.

“It’s also important to consider how mid-term reports are recorded. Having no audit trail could lead to problems further down the line, while storing reports online provides a quick and easy way to monitor activity and recall details of past inspections if required.”

According to Lyons, mid-term inspections should be complemented by a comprehensive inventory compiled at the start of the tenancy to ensure the condition and contents of the landlord’s property is documented, while checking for potential compliance issues and hazards such as smoke alarms, damp or poor living conditions.

Most Landlords Don’t Use Letting Agents to Manage their Properties

Published On: February 4, 2019 at 9:55 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The majority of landlords in England don’t use letting agents to manage their rental properties, according to the latest English Private Landlord Survey, covering 2018.

The Government report found that more than half (52%) of landlords did not use a letting agent to let or manage their properties in 2018. A third (34%) used an agent for lettings services, while one in ten (9%) used an agent for both letting and management services.

The remaining 5% only used an agent for management services.

These figures arrive ahead of the introduction of the Tenant Fees Bill this year, which the industry believes will reduce the number of landlords that use letting agents.

Under the new law, letting agents (and landlords) will be prohibited from charging upfront fees to tenants. As a result, it is believed that letting agents will increase their charges for landlords, in order to recoup some lost income.

The Government research found that landlords that entered the sector more recently were less likely to use a letting agent than longer standing landlords. A third (32%) of those who had been a landlord for three years or less were using an agent, while that proportion increased to almost half (46%) amongst those that had been landlords for between four and ten years.

More than half (53%) of landlords who had been in the sector for 11 or more years used an agent.

Comparing this to the Government’s previous data, in 2010, 43% of landlords stated that they had, at some point, used a letting agent to undertake the lettings and management of their property portfolios.

It will be interesting to see how these figures change once the ban is introduced, and its effects felt across the industry.

At the same time, landlords were asked whether they currently or previously belonged to one or more of the main private rental property professional organisations. The majority of landlords (75%) had no current or previous membership of any group.

13% reported current or previous membership of the National Landlords Association (NLA), while 9% were part of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). 5% reported current or previous membership of another professional organisation.

We remind all landlords of how valuable the services of both letting agents and professional organisations can be in operating a successful and compliant lettings business.

Does PropTech have the Potential to Save the Property Sector?

Published On: December 21, 2018 at 9:00 am


Categories: Property News

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By Marc Trup, the Founder and CEO of Arthur Online

Historically, property management has been slow to embrace technological change. In the last decade, technological advances have shaken up property management, drastically changing the way these businesses are run.

Many property managers are falling short of tenants’ expectations, stemming from a lack of communication between landlord/agent and occupier. There is a clear need to modernise property management, starting with more transparent and consistent levels of service.

So, what’s the solution? Companies need to innovate and adopt cutting-edge business processes, and advance the use of technology as a means of measuring, monitoring and maintaining consistent standards. Disruptors and innovators have an opportunity to make a positive and significant difference.

As a result of the rise of digitisation, more and more property professionals have started to move their businesses to the cloud. By introducing software designed specifically for the property sector, landlords and agents can streamline their businesses, allowing them to scale more easily or simply reduce the cost of their current business. Proptech platforms also allow companies to further professionalise and formalise their business processes, thanks to the many white labelling and customisation options available.

There are now lots of different software out there to make your life easier. Be that new payment systems, such as GoCardless, e-signature platforms, such as Signable, or full management systems such as Arthur Online.

Does PropTech have the Potential to Save the Property Sector?

At its heart, property management is a people business. Managers are tasked with keeping tenants, owners and contractors happy, whilst trying not to tear their own hair out at the same time. One way that proptech is making management easier is by bringing all these groups together. In the past, disparate communication between different groups meant a manager would spend half their time on the phone, typing with one hand and writing an address with the other, and heaven forbid they had to produce proof of receipt.

For the occupiers, using an app allows them to raise and track maintenance issues, access documents, track their rental statements and so much more. This is guaranteed to give them peace of mind. In the long-term, this will help promote a longer relationship with tenants, improving trust and therefore tenant retention.

