Is it too dangerous to be a DIY landlord?

The Buy to Let property boom over the past decade has seen a flood of new landlords enter the market. But with over 145 individual laws and more than 400 regulations to follow, it’s surprisingly easy for even the most well-meaning landlord to end up breaking the law.

New research from property marketplace, TheHouseShop.com, has shed light on the scale of the challenge that landlords face, and how they are dealing with the increasingly complex issue of compliance.

Shockingly, almost 1 in 5 landlords (18.2%) said they find it “impossible” to keep up with constant regulation changes – with a further 30% (29.9%) saying they find it “very difficult” and another 30% (31.2%) finding it “quite difficult”.

The results clearly show that landlords are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of rules and regulations in the rental market. In fact, compliance with law and legislation was listed as the most challenging aspect of managing a rental property by almost two thirds of landlords (63.4%).

While hiring a letting agent to manage your properties would remove the stress of compliance, many landlords simply don’t want to hand over 10-15% of their rental income to secure a full management service. Landlords are also wary of the fact that the cost of using a letting agent could increase even further when the Tenant Fees Ban comes into force.

Research from ARLA Propertymark found that tenant fees make up on average one fifth of letting agents’ revenue and that two thirds of letting agents would recuperate losses from the fees ban by increasing costs for landlords.

This means that landlords are stuck between a rock and a hard place – with increasingly complex and difficult to manage compliance responsibilities on one side, and increasing costs for professional management on the other.

However, TheHouseShop have now launched a new fixed price property management service that will offer the same comprehensive level of service you would expect from a traditional letting agent, but for a fraction of the price. They believe the new service offers a win-win solution for landlords, allowing them to keep their rental business squeaky clean from a compliance point of view, without losing out on a sizable chunk of their rental income.

Nick Marr, co-founder of TheHouseShop, explains how the drive to improve standards in the rental industry is putting additional pressure on landlords and shaping the services on offer at TheHouseShop:

“It’s a really difficult environment that landlords are operating in at the moment. The government have undertaken a range of measures to try and drive up standards in the rental industry, and while this is by no means a bad thing, it does mean that landlords have increasingly complex and wide-ranging responsibilities to deal with.”

“After speaking with our landlords, it became clear that compliance was a huge concern, but many of them simply weren’t prepared to hand over 10-15% of their rental income to have a professional manage their properties for them.”

“We wanted to do things differently and give landlords a new way to professionally manage their properties without breaking the bank. Our fixed price model means that landlords no longer have to choose between losing out on rental income and spending hours and hours dealing with compliance issues.”

“At just £59.99 per month, our property management service offers a significant saving compared to a full management service from a traditional letting agent. And even for landlords who are currently self-managing, when you factor in the cost of your time, we believe that our new service could actually make it cheaper to let a professional manage your property for you.”

TheHouseShop Property Management service charges a fixed fee of just £59.99 per month, regardless of the landlord’s rental income. This makes the new service particularly attractive for landlords with properties in high value areas, as they stand to make an even more substantial saving compared to the 10-15% commission fee charged by a letting agent.

As well as the standard property management duties, such as dealing with tenant enquiries, arranging repairs, handling compliance responsibilities and managing rent collection, landlords using the new service are also given access to a free legal advice helpline – an invaluable resource for landlords who find themselves in trouble during their tenancy.