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Landlord errors and how to avoid them - Underestimating what it takes to manage properties yourself

Posted 2/03/2023 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
Person looking out the window with their hands behind their head

Landlords, particularly those who are new to Buy to Let, can underestimate what it takes to look after a rental property in terms of time, knowledge and skill. 

There’s a huge amount of legislation to understand and even if you know what to do, the day-to-day job of being a landlord doesn’t suit everyone. While some tenancies run smoothly, you’ve got to be prepared and able to handle issues efficiently when they arise, whatever time of day or night if you are on holiday or super busy at work and includes knowing the best way to deal with your tenants.

It’s important to be aware that if you do make a mistake on the legal front, you could be fined anything up to £30,000 by your local authority, depending on the breach – even if it was unintentional. And for more serious violations of health and safety rules, you could end up being prosecuted in court, so it’s vital to get lettings right.

A successful let requires:

  • Knowing what steps need to be taken in order for a property to be legally rented out
  • Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities as a landlord
  • Finding an appropriate tenant, who will look after the property well and pay the rent on time and in full each month
  • Administering the let and ensuring the correct documentation is issued at the right time
  • Having the time and ability to manage the tenancy and liaise with the tenant
  • Knowing your maintenance and repairs obligations and arranging for work to be carried out as necessary
  • Ensuring regular checks are made during each tenancy and knowing how to spot potential issues early
  • Staying up to date with legal changes and understanding how they affect you and your property, so that you remain compliant
  • Knowing what steps you are legally able to take if there are problems with the tenancy
  • A fund of money available to cover you if there are unexpected expenses, or if tenants delay or default on rent

On top of all that, you need to keep up with the latest trends in your local property market so you can always ensure you’re letting the right kind of accommodation to the right tenants, at the right market rent.

A lot of landlords work with local lettings experts. Those who let and manage their own properties are generally professional landlords whose main or full-time job is property investment, and they have invested time and money in learning the business and becoming experts themselves. And they even regularly network and consult with sales and lettings agents to make sure they continue to be successful.

If you already have a full-time job, and particularly if you have a family, it’s important to consider whether you have the time to also be a DIY landlord – bearing in mind that tenant queries and maintenance issues have no regard for whether they’re coming at a convenient time for you!

Although a letting and managing agent’s fee will add to the operating costs of your investment, our landlords certainly find it’s a relatively small expense, given the time and effort it saves them – and it is an allowable expense that can be deducted from your rental income. As members of ARLA Propertymark, our staff are professionally trained and kept up to date with changes in the law and we have compliance and legal support from the membership body. Every branch has reliable systems in place for administering lets, and trusted contractors that can deal with maintenance and repairs issues quickly and efficiently.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help ensure the success of your Buy to Let, just get in touch with your local Reeds Rains branch and make an appointment with one of the team.


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