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Laundry List for Landlords During Quiet Periods

The lockdown period has enforced a state of calm and inactivity. For landlords, this can’t feel ideal, but inactive periods are an excellent opportunity to get on with essential tasks. With lockdown rules easing and some industries being encouraged back to work, landlords can start to make more than essential repairs to their properties.

PIP Estate Agents recommend that landlords make the most of this time to get up to date with their essential paperwork and admin. When running a busy property portfolio, some less-than-urgent paperwork can be easily put aside.

‘Whilst we’re not suggesting that you Marie Kondo[1] your entire office and filing systems, now is as good a time as any to get on top of those little jobs to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running with new tenants.’

Administration jobs

As a landlord, you have many key responsibilities, so now is an ideal time to ensure that you’re fully up to date and legally compliant. PIP Estate Agents recommend ‘having a regular slot in your calendar to make sure you’re up to date with all your paperwork so you’re operating safely and efficiently.’

  • Are tenants’ information and contracts up to date?
  • Is your landlord and building insurance costing you too much? Could you find a better deal?
  • Are your EPCs up to date?
  • Are the gas and electrics safe and working in empty properties?

Property maintenance

Whilst a fall in income may make landlords want to avoid spending money on improvements to properties, a new kitchen or bathroom in an empty rental property is worth considering as part of your long-term strategy. In the meantime, here are some low-cost suggestions to make the most of downtime in empty properties:

  • Check for damp and ensure it’s dealt with quickly
  • Ensure all drains are in working order
  • Upcycle any furniture for your properties (look at places such as Facebook Market Place[2] for low cost finds)
  • Give rooms a fresh coat of paint in neutral colours, white, or off-white to allow tenants to put their own stamp on the property
  • Consider new hard-wearing carpets to freshen up a room
  • Retile any tiled bathrooms and hide pipework

Improve Kerb Appeal

Clean the windows and front door and consider a touch-up of external paint to maximise kerb appeal. Tidy up any neglected outdoor areas and consider low-maintenance options such as paving.

‘Making properties more attractive to future tenants will help you stand out and also help to conserve the value of your property, so long as you are sensible with the return on value,’ PIP Estate Agents advise. ‘Employing local tradesmen is also going to help boost the local economy and word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing for landlords. Make use of online marketplaces such as Trust a Trader[3] or Rated People[4] to procure quality reputable tradespeople. If the property is empty, repairs and changes can go ahead as long as all the people working within the building are adhering to social distancing guidelines.’


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Working with tenants in difficult times

COVID-19 has drastically changed how many businesses operate. It’s impacting the income and welfare of millions in the UK. With the UK set for a harsh economic downturn[1], the mood isn’t feeling especially hopeful for landlords with rentals. What’s important to remember is that no one is untouched by the impact of the virus, and it’s important more than ever to come together as a community.

Under current legislation, renters are protected from eviction for three months from the 26th March 2020[2]. Tenants are advised to continue paying their rent as normal, as the legislation doesn’t mean that tenants can suddenly stop paying their rent even if they are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

As a landlord with a portfolio of properties, this can place you in a difficult position. PIP Estate Agents stress the importance of working together with tenants and opening channels of communication. It’s important to show humanity during these unprecedented times, especially as more tenants may be moving on to Universal Credit or experiencing a reduction in income.

Many tenants may not wish to admit they are struggling to pay their rent, so as a landlord you could opt to approach them first. Coming to an agreement to reduce the rent for a few months, or having a fixed payment plan for rent arrears, ensures that landlords still have some income to help cover their costs.

Avoid going for overly formal letters, and instead aim to be approachable. Let them know you’re on their side and have their best interests at heart. Keeping a current tenant in place is much more preferable at the moment, even if you need to agree to a reduction in rent for the time being. It’s important to think about getting through the coming weeks, rather than months down the line.

Many tenants have been furloughed or lost their jobs entirely, so Universal Credit applications have naturally increased during the pandemic[3]. The application process for Universal Credit is long, so whilst tenants are awaiting information regarding a decision, landlords should encourage clear communication.

PIP Estate Agents understands treading the line of business and supportive philanthropist is difficult for any landlord, especially during difficult times such as the virus. It’s important to ensure that tenants continue to pay their rent as per their rental agreement, but also to understand that COVID-19 has changed the face of everyday life.