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Letting Agents And Landlords Should Keep Records on Everything!

By Namague Jun 24, 2023

Letting Agents And Landlords Should Keep Records on Everything!

Going back into the early 90’s when I first started in Lettings we had cards for all the properties with everything written on, (computers weren’t around) but we then made the huge investment to go fully computerised in 2003, running a virtually paperless office, with all data stored offsite. This investment in technology, I would say was one of our best investments in our business over the 2 decades we have operated thus far, especially with the way the world is going today.

So what should landlords do with properties to let on offer, when a fully computerised system might be out of reach? As a minimum I would have a file on every tenancy, keep a note pad with you at all times and date/time and keep notes to every conversation and put in their file, you never know when you might need to refer to it.

Paperwork and records are what saves you when there is a crisis, and so many landlords I have met, have a “that will do” attitude which in this industry is dangerous. This is where successful prosecutions are made, when a landlord or lettings agent has no “proof”.

Make sure you have an up to date tenancy agreements with all the “current” deposit registration paragraphs in, this is important for the property management departments also, take heed to the requirements for a detailed inventory and include metre readings, list keys and don’t forget the decor, garden, testing of the smoke alarm, record of instruction booklets being supplied and any fixed appliances too. Keep all your safety certificates, gas and electric, as well as details of any regulated work carried out (this needs to be kept for 2 years) Deposit registration certificates are really important now and need to be kept in the file, and copies sent to your tenants for them to keep too.

The biggest growth area for claims is in Health and safety this is a lot of what the HMO (houses in multiple occupation) rules are concerned with and the HHSRS (housing health and safety rating system) that the council are using for a lot of their “landlord” prosecutions alongside the consumer protection act 1987 and other safety specific regulations, so records in this area to “prove” compliance as well as notes as to conversations and works carried out/risk assessments are crucial for investment properties.

Unfortunately ignorance is not a defence, both lettings and estate agencies and landlords, in law, are classed as running a business, and therefore are more liable to prosecution. In order to be safe you need to be aware of your obligations as a landlord, what the potential “claims” could be bought against you and have “proof” that what you say happened did in fact happen, somewhere safe in your Files.

By Namague

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