The Citizens Advice Bureau, in its latest survey, has accused ‘rogue landlords’ of earning £5.6 billion per year from homes considered to be unsafe. The issues specifically highlighted are what are known as ‘category one hazards’, and these include issues such as severe damp and rat infestations. It’s estimated by the Citizens Advice Bureau that up to 740,000 homes in England could be in unhealthy conditions, and it’s also thought that the issue primarily affects those on housing benefit.
How can we rectify the problem?
More than eight million homes are rented according to the latest census data, meaning that the Citizen Advice Bureau’s statistics do not speak for the Private Rented Sector as a whole, only a select few landlords who’ve failed to maintain their properties to an acceptable standard.
So, as a responsible landlord who wants to ensure that they’re not characterised as a ‘rogue landlord’, what can you do to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s claims? Here are three basic actions:
Survey the structure of the property: Before you invest in a buy-to-let property, or before you let out your current property, it’s worth having it surveyed to see whether there could be any structural problems on the horizon that could potentially make it uninhabitable for tenants. Any large structural issues would require tenants to vacate the property, so having this done before you place it on the lettings market is good practice. It’ll also improve your peace of mind, knowing that the property you’re renting out is structurally sound.
Schedule regular maintenance: In order to prevent any of the category one hazards mentioned by the Citizens Advice Bureau, you have to maintain the overall standards of your property, and ensure that you know its condition. This can be done simply and effectively by scheduling in regular property maintenance. This will increase the rental appeal of your property to tenants, as well as ensuring that your property stays in a good, inhabitable condition.
Carry out regular inspections: When you have tenants living in the property, it’s worth inspecting it regularly to ensure that it remains in good condition. As well as seeing how your tenants are treating the property, this will also give you the opportunity to perform checks on any maintenance work you’ve undertaken, and update your schedule with any maintenance tasks that may need bringing forward.
With these simple steps, you can ensure you don’t inadvertently end up classed as a rogue landlord. By surveying the dwelling, scheduling maintenance and inspecting your property regularly, you’ll ensure you have a property that’s fit for purpose and appealing to existing and potential tenants.
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