11 episodes

A weekly podcast co-hosted by Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson, who discuss practical tips to help you start, grow and succeed as a landlord.

Good Landlording Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson

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    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

A weekly podcast co-hosted by Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson, who discuss practical tips to help you start, grow and succeed as a landlord.

    GL#8: What the General Election means for landlords, with guest, David Smith

    GL#8: What the General Election means for landlords, with guest, David Smith

    With the fall of the Renters Reform Bill, and the upcoming general election, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith pick the brain of leading solicitor David Smith from JMW to explore what the election is likely to mean for landlords.

    In this episode we discuss what happens to the Renters Reform Bill now, and analyse what a new Labour or Conservative government might bring for landlords. We step away from the hyperbole and catastrophising, and take an objective look at what we currently know about the policies of both Labour and the Conservatives.

    As always, we bring the practical perspective of landlords, and share tips on what we're doing to filter out all the noise that an election brings.

    We recorded this episode on 24 May 2024, shortly before parliament was prorogued ahead of the General Election on 4 July, before any of the parties have published their election manifesto.

    With this episode, we reached a big milestone: episode number 10! We've released 8 regular episodes and 2 on the Renters Reform Bill since we launched Good Landlording on 10 April, less than 7 weeks ago. We've also had well over 10,000 downloads, before this episode goes live! That's a fantastic achievement for a new show, run by podcast newbies.

    What we cover in this episodeWhat happened to the Renters Reform Bill?What we know about Labour's policies for the Private Rented SectorWhat if the Conservatives win the election?Advice for landlords in this period of uncertainty before the General ElectionCredits

    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form

    What happened to the Renters Reform Bill?

    The government abandoned the Renters Reform Bill in the brief wash-up period on 24 May when a few bills managed to be rushed through the House of Lords, like the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill.

    As the Renters Reform Bill fell, any new government would need to draft a new bill from scratch, with a new long title, if they want to pursue rental reform after the election.

    Of course, some of it would no doubt look the same, but a new Bill would have to start all over again to go through all of its stages  in the Commons and Lords, which would take several months. 

    >> Blog post: The Independent Landlord - Renters Reform Bill: What happens now?

    What we know about Labour's policies for the Private Rented Sector

    Labour has not yet published their manifesto. However, David Smith predicts the following might feature in Labour's policies for landlords should they win the general election and form a government"

    Abolition of Section 21 and fixed term tenancies, but with a few additional grounds for landlords to terminate a tenancy, for instance if they want to sell, or it's a tenancy for agricultural workers.

    Regulation of letting agents and other property agents.

    Some sort of rent stabilisation measures, as opposed to rent control. He does not see this as a bad thing for landlords as they would move to yearly increases in line with inflation, instead of just increasing rents when tenants change.

    Increased devolution of housing powers to local authorities.

    More regulation around management standards and quality, along the lines of Rent Smart Wales, which would bring more consistency than the piecemeal the current selective licensing approach.

    Landlord register.

    Better enforcement by local authorities.

    • 25 min
    GL#7: How to manage rent arrears

    GL#7: How to manage rent arrears

    In this week's episode of Good Landlording, we discuss one of the most difficult aspects of our jobs as landlords, and that's handling rent arrears. Rent arrears are challenging, even if landlords use an agent.

    The essence of the agreement between a landlord and a tenant is that the landlord provides a well maintained and legally compliant property to live in. In return, the tenant pays rent. If tenants don't pay the rent when it's due, they are in what's called rent arrears.

    Private landlords run a business and need to be paid the same as any other business that doesn't receive government funding. Being a good landlord doesn't mean you're a charity and you need to provide the property free of charge. If we don't get paid, we can't pay our bills, and may end up going out of business. However, there's a lot landlords can do to help tenants who start to fall into rent arrears.

    Managing rent arrears is something that all landlords need to understand, so we can minimise the risk of rent arrears, and know what to do if our tenants fall behind with their rent.

    Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith share practical tips to help landlords avoid rent arrears, what landlords should do if tenants do fall behind with their rent, and how to help tenants. We also go through options are for evicting tenants in rent arrears both now and if the Renters Reform Bill had come into force. Eviction should be the last resort for landlords, if everything else has failed.

