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Compliance – Compliance Compliance

Just a few days ago I was reading a very detailed survey that stated that one of biggest landlord worries is compliance; it was second after the COVID- 19 effects on rental industry, and I really understand where this worry is coming from.The safety of our tenants is extremely important and the government fines for noncompliance are very generous.

For example, as per HMO regulations you have to display your name, contact details and your address at your HMO property, failure to do so can earn you a £1000 fine from your local council. You also have to provide appropriate waste facilities, this includes a recycling waste bin in kitchen and clearly displayed instructions on waste management, and once again, failure to comply will result in a £1000 fine.

One of the most hefty fines that council can apply is a failure to maintain common parts and fixtures, fittings and appliances which can result in a fine of up to £19 000.

A simple and unintentional error could cost landlords a lot of money.

So here are a few tips from us that will help landlords ensure that their properties are in line with all of the latest regulations:

1. Read and familiarize yourself with the HMO license conditions of your property at least once every 3 months, make sure you have not missed anything and remind yourself of your obligations.

2. Carry out a full property inspection every 3 – 4 months ensuring you include the following most often missed out on questions:

  • Are all the certificates and HMO license displayed?
  • Is the tenant handbook in its place and is up to date?
  • Are the fire alarm test sheets in its place?
  • Are all fire alarms working and regularly tested?
  • Are CO2 alarms present near the gas cooker and a heating boiler?
  • Is the waste management information clearly displayed?
  • Are fire exits clearly marked, safe and unobstructed?
  • Are all automatic door closers working properly?
  • Are there any signs of unauthorized overnight guests?
  • Are all appliances working?
  • Are all sockets working? (you can use small bedside lamp to test it)
  • Any signs of mould or damp?
  • Is the fuse board in proper order?

3. Read your councils HMO licensing website page once a month and subscribe to all updates. This would include:

  • Gas certificate
  • Fire safety certificate
  • Electrical Certificate
  • EPC
  • PAT

5. Keep strict records and order with all of your inspection files.

6. Test your fire alarms every week or every second week depending on type of alarms. (Grade A alarms with control panel should be tested one a week). Keep records of all the tests. Identify if you can film a video when testing alarms using an app that shows date and address. (The most ideal solution) If not, photos and description log with signature is acceptable as well.

These are just few things that could help you make sure your property is in line with all of the regulations and HMO license conditions and save you from future worries about any potential fines.

If you are still concerned or unsure if your property is fully compliant and you think you might not be doing everything that your HMO license conditions require, please contact us and we will be able to help you put things right as soon as possible.

With Gratitude, Ilva Pam

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General

BRICKS, WATER AND PEOPLE

Property business consists of two main components:

The property itself and the people to whom you are selling or renting it to, most often defined as your clients.Very often we hear the expression that property business is all about the people, well I would like to believe that it’s both, the property or the building itself, as well as the people living in it.

As property managers, we deal with both of these areas on daily basis and to make sure your business runs smoothly, you need to take care of both of these aspects – maintaining the building in a good order and cultivating productive relationships with your clients.

Now, what I mean by maintaining your clients in good order is something we could write lots and lots of books about, but mostly it’s about keeping the relationships in good order from both sides, ensuring there is a mutual understanding, respect and good attitude and this is not something that’s easily achieved, which is one of the main reasons why the rental properties should be managed by professionals who are also good at managing people.Good relationships with people in your business, including your clients will always be a great asset, but it’s not always that straight forward, especially when you try to create good relationships with your tenants.

My approach to this situation is ensuring my team and I listen and understand our tenants in an empathetic way without being too friendly as that can hinder relationship further along the way.

Usually everything is good with your landlord-tenant relationships until a problem or challenge arises. For example, the boiler breaks down during Christmas period. The tenant understandably will want it fixed as soon as possible. In most cases, so will the landlord and even the plumber, but where the problem may arise, is at the plumbing part supply stage.When a boiler needs some part to be replaced, for plumber to order or buy this part at the plumbing shop may be fairly challenging and could take some time, sometimes even as long as a week or more.

Now, this is where the landlords’ people skills should be utilized.

Landlord must communicate in the best way possible to the tenant and explain the situation, as from the tenants’ side, all that matters is for this issue to be resolved.If the situation is not properly communicated, they will simply assume that the landlord is careless and not interested in helping, therefore the respect and understanding will be wiped away very quickly.

Therefore, the best piece of advice that I could suggest to anyone in this business, is to keep your tenants informed, as often as possible in regards to any maintenance or tenancy issues. Over 13 years of working with many different people and 7 years of managing the tenants in particular, I have learnt a great deal, and have even created some easily adaptable phrases that work fantastically in resolving most of the issues that arise during the tenancy.

Please feel free to reach out for more information on my most effective conflict resolution tips and catch phrases to use with your tenants, ensuring that your communication style is clear and effective, but most importantly makes people feel understood and respected.

Due to my experience, I believe that having great people skills, learning about different ways of communication, being proactive and managing people with empathy is essential for the growth of your company as well as being a well respected member of this industry.

With Gratitude,
Ilva Pam

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General

Strive for constant improvement!

We hear this phrase many times over, especially in an entrepreneurial environment, but do we actually act on it?

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COVID-19 Reflections

Now days it seems that everyone has an opinion and advice on what everyone should or shouldn’t do whilst they re in the quarantine, so I thought I would share my thoughts on it.

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General

Mess and disorder

As a landlord and property manager, I am sure that at some point, all of you have had to deal with messy tenants.

Receiving tenant complaints about dirty dishes, oily cooking worktops, dirty bathrooms full of hair and many other issues is not fun at all, especially when you are paying the housekeeper who cleans the property every week or two for it to be messy again the next day.

This situation can make you feel frustrated and upset as you expect, as grown adults, renting a room in a shared house, they would be more responsible and courteous to their housemates and themselves.

But what do you do? And how do you solve this common problem?

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General

Let’s have some fun!

Management of HMO properties comes with endless lists and lists of serious responsibilities and regulations. The industry is so highly regulated that if anything goes wrong because of your error, you can end up in an imprisonment.

By nature I am a serious and collected person and running a serious business highlights this characteristic even more.

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General

Leverage

As a landlord or a manager of an HMO, it is your legal responsibility to regularly check fire safety and fire alarms and keep the record of all the checks.