“I just love looking over and keeping up to date the 108 pieces of legislation that govern the rental of residential property in the UK”
…No Sidcup Landlord, ever
If you are one of the 982 Sidcup landlord's that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants. Oh, and on top of the 108 pieces of law, there are further 300+ regulations in the mix. Whilst Sidcup landlords may once have preferred to manage their Sidcup buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Sidcup landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.
In the last four years, an additional 378 landlords in Sidcup have converted from self-managed to having their property managed by a letting agent in Sidcup, taking the total number of properties under management in Sidcup to 1,537 (out of a total of 2,519 private rental properties in Sidcup).
Now, don't get me wrong, self-managing your Sidcup rental property can be a very fulfilling experience, allowing you, as a Sidcup landlord, to build a deep relationship with your tenant and your emergency 24 hour plumber, builder (happy to do small jobs at a drop of a hat), decorators, first name terms with their deposit provider, lawyer and EPC provider to name but a few. (Wow!)
Also, did you know if your tenants deposit isn't registered, or doesn't continue to be registered after the end the periodic tenancy upon renewal … you could be fined up to three times your deposit? With the average rental deposit in Sidcup being £1,118, each self-managed landlord in Sidcup could be fined £3,354 per tenancy if the deposit isn't currently registered. Therefore…
…if every deposit of every Sidcup self-managed landlord's property wasn't registered, the total fines would amount to £3,295,003
Now of course, I am not suggesting for one minute all the self-managed landlords of Sidcup haven't registered their deposits, yet almost on a daily basis, I come across horror stories to that effect. Another two (but by no means all) hot issues that the Courts are cracking down on, are doing immigration 'Right To Rent' checks on all tenants (yes all tenants) and confirmation proving the tenant received the 'How to Rent' guide. If that second issue cannot be proved (a 'sent' email won't suffice), the landlord cannot serve the section 21 Notice, meaning the tenant cannot be served notice to vacate the property.
To many, it's really a case of DIY or getting a qualified professional in … as those additional Sidcup landlords mentioned above have done since 2014. You might say, “Of course you are going to say all this – you are a Letting Agent”. Well the choice really comes down to your time and your knowledge. If a Sidcup landlord is not equipped, or able, to devote time keeping up-to-date of legislation and law nor doesn't want to be bothered 24/7/365 about a blown light bulb, dripping taps, have that confrontational conversation with their tenants about missing rental payments, or arbitrate arguments and disagreements between your tenant and the neighbours, it is perhaps better to pass this accountability/responsibility onto a letting agent.
One thing I would say is all letting agents aren't the same. Would it surprise you to know that letting agents aren't regulated?
Sidcup landlords that do use a letting agent should not forget that passing over management to a letting agent doesn't mean they can disregard legislation and they are still responsible for deposit/rent repayment legal directives, civil fines or action if the letting agent makes a mistake. Therefore, it's important to pick a respectable letting agent from the start.
Nevertheless, for those Sidcup landlords that see their job as a professional landlord and want to be intricately involved in the day to day administration of their rental properties, it can be worthy pursuit.
If you are a self-managed landlord in Sidcup, and want to know if your paperwork is in order please feel free to drop me a line and I am more than happy to do an 'MOT' on it to ensure you are the right side of the law.
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Speak to me: If you'd like to have a chat about anything in this article or property related, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I'd love to hear from you.
Paul Long (Director & Author of The Sidcup Property Blog)