Despite the ever-expanding size and complexity of the private rented sector – and the increasing amount of regulation, red tape and legislation that landlords must adhere to – many landlords still don’t use an agent or don’t use an agent’s full service, preferring to self-manage.

While concrete figures are hard to come by, it is certainly the case that not every landlord will use an agent to manage their portfolios, despite the lettings sector being a potential minefield of laws and obligations.

There is an awful lot of legal stuff to come to terms with as a landlord and you may find that you are inadvertently non-compliant in spite of a strong desire to play fully by the rules.

In addition, there is the thorny issue of rent arrears and loss of rent to consider, which has become far more heightened as a result of the pandemic.

Here at Oakfield, we are still providing 12 months of rent and legal protection cover to our Landlords , compared to many other companies who have reduced this to six months or withdrawing cover completely due to the pandemic. Having rent and legal protection cover can help to give you peace of mind even if the worst happens – for example, your tenant loses their job and starts to fall into arrears.

But us just saying it’s a good thing is one thing, backing it up with real-life, tangible case studies is another matter altogether.

Case study 1

In one scenario, we had a landlord under our managed service. Their tenant unfortunately lost their job and owed £11,000 worth of rent arrears. Initially, this landlord had ruled out rent and legal as part of their package, but thankfully we convinced them that they needed this. Sure enough, the rent and legal cover paid up for the £11,000 in rent arrears, legal expenses and court fees.

Case study 2

Another landlord decided to rent out his house instead of selling. We found a tenant for this landlord, but he wanted to manage the property himself. This was fine for a year, but then he found out the tenant was using the property for Airbnb without permission, going against the conditions of the tenancy agreement.

All the doors were damaged as they had locks put on them for the purposes of letting the home on Airbnb. The couple who originally rented the property split up, so she wasn’t able to pay the rent as they were no longer able to generate income from Airbnb.

In addition, the landlord forgot to get the all-important gas safety certificate, which meant when he served notice on the tenant, a local housing charity advised the tenant that they could defend possession claim because of this.

The landlord spent thousands on solicitor fees and then had to wait for possession because the courts closed due to the pandemic. During this time, he lost thousands in rent, legal fees and damage to the property as he wasn’t carrying out regular inspections.

If he had opted for full management/legal protection, it could have been completely different. Of course, things still could have gone wrong, but he would have been covered.

Why a compliant letting agent is all-important

While a good letting agent can help to take the hassle and work away from letting a home, and allow you to have a hands-free investment that steadily generates strong yields and capital gains over time, the sector does have an issue with rogue operators.

Although these are very much in the minority, they do exist, which is why regulation and good compliance are so important.

It’s vitally important that you work with an ARLA Propertymark agent to give yourself reassurance that you are collaborating with a fully compliant, fully regulated company. After all, you wouldn’t go to an unqualified, unregulated dentist, so why would it be any different when it comes to looking after your investment portfolio, which for many landlords is likely to represent their retirement pot?

Here at Oakfield Estate Agents, we are ARLA Propertymark protected, part of the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents. It’s a stamp of quality and integrity that will help to reassure you and future tenants that we are always operating to the highest standards of professionalism.

What’s more, we are part of The Property Ombudsman Lettings scheme – which provides property agents with an alternative dispute resolution service and provides consumers with a free, impartial and independent alternative dispute resolution service – the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (which protects tenant deposits), SafeAgent, ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) and IRPM (Institute of Residential Property Management).

This all helps to give our clients reassurance that we are committed to adhering to and further improving the standards the industry expects.

We are also part of the Propertymark Client Money Protection scheme, as a Main Scheme Member, giving people reassurance that their money is protected at all times. All agents managing properties in England, Scotland or Wales are legally required to belong to a government-approved Client Money Protection scheme at all times, and details of the scheme must be publicly available.

You can find out more about how you’re in safe hands with us here, and you can also find out about our services and fees here.

Here at Oakfield Estate Agents, we will do all we can to help you let your home successfully, using our years of knowledge and experience to help you manage homes in East Sussex rental hotspots like Eastbourne and Hastings.

For further information on how to manage the lettings process, please get in touch with us today. You can also request a free instant online valuation to see how much your East Sussex property could be generating in rent each month.