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Landlords Need Help With Property To Rent

Mar 24, 2008
Could it be that the dream of owning property to rent may not be as stress free as the TV property shows suggest it might be?

That's the story that seems to be shown in new figures just released by the National Landlords Association (NLA). It's revealed that it received a record number of calls from landlords seeking advice during 2007.

The association runs a phone helpline which offers free advice to its members during business hours. They can call with any query they have about property to rent or related matters.

It's finished crunching the figures for the year, and found out it received an average of 2,600 calls a month. Across the year that meant a staggering 31,000 individual inquiries.

It took the association's advisers an average of 12 minutes and 49 seconds to deal with a call. In April 2007, when tenancy deposit protection became mandatory, calls went up 75 per cent to more than 200 a day.

Forget the idyllic luxury of buying a gorgeous rural property and renting it out to perfect tenants. The number one enquiry to the association was how to remove a troublesome tenant from property to rent. When you consider it received more than 600 calls a week, that's a lot of tenants annoying landlords around the UK!

The second most common question was asking what the new protection scheme for tenancy deposit was (TDP). The scheme came in just under a year ago and was designed to raise standards in the private rented sector. The main aim of TDP was to ensure that when a tenant pays a deposit and was entitled to get it back, they could be assured it would happen. It also contained some rules to assist with the resolution of disputes by having an alternative dispute resolution service. The idea behind that was to encourage tenants and landlords to agree on the condition and contents of the property at the start of the tenancy.

The third most popular inquiry was asking about a tenants' housing benefit payments, and what the landlord could do when they didn't match the rent period.

Next up, in fourth place, was questions about students living in property to rent, and the implications when they wanted to swap with another student. And finally, the fifth most popular inquiry was whether or not the landlord needed a HMO License, for Houses in Multiple Occupation such as bed sits.

If it was just answering straight forward questions like these, the daily grind for the association's advisors would be easy (if a little dull). But in fact they get some pretty interesting ones too, and have released some of the best.

They include the landlord who made his first visit to a property in two years to discover the kitchen had been moved to another room, and an outbuilding had been demolished to make way for a new conservatory! In that instance the landlord seemed to be a winner.

Not so the poor landlord who was forced to get a court order to remove some tenants... and was delighted when they suddenly left in the middle of the night. Turns out they had stripped the entire central heating system from the property to rent - and took the double glazing too!

And how's this for cheek. Another landlord visited a property with a long-term tenant to find they had removed the garage door and replaced it with a brick wall and window. Then they had knocked through from the hallway to the garage and were sub-letting the new room!
About the Author
Further property information can be found at the Property Today website at http://www.propertytoday.co.uk
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