TOP 5 reasons Landlords get into financial trouble.
Welcome back to Kreiga Blog. This time we are going to look at the TOP 5 reasons landlords get into financial trouble and what we can help you do to help prevent these things happening in the first place.
We will cover the TOP 5 reasons landlords get into financial trouble starting at number 5
5 – Rent Arrears
If a tenant runs into financial difficulty it’s can be an extremely complex situation to deal with, which is why it’s first on our list of the TOP 5 reasons Landlords get into financial trouble.
All is not lost however, as there are things that can be done.
At the start of the tenancy, any reputable agency should perform an affordability check. This is to make sure that the tenant can in fact afford the cost of the rent.
Now that might sound simple, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t complete this task. What some agents’ fail to understand are individuals’ outgoing expenditure; they simply see an annual salary and believe that the rent is more than affordable.
Here at Kreiga, we take the time to perform a comprehensive affordability check on all tenants to help guarantee that rents are affordable and other costs are manageable – taking into account priority debt – to alleviate any unnecessary problems from the start.
What we also proactively consider is that people also can have a change in circumstances. This could be a result of all kinds of things, but most commonly these days, it’s due to redundancy, or a relationship break-up.
Now, while as a landlord other people’s’ personal issues are not normally your concern, here at Kreiga we find that it’s imperative to take into consideration people’s circumstances on an individual basis, as this works wonders for resolving potential issues you may face further down the line.
If identified early, then these issues could all be resolved sooner than you think if the relationship with your tenant is strong enough, Now some landlords manage their own portfolio, and that’s great, but if each tenant is just a monthly payment instead of a person, then relationships can be hard to maintain.
Early intervention is key. Any reputable agency should know all tenants who let properties through them, and as such can build and maintain strong relationships with them. In instances of financial trouble, an affordability review should be undertaken again.
it might actually be possible to clear any arrears with something as simple as a “Rent plus” agreement;
This is where the tenant pays their monthly rent, along with a top-up of an agreed amount for the arrears each month.
However, if it’s not that simple, then this area of tenancy management can become a minefield.
The next on the list of the the TOP 5 reasons landlords get into financial trouble plays a huge part in sustainable tenancies and financial growth for landlords, and that is;
4 – Tenant Matching
When you have a property left empty, it’s a financial strain on any landlord which is why it’s important to get tenants in and paying rent as soon as possible. At times though, the need for a tenant overtakes the tenant profile list that you may have in mind; think working professionals, no smokers, no pets etc. especially when the financial strain hits.
When the head overtakes the heart (so to speak) you rush to get the property occupied and this could lead to issues further down the line. (see point 1. Re: affordability, as well as issues with referencing).
Tenant matching is key to sustainability as both a landlord, and as an agent. If you are lucky enough to perfectly match your dream tenant and they are long term, then being a landlord seems easy…! For a lot of us, that’s not the case.
This is why Tenant matching is a MUST DO task and not a “might do”.
Kreiga go the extra mile to take into account all of our landlords requirements to make sure that we find the most suited match for you. So not only does this fill the vacant property and start earning you money, but
it also makes your life easier, taking the stress away.
3 – Trust
Now this might sound like I’m telling you something you already know, but trust is a key factor in sustainable tenancies. As a landlord you must have complete trust and faith in your agent (if you’re using one) to get the job done with as little hassle to you as possible. If you don’t use an agent, then you should expect to deal with as many issues as a tenant raises and not get frustrated at them when trying to report them – This sounds a bit like a telling off I know, but it’s not. Trust me.
Agencies worth their salt should have in place an agreement for costs of repairs with the landlords of any property. Some landlords don’t like this idea and much prefer to deal with issues themselves, however here at Kreiga we try to make everyone’s lives a little easier.
This amount can be anything the landlord deems as acceptable, however, an amount of around £250 would be agreeable to most agencies should the need ever arise – this does of course depend on each individual circumstance.
You may wonder why I mention a repairs fee when I’m talking about trust, but this is all connected… you see, if your tenant doesn’t feel secure in the relationship with you or your agent, then they are less likely to report any issues meaning they can get much worse and extremely costly to fix once the problem has been identified.
