The most recent English Private Landlord Survey, conducted by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, was carried out in 2021. It aims to inform Government of landlords’ experience and how they acquire, let, manage, and maintain privately rented accommodation. These surveys have been regularly carried out since 2001 and it comes as no surprise that there have been some significant changes since the previous one in 2018.
One that struck me is the number of landlords moving away from self-managing their properties.
46% of landlords said they use an agent for letting service, compared to just 34% in 2018. At Pennington we have certainly witnessed this trend as a reflection of a sector that is now governed by over 150 pieces of legislation. This is true whether it is one property a landlord has or a portfolio; the expectations placed on landlords are the same.
Navigating the legislation can seem overwhelming, especially as the penalties for non-compliance include bans or fines of thousands of pounds. Up to £30,000 is faced for HMO violations and some repeat offences and the most serious offence of non-compliance with Right to Rent checks is up to five years in prison.
Most landlords strive to do everything properly and have good relationships with their tenants, but tenants are getting more savvy and – quite rightly – know how things should be done. There are advisory groups who actively encourage tenants to take action if the letter of the law has not been followed, so landlords need to be totally on the ball. Taking action is the tenants’ right of course but this means that there is zero excuse for landlords to not get everything 100% in terms of process, timing and documentation and keeping abreast of all regulatory changes.
It is interesting in the survey to see that while more landlords are moving to a managed service, the latest survey also reported that nearly half (49%) of landlords do not currently use an agent. This is higher among landlords who own a single property, but the amount of legislation applies in the same way.
At Pennington most of our landlords opt for the fully managed service we offer, giving them peace of mind that everything to do with their property is taken care of but we also appreciate that individuals have different needs and budgets which is why we offer a range of services to suit.
In response to client requests, we offer a bespoke suite of services for landlords that opt not for fully managed, as a Pick & Mix Service. The landlord selects from individual services on an ad-hoc basis, and it is proving popular with those who are happy to manage their own property but do not want to do everything themselves.
There is more emphasis than ever on landlords to be compliant, so as always do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like any further information.