Landlords may sometimes feel as though they are drowning in paperwork, which is certainly the message that the Residential Landlords Association’s advice team is receiving. These documents include right to rent identification forms, initial holding deposit forms, application forms for tenants, property inspection certificates, references, itineraries, and a tenant’s form for reporting repairs – to name but a few.
It is little wonder that documents go astray or that landlords simply forget to fill in a particular form on time. The Landlord Advice Team was called by a landlord who was told he could not serve an eviction notice because a tenancy agreement had not been drawn up. The move had been managed in haste as there was significant time pressure and, unfortunately, no credit checks were carried out. The tenant promised to sign an agreement but never did. The landlord was doing the tenant a favour in allowing the move without the paperwork and took his word that the paperwork would be signed.
However, after putting up with late rent payments and other problems, the landlord wanted to take action. Unfortunately he had to wait a further three months. Thankfully the information about the eviction notice was incorrect and so the landlord was able to remove the problem tenant using a Section 21 notice. This is just one case out of many where landlords decide to trust potential tenants and to help them. It also shows that every step needs to be taken to make sure that all the paperwork is in place and that the necessary checks, such as credit checks and references, are carried out to protect the landlord.
There is also an open letter to Andrea Leadsom MP on the property118.com website asking for a positive statement about the plight of landlords. In addition to the increased taxation, red tape, rules and regulations, the letter also mentions the astonishing increase in paperwork that a landlord now faces every time a new tenancy begins. The letter points out that most landlords are honest people who are being penalised for the housing crisis when the answer should be to build new homes rather than ruining the livelihoods of the two million landlords operating in the UK.
It can be very easy to miss out a vital stage when checking in new tenants or to simply misplace a piece of paper. Landlords with multiple buy-to-let properties should consider investing in software so that all the documents are stored in one place. This can also include a check list to make sure that all documents and regulations are adhered to. Using software and apps to deal with tenants can save time and the paperwork can be dealt with immediately as it is available on a mobile phone or tablet.
Investing in specialist software will ease the burden of dealing with all of this red tape and make sure landlords are not at risk of a fine or of falling foul of the law. These documents can also be used as evidence in the event that a landlord needs to take action against a non-paying or anti-social tenant.