Pro­tect your­self from un­scrupu­lous land­lords

Macclesfield Express - - HOMES -

TEN­ANTS suf­fer­ing ‘ma­jor prob­lems’ are cur­rently high­light­ing the im­por­tance of rent­ing through a pro­fes­sional agent.

Ma­jor prob­lems such as damp, mould, elec­tri­cal haz­ards, gas leaks and an­i­mal in­fes­ta­tion have been ex­pe­ri­enced by 61 per cent of ten­ants rent­ing in the pri­vate sec­tor, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port re­leased by Shel­ter and Bri­tish Gas.

The re­port largely points the fin­ger at ill-in­formed, am­a­teur and ac­ci­den­tal land­lords.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, more than a quar­ter of land­lords have no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of let­ting out a prop­erty, and almost half (43pc) do not re­gard rent­ing as a proper business.

Ca­role Charge, Jor­dan’s tech­ni­cal and com­pli­ance di­rec­tor, said: “This re­search em­pha­sises how vi­tal it is for ten­ants to be se­lec­tive over who they rent through.

“Most ten­ants choose their agent or land­lord by de­fault, based on the prop­erty that best fits their re­quire­ments, and are not aware that land­lords and agents do not all abide by the same stan­dards.

“This is be­cause there is still no for­mal reg­u­la­tion in place to pre­vent land­lords and agents who have no ex­pe­ri­ence, qual­i­fi­ca­tions, client money pro­tec­tion or knowl­edge of the law from prac­tis­ing.

“Iron­i­cally, there are 100 plus rules and reg­u­la­tions that a prop­erty has to pass to be let legally, yet there is no le­gal re­quire­ment for the peo­ple ac­tu­ally car­ry­ing out the let­ting to prove that they un­der­stand and will com­ply with them.”

In the ab­sence of for­mal reg­u­la­tion, the only way for ten­ants to pro­tect them­selves is to rent through an agent who is a mem­ber of a pro­fes­sional, self-reg­u­lat­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion such as ARLA, RICS or NAEA, which re­quires mem­bers to abide by a strict code of con­duct.

“The lack of reg­u­la­tion of the mar­ket al­lows un­scrupu­lous agents and land­lords, as well as naïve ones, to pro­vide sub­stan­dard prop­er­ties and charge ex­tor­tion­ate fees and rents in ar­eas of short sup­ply,” said Ms Charge.

“The fact is, the majority of ten­ants who use self-reg­u­lated land­lords and let­ting agents do not ex­pe­ri­ence the kinds of prob­lems out­lined in this re­port.

“How­ever, around 35pc of let­ting agents are not mem­bers of a pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tion and just one in 20 land­lords be­long to an ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme, which means the pub­lic is still very vul­ner­a­ble to bad prac­tice.”

To help ten­ants pro­tect them­selves, Jor­dan’s ad­vice is to make sure that their cho­sen agent will do all the fol­low­ing, as part of their stan­dard ser­vice:

En­sure that the prop­erty has passed an elec­tri­cal safety and gas safety in­spec­tion and give the ten­ant a copy of the Gas Safety Record be­fore mov­ing in.

Check the prop­erty is free from con­den­sa­tion, mould, damp, blocked drains or sewage is­sues.

Check that all soft fur­nish­ings com­ply with fire safety reg­u­la­tions.

Carry out thor­ough health and safety checks, beyond the statu­tory obli­ga­tions, and take ac­tion to min­imise po­ten­tial haz­ards, for ex­am­ple, mak­ing sure that ponds are cov­ered, safety glass is in­stalled, swimming pools are fenced off, and ban­is­ters fit­ted and in good re­pair.

Give prospec­tive ten­ants a copy of the En­ergy Per­for­mance Cer­tifi­cate (EPC) be­fore view­ing prop­er­ties so they can make an in­formed decision.

Pro­vide Ten­ancy Agree­ments writ­ten in plain English, with no un­fair terms and con­di­tions, as de­ter­mined by the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity (CMA).

Hold the de­posit in ac­cor­dance with the Ten­ancy De­posit Scheme (TDS) and have Client Money Pro­tec­tion in place.

Draw up a de­tailed Inventory and Sched­ule of Con­di­tion at the start of the ten­ancy, agreed by both ten­ant and land­lord.

En­sure that the ten­ant’s rights are pro­tected dur­ing the ten­ancy, this in­cludes the right to quiet en­joy­ment of the prop­erty as their own home, with at least 24 hours’ writ­ten no­tice given be­fore a visit by the let­ting agent or land­lord, ex­cept in an emer­gency.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.jor­dans prop­er­ties.com.

●● Ten­ants are re­port­edly suf­fer­ing ma­jor prob­lems at the hands of am­a­teur and ill-in­formed land­lords. In­set, Ca­role Charge, from Jor­dan’s

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