Relationship Therapy for Landlords & Tenants
Posted on 17th September 2010
Following a survey published today showing that occupiers in the UK are less than 50% satisfied with the customer service received from their landlords, Robert Pinkus & Co. are urging both parties to go back to basics in the relationship stakes.
The survey published in Property Week by The Property Industry Alliance and CoreNet Global UK* shows that occupiers across all sectors ranked overall satisfaction at just 49%, with the main concerns surrounding service charge, the consent process and environmental issues.
He said, “Communication, honesty and trust, as in any commercial arrangement, is the basis of a strong landlord/tenant relationship. At a time when landlords are feeling the squeeze and under increasing pressure to be more flexible and tenants are more cautious about inflating costs of business, keeping good lines of communication open throughout the duration of the lease term is more important than ever to ensure both parties remain happy with the agreement that has been entered into.
“There are five key golden rules that can be followed to maintain a healthy, balanced relationship and should make for a happier, stress-free future for landlords, tenants and their managing agents!”
- Read and understand the lease thoroughly before you sign it. If you’re not sure, get legal advice before you put pen to paper. Remember, in disputes, the “lease always prevails.”
- Always document the condition of the property before you take occupation. Make sure you are fully aware of the state of repair the property is in when you take on any new lease so there’s no dispute further down the line.
- Always get consent and document any changes you want to make to the property.
- If you’re struggling to pay the rent, tell the landlord or the landlord’s agent immediately. Be honest and upfront about your financial situation. The landlord will be more understanding if they know the truth. In this case, silence is certainly not golden!
- Understand all the costs involved. Make sure you have accounted for service charge, business rates, insurance etc. Familiarise yourself with how the service charge is put together and how much you need to contribute, what’s included and what’s not.
1. Always request and check references thoroughly, ideally from previous landlords.
2. Ask for a deposit if appropriate and carry out all relevant financial checks before handing over the keys to the property.
3. It is advisable for the lease to contain an Authorised Guaranteed Agreement (AGA). This offers you additional protection if the tenant assigns the lease and the assignee defaults.
4. Keeps lines of communication open either directly with your tenant or through a managing agent. By maintaining regular contact, you are more likely to hear of any concerns or issues surrounding the property sooner, giving you more time to act upon them.
5. Be prepared to be flexible about payment terms and other matters relating to your property. Being more flexible in the short-term may give you earlier warning of a tenant’s financial difficulties and help to safeguard your investment.