Long-distance landlords 'must take precautions'

by Sarah Ashcroft

Long-distance landlords need to be even more vigilant before signing tenancy agreements, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) warns. A new report from the organisation shows the number of landlords who do not live near their properties is set to grow.

Already some parts of the UK's private rented sector are dominated by long-distance landlords, the study reveals. For example, there are almost twice as many private rented properties in central London than landlords who reside in the capital. Long-distance landlords are also prevalent in Scotland, where there are nearly three-quarters more properties than landlords.

By contrast, the south-east and south-west of England displayed the smallest proportion of long-distance landlords.

Arla operations manager Ian Potter says: "It is a common phenomenon for landlords to let properties in different parts of the country and it is likely that trend will grow."

Examples of long-distance landlords can include people who "opt to let out a property rather than sell when the time comes to move on, or when parents who've bought a student property choose to continue renting it out when their child has left university", he explains.

However, Mr Potter adds that anyone looking to let a property far away from their home should be aware of the challenges.

Arla advises prospective landlords to research the area properly to ensure there is going to be demand for rental properties. It also suggests that property inventory is a must, as regular inspections can be hard to carry out during the period of the tenancy agreement.

Maintenance can be another tricky area, and Arla recommends building up a "network of trusted local maintenance contractors" to be able to carry out repairs.

Obtain a reference about the tenants, the organisations adds, as face-to-face contact will be "rare". David Lawrenson, private rented sector expert at LettingFocus.com, recently stated that checking up thoroughly on tenants is one of the "golden rules" for landlords to follow.

Published on: March 13, 2012

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