At letproof.com we really do feel that the process of renting has reached a point of being outdated compared to the wants and needs of the customer. This led us to provide our own alternative to traditional letting agents.
The need for an improved way of bringing landlords and tenants together directly is already being recognised and some landlords have already made the decision to go it alone.
We’re taking a look at some of the common issues with the current, traditional routes to letting. Whether from landlords or tenants, there are areas of complaint from both sides of the renting relationship, most of which come down to the cost of the renting process!
Common issues making landlords go it alone...
Issue One: Cost
Letting agents can be expensive, and while fee’s vary, landlords can end up paying high fees for the privilege of having someone oversee their rental property. A recent survey showed that ‘64% of [landlords] polled, would consider using private websites to find a tenant in order to avoid paying […] letting agent fees.’(Landlords Today)
‘23% of respondents claim to have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds through void periods because instructed letting agents had failed to secure them new tenants’ (Landlords Today). So the issue of cost not only means being charged high fees but, for some, actually losing out on rent due to no tenant being found to fill the property.
Issue two: Lack of control
The use of an agent or middleman brings another layer to the rental relationship, the landlord may not feel fully in control as they aren’t dealing with the property or tenant directly.
PIMS reported that in September of 2016, 65% of landlords polled carried out much of their own property maintenance and preferred not to use a third party such as a letting agent but to deal directly with their tenants. “We are seeing an increasing trend of savvy landlords taking direct control of how their property is let and managed and becoming much more self-sufficient.’
Issue three: Transparency
This is closely tied with a lack of control - ‘Lack of communication ranks high among the complaints landlords have about their letting agents.’ Telegraph.
If all fine details are not relayed carefully, regularly and correctly by letting agents to landlords, how can they know exactly what is happening with their property?
With around 1000 complaints per year to the Property Ombudsman, of which a high number are around a lack of communication, it’s clear that transparency is a desired trait in the letting process. Having direct relationships with tenants is what Letproof.com promote as a way to create a truly transparent process in letting.
There are of course some argued advantages of using letting agents - primarily saving time and gaining their knowledge and experience. This, however, depends on your agent of course and if you’re an experienced landlord or even an experienced tenant, your knowledge may already be pretty good.
What do letting agents offer landlords? …
Marketing the property
Leases and inventories
Deposit and rent collection
Property maintenance and repairs
Already, many landlords only use a selection of these services, and according to Property Industry Eye:
‘24% just use an agent to provide tenants and then look after the property themselves,’
‘41% find tenants and maintain the property themselves’
‘35% leave everything to an appointed agent.’
That’s 41% of landlords not using an agent at all! So, landlords, if you're willing to call upon your own skills, get organised and informed you could be saving money by going it alone - a trend that we’re apparently already beginning to see.
Plus with the correct resources at your fingertips, a first time ‘go it alone’ landlord’s hurdles are lowered significantly! We provide materials and resources to make deposits, inventories and referencing much simpler for our landlords to go it alone.
Let’s face it, private landlords, overall, haven’t had the easiest couple of years financially, so some additional saving here and there couldn’t go a miss, right?
One of the great things about this time of startups and proptech innovation and the era of ‘there’s an app for that’ is that managing your property and any potentially time-consuming duties that come with it can be easily managed with apps such as Fixflo or Property Buddy, to name a couple.
If the desire is there to become an efficient cost effective independent private landlord is there, we’re here to help you do it and find you a tenant!
Letproof.com are looking for partners and investors if you like what we're about and think you might like to become part of our journey, visit our Crowdfunding page.
Approaching your bathrooms and begin a mini or a complete makeover throughout #DecoratingMonth!!
Our bathrooms are a vital part of our homes and lives, and are arguably the most important room in the house, so having this space the way we like it is desirable at least! Who wants to take a bath in a cluttered room - not relaxing, or start their day by battling their way into the shower - instant mood crusher.
The issue being for many of us, the bathrooms in our homes aren’t huge or as big as we’d like them to be and in a rental property, you definitely can’t go knocking walls down to change this. This is where we need to embrace creative thinking and take on some ideas that can save space, and increase our organisational prowess in the bathroom department, giving, instead, a more calm and flowing environment.
Contain the mess
Invest in some containers that are going to be water resistant, vital because of all that condensation and the occasional splashing. Baskets and boxes can easily store your daily products and items neatly, giving your bathroom a clutter free makeover.
