Death of the amateur landlord?

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert May 6, 2010 09:37

Landlords in the UK should adopt a proactive and professional approach to marketing their properties if they want to achieve business success and avoid losing money.

This was one of the main conclusions drawn from a one–hour interactive, online broadcast entitled: The Death of the Amateur Landlord and which was attended by 2754 UK landlords.

Attendees posed questions to webinar panellists who included: Alan Ward, chairman for the Residential Landlords Association, Ray Boulger from John Charcol mortgage brokers, Tom Entwistle, editor of Landlord Zone and James Davis, CEO of Upad.  Richard Bowser, editor of Property Investor News, moderated the event.

Each year, £3.7 billion is wasted on rental void periods, and landlords spend an average of £1,444 or half of their net profit finding tenants. 

James Davies said:

“Over the past four years the number of private landlords has risen by more than 156%, but many are not maximising the business opportunities or marketing their properties effectively to avoid empty rental periods; they are losing money. We want to change that, and believe these webinars will help landlords to ‘avoid the voids’ – through gaining tips from some of the industry’s top property professionals.”

These comments follow the publication of data from the National Landlords Association, which revealed that while void periods have decreased from 19 to 17 days each year, 52% of landlords are still experiencing periods without any tenants.

The panellists identified the buy-to-let market as one of the few remaining cottage industries, with a large proportion of ‘amateur landlords’ in existence. They urged landlords to behave in a professional way, and that the sector is now beginning to see the death of the ‘armchair investor’. James Davis advised that landlords need to treat their buy-to-let properties as a business, if they want to keep hold of valuable tenants.

Key points from the webinar included:

When asked what advice the panel would give to landlords to de-risk their portfolio, Tom Entwistle stated that tenant referencing is key.  James Davis also stated that landlords should develop a strong line of communication with tenants to avoid any problems arising in the long term.

If landlords are considering increasing rent, the panel advised to look at the market and undertake thorough price comparisons, mitigate risk and considering holding on to good tenants to avoid void periods.

Alan Ward suggested that the Government should provide incentives to landlords to help them improve their properties and that he hoped the government would adopt such an approach.

When asked which party UK landlords would prefer to win the General Election, the panel stated that overall feedback from the rental sector is that they would like an elected Conservative government.  However, changes need to be made quickly by the party that is elected.

Ray Boulger highlighted that some investors preferred the tangible nature of buy-to-let over a pension and that many landlords are treating their buy-to-let property as their pension for the future.  Richard Bowser stated that the era of growth was over, and that landlords need to seriously think about their income.

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert May 6, 2010 09:37

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