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The majority of landlords in the UK find managing their properties more stressful than their full or part time jobs, with arrears causing the most worry, new research has found. They are having to deal with complex issues such as new regulations, rent arears, and tax as well as the everyday issues of repairs, insurance and void periods, according to a study from Property Let By Us. The research reveals that rent arrears causes the most stress, cited by 87% of respondents while 80% said dealing with tenant complaints was the main stress, followed by 43 for repairs to properties, 40% the new immigration laws and 28% securing finance to expand their buy to let portfolios. A quarter of landlords cited tax and inland revenue as a major reason for getting worried and anxious, while a third said it is void periods while 23% of landlords blame having a partner that doesn’t understand or appreciate the amount of work involved in being a buy to let landlord as a major cause of stress ‘The good news is that finding new tenants is near the bottom of the stress list, which brings some relief to the plight of landlords,’ said Jane Morris, managing director of Property Let By Us ‘The increasing regulation and the added responsibility that goes with it, is weighing heavy on the shoulders of landlords, along with rent arrears and tenant complaints,’ she explained, adding that one way that landlords can help to avoid rent arrears is by conducting thorough tenant reference checks. ‘These background checks on tenants are so important. Picking the right tenant can save a long, costly eviction process further down the line. Be thorough in conducting background checks and reference gathering, including bank statements for the past three months, previous landlord references to check the tenant paid rent on time, credit checks, incorporating fraud indicators and employer references. It’s important to also check identity and proof of current address, ideally tax or insurance documents, and talk at length to a prospective tenant,’ said Morris. She also pointed out that landlords should also take the time to compare addresses shown on the application with those shown on the identity documents. ‘Feel free to ask for previous utility and telephone including mobile phone bills and statements, and check if the name and address and other information matches up with the information on the application form. The more information collected on the tenancy application the better, because if the tenant subsequently absconds or leaves owing money, this can be used to give vital tracing information,’ she explained. She added that should an applicant make false statements, document provide evidence for eviction. ‘Applicants who are reluctant to produce their identity documents represent a higher risk to the agent’s obligations for customer due diligence under the Money Laundering Regulations,’ said Morris. Continue reading →
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