Legal 101

Property Management: Who to Know

Jack McClure
·
September 4, 2021

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If you are a landlord looking to get into the lettings business, you should be aware of how to go about it in the right way. Doing everything by yourself can be overwhelming and stressful. It is worth looking into the key roles in property management that can help your venture run as smoothly as possible. We have identified a cursory, non-exhaustive list of service providers for you to consider. 


What is a letting agent?

Many landlords often choose to search for suitable tenants themselves. However, there are specialised businesses which provide this service themselves, drawing on an established network of customers and accumulated know-how. At the most basic level, letting agents advertise the property and source appropriate tenants. This typically entails taking professional photos, designing floor plans for scale, and generally spreading the word. They may also arrange and attend property viewings, conduct references and Right-to-Rent checks, set up the tenancy agreement, and create an inventory. As agents, they are able to negotiate the terms of tenancies if there are particular stipulations from the tenant. In some instances, letting agents also handle rent collection and related responsibilities. This involves complying with government regulations regarding deposits, chasing up rent arrears, serving notices, and offering advice where a tenant has consistently withheld rent. 


What is a property manager?

Property managers act as go-betweens for tenants and landlords, allowing landlords to focus on more core aspects of business development. Once tenants are moved into the property they contact the property manager if difficulties arise. As much as they act to supervise the premises and check on the tenants’ behaviour, they also act to communicate issues back to the landlord. Relevant issues could include maintenance being required, or new regulations introduced by the government, or the rates of vacancy on the property. As administrators they also act in a secretarial role, keeping records of all the paperwork for the property - be this signed leases to license agreements to notices served. The level of service a landlord will receive depends on whether they have taken on a dedicated property manager, or have instructed their letting agent to act in a more managerial capacity. 


Download the property management guide for landlords


What is a property surveyor?

As a prospective landlord you may be interested in purchasing a property to let out. If this is the case, it is worth engaging the services of a surveyor. Their role is to conduct detailed inspections on properties to see if there are any defects. Discovering defects is crucial, not simply to be able to ask for a lower price on the property, but to be able to put maintenance work in before tenants are moved in. Otherwise in some circumstances tenants can deduct the cost of repairing the defect from their rent. There are different levels of inspections you can commission based on price and detail. 


What is a maintenance contractor?

The landlord or the property manager may have to use the skills and expertise of a maintenance contractor to ensure the integrity of the building. Many aspects of maintenance require specially trained contractors who are licensed and certified - such as gas engineers or electricians. Otherwise, finding contractors for tasks such as carpentry, painting or roofing is much more straightforward. Rather than being in-house employees, maintenance contractors are independent; hired for specific, finite tasks which they can undertake as they see fit without much supervision required. It is advisable to use these contractors rather than attempting to make repairs yourself in most cases. 


What is a property management solicitor?

Property management gives rise to all manner of legal issues, from tenancy agreements to licence agreements to restrictive covenants. Solicitors are often required in order to offer salient legal advice, putting the landlord in the best possible position to conduct their business without risk of lawsuit. Their advice typically translates into drawing up contract templates between the landlord and tenant, landlord and agent, or manager and contractor. They can also advise on whether the terms in any of these agreements have been breached, allowing the landlord to collect compensation or keep the deposit. 


From looking for the right tenant to making a property safe, creating a tenancy relationship doesn’t require legal fees. Legislate is a contracting platform where you can create easy-to-understand and legally valid agreements on your own terms. You can read how to create your first Legislate agreements in our tutorial or watch a short demo. If you would like to try Legislate, please book an introductory call.



The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.


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