We’ve all seen those landlord and tenant programmes where properties are in disrepair and a lot of the times, although the tenant has been at fault, it’s due to the trust they had in their landlord or agent thatthe situation got that far.
If the trust is there from the start, then these things can be entirely avoided. At Kreiga we undertake a duty of care to both our tenants’ needs, and the properties we look after. This involves property inspections (usually quarterly, but can be completed monthly if desired). This not only gives landlords peace of mind, but also trust that we are looking after your best interests. As an agent it’s also important to build our tenants trust too, so these inspections give us the time to build that trust and maintain relationships throughout.
2 – Deposit Protection Scheme
Failure to register your tenants deposit with a Deposit Protection Scheme means that your tenants can apply to a county court if you don’t use a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme when you have to. They can do this at any time during the tenancy.
This shows on our list of TOP 5 reasons Landlords get into financial trouble as if the court finds you haven’t protected the deposit, it can order you to either
- repay it to your tenants
- pay it into a custodial TDP schemes bank account within 14 days
The court may also order you to repay your tenants up to 3 times their original deposit within 14 days of making the order. The court may also decide that your tenants don’t have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if you didn’t use a TDP scheme when you should have. For more government help regarding DPS, you might want to visit the government site here.
1 – Eviction
I’ll not talk about this in too much detail as all the information you need regarding eviction processes and notices can be found here
Now you’ve read all of that, it’s worth considering how you might end up in this situation. A lot of the time it’s down to preparation. You’ve heard the old saying “Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail”. Never has truer word been spoken. Especially when it comes to your time in court.
The preparation we are talking about here is record keeping; from in depth inventories, to rent statements, and DPS proof of deposit. If you did end up in the unfortunate situation of evicting a tenant, then it can be an extremely lengthy and costly one. To assist you, your agent should keep exceptional records of everything related to that specific tenancy (and all tenancies for that matter). Again, if you do this yourself, then this is where some landlords come unstuck. Most of the cost of eviction is spent on solicitors fees, serving notices and court applications, and can run into the thousands of pounds. Kreiga are not only a letting agent, but also have a fully legally qualified team of eviction specialists to help with the full end to end management of these processes.
It’s worth knowing that we don’t even have to be your letting agent to help you with this, and the fact that we do it all in house means the savings stay with YOU.
So that’s it. Our TOP 5 reasons Landlords get into financial trouble
If you like this, or require further information on how Kreiga can help you with all aspects of tenancies, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
In line with all points raised above (if we were looking after your property), should the need for eviction proceedings arise, we would already be in the perfect place to assist, meaning it’s less likely to lead to litigation. Find out more about our FAST TRACK EVICTION specialists by clicking HERE
Evicting a tenant; what you need to know – Section 21 and Section 8 notices.
Evicting a tenant can be a very emotive topic. From the outset I would like to make clear that evicting a tenant should always be a last resort.
Here at Kreiga we believe that early intervention is key to resolving any issues that could lead to a breach of tenancy and evicting a tenant.
Read more about our social heart here: http://www.kreigablog.co.uk/business-mind-with-a-social-heart/
Obviously a resolution is not always possible and there will always be tenants who are out to cause problems. In these cases no amount of help or support will change their views and ultimately, legal action and eviction are the only outcome.
Thankfully the professional tenant is rare and often we find that engaging with the tenant right from the start id the key to a long and smooth relationship.
Let’s look at the eviction process and what we need to know when evicting a tenant:
We have offered the tenant support, we have signposted to relevant support agencies, we have offered financial advice but we are still in a position that we are unsatisfied with the way our tenant is conducting the tenancy. We are certain that no matter what support we put in place, we are not going to see a change in their ability to sustain their tenancy so we commence the legal process.
First, we will need to serve notice. Getting this part right is key, and our success in court relies heavily on the correct notice being served with the correct grounds at the right time.
You need to understand that there are 2 types of notice:
- Section 21.
