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A-Z of Lettings M is for Managing Landlords Expectation

A-Z of Lettings M is for Managing Landlords Expectation.

At Lets Go Professional we have been managing Landlords property for almost a decade so we have experienced most outcomes when it comes to the end of a tenancy. We would like to therefore throw some light on how Landlords think and feel about their properties.

At the start of the tenancy

1.  Highlight the importance of good documentation as it is a fact that deposit disputes are won and lost at the start of the tenancy. At Lets Go Professional we get the tenants to sign that they have received all the necessary documents now required under rental regulations i.e. Gas safety certificate, EPC, Right to Rent leaflet along with other useful information.

2.  A detailed inventory is absolutely necessary. We are currently using digital inventories that enable us to describe, photograph and video the entire property. The Landlord can then clearly see how the property was presented to the tenant at the check in stage. We can then run comparative reports for each subsequent inspection.

3.  We also explain to Landlords what fair wear and tear is. Guidance on this is provided by the RLA. Wear and tear is defined as the depreciation of the property due to normal use over the entire period of the tenancy.

4. As experienced property managers we are also aware that Landlords who have previously lived in the rental property will have an extra emotional attachment and may look at the property through rose tinted glasses. Another reason why the initial inventory, along with further detailed feedback from periodic inspections is so important.

5.  Following up any maintenance issues in writing and keeping both Landlords and tenants informed of the course of action is essential. Timely responses and action reassure all parties particularly at the end of a tenancy when negotiation or disputes may occur.  If the landlord and tenant fall out, early intervention on any issue can be fundamental to keep the channels of communication open and adverse feelings to a minimum.

End of Tenancy Negotiation

6. Final check-out inspections are an absolute must. Ideally the tenants will be present for the inspection to allow discussion or negotiation of and issues that arise. Comparison to the original inventory and schedule of condition should be made and photographs recorded of any damage. A final check out report should be signed by the tenants and a copy sent to the landlord for their approval.

7.  Should there be any likely dispute regarding the condition of the property after the check out it must be made clear that adjudication is to compensate for damage caused in excess of fair wear and tear, and not to put the landlord in a better position than they would otherwise have been. The purpose of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is not to provide new for old.

8. It is prudent to advice the landlord if they are being reasonable in their proposed deposit deduction for any damage or excess wear and tear. Should the tenant not be willing to negotiate or agree to the deduction the both parties should be advised of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process and what evidence each party can provide…..previous record keeping comes into play!

Some of the key points to draw attention to:

a. Has the property been cleaned to a level comparable with that at check in? It’s amazing how one person’s definition of clean can vary from another’s! Does the inventory specify how clean each location of the property is?

"It was like this when we moved in"

b. Communication is key: Emails/correspondence and can ultimately be the deciding factor in favour of the landlord or tenant.

c. Make sure that all contractors’ reports/estimates/invoices break down each job and the costs.

d. Make sure all photographs are embedded into reports or are digitally date stamped on the front.

If all the above are explained to the landlords at the start of the property management (even experienced landlords may not be sure of new processes and judgements) then their expectations during the tenancy should be realistic.

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