13:22 PM, 12th February 2012, About 10 years ago 3
“I only rent out one property”, “I use a letting agent”, “I’m a passive property investor”, “I do buy to let but I’m not a landlord”.
Why do people say these things?
If you own a property, even if it’s only one, and you collect rent from it, YOU are a landlord in the eyes of the law, whatever you may think, whether you use a letting agent or not.
You can not delegate your responsibilities to an agent. Yes, you can pay an agent to do things for you but if the agent doesn’t do the job right, YOU, the landlord, remain responsible.
For example, if a letting agent fails to protect a tenants deposit and then goes bankrupt or disappears, YOU, the landlord, are responsible for giving YOUR tenant the deposit money back. You could also be fined up to three times the deposit. But that’s not fair if I’ve not had the money, I hear you cry. Well sorry, I don’t make the laws, I’m just telling you what they are.
You are also responsible for making sure that your property has a Gas Safety certificate. If your agent doesn’t get it sorted for you then YOU are responsible. If a tenant dies from a fire or gas poisoning it’s YOU, the landlord who could be going to prison.
Scary stuff hey?
Well that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Some would say that pretty much the only thing that isn’t regulated in the lettings industry is letting agents. If they don’t perform you might be able to litigate against them, but you may have to find them first and when you do they may be bankrupt.
There are of course good agents but there are also plenty of bad ones enticing you with low fees.
Should letting agents be able to operate without any regulation, any licensing or any insurance to protect YOUR money and YOUR tenants money? If you think not please read this and sign the linked government e-petition.
There are thought to be in the region of 1.5 million landlords in the UK providing over 4 million households. The two biggest landlord associations between them have less than 30,000 members!!!
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