I'm A Landlord, Get Me Out Of Here!
Saturday 5th June 2021
I'm a Landlord, Get Me Out of Here!
In recent weeks, Tuna Fish has received thirty or forty enquiries from landlords who wish to move agent. In many cases, this is the first time that they have read and digested the property management agreements they signed up to, some many years ago.
This issue is not confined to just one or two agents. There are multiple and one is a national online agent whose marketing material makes interesting reading when you know a little bit about what landlords are having to go through, simply to leave.
Economists talk about barriers to entry, in this case it's barriers to exit, whether notice periods, fees, invoices which suddenly appear from the ether and so on. Many non-UK based landlords complain about being kept out of the loop and others not so far away about extortionate contractor fees for relatively small jobs.
We had another case recently, where the landlord has used an agent who has not lodged the tenant's deposit, not paid any rent and has let the property without a selective landlord licence being in place. I would like to point out that this agent is not a high street agent any one reading this would be familiar with. Clearly, the matter is being investigated by the authorities and the fines can be substantial, up to £30,000 and a criminal record.
If you were buying a car, would you undertake research, read the brochure, What Car magazine and take it for a test drive? In other words, undertake due diligence. It should be the same for the lettings and property management company you choose. Look at a few, ask to see their draft property management terms and conditions and also a fee schedule. Read the contract, thoroughly, and if you are not happy with aspects of it, discuss it with the agent. If you do not have a satisfactory outcome, move on, there are lots of agents out there queuing for your business. Examine the fee schedule. Ask how they can justify an 15% plus fee to manage your property? Or £200 for a lease extension?
Engage lettings agents, don't just accept their terms and conditions without due diligence, as one day it may come back to bite you.