Be Your Own Letting Agent

David Lawrenson of LettingFocus.com receives an email from a past client who is worried about a scary email he has just received from his letting agent. Lawrenson explains all and suggests this kind of thing is just another reason why you might be better off dispensing with your agent and becoming your own letting agent.

Be Your Own Letting Agent

Today, one of the overseas clients I advised on buying and letting property in the UK back in 2015/16 contacted me because he was very concerned about a communication he had just received from the letting agents who are managing the let of his property.

Here is what they said…

Important Information – Legionella Risk Assessments What is Legionnaires’ disease? Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. As a Landlord, what do you need to do? By law, landlords must meet their health and safety obligations when renting to tenants and cannot pass on or delegate these responsibilities. Health and safety compliance is a very serious consideration when taking into account getting it wrong can result in injury, illness or even fatality. Prevention is cheaper than a conviction. The only way to ensure your tenants are safe is to have your property assessed. For peace of mind, we recommend that this is performed by a recognised Risk Assessment Company qualified in this field We have been able to negotiate a preferential rate for our landlords of £125.00 (inclusive VAT) per risk assessment, irrespective of property size, through one of our preferred suppliers, who are highly recognised specialists in this sector. They will issue a Certificate that confirms you as the Landlord have undertaken a Legionella Risk Assessment compliant with the provisions of the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice: Legionnaire’s Disease and the Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems (ACOP L8) R4 2014. We realise landlords are ever more saddled with increased regulations and costs, but failure to comply with this requirement could result in a criminal prosecution, a fine of up to £20,000.00 and up to 2 years imprisonment. As your letting agent, we would like to proceed with the recommended risk assessment on your behalf, deducting payment from your rental income. We will ensure all the paperwork is supplied to you and will also keep a copy on your property file for the required five year period.

Blah, blah! What a load of rubbish.

Sure, if you are concerned that you might have a legionella problem, do get it checked out, but only if you have real concerns.

In the case of my client, he had bought new build flats, so the chances of there being a problem in them would be very small – and anyway, even if there was legionella, it should probably be more the concern of the freeholder and the block managing agents, or of the builders who built the property.

These rapacious types of letting agents, (and these guys are a fairly large high street name), are very happy to worry amateur landlords witless on the latest scare, whether that be asbestos, Japanese Knotweed, legionella or indeed our old friends, damp proofing and cavity wall insulation.

And you guessed right. They will be making a big profit on having the remedial works carried out – both by overcharging, (you can always get this kind of thing done cheaper by  local accredited guys who can easily be found online, if you can be a***d to look!) – and by the contractor having to pay a fee to the agent for access to the agencies clients.

Be Your Own Letting Agent

This is just another example of why you should consider becoming your own agent – advertising direct on the likes of Rightmove and finding good tenants yourself. You can advertise a property as long as you like for under £100!

My new book, “Buy to Let Landlords Guide to Finding Great Tenants” explains, in detail, how to do this.

At the very least, keep a close eye on what your letting agents are doing – and make sure they are doing it right.

As well as the new book, I’m delighted to announce that the brand new 2017 edition of my old book, “Successful Property Letting – How to Make Money in Buy to Let” is now out and available to buy. It has been fully updated to reflect all the many changes – tax, regulatory, financial and more – over the last two years since the 2015 edition came out.

(Note: “Successful Property Letting – How to Make Money in Buy to Let” tells readers that unless you are really well off and very time poor or you are living in a place with zero access to the internet or you are very sick, you should always be managing your own property).

We reckon we have changed two thirds of the content in “Successful Property Letting – How to Make Money in Buy to Let” since the 2015 edition – adding more info to existing sections and packing it with even more useful knowledge.

Links to the book are in the tab, “Books” or see the links below.

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We advise a range of organisations including banks, building societies, local authorities, social housing providers, institutional investors and insurers. We help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords. David Lawrenson, founder of LettingFocus, also writes for property portals, speaks at property events and is regularly quoted by the media.

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