    What we cover in this episode at a glancePractical tips for landlords to minimise the risk of rent arrearsWhat should landlords do if tenants are in rent arrears?Practical tips to help tenantsWhat is Breathing Space?Late payment processThe last resort: Evicting tenants because of rent arrearsUsing Section 21 Housing Act 1988Using Section 8 Housing Act 1988The new Mandatory Ground 8A in the Renters Reform BillGolden nuggetCredits

    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form

    Practical tips for landlords to minimise the risk of rent arrears

    Prevention is better than cure, and landlords should try to avoid tenants falling into arrears in the first place. Here are 7 practical tips to minimise the risk of rent arrears:

    Tenant selection. Choose tenants that can comfortably afford the rent. For more information, see Episode 1: What makes a good tenant?

    Choose the rent payment date carefully. When entering into a new tenancy agreement, ask the tenants when they would like to pay the rent. The best date is shortly after they are paid. You can pro-rate the first payment so that if they move in on the 15th of the month, but want to pay on the 25th of the month, they pay the extra amount in their first rent payment. After that, they'll go onto the new rent payment date. OpenRent have a facility to calculate and set this up automatically for you as part of their RentNow package.

    Standing order. Ask tenants to set up a standing order so they don't forget to pay the rent. You can tell if they have done this as the rent payment will come in overnight, rather than in the daytime.

    Track rent payments. It's important to keep track of whether tenants have paid the rent. You can check your own bank account on the payment days, or automate it with (say) Alphaletz. The Alphaletz platform can send the tenant a reminder that the rent is due, and send a chaser if the tenant doesn't pay the rent on the due date.

    Rent guarantee insurance. Richard recommends taking out rent guarantee insurance for the first year with new tenants. If they are good payers and are never late paying,

    GL#6: What landlords need to know about rent

    GL#6: What landlords need to know about rent

    This week's episode is about a key issue for landlords: setting and increasing rent.

    Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson kick off the podcast episode by discussing what the key rent indices say about what’s happening to rents now. Then they share tips about landlords should go about both setting rent at the beginning of the tenancy, as well increasing rent once the tenants have moved in. They also talk about how the Renters Reform Bill will change the way landlords will be able to increase rent.

    The episode is full of practical tips to help good landlords go about setting and increasing rent in a way that complies with the law and is fair to your tenants, but also recognises we’re running a business.

    What we cover in this episode at a glanceWhat’s happening to rents at the moment?The Good Landlording approach to setting and increasing rentHow can landlords increase rent?1. New AST for another fixed term2. By agreement2. Using a rent review clause3. Section 13 notice (Form 4)How will the Renters Reform Bill change the way landlords increase rent?Golden nuggetsCredits

    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form

    >> Join: The Independent Landlord Community private Facebook Group (landlords only)

    What’s happening to rents at the moment?

    The 3 major rent indices (ONS, Rightmove and Spareroom) all agree that the rental growth for the 12 months until the end of March was around 9% in England.

    According to Rightmove, the average number of enquiries has reduced from 13 to 19 a year ago, which compares favourable to the mere 5 enquiries in 2019. Rightmove point to affordability as the problem - there's only so many rent increases that tenants can accommodate.

    Rightmove also report that more landlords are having to reduce rents when advertising. 22% of advertisements are ending in a price reduction at the moment, which is a five-year high for this time of year, and is up from 16% a year ago. Price reductions, on the other hand, are now around the more normal percentage of the 23% in 2019.

    Spareroom data shows a number of postcodes in London where room rents are dropping: SW3 (Chelsea) saw the biggest drop of -11%, followed by 7% in E20 (around the Olympic Park).

    The Good Landlording approach to setting and increasing rent

    Private landlords run a business, and not a charity or subsidised social housing. That said, we want to charge a rent that’s fair to the tenants, and fair to the landlords. 

    Costs have increased significantly for landlords over the past few years, and keeping rent at the same level is the same as reducing it in real terms, after taking inflation into account.

    Suzanne charges new tenants the market rent for the property. For in-tenancy increases with existing tenants, she keeps wage inflation as a guide, and tracks the market rent, but at a discount. She has kept rent increases to under 5%, but has always increased rent every year, apart from during Covid.

    It's important to avoid rent shock for tenants, when the rent suddenly increases in one go. It's better to increase it little and often.

    >> Blog post: The Independent Landlord: How to increase rent in 2024

    How can landlords increase rent?