This notice gives the tenant 2 months to vacate the property. If at the end of the notice your tenant has failed to leave then we apply to court for a possession order.
- Section 8.
This notice can be served for a number of reasons and relies on one or more of 20 grounds being met. Because this notice is fault based there will always be a court hearing and ultimately the judge decides the outcome.
I will detail the 20 individual grounds another time but for now it is enough to know that the first 10 grounds are what we call mandatory grounds; meaning that as long as we can prove to the judge that one or more of these grounds have been breached then he or she must grant a possession order.
The last 10 are discretionary grounds; meaning that the judge is able to make a decision based on their own discretion and on the balance of probability.
Balance of probability is the legal test used in all civil litigation and requires far less evidence than “beyond a reasonable doubt” used in criminal cases.
Ground 8 of the section 8 notice is the most commonly used when evicting a tenant. If a tenant is 2 or more months in arrears then this is the ground that we rely on in Court and is a mandatory ground.
If this is done correctly then it should lead to a very easy hearing and we should leave court with a possession order.
Listed below are all the things you must have in place to make the court hearing go as smoothly as possible when evicting a tenant:
The case file
This is very important. Your representative should have created a water tight case. The judge should be able to look at a copy of your tenancy agreement, review a detailed rental statement, check that all relevant documentation is present, see that the tenant is clearly in arrears and then grant the order. Remember this ground is mandatory but relies heavily on excellent record keeping. If your records are not up to date the judge could adjourn the case costing more money or worse dismiss the case in its entirety.
I would recommend that you always use a specialist in these cases, even if it is only to review your notices. A specialist will ensure that your notices are correct and can save you an awful lot of time and money in the long run.
Section 21 notice
A section 21 notice is the most commonly used way to begin the three-step process of evicting a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy contract.
Step 1 serving notice
Section 21 notice is a no fault notice. This means that you do not have to rely on grounds. You are not claiming against your tenant for breach. You are simply asking for your property to be returned.
As there are no grounds to prove, it is rarely necessary to attend a court hearing and the majority of the hearing or claim is done on paper. However alarm bells begin to ring if the judge raises a challenge.
9 times out of 10 the challenge has been raised due to an error in the notice. I cannot emphasise enough how easy it is to make errors in the preparation of your case bundle.
You must also have followed certain rules for protecting your tenants tenancy deposit and provide your tenant with the required tenancy deposit information.
To be legal a Section 21 notice must:
- Be delivered in writing and give at least two months’ notice
- Be on a prescribed form if your tenant signed a new contract or a renewal agreement on or after 1 October 2015
- End on the last day of the fixed term of your contract.
You cannot use a section 21 notice To evict your tenant during the fixed term of your contract.
Step 2: Going to court
If your tenant stays in the property after your two months’ notice has ended, you must apply to court for a possession order to get the property back.
You will usually get the possession order if you have served the section 21 notice correctly. The eviction process can take from 4 to 6 months, depending on how busy the court is.
Your tenant can challenge the eviction if the section 21 notice isn’t valid.
The Court will send your tenant papers, including a defence form. Your tenant can use this to reply to the court and explain why you can’t use the section 21 notice to evict them, for example because they complained about repairs or their tenancy deposit wasn’t protected.
If the notice is incorrect then your tenant can ask the court to delay the eviction. The extension could be to stay up to 42 days longer. This is only granted in exceptional circumstances.
After your tenant sends the court their defence form, it arranges a hearing. At the court hearing, your tenant will have a chance to put forward their case. The judge considers their situation and what the law says. The judge won’t grant a possession order if the tenant didn’t receive a section 21 notice or if it isn’t valid. Otherwise, the court will give them a date to leave.
Step 3: Bailiffs
When you are granted a possession order, the court sets a date for your tenant to leave.
If they stay beyond this date, you can ask the court to send a bailiff.
Only court bailiffs can physically evict your tenant.
The court will send your tenant a letter to let them know that the bailiffs are coming. This gives them time to pack their belongings.
Bailiffs can assist in evicting a tenant and their belongings from the property.
So there it is; the processes & notices you should use when evicting a tenant.
