Managing a Tenancy & Rental Property

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Once your tenants have moved in and settled into the property, hopefully things will tick along quite nicely. However, it is inevitable that at some stage in your time as a landlord, that a problem will arise either with the property or with the tenant. Below are a number of relevant templates and forms that you may find useful during the operation of you property lettings business.

Here are some general rules on managing tenants and rental property.

1. Deal with any late rent payments immediately

If you collect rents by standing order (which is highly recommended) then there will be times when banks will make mistakes and a rent payment will be missed. The tenant may be genuinely unaware of this which is why it is best to have 2 late rent chase up letters. The first letter is ‘softer’ in tone and if the tenant had a genuine reason then he will rectify the problem immediately. Send out this letter if the rent is more than 3 days overdue.  (Remember to take into account bank holidays, Christmas and Easter breaks because banks will not be processing any payments at these times).

Click here to download a template letter to use to chase up rent.

If the tenant intentionally held back rent then you need to send another follow-up letter 4 days later with a more hard-line tone.

2. Change of Tenants

It is quite common to let a property to a group of friends or sharers, all under one Assured Shorthold tenancy agreement. However, the situation often arises that one of the group wishes to leave before the end of the tenancy agreement. In this case the outgoing tenant is only released from their obligations under the tenancy agreement if they find another suitable tenant to take their place. 

Once a replacement tenant has been found, you will need to complete a Deed of Assignment Form.  This is a brief legal document which does the following:
• Releases the outgoing tenant from all obligations of the lease
• Gives the incoming tenant all the rights and benefits of being a tenant
• Provides evidence that all the remaining tenants and the Landlord have consented to a new tenant replacing a departing tenant.  

3. Keep your properties well maintained

It is always useful to keep a log of maintenance activity which has taken place for each property you own. Otherwise, as you build your property portfolio you won’t be able to track which repairs you have carried out to which house and whether the same problem is reoccurring.

Also, tenants have a tendency to believe that a problem has been going on longer than it actually has. Remember, you are only responsible for sorting something out from the time the problem is made known to you. Keeping a Property Maintenance Log will give you specific dates and the actions you have taken so that you can present the facts to your tenants.

As you build your property empire and acquire more and more properties, you could loose track on where useful things are in each property, for example the water stop cock to turn off the mains water in case of an emergency.

It is therefore necessary to keep a log for each property of where certain essential things are.
Click here to download a form which you can fill in for each property and attach a copy to the back of the tenancy agreement.

You may also want to hand it to tradesmen visiting the property to carry out maintenance or repairs. It can be very annoying to get a call from the plumber saying that he couldn’t repair the problem because he couldn’t find the stop-cock to turn the water supply off!

4. Get organised about work needing carried out.

You can’t accompany tradesmen all the time when they call to make repairs. Giving people instructions by phone can be a bit hap hazard. The most effective method is always in writing.

Click here to download a form which you can fill in with details of the works which you want carried out. The bottom of the works order can double up as a receipt if required.

5. Ensure you comply with the law

It is a legal requirement to carry out an annual gas safety check and to supply your tenants with a copy of the report. Click here to download a letter you can use to accompany the gas safety record which you send out to your tenants.

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