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There is a tendency to treat landlords as one group and comment on them as such: “All landlords are greedy”, “they increase their rent all the time”, “landlords never update the furniture”. As our employment team will tell you, sweeping statements, stereotyping and labelling whole groups as one is unfair, often wrong and strongly discouraged. In the case of landlords, who are often seen as the bad guys, new research has shown that they are in fact a very diverse group of people.

Kate Faulkner, of Designs on Property, has authored a new reported entitled, ‘who are the individual landlords providing private rented accommodation?’ Contrary to popular belief, they are not just wealthy, middle-aged men looking to earn as much cash as they can. The research found a number of facts to dispel the inaccurate myth, including:

  • 40% of landlords were ‘accidental landlords’.
  • Majority of landlords were over 55.
  • Landlords range from those who are full time, to teachers, army staff, librarians and retirees.
  • Many did not expect to profit from renting out, but were doing it as a favour to help family or friends.
  • Vast majority were uniformed about their legal obligations.

Why this presents a communication problem

This last bullet point presents the crux of the problem for those who are setting the rules to protect both the landlord and the tenant. Trying to communicate all 145 of the Government regulations in order to be fully compliant is a big job when dealing with a diverse demographic of property owners letting out their home. Some landlords use agents, which may make it easier to contact, but others self-manage their properties.

It’s in everyone’s interest if landlords take the correct procedures when dealing with their tenants, but the ever-changing regulations present problems and many are not aware of what they should be doing. Some landlords are genuinely confused whereas others are worryingly ignorant. This research shows that 20% do no research at all before deciding to put their property on the rental market.

In our previous blog we discussed how 20% of part-time landlords are failing on something as crucial as gas safety. If you are a teacher or librarian and are renting out a home on the side, it’s even more important that you are up-to-date otherwise something could go disastrously wrong. In previous research, 40% said they were unaware of their obligation to have a gas safety certificate.

What can be done to keep all landlords informed?

It’s going to take a combined effort to make sure all the different types of landlord are ‘captured’ and informed. Faulkner is calling for lenders, solicitors, letting agents, local authorities, tenant organisations and the government to work together to make sure landlords have the tools they need to be compliant on all levels meaning they are renting out their property legally, and more importantly, safely.

Strangely, some landlords aren’t even aware that they are landlords if they let out to family or friends! It’s a tough ask but things such as landlord communities help to share best practice and landlord associations do great work to inform and advise on the latest legal obligations.

Gorvins can help with your legalities

If you are looking to rent out your property and need help with a buy-to-let mortgage, drawing up a contract or another property issue, call us today on 0343 507 5151. We have many expert solicitors on hand to answer your queries and give you the best, most proactive legal advice. You can also email your query to enquries@gorvins.com and we will get back in touch.