    1. New AST for another fixed term

    Agents usually change the rent by issuing another tenancy agreement for another fixed term period, with new rent stated in the agreement. It's simple to do and means you can keep the AST up to date.


    GL #5: When things go wrong with letting agents

    GL #5: When things go wrong with letting agents

    In this week's episode, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith discuss what landlords can do when things go wrong with letting agents, and how to make a complaint. It's the third in a series of three episodes on what landlords need to know about letting agents.

    While the vast majority of interactions with letting agents are positive, it’s important for landlords to know what options they have when things go wrong. Richard and Suzanne discuss how to make complaints to the letting agents and the redress schemes, and the additional protection that choosing Propertymark members provides landlords. The podcast episode also touches on complaints to Trading Standards and taking legal action in the small claims court.

    This episode follows GL#3: Guide to selecting good letting agents and GL#4: Tips for signing up with letting agents.

    What we talk about in Episode 5 on problems with letting agentsWhat are the most common complaints about letting agents?Keeping good recordsDifferent ways to make complaints about letting agentsInformal complaint to letting agentsFormal complaint to letting agentsRefer complaint to redress schemePropertymark members - extra recourseComplaint to Trading StandardsLegal actionGolden nuggetsCredits

    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form

    What are the most common complaints about letting agents?

    According to the Property Redress Scheme 2023 Annual Report, the top three categories of complaints about letting agents are holding deposits (presumably by tenants), poor service and management, and tenancy payments and rent collection.

    Here are other common causes for complaint by landlords:

    Poor communication and failure to provide information

    Inspections: failing to carry them out or not preparing a report after they do an inspection

    Signing up poor quality tenants

    Not arranging gas safety certificates in time when it’s not due to the tenant failing to give access.

    Repairs: not carrying out repairs promptly or properly, or overcharging

    Rent arrears: not chasing late payments properly and not keeping the landlord informed about rent arrears

    Failing to forward rent onto the landlord

    Keeping good records

    It’s important for landlords to keep good records of conversations with letting agents so it’s clear what has been agreed and what feedback has been given. Richard keeps his notes in the Alphaletz property management software so there is a record in the event of a dispute.

    Contemporaneous notes that are made at the time can provide excellent evidence if a complaint escalates into legal action, where “recollections may differ”.

    Different ways to make complaints about letting agents

    Landlords have three different routes to making complaints. The first is to make a complaint to the agent, which is then escalated to the redress scheme if the landlord isn’t happy with the outcome of the complaint. The second is to complaint to Trading Standards. The third is legal action. It is possible to combine one or more of these routes.

    >> Blog post: The Independent Landlord guide to resolving problems with letting agents

    Informal complaint to letting agents

    The first step is to make an informal complaint to the branch by speaking to the branch manager, and making clear where their service falls short and what action you expect. They might not know you’re unhappy and it might be a simple thing that ca...

    • 19 min
    GL #4: Tips for signing up with letting agents

    GL #4: Tips for signing up with letting agents

    In this week's episode of Good Landlording, Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson discuss tips to help landlords understand what to look out for in the contract with letting agents, so they know how to strike a fair deal when signing up with them 

    This is a practical episode that not only gives the perspective of letting agents, but also explores the experience that landlords have when dealing with agents, the ins and outs of the different services letting agents provide, what to look out for in the agency agreement, and what protection landlords have under the law.

    It's is the second episode in the series on letting agents, carrying on from Episode #3: Guide to selecting good letting agents.

    There are golden nuggets all the way through, but there's a particularly good one at the end.

    What we cover in Episode #41. The competitive environment for letting agents2. What packages do letting agents offer landlords?3. What should landlords look out for in agents' terms and conditions4. What protection do landlords from unfair terms in agency contracts?5. Why it's important to keep copies of all recordsGolden nuggetCredits

    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form

    1. The competitive environment for letting agents

    The competitive environment has become very challenging for letting agents over the past few years. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 reduced income streams for letting agents as they could no longer charge tenants fees. Landlords have baulked at the extra costs, especially as interest rates and general costs like insurance and service changes have gone up.

    There are very low barriers to entry for letting agents as no minimum qualifications or licensing are required. There are unfortunately lots of agents who compete on price, at the expense of a quality service, and others who try to lock in landlords through unfair terms in contracts.