Mirrors work miracles when trying to achieve certain looks. For gaining space, they’re an amazing trick to try. This space creating illusion can help to gain a flowing and relaxing environment, and the bigger the better! Try placing one opposite your window if you can, to reflect as much light as possible into the room. Or if relaxation is your aim, try a mirrored surface for your scented candles.
Pick your positioning of shelving and cupboards carefully. Keeping features clustered together so as not to cover all of your wall and, or floor space, again aids the illusion of space. For example having your shelving above your toilet, keeping it as visually, a continuation upwards from the toilet; or having your washing bin and bin tucked under, in line with your sink - keep it neat.
Adding a pop of colour is a great way to draw the eye towards the main focuses of the bathroom and let the eye wash over those in between. Plus in a bathroom, things like towels are a perfectly easy way to do this.
Organise the back of your bathroom door. This is the common place we keep dressing gowns, towels and PJ’s ‘out of the way’, however, when the door is closed and you’re on the inside, it’s a little messy. To keep this organised and aesthetically pleasing, try a few horizontal rails, towel rails. This is a neater way of hanging things on the back of your door and enables you to hang and store more.
Take on the spirit of #DecoratingMonth and play around with the space that you have, you could surprise yourself!
April is #DecortaingMonth so we've created a social media campaign with all things DIY and interior design in mind.
We already offer support in the form of resources and templates for both landlords and tenants, but we wanted to do something a little more fun to tie in with spring cleaning and a fresh start for the arrival of spring - cue #DecoratingMonth!
First time landlords need to decorate their property appropriately to attract the right tenants, or may enjoy money saving tips on interior refreshes in between lets. Tenants are often looking for simple and cost effective ways to decorate their rented home. So this April anyone can join in with what we have on offer by following #DecoratingMonth or @letproof on Twitter.
Here's what we have going on throughout the month!
- Film interiors quiz in association with Topology Interiors with and the chance to win Joanna Thornhill’s book ‘Home for Now: Making your rented space or first house beautiful.’
- The chance to win a £50 voucher for My Paintbrush decorating supplies in our social media competition.
- A £50 voucher for Rose & Grey is also up for grabs in our “Small Space Style” photo competition.
- Daily decor and DIY tips, plus blogs and fresh ideas for both landlords and tenants
Follow Us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest giveaways and decorating idea!
Ryan Weston of Just Landlords delves into the new season with a comprehensive look at what landlords should be taking care of and Spring cleaning in their investment properties, in this guest article.
With the mercury hitting a whopping fifteen degrees centigrade in some parts today, Spring is slowly creeping up on us!
As the temperatures rise, you could be excused for thinking about sandy beaches and sipping something cold by the pool.
What about gas and electric bills? Insulation? Broken boilers?
Given the fact that warmer weather is on the horizon, you could be forgiven for not worrying about some of the potential pitfalls of your investment property.
However, Spring is a great time for buy-to-let landlords to spruce up their accommodation for potential tenants. The lighter nights also offer the opportunity to give properties a full inspection and to highlight any issues before the colder weather returns.
If you encounter any issues when looking at your property now, you will be in the best position to plan ahead. Should you require larger works, such as a boiler replacement, this will be more cost-effective during the warmer months, with demand for skilled traders not as high.
With this in mind, Ryan Weston, of Just Landlords Insurance Services, provides these easy Spring-cleaning tips to ensure your property not only appeals to tenants, but will be in shape for the Summer and beyond!
Clean your interior-‘Yes, the exterior of your property will be what would-be tenants see first, but it is important that simple jobs in the interior are sorted as a priority. Be sure to de-clutter, give the home a proper clean through and think about sprucing up the property with a new rug or cushions. Check for any holes in walls and give them a fresh lick of paint where appropriate.
Check the exterior-When you are happy that the inside of your property looks good, make sure you give the exterior a proper check. Look for leaks in the roof, cracks in the guttering and make sure there is no Japanese Knotweed on the walls!
Get gardening-Now is the time to stop delaying weeding and cleaning your garden, if you have one! Like the interior, make sure you de-clutter before mowing the lawn and trimming hedges. Ensure that you repair any broken fence panels, clean any furniture and why not get some hanging baskets ready?