The process is not as scary as it sounds and is something that our experts here at Kreiga have dealt with on a regular basis for over 20 years. We have an excellent track record and are well respected in the local Courts. The Judge is often safe in the knowledge that when a representative from Kreiga stands before them that the case is not only fair, but that all other avenues have been explored prior to eviction.
I am more than happy to discuss the laws and legislation around eviction in more detail on an individual basis so please feel free to drop me a line.
Social value is the “why?” of housing. It’s what we do.
Business mind with a social heart. A lot of housing providers are finding it difficult to balance the books in the current economic climate and some are having to significantly cut their service provision.
It seems an all-to-distant memory now, but only a few years ago the focus was to go “all out” on funding for community projects, resident groups, neighbourhood plans, and tenant led services. Then suddenly it went. The funding dried up and as housing providers, we were left with the unenviable task of explaining to our customers that not only were we having to cut the “nice to have” added value services, but actually we were going to lose a significant amount of our “essential” services too.
How do we operate a business mind with a social heart?
If we reduce housing to bricks & mortar, rents, repairs and relets we ignore our increasingly important role as anchors in our communities.
We are seeing an increasing demand on our services, that once upon a time we were able to pick up. Cuts in Policing, cuts to social care, and the provision of mental health services becoming more and more community based.
Read the report here: Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on the cost of cuts
Where do these people go? Where do they turn?
Well, as they have for many years, they turn to us their landlord… but now we too struggle to help as our budgets decrease and the agencies that we would once signpost too disappear.
I want Kreiga to be more than “just a letting agent”.
We want to be able to bridge the gap, even in just a small way.
Having a very long and successful career in social housing over the last 20 years has given me a passion to make a difference. From working as a front line Housing Officer and seeing people in the darkest times of their lives, to working in legal services, I have seen most things and dealt with extremely complex and – at times – harrowing cases. There have been some fantastic times too, and thankfully they outweighed the bad times and I wanted to bring these experiences with me into the private sector and so Kreiga was born.
A high percentage of our customers experience some form of disadvantage. A home provides shelter, warmth and safety… these are fundamental human needs. By providing homes we could potentially change a persons life. I strongly believe that a person cannot begin to sort out external life issues until they have a place to call home. By providing these homes we are transforming spaces into places, and places into neighbourhoods where people feel a part of a community and thrive.
It makes sound social, economic and business sense for housing providers to be able to understand the impact and the difference that their investment decisions make for their tenants.
The bad news is, that despite what sales people and consultants may try to convince us, we cannot wave a magic wand. Nor is there a “one size fits all” method in measuring the impact of our service or the value in the difference that we make. Many may be interested in trying to place a figure, showing a monetary cost saving for the services they provide. Not me. If i can show that I have made a positive difference to someones life, given them the advice and guidance they need, and spent time ensuring that they are tenancy ready before leaving my office, then I am a happy man.
I do not want to place a tenant in a house, take the money and run. I want to match a customer to a home and offer support when it is needed.
If this means spending an extra hour helping to complete benefit forms then great, if it means simply advising on the local amenities, schools and transport links, that’s great too. If it is a person struggling with personal issues that need signposting, then lets make referrals on their behalf or signpost them to the best agency to help.
Making a customer feel valued, being open honest and transparent from the start and building trust goes a long way to prevent issues later in the tenancy.
Some of you will be thinking by now that I am idealogical, and I don’t blame you. 10 years ago i would have thought that too, but seeing the huge impact that early intervention can have on the landlord and customer relationship has proven to me that building a solid relationship from the start really works and is worth the extra effort.
Of course this all depends on your tenant profile. You may have a strict criteria; the professional, working couple, non smoking, non drinking, pet free ideal. If thats what you require then we can match you to that profile, however, we are all only a couple of pay checks away from being the profile that a lot of landlords look at less favourably.
Take tenants in receipt of benefits for example. A lot of Landlords would run for the hills! Why? Some of my best tenants have been in receipt of benefits. Is it really something that should impact our decision to let a home to a person?
