Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Rogue landlords - what and who are they? Is that you?!?
A rogue landlord is typically someone who a) owns rental property and b) takes payment for said property without considering the welfare of the tenant or the home that they live in.
Now, in the current climate where the government and local authorities seem to be merciless in their crackdown on landlords, regardless of the apparent housing shortage, even some of the most considerate and caring of landlords can be accused of having this title. Is that fair - NO!
Just because a property owner is struggling to pin a tradesman down to repair a loose door handle, it doesn’t mean that they are ignoring their duty of care to a tenant, in fact, I challenge anyone to try and get a contractor of any type to drop everything and run to your aid and you would quickly find out, even as a homeowner, that shouting simply doesn’t work. Something like this does not make a landlord rogue. But, there instances where it does....
Rogue landlords or Slum Landlords as some might put it, are typically people who are only interested in the financial gain contributed to letting property. Typically, they are reluctant to invest in or improve their properties and in the worst cases flout legal obligations such as gas certification and seem to be oblivious to the welfare of the tenants.
But normal law-abiding landlords can become trapped in this too. With over 150 pieces of legislation attached to the rental of property, it isn’t hard to breach a significant law even if you have got a gas cert, serviced the boiler and fixed the squeaky floor boards.
Spotting a rogue landlord is not always easy but tell-tale signs are always there. Such as the condition of the property before it is let. Look for damp issues, sockets hanging from walls, lights not working and always check the heating. These are generally items that must be attended to by a landlord as they contravene some health and safety standards.
Recently, the government has pledged a further £2,000,000 toward local authorities to help clamp down on the few landlords of this type. The problem is, that even after the ‘rogue landlord’ register being launched sometime ago, it has never been populated.
With an emphasis now on the local councils to ensure these lists are acted upon, and the ease at which the most innocent of landlords can breach tenancy law (because the powers that be are always changing it!) it is highly recommended for a landlord, whether new to the industry or not, to use a regulated and qualified managing agent to look their affairs. Firstly, only approved bodies will have access to the list, so tenants looking for reputable landlords are more likely to rent from an approved (ARLA or NAEA or RICS) agent. Secondly, a professional management company knows the law, are constantly training and learning and are also bound by strict codes of conduct. By doing this, your managing agent takes responsibility in ensuring you are and remain legally compliant and will always remind you of your obligations as a landlord. Therefore, keeping you off that list!
Clearly, legislation and the law in which landlords must work will change and become more challenging as the years go on. We implore that any landlord out there takes professional advice to ensure that you are working with the full knowledge of the laws that you are bound to. If that scares you – call us.