Bleed for your cause-Despite the warmer weather coming, it is important for you to check your radiators work by bleeding them during the Spring months. If you find cold spots, that means there is air in the system. You can solve this by turning off the system and turning the radiator key until the air stops and water runs smoothly.
Sound the alarms-Though this should be done regularly, you and your tenants can use Spring cleaning as an excuse to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms!
Don’t reach boiling point-During the warmer months, it is a very good idea for you to check the efficiency of your boiler. These should be maintained at the correct pressure and should be topped up when necessary. Wrap your hot water tank to keep it insulated. You won’t attract tenants with cold water!’
Just Landlords is a partner site of Landlord News:
Landlord News provides news and updates to their community of private and buy-to-let landlords, tenants and property enthusiasts, through their own independent publications. Keeping up to date with trends and market changes, and covering current issues, topics and events, Landlord news brings the latest in the world of property to their readers. Keep up to date yourself @NewsLandlords on twitter.
Letting out your property directly isn’t a new concept. Many landlords have done this for years. However, the majority now let their properties via letting agents who will deal with the whole process for you. However you’re then very much at the agent’s mercy; will they find you the right tenant, will they find you a tenant quickly so your property doesn’t sit empty? And of course they charge you for their trouble.
Many of the landlords we’ve spoken to want to break free from this costly ‘middle-man’ process and regain control of who rents their property. Managing the process yourself is really quite simple, you don’t need to work around letting agent opening hours, you choose who rents your property and you save on the agent fees. We identified that this is a viable and sensible route for landlords looking to save money and get to know their tenants, so we created Letproof.com.
Our platform enables landlords to advertise their property from only 10p a day (more details on the pricing below.) We’ll then help suitable tenants find your property and they can contact you via Letproof.com to arrange a viewing. It’s then in your hands. However, we do offer support in terms of tenancy agreement templates, advice on tenant referencing etc. Here’s what you need to know…
Sign up to Letproof.com for free. When you list your property you’ll pay 10p (or 25p for enhanced listings) a day for a minimum of two weeks. If you’ve found a tenant in this time you’ll have paid as little as £1.40!
>> As we’re still quite new listing is currently completely free!
- You save money! Using letproof.com is considerably cheaper than using a letting agent.
- Your property is an investment, you want your tenants to look after it and pay their rent on time. So, you should be involved in selecting your tenants as well as getting to know and build a relationship with them.
- Easily and quickly upload your property details so there is an attractive profile for tenants to view.
- When your property matches the search criteria of a tenant, they’re able to message you (for free) to ask questions or arrange a viewing.
- We’ll also help to promote your property to suitable tenants via email and social media.
- Avoid an empty property with the ability to arrange future and short term lets.
Going it alone means you’ll be responsible for a little more paperwork – but it’s simply really. And, we’ve created the ‘Landlord Toolbox’ which cover the basics.
Tenant Referencing – it’s simple to ensure your tenant is referenced correctly. Here’s how.
Tenancy Agreement – The National Landlord Association offer a fantastic agreement template that makes it simple to get set up.
Create an Inventory – we recommend the AIIC if you don’t already have an inventory procedure.
Broken Housing Market
For our landlords and our tenants, there’s undoubtedly one news story stealing focus this week - of the announcements made on Tuesday 7th, those concerning changes within the rental market have definitely grabbed our attention.
We’ve pulled together the main points for in a quick update:
> Encouragement for build to let developments
Something that has recently been of great discussion in the rental and property world; build to let properties are underway in many cities already. With a great number, around 4.3 million, now renting in the UK, these properties will play a part in the greater issue of a lack of affordable housing.
> Longer Term Tenancies
This is obviously a welcome announcement for tenants, offering more security in rental properties, however, the Guardian reports that the WhitePaper is ‘limiting longer tenancies to new purpose-built private rented homes’ and that ‘the government has offered renters the bare minimum’.
The question is raised, is this enough, or should there be more done for renting tenants? A move in the right direction - longer tenancies, the November announcement of no fees for tenants, and more rental homes being provided signifies slightly better times ahead for tenants.
Theresa May is moving away from a focus on home ownership which would appear to sit in line with the rising numbers of those now, for many reasons, renting in the UK. This shows a recognition that the housing market requires action as a whole and not just home buyers.