Thanks to technology, property managers can send emails with recorded delivery. Systems like this protect a property manager against potential disputes. Alternatively, managers can use CRM systems to email their contacts; this means that all their conversations are marked against the contact. By keeping records of interactions with someone against their contact card, management is made a lot easier. The best solutions bring all the different groups onto one platform, allowing them to communicate with only the people that matter. This prevents different people using different platforms.

One of the areas that property managers can waste a lot of time is financials. With the best will in the world, rents don’t get paid, payments get missed and it can cause managers a lot of problems. However, now there are a lot of different options for managers to make their life easier. New payment portals, such as GoCardless and Strype, allow managers to have greater control over charging and recharging tenants. On top of this, managers are now using cloud accounting software, like Xero and QuickBooks, to follow live payments and reconcile charges to easily see the state of their portfolio. Finally, by linking management platforms together, automated communication can be set up to notify tenants of outstanding charges. By creating this sort of ecosystem around the payment of monies, arrears can be brought down, and time can be saved, thus making the management of a property portfolio easier.

Property management can involve a vast amount of paperwork. Previously, this meant having a room dedicated to filing cabinets. That was until software, such as Dropbox and Google Docs, came to be. This solved part of the problem, however, they were not specific to property. Now, true document management systems for property have been created.

There are several different areas where these systems can be very helpful and streamline your business. The first is by constantly updating your documentation to ensure you have a legal contract, notice, etc. The second is by reminding property managers when something needs to be done. As an expiry date approaches for a certificate, systems can automatically contact contractors or managers. This prevents a manager from non-compliance.

In the world of cloud software, some systems integrate by using open APIs. This means the two systems have a conversation, pushing and pulling data to offer a complete solution.

The next five years will certainly be an exciting time, as we continue to see accelerated adoption of proptech, with the UK leading the way.

Government Plans to Regulate all Letting and Management Agents in England

Published On: October 19, 2017 at 9:25 am


Categories: Property News

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Yesterday, Government ministers outlined plans to regulate all letting and management agents in England.

Government Plans to Regulate all Letting and Management Agents in England

Government Plans to Regulate all Letting and Management Agents in England

The proposals are designed to protect leaseholders and tenants from unfair costs in the property management system.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that it wants to clamp down on a “small minority of rogue agents” operating property management services who force consumers to pay over-inflated charges, and will consider changing the law so that all letting and management agents must be qualified and regulated to practice.

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, is launching a six-week “call for evidence” to establish whether a regulatory overhaul of the sector is necessary.

David Cox, the Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents), and Mark Hayward, the Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark (the National Association of Estate Agents), have commented on the plans: “ARLA and NAEA Propertymark welcome this announcement; we have long called for greater regulation of the housing sector. It will give consumers greater control over who manages their property, create long needed transparency, and raise the bar for those wishing to work in the housing sector. However, it’s concerning that estate agents don’t fall under the Government’s initial scope – we urge ministers to widen the remit to include the whole housing market.

“We are committed to ensuring consumers receive the best level of service when looking to buy, sell, rent or lease a property. Our members are required to have deposit and Client Money Protection schemes in place, and undertake regular training. However, this doesn’t stop some rogue agents from giving the industry a bad name. Blanket regulation is the right approach if we are to give consumers the confidence they deserve and reassurance that they will be treated fairly, no matter which agent they use.”

Adam Joseph, the CEO of The Happy Tenant Company, has also responded: “Enforcing transparency is the best way to give landlords, renters and leaseholders greater confidence that their managing agent is acting professionally and ethically. Whilst it may only be the minority of unscrupulous agents that load invoices with excessive charges for menial tasks, it tarnishes the reputation of the whole sector and must be stopped.

“Landlords and tenants should be able to see invoices from contractors and, in most cases, be given the option of two to three quotes to choose from before the work is carried out, particularly on more expensive maintenance works, such as boiler installations. Proptech software has made the sharing of maintenance works and associated costs really easy to facilitate, and any reputable managing agent should be happy to disclose all costs.”

Do you support the Government’s plans?