To Manage or Not to Manage – Property Lettings
Becoming a landlord is a big step in anyone’s life: it’s exciting, hopefully profitable and, without doubt, hard work! It’s not for nothing that the vast majority of landlords on our books at Julie Twist Properties choose to hand over the day-to-day management of their tenancies to us.
Indeed, the fact that professional property management is a much more popular option than self-managing for landlords becomes even more understandable when you consider that there are actually 108 separate pieces of legislation and over 300 regulations that govern private rentals to tenants.
While some landlords believe paying for property management is an expense they can’t afford, it’s easy to see why choosing the self-management route can be a false economy – especially if a landlord falls foul of all these rules and ends up being fined or losing a tenancy in the process.
That’s not to say that self-management isn’t the right option for some landlords. But it’s important to remember that being a landlord is not just about changing fuses and fixing leaky taps. In fact, the paperwork aspect of things is probably just as, if not more, time-consuming than the physical work of keeping on top of property maintenance. A good example is to think about what you would do if your tenants suddenly stopped paying rent. A property management team will have a set of standard procedures in place, in line with current law, to deal with the situation. As a landlord, on the other hand, you might not have faced this scenario before. Where would you start? Who would you turn to for advice?
A key advantage of a management package is that reputable property management professionals will have up-to-date training in all aspects of tenancy handling and law – they may have completed all sorts of accredited qualifications and courses. In addition, any lettings agency worth its salt will be following industry news and recommendations, which means that when legislation changes, they will be abreast of what needs to be done in order for the properties in their portfolio to comply. This is not necessarily so easily done for a private landlord, who might be juggling many other commitments alongside the properties that s/he owns.
It’s important to note that, at the end of the day, the landlord is still the one who remains responsible for ensuring that laws are followed during a tenancy; passing the daily running of a tenancy to a property manager does not mean passing the buck. A landlord can still be fined for not registering a tenancy deposit, for example, because it remains his/her responsibility to check that this has been done, rather than simply relying on the management firm to do this for them. What this comes down to, then, is reputation. It’s really important to choose a management team that has good reviews, communicates well and sends out documentation in a timely fashion so that you have the time and hassle taken out of property management for you. These are the key things to look out for: your property managers should take care of everything for you before you even have to think yourself! This kind of working is a product of knowledge and experience – the best favour landlords can do themselves is to spend time learning enough about their property managers to be able to tell whether or not their knowhow is worth the monthly management bill.
Self-managing property has its place – and, generally speaking, that place is reserved for landlords with the time, experience and information to be able to handle all the things that a professional property manager would cover. If you’re in any doubt about that, it could prove a costly mistake to self-manage – the fines associated with non-compliance with tenancy law can be steep, and that’s not to mention the potential costs associated with things like poor property maintenance. It’s vital, then, to weigh up the pros and cons of taking on a property management package – and the best way to do this is to talk directly to a good lettings agency to find out what’s right for you and your property.
Contact Julie Twist Properties to find out more on 0161 834 8486 or email us.
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