Growing number of 'accidental landlords' in north of UK

by Daniel Jones

There has been an increase in the number of landlords requiring tenancy agreements who had no plans to let properties professionally in the first place.

The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (Arla) indicates nearly half of member agents reported a rise in the number of unplanned lettings during the third quarter of 2011.

This is an increase from 40 per cent at the beginning of the year, with the trend proving more noticeable in the north-east and north-west of England.

Agents report the predominant cause of this trend has been homeowners finding themselves unable to sell their homes, or holding off until a higher price becomes available.

Arla president Tim Hyatt suggested that while lettings are an excellent way to generate income if a home cannot be sold, landlords must ensure they do things properly.

"Lettings is an unregulated industry and there can be pitfalls for both landlord and tenant, including loss of monies," explained Mr Hyatt. "While we are, of course, happy to see an increase in the number of landlords, it is vital that every landlord - reluctant or keen - seeks expert advice before embarking on a rental arrangement."

Key pitfalls include failing to notify mortgage and insurance providers, which can create legal problems further down the line and complications for tenants.

In addition to legal documents, such as a tenancy agreement, landlords have also been reminded that a let property is no longer their home, which should have a bearing on interior design decisions.

Arla warns prospective landlords to think carefully about their furniture and decoration choices.

Landlords are also advised to put together a detailed property inventory, which includes the condition of features and fittings, with supporting photographic evidence to document "wear and tear".

This will make determining what repair and maintenance costs can reasonably be passed onto the tenant easier.

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Published on: January 6, 2012

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