Property management is now easy
This article is written by Victoria Whitlock, AKA “The Accidental Landlord”, as seen in The Evening Standard. This week “The Accidental Landlord” explores the challenges of managing a property yourself and looks at whether easyProperty’s new Property Management service (3.6% inc. VAT) could give landlords peace of mind.
I like to manage my rental properties myself because I’m too mean to pay anyone to do it for me and I prefer to keep an eye on my tenants, but I admit that occasionally it can be a pain in the neck. When my tenants have a problem, it always seems to be at the most inconvenient times.
One rang me at 2am to tell me she’d locked herself out, another called while I was skiing to complain about a blocked drain, and I once got off a plane to find my voicemail full of messages from a bunch of tenants whining that their flat mate had thrown a party and was refusing to clean up afterwards!
Over the years I’ve had to abandon weekend shopping trips with my kids, cancel nights out with my husband and stand up friends to answer SOS calls from tenants. I even arranged an oven repair while being driven to my own wedding!
Also, as I’m a contender for the title of World’s Most Disorganised Person, I’ve spent the occasional sleepless nights fretting over whether I’ve correctly completed all the paperwork for the tenant’s deposit protection or whether my gas safety records are up to date.
So, yes, there are times when I wish I could hand the headache over to someone else, but I’d never use a high street letting agent because in addition to their management fee, I’d end up paying over the odds for maintenance work and repairs. This is because most letting agents charge tradesman up to 20% commission for any work they put their way, which is added to the landlord’s bill.
I’ve tried using an independent management company, of which there are quite a few around, but whilst I enjoyed the luxury of having someone else to arrange repairs, I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the work.
easyProperty is now offering its own solution for landlords – ‘easyProperty Management’. For 3.6% of the monthly rent, they will write up an ARLA accredited tenancy agreement, protect the deposit, advise utility providers of the change of occupancy and arrange repairs and manage all maintenance issues. And, because easyProperty don’t charge any markup on the tradesmen’s work, landlords will only be charged the actual cost.
Tenants are given a 24-hour emergency number, so landlords can be sure they won’t get any more out-of-hours phone calls, and they should be able to sleep easy knowing that if there is an emergency at their property, tenants can call someone else to deal with it.