    Disruption from technology is beginning to gather steam, first with OpenRent who have already become the biggest agent in the UK, albeit an online platform. There are also new entrants like Hello Neighbour with their fixed price, no lock-in property management, and recently their new self-service letting package to compete with OpenRent. (Hello Neighbour advertise on Good Landlording, but Good Landlording is not an affiliate of Hello Neighbour). The NRLA are also doing more online. This all increases the pressure on traditional "high street" agents.

    The industry has been consolidating, with big players like Countrywide buying up small local firms. Some are doubling down on customer service. A prime example is Kristjan Byfield's Base Property Specialists in London, who genuinely care about providing a quality service both for tenants and for landlords.

    Unfortunately, others try to stop landlords from leaving by tying them in or charging them a high exit fee if they want to terminate property management or in rent collection. This can make it very difficult for landlords to terminate rent collection and property management contracts.

    2. What packages do letting agents offer landlords?

    These are the four key packages of services that letting agents typically offer landlords:

    a. Let-only / Tenant Find / Introduction Service

    This is the most basic level of service, and not all agents offer it. It's popular with self-managing landlords. The agents find tenants for the landlord, and hand the baton over to the landlord once they have checked in the tenant.

    The agents typically advertise and market the property, carry out viewings,

    • 30 min
    RRB #2: Why Renter Reforms might start in May 2025

    RRB #2: Why Renter Reforms might start in May 2025

    This is the second special episode of Good Landlording on the Renters Reform Bill. Richard and Suzanne talk about how and why the renter reforms may well start to come into effect in May 2025, and what this means for landlords.

    This includes the likely timetable for implementation of what will be the Renters Reform Act, and when the key provisions will start to apply to new tenancies. The new rules could come in for new tenancies as early as May 2025, assuming Royal Assent is in October 2024.

    They also discuss the implications of the wide definition of new tenancies, which means that tenancies that are already in place now may be subject to the new rules next year.

    These show notes summarise the main points about the discussion about when the new renter reform rules will start to come into force, and include links to useful resources.

    What we cover in Renters Reform Bill Special #2When will tenancies be subject to the Renters Reform Bill?Stage One: For new tenancies from the Commencement Date (probably from May 2025 )Stage Two: For existing tenancies on the Extended Application Date (after Lord Chancellor assessment - 2026?)What is a new tenancy under the Renters Reform Bill?What is an existing tenancy under the Renters Reform Bill?Examples of when the new rules will applyFixed term tenancy signed November 2024 ending July 2026Until when will landlords be able to serve a Section 21 notice?ConclusionCredits

    When will tenancies be subject to the Renters Reform Bill?

    For landlords, the big question is when Chapter 1 of Part 1 will come into force. Chapter 1 of Part 1 is the section of the Bill that sets out the new rules for tenancies.

    In other words, the new periodic assured tenancies which will have no fixed term periods, no s21 "no fault" eviction rights for landlords, no rent review clauses, and a new implied right for tenants to have pets.

    The first big step will be for the Renters Reform Bill to receive Royal Assent, which will transform it into the Renters Reform Act. Once a Bill becomes an Act, not much happens at that point. Before it comes into force, it needs to be implemented, and this is usually done in stages.

    Although it initially appeared as if the new Lord Chancellor's assessment of the operation of the eviction process had kicked the abolition of Section 21 into touch, that is not strictly the case.

    In fact, tenancies will start to switch over to the new regime on a commencement date that will be at least six months after Royal Assent. Assuming Royal Assent in October, that brings us to May 2025, if a new government keeps to the same timetable.

    A Department for Levelling Up spokesperson said on 24 April: "We have always said we will give six months' notice before ending section 21 for all new tenancies. In addition, we have committed to ensuring improvements in the courts service are rapidly implemented before extending this abolition to all existing tenancies."

    These are the stages that the DLUHC spokesperson refers to:

    Stage One: For new tenancies from the Commencement Date (probably from May 2025 )

    The changes for new tenancies will come into effect at least 6 months after Royal Assent.

    The government will publish a start date for the implementation of the rules after Royal Assent and give 6 months’ notice. May 2025 date is prob about the earliest date. It might be later than that. This is called the Commencement Date in the Bill.

    Stage Two: For existing tenancies on the Extended Application Date (after Lord Chancellor assessment - 2026?)

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

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rachll99 ,

Excellent advice

Excellent advice, extremely helpful with practical tips for landlords.

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