Renting rules for long-distance landlords

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Letting agents are urging long-distance landlords to make sure they follow six basic renting rules to avoid hassle with tenants.

The tips follow a survey by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) which revealed up to two-thirds of property investors letting homes in London live outside the capital.

How far landlords live from their investments varies around the country – 70% of landlords with homes to let in Scotland live away, while the figure drops to just over 50% in the South West and Wales.

ARLA’s top tips for landlords are:

  • Research the neighbourhood to ensure rents asked for are competitive
  • Agree a detailed inventory with tenants to aid infrequent inspections
  • Find a local representative – a letting agent or someone you can trust to deal with tenants
  • Keep a list of good local contractors – a ‘rate my contractor’ web site is a good place to start
  • Check tenant and guarantor references thoroughly
  • Keep spare keys – a key safe at the property and spares with your representative make replacing lost keys easy

ARLA’s Ian Potter said, “It is a common for landlords to let properties in different parts of the country and it is likely that trend will grow as owners increasingly opt to let out a property rather than sell when the time comes to move on, or when parents who’ve bought a student property choose to continue renting it out when their child has left university.

“Anyone who owns property away from their home town should be mindful of the challenges that long-distance lettings can pose if not effectively managed. Letting through a professional, local agent can be the best first step to ensuring your property is efficiently managed and as hassle-free as possible, but whether you chose to let with or without an agency, there are some important issues to consider.”

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Comments

  • gerald gareth evans says:

    I ‘do this’. I find the combination of a trusted agent with a key and a wallet to receive a finder’s coupled with a local well organised tradeseman armed with a key a toolbox and  lots of local trades contacts (I call him my head joiner or goto man depending on my mood) seems to do the trick. I think sometimes the tenants warm more to the ‘head tradesman’ concept than they do any agents but that’s another story!


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  • Ian Ringrose says:

    I am starting to think that there could be a lot of value in having the inspections done by someone with practical skills and a toolbox to hand.  I have had inspection reports when a reasonable house holder would have fixed the issue in less time than it took the agent to write the report about it and organize a separate trade’s person to go in.

    How do I find a ‘head tradesman’ in a given area?
    What recall do I have if they don’t do a good job, as there is no ombudsman for trades people?


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  • Hi Ian

    Why not use our Directory to find them? Multiple message quite a few stating what you are looking for and why and see who comes back quickly, that’s always a good starting point. Then ask them for references from other landlords they work with.


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  • Ian Ringrose says:

    What category do I look in for someone that knows what way up to hold a screwdriver, is good with controlling the expectations of tenants and has good local trade contacts?

    Any ideals on a payment model, so the person gets awarded for both controlling costs AND getting done what needs doing quickly.

    (It is likely too late now as we have appointed an agent partly due to the lack of the above.)


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