Exploring Causes of Stress for UK Landlords - LettingaProperty.com

By Shannon Hall

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What are Common Causes of Stress for Landlords?

This post was last updated on June 11th, 2021 at 09:42 am

In May, LettingaProperty.com conducted a survey of 20,000 UK landlords, to better understand their experience of letting property – their motivations, opinions, challenges, and concerns. Renting out property can be demanding and difficult at times, but what exactly do landlords find most stressful?

Landlord Causes of Stress: Finding good tenants

73% of landlords said finding good tenants was moderately or extremely difficult (UK Landlord Survey 2021). This can certainly be a tricky part of the process, especially for first-timers or landlords needing to find a tenant quickly.

The first step to finding good tenants is creating a high-quality advert. If your listing doesn’t do your property justice, your chances are already limited. Clear photos, a well-written description, and setting a realistic and competitive rental price will mean your property is well placed to attract the right tenants.

Whilst the advert should showcase your property, it must also be honest and accurate. There’s no point only showing photos of the best rooms or ‘forgetting’ to mention that the garden is shared. Sure, you might get more enquiries, but if a tenant arrives and the property is not as expected, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Landlords should carefully consider their specific tenant criteria. If you’re looking for students, don’t want smokers, or would prefer no pets in your rental, clearly state this in the property description.

Choosing tenants

Once enquiries start coming in, choosing a tenant can be particularly stressful. Deciding who will live in your property for the next 12 months or more is a big decision, and there are many factors to consider. 

Can they afford the rent? Will they look after the property? Do they seem keen or will they change their mind? All these things need to be considered when picking your tenant.

When assessing affordability, comprehensive reference checks certainly provide some reassurance for landlords. Tenants must provide a 6-year credit history, employment reference, and proof they can afford the rent. Plus, they’ll need a positive landlord reference to prove they paid their rent on time and treated the property well.

A holding deposit will also confirm the tenant’s interest before they move in. With the Tenant Fee Ban, some landlords may worry about taking money from tenants before they sign the tenancy agreement, but a holding deposit (one week’s rent) to secure the property is perfectly legal and encouraged.

It may seem daunting for landlords to manage the entire lettings process, particularly once tenants are involved and issues may arise, but 36% of survey respondents do just that. On the flip-side, just 19% said their agent manages everything for them. And with two-thirds having let property for more than five years, it seems most landlords see value in managing the whole process – and enjoying the cost and control benefits that follow.

Landlord Causes of Stress: Handling maintenance issues

Solving maintenance issues can be a significant cause of stress for landlords. Keeping the property and the tenant safe is a landlord responsibility, but arranging maintenance work can be tricky, particularly for emergencies that require a fast response.

59% of landlords revealed they found managing maintenance issues to be moderately or extremely difficult. Specifically, getting a good price from contractors proved most challenging, with 78% of landlords finding this difficult. A close second was finding a reliable contractor at 72% (UK Landlord Survey 2021).

Preparing a list of reliable tradespeople makes things much easier. We recommend having at least two dependable professionals for each maintenance area. Whether a plumber, electrician or gardener, relying on a single contractor is risky. And if they’re good at their job, they aren’t likely to be available at short notice. 

Find trusted local tradespeople with Bark.

If it’s a big emergency – like a burst pipe or broken boiler – Home Emergency Cover is a real lifesaver. Instead of contacting you, your tenant can ring the emergency helpline and get a contractor out straight away.

When deciding to let property, most landlords tend to know there are significant legal implications. But understanding the full scope of these responsibilities, and the specific actions required, is far from straightforward.

With over 125 laws applying to the rental sector alone, knowing the ‘ins and outs’ of your legal duties can be challenging, particularly for first-time landlords. From property licencing and deposit protection, to safety inspections and notice periods – there’s a lot to remember.

The good news is, landlords aren’t expected to know every piece of legislation. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t overwhelming. In fact, 58% of landlords find it difficult to fully understand their legal responsibilities (UK Landlord Survey 2021).

It’s one thing to know what the current laws are, but new rental legislation is introduced all the time. In the last 12 months alone, electrical inspections have become mandatory, eviction proceedings have changed numerous times, and new rules for renting with pets are currently in process.

The best thing for landlords to do is to stay updated. Subscribing to newsletters, reading articles and joining landlord forums are a great way to stay in the know. Things may get overlooked and honest mistakes do happen; just be sure to take all necessary steps to comply once you are aware.

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Landlord Causes of Stress: The Impact of COVID-19

The pandemic has been a source of stress for everyone. When the national lockdown was announced, the property market ground to a halt. High-street agents shut up shop and in-person viewings stopped, while maintenance and inspections were severely delayed.

Landlords and tenants were eventually given formal guidance, but the constant updates – alongside chaotic lockdown restrictions, furlough and rumours of ‘rent holidays’ – were difficult to manage. 18% of landlords reported issues with rent payments, and 10% found it difficult to find tenants during this time (UK Landlord Survey 2021). Despite these difficulties, 44% of landlords felt that COVID-19 had no significant impact on their landlord life (UK Landlord Survey 2021).

Related article: Lockdown at LettingaProperty.com: How Our Rent Claims Stayed Below 2%

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has impacted the rental sector. After all, we’re still experiencing the effects – with eviction and bailiff proceedings still not back to ‘normal’. But our survey shows that landlords are a resilient bunch, capable of adapting to the most challenging circumstances. It also suggests that letting property remains a strong proposition, both as an income generator and long-term investment, even in tough times.

Landlord Causes of Stress: How we can help

In our survey, 43% of landlords told us that receiving a consistent monthly recurring revenue was their number one priority, while 26% said hassle-free property letting was their main aim. Landlords trusting LettingaProperty.com with their rental property can achieve both these goals and much more.

Our Complete and Essential plans offer Rent Protection – meaning your rent will be covered even if your tenant doesn’t pay – a real gamechanger during the pandemic. Landlords also get the information, tools and support to let their property efficiently and professionally – this includes advertising on Rightmove, comprehensive referencing, tenancy agreements, deposit security and legal advice.

To find out how we can help you, book a quick call.

What stresses you out?

What do you find the most stressful aspect of being a landlord? Do you agree with the findings from our survey? Do any of the results surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Shannon Hall

Shannon joined LettingaProperty.com in 2015 and has proven to be an exceptional Valuations Team Leader by supporting new landlord clients in switching to our digital platform. Not only is Shannon an experienced landlord herself, she has achieved professional qualifications in Residential Lettings & Property Management, holds a NFOPP Technical Award and has completed a Diploma in Business Management.

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