For landlords and tenants alike, there is no question that it has been an incredibly challenging year. And while the government has implemented a series of measures to help protect tenants and keep them in their homes, at ground level, this responsibility has never been greater for UK landlords.
The good landlord quiz, designed by Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance and answered by more than 3,000 landlords, has found that, despite common misconceptions, most landlords are doing everything they should and more to be a good landlord.
This includes being flexible with rents, proactive at maintenance and responding to tenants within 24 hours.
The quiz found that 77% of landlords said that they are willing to be flexible on rent payments where necessary. Only one per cent of landlords would offer no flexibility at all.
Landlords can sometimes be accused of not communicating with tenants in a reasonable time frame over matters such as maintenance. However, 40% of landlords who took the quiz said they responded to any tenant queries within the hour and a further 57% said they respond within 24 hours. In addition, 81% claimed they proactively maintain their properties to prevent issues from arising, in comparison to just 5% of landlords who admitted to fixing issues as cheaply as possible. In contrast, according to a recent survey by Shelter, almost half of private renters say they fear complaining to their landlord about maintenance for fear of being evicted.
When it comes to respecting tenants’ right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property, not interfering or interrupting the tenancy unnecessarily, it would seem most landlords are considerate of the need to give tenants plenty of notice before visiting to make repairs or for routine property checks. 44% of landlords give a week’s notice before a property inspection. However, almost a third (31%) only give the compulsory 24 hours’ notice.
Steve Barnes, Associate Director for Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance, says: “Landlords who are willing to be flexible with their tenants, are accessible to them and respect their desire to live in their rental property as if it were their own, tend to have much longer and more successful tenancies.
“Obviously, landlords are encouraged to treat buy to let as a business, but it’s important to also be personable and accommodating where possible. For example, whilst 24 hours’ notice to visit a property is the legal requirement, affording tenants a little longer, given they could be out at work or have made plans, is likely to make tenants feel more comfortable. In addition, tenants should not feel afraid to ask for repairs as this survey shows that the vast majority of landlords are very accommodating.”
Whilst the quiz produced largely positive results, it also found there are some areas for improvement. For example, the quiz found that a third of landlords do not provide tenants with a welcome pack, a third of landlords said they often struggle to keep up with tax legislation changes and despite owning a buy to let business, 60% of landlords do not have a business plan.
Steve concludes: “These are relatively simple changes which will help landlords to carry out their role more successfully. Something as simple as a welcome pack not only helps tenants settle in quickly to their new home and feel more informed, it demonstrates the landlord cares and starts the relationship on the right footing.
“Having a business plan and keeping up with tax and legislation changes work hand in hand. The business plan is an extremely helpful way of outlining the current situation, setting overall objectives and deciding a strategy for reaching goals. Being on top of critical changes within the industry they operate enables landlords to adapt their business plan accordingly, particularly if there is a long-term financial goal.”
The quiz results can be found here.
Credit: Property Reporter