At Kreiga we fully vet all new applicants. We have found that if this process is done thoroughly then the source of income should not really matter. We complete full affordability checks on our applicants, we reference fully, if necessary we will request a guarantor. We make sure all applications for benefits are completed. We compare utility providers and advise accordingly. We change Council tax. We make sure that .we provide all relevant contact details.
When a customer leaves our office all they have to do is move in.
As part of our management package we will conduct tenancy audits on each of our properties and will visit each new customer at 4 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. The 4 week visit will ensure that the tenant has moved in and that all benefits (if applicable) are in payment. It is during this visit that we can ensure everything is running smoothly and gives us a good insight into any potential issues ( for early intervention).
The 3 and 6 month visits will follow a similar format ensuring that all is well.
We will also conduct visual inspections. These involve external unannounced inspections – you would be surprised at what the condition of a garden can say about a tenancy. We can ensure on these visits that there are no issues with upkeep and also no incidents of nuisance.
After this our visits will be quarterly unless otherwise agreed.
So that’s us. Now let’s go back to social profit.
So the “what” of social profit depends entirely on the aspirations and ambitions of each Landlord or agent.
My ambition is to be different, to understand the impact and value that the service of Kreiga provides.
It is not to feedback to boards and investors, because we are independent and free to tailor our services however we choose. Nor is it to feedback to funders or commissioners. It is simply to understand how we make a difference and improve peoples’ experience with us, and to go some way to change the perception of other agents.
If we aren’t able to make sense of the impact we have on peoples lives how can we communicate it to our customers?
How can we effectively position ourselves to seize the development and business opportunities inherent in our role as anchors in our local communities?
Thats it! The vision of my company. I know the idea is not for everyone, and I am by no means wrapping issues up in cotton wool. I am a realist. I have been in court, I have evicted many, I have seen that some people just can’t be helped but for the ones who can, I think its worth a thought.
It’s that simple. It’s that challenging!
Kreiga Property Management – Lettings made simple
In a world of digital agents, country wide and national agents, independent agents, and online agents, it’s tough being a landlord. So how do you go about finding the right letting agent for you?
Well it all boils down to your idea of service and what level of relationship you want with your agent. We believe that ultimately, whichever option you choose, the end result is the same; you find yourself an agent to manage your property.
Agents such as “green breezeblocks” or similar are a huge player in the price war. However a recent large study into what clients look for in their agent shows cost came in at 5th in the list of priorities. More importantly, the study showed that TRUST was first, taking the top line with best rental gain.
The full list was:
Trust / Best rental gain
Speed of service
Expertise – Local agents with local knowledge of the area in which they work
Contact & Availability of agent
Some very interesting findings! So how do you find the right letting agent for you?
Well Kreiga are a fully hands on local service. We offer comprehensive bespoke packages meaning that you, the landlord, set the rules. You pay for the service you want and not the services that make us the most money. We do not have glitzy high street offices keeping our overheads low meaning that this saving can be passed on to you.
We operate in our client’s best interest. This is a statutory duty but unfortunately our competitor’s do stray away from this due to the policies and procedures of their large organisations.
To help you decide what service suits you best, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you want a hands on or off service?
- Do you want an agent that offers you the best service for you or the best service for them?
- Do you want an agent with large overheads meaning increase costs for you?
Do you want an agent that offers you their best service when selling to you or an agent that offers you the best service throughout your relationship with them?
- Do you want an agent who upsells or an agent that offers sound honest advice?
Some of our competitor’s rely on up to 60 percent of upselling to keep their business afloat. There is no consideration in this for what is best for the customer as it’s about staff thinking of commission & bonus.
At Kreiga, we are able to operate freely and will treat your property as if it was our own offering you an unrivalled service.
Our team are experienced tenancy management professionals. We have worked in both social and private sector and this is what makes us different.
We offer an all-encompassing tenancy management service to our clients and not just tenant placement. To find out more go to http://www.kreiga.co.uk/pages/landlords
We have the skills and experience to ensure you never need to look elsewhere.
Kreiga – Lettings made simple.