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Advice for Landlords part 3

Property is a competitive industry, but I believe it is an ‘and’ industry not an ‘or’ industry.

What I mean by that is there is space within the property industry for one agent and another, it is not a case of one agent or the other and the same goes for landlords.

Multiple agents and landlords can enjoy success in the space without getting in each other’s way and, in fact, if everyone worked more cooperatively, the whole industry would grow.

That is why I have decided to release a free ‘advice for landlords’ series, not just for those landlords with whom I already work, but for everyone.

Because, ultimately my ethos, which is something I have instilled in my colleagues here at Rocket, is that we want property to be an attractive investment and for landlords to be profitable across the board, whether they work with us or not.

So, our third piece of free advice is directed at landlords who are looking to sell while you still have tenants occupying your property.

This can sometimes be a tricky situation to navigate, but the key is communication.

There are plenty of reasons for a landlord to need to sell, perhaps they can’t afford to keep their property because they are getting a low return on their investment or the mortgage is higher than the rent or one of many other potential reasons.

And usually, if landlords communicate with tenants and let them know why they have decided to sell, then in most cases the tenants will be cooperative.

The problems come when over eager agents send section 21 notices to tenants without any explanation and then often a dispute will arise and both parties will end up in court.

For example, I dealt with a property recently where the rent brings in £2000, but the landlord’s mortgage payments had gone up to £2500, so he can no longer afford to keep hold of the property.

As such, his current agent served the tenants a section 21 notice without talking to them and now they are refusing to leave.

Subsequently, the landlord has to take the tenants to court in what will likely be an extremely drawn-out process, but this situation could have been avoided had there been better communication from the agents.

Even if the landlord just explains their situation and informs the tenant before a section 21 notice is sent, it can make a world of difference.

And it works in favour of the tenants too, because if the landlord can’t pay their mortgage, then the mortgage company will come along and kick the tenants out anyway, so if they want any flexibility in terms of when they leave then it is worth cooperating with the landlord.

I worked with a landlord recently who had to sell and we spoke to the tenants before serving a section 21 notice and established with the estate agent that the process of selling would take a few months.

In the end, all parties worked together and some tenants were even allowed to stay in the property past the date when the notice expired, as long as they allowed a bit of work to get done and photos to be taken etc.

The biggest worry for tenants when they’re asked to leave a property is making the expiry date work and not having to pay double rent for a period of time and if landlords can accommodate this then usually, they will find the tenants are cooperative in return.

So, if you take anything from this, just remember, communication, communication, communication.

Most people are reasonable and if landlords and agents communicate properly then there shouldn’t be any issues.

And sending a crate of beer or a bunch of flowers to the tenants can